Last week, Kim of The TomKat Studio shared a post
about decorating her kids' room in her vacation home, including items from Pottery Barn Kids. A reader left this comment...
It sparked an interesting debate between readers and fellow bloggers. Normally, I don't like to step into the fray of 'real world' stuff like politics...I used to rant back in the day, but eh, the blog is supposed to be my happy place.
But because this is something my readers would be interested in and probably feeling, then I'm pulling out my soapbox and clearing my throat. What really inspired me was the email I received from a major company inquiring about my sponsored post rates (WOO HOO!!) and then my shock as they quoted their rate. I may not be as awesomesauce as some of the huge blogs that I love to follow but I know my endorsement, post space, and readership is more valuable than that. But more on that later...
Many companies and brands are finally recognizing the power of bloggers and reaching out for more collaborations. I am partnered with a few like Popsicle and Oriental Trading. I'm always looking for new ways to inspire my readers and if it is with brands that I love that I bet they would too, it should be a no brainer.
And thanks to Pinterest, our reach is even further but it makes the world smaller and more challenging for coming up with original content. Sponsored content, done right, is a great way to create original content, get paid and have supplies and product covered. I love to shop, but I don't know if you know this, it takes money.
|This may have been a sponsored post for Oriental Trading but didn't you learn something?|
I know many readers feel like every post is an advertisement on bigger blogs they follow. If someone wants to pay you for endorsing their product that fits with your blog's aesthetic, it's hard not to say no. Blogging is a full time job. Seriously, readers may think I just sit here for 20 minutes, pop in a few photos and it's all good.
I wish. Try writing 300 words about toast. Try writing 300 words about anything. Quality 300. After 6 years of blogging, I have to find a lot of ways of coming up with original ideas without sounding redundant. Now find quality photos, make sure you can share them, contact the owners if you have to, make sure everyone else isn't sharing them (because why would you want to see them here if you seen them anywhere else), create collages and headers, edit your rambling thoughts on said photos, post, share on all your media outlets.
Now, add in a party shoot or DIY (because we all love original content) with the concept, product shopping (cupcakes don't fall out of the sky, you know...), crafting, styling, shooting (praying for sun here in Seattle), photo editing, then write 300 words about it.
Not to mention keeping up with the Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter, and Google+.
Blogging takes time. I don't have a team of editors or minions...I mean assistants, to do my bidding. I should probably start getting my own guest bloggers since I seem to be everywhere else. But that's another task I'm just not ready for. Just one more thing to juggle. In fact, the word 'blogger' doesn't even cover it. I'm a lifestyle brand.
Like it or not, blogging is a business for many of us, although we may not have started that way...I certainly did not. Back in the day, there were like 5 party bloggers and I just wanted to share the cool ideas pinging around in my head. Now, with ads, sponsored posts, and collaborations, the landscape of blogging has changed. Events like Alt Summit and BlogHer bring bloggers and brands together and teach us about making money. For some, it is all about the money, plastering ads everywhere and every post is sponsored. It's their blog and space, and if I don't like it, I can change the channel.
But we can't have it both ways. I've spent the past two years in school doing graphic design so I can continue working on my brand. My blog has always been my creative outlet but it has grown so much, I have to justify to my husband why I have to be here on the computer for hours doing blog stuff and how all the connections I'm making are turning into real-world money makers. I've even outgrown my blog name. But that is another story for another day.
At the end of the day, you have to justify what and why you are doing it. When something takes time away from family, friends and housework, it is a job. A job I don't want to quit because I love it, but I can't work for free.
I hope that I'm doing a decent job of balancing both regular and sponsored posts. I hope that my sponsored posts don't come off like commercials...but that they do their purpose and inspire you. Introduce you to a brand you probably don't know that well, or look at it in a new light.
|This may have been a sponsored post from Chinet but didn't you learn something?|
So dear Susie, "sharing ideas and inspiration" and "earning income and free goods" are two sides of the same coin. That coin allows me to bring new ideas and content to my blog, and not just become a glorified version of Pinterest, sharing other people's stuff. Because again, why would you be here?
But I also hope you realize how much work goes into each and every post, that you get to read for free. No subscriptions or fancy clubs to join. Notice, I have no ads screaming and blinking at you. That is very deliberate on my part. My wonderful, witty banter is priceless, right?
I promise, I will try not to 'sell out' too badly, but I think it's only fair for you, my dear readers, to see behind the screen. Because if Pottery Barn Kids comes a'knocking at my door, you best believe I'm all over that.
And other major company who offered me pennies for all the exposure and work I would do for you and your product? Your loss.
And this post took more than 20 minutes to write. If I had created a fancy, pinnable graphic it would have taken even longer.
To quote Forrest Gump, "That's all I have to say about that.
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