Paid Posts, Free Stuff and Gut Feelings
This isn't my usual type of post, which is ironic considering it has its roots in my reluctance to stray from my usual type of post. Clear as mud? Allow me to explain.
I have always known that people blog for a wide variety of reasons. Because they have something to say, because they have something to sell, because they love writing, because it helps to pay the bills, because there is every chance they might get a whole heap of free shit.
It's the latter two motives, the bill-paying and the free shit, that I have been thinking about for the last couple of months. Mostly (and in the spirit of this blog’s honesty) I have found myself wondering if I am missing out by refusing to entertain the idea of sponsored posts and brand collaborations. In fact, I have been told several times that I am indeed missing out. That I could earn a substantial amount of money from paid posts (we’re not talking a few squid to spend on the annual messy-night-out dirty burger here we’re talking whole extra income territory).
But (and it’s not an insignificant but) it feels a bit like I’ve been offered a job I don’t want. Quite simply, it’s just not my cup of tea. And after much to-ing and fro-ing with a number of different people via email, I reached a pretty major conclusion at around midnight last night. I couldn’t get to sleep and I realised it was because I felt uncomfortable. Not physically uncomfortable, like when your knickers are a bit small and you can’t adjust them without looking like you’re touching yourself, but uneasy uncomfortable. And just like that, a decision was made.
I woke up this morning feeling like a weight had been lifted and I wanted to share this with you because I think it’s important that you know exactly what you are seeing on my blog and social media pages. So, here’s some upfront honesty from me about paid posts and free shit.
I have never been paid money to promote a product on my blog or social media pages. I have obviously been paid to write articles/features for others (writing is my job these days!) but I’m talking about being paid by brands i.e. ‘we’ll give a few smackeroonies to post a link/blog about our exciting new highchair.’ (Not quoting an actual email there, obviously, though it’s not far off). After last night’s moment of clarity, I’ve realised that despite tempting offers my stance on this hasn’t changed, however I should add in the disclaimer that if somebody offers me a million pounds I will pose naked on their highchair with nothing but the brand’s logo covering my modesty.
I have been given free stuff, which in itself is a kind of payment for the potential future sales generated by me having the free stuff and my followers seeing it.
If it’s something I would have bought or used anyway, or something I genuinely fancy getting my hands on after admiring it from afar, then it’s all good (i.e. if I needed a highchair - which I don’t by the way I’m just sticking with the highchair example - I might accept a free highchair in return for telling people where I got the highchair when they inevitably message me to ask me where I got the highchair). I may post a pic of the highchair. I am unlikely to ever post ‘WOW look at my amazing highchair it has CHANGED MY LIFE’ on Instagram (but you never know). There will also be no ‘Reasons I Love This Highchair’ or ‘The Unmumsy Clan Test the Highchair 3000’ blogs because I don’t do reviews on this blog. That doesn't mean I won't do reviews for 'work' just not on here.
I will never agree to casually dropping a key branded message into my post. In other words, I will not be told what to say (i.e. ‘Having such a great day because the easy-wipe highchair tray is designed around the modern messy family’ – you get the picture).
More often than not, I will tell you where we've stayed on holiday. Sometimes, we will have been invited to stay in return for writing an article about it and sometimes we won’t. If I love it, I’ll probably tell you I love it because you might love it too. I will never accept money to tell you that I loved it.
In a nutshell, you quite rightly trust that what I post and share is ‘real’ and my gut feeling tells me that this is how it should stay. This may change, of course, depending on a whole host of factors. But for now, I'll stick. (And I’m rambling now, so let’s just leave it there).
PS This is not a dig at other bloggers who are paid to promote stuff on their pages. This is just what works for me.
PPS I am not including the static website adverts you see on the side or at the bottom of most sites - when I finally get my new website up and running I'll need those to pay for the site.
PPPS This honestly wasn't an arse-about-face way of bagging myself a new highchair.