This is the second post in my Blog Issue series. You can read the first, on blogger jealousy, here.
Let’s kick off with a quick outfit post…
Missguided top, Mango jeans, New Look sandals, Zara Taylor necklace.
If you’re a regular reader of my blog, you’ll know I sometimes wear items that have been sent to me by brands. Accepting freebies (or ‘gifting’, as the US bloggers call it) is commonplace amongst fashion and beauty bloggers, but it can be a dangerous game. How do you remain true to your readers whilst adhering to a contract with a brand? If you’re receiving payment (whether in money or material) for a post, can you ever be truly unbiased?
In recent years, blogs have become fully fledged marketing platforms. Just like magazines before them, bloggers have a loyal and dedicated readership, who trust their word and (sometimes) act upon it. Brands are cottoning on quickly, and that means we see more and more sponsored posts, gifted outfits and blog advertisements. Some brands handpick their bloggers by taking the time to read and understand individual blogs that represent their ethos, but others prefer a blanket approach – I recently agreed to a promotional post only to find the same company had contacted a huge amount of bloggers, which led to said promo posts popping up everywhere. Can 30 different bloggers, with different interests, styles and personalities all really think the same thing?
I found this article absolutely key when thinking about the credibility of my blog. My opinion is that you cannot ever be truly impartial when writing about something if your discussion is being incentivised, which undoubtable affects the credibility of your stance. So how do you ensure you remain authentic?
Genuine passion is terribly hard to fake (just ask any copywriter who’s written a direct mail piece for a financial services client), so if you’re not keen on the brand or the product, don’t do it. If you’ve seen the same post on 20 different blogs already, don’t do it. And if you’ve already promoted 3 different brands this week, don’t do it.
Many of my favourite blogs are ad free and completely awesome. And many more of my favourite blogs have sponsors and advertisers. The similarity is, every single one produces original, unique and interesting content. They all offer me something different, something that’s truly their own, whether their post is promoting or simply pondering. And that’s the key to retaining your credibility – being yourself.
How do you feel about bloggers who accept freebies or display advertising? As a reader, does a sponsored post intrigue or insult you? As a blogger, are you (or would you) be comfortable accepting a gift from a brand in return for a review? Share your thoughts below.