Tuesday, 5 April 2016

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 am really very sorry to all the brands/companies who received an email from me at midnight last night with a polite but firm Thank You But No Thank You).

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. (I appreciate this is by no means the most interesting thing you’ll read on the internet today and if you’re already bored allow me to suggest BuzzFeed’s ‘Can You Guess Who These Powerpuffed British Politicians Are?’).

So, here’s some upfront honesty from me about paid posts and free shit.

Paid Posts
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.

Free shit
I have been given free stuff, which is in itself a kind of payment for the potential future sales generated by me having the free stuff and my followers seeing it.
My rules are as follows:
  • If it’s something I would have bought or used anyway, or something I genuinely fancy getting my mits 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 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 (if I don’t I’m only met with ‘where did you stay?’ comments). Sometimes we will have been invited to stay in return for a mention 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.

The Unmumsy Mum
PS This honestly wasn't an arse-about-face way of bagging myself a new highchair, we've got one.
PPS This is not a dig at other bloggers who are paid to promote stuff on their pages. This is just what works for me.
PPPS I wouldn't pose naked for a million pounds. I look better with clothes on.


24 comments:

  1. Glad to see you find peace with yourself! For some reason I got added to a brand blogger list for tweeting about a tea related post (by someone else) and liking a song from a 2015 Faith No More album.

    Twitter is weird.

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  2. This made my night. I love your style of writing. Think I need to buy your book!

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  3. Amen to all of this. Admittedly I'm speaking as a blogger who's never been offered anything for anything, not even a Farley's rusk.

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  4. Keep doing what you do! This made my night. Think Ill need to buy your book!

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  5. I share your sentiment... Would of course love to get paid to write as opposed to product placement. One can hope. X great post. Can't wait to see your new high hair lol

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  6. Really interesting post and really admire you staying true to yourself blogging whichever way we look at it is big business now and people in general people like freebies but in truth they are not free you have to write something for it well done great read

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  7. I like your honesty, as always, and think good for you! Although I do reviews, I have said the same as you, I'll only work with either brands I love or those that I've wanted to try anyway, and my reviews will always be honest. I somehow think it's not going to do your blog any harm by not doing reviews etc ;) xxx

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  8. A free holiday, that is blogged about, is exactly what the company is after. Good luck to you. I definitely would.

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  9. I really want that wipe clean highchair... Where did you get it?:-)):-)) :-))

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  10. Love the honesy; I personally would work with brands that I would ordinarily pay for X
    www.similindgren.blogspot.com

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  11. Great blog article! And good on you for sticking to principles. I like your Facebook page but as I'm not on twitter (I'm way too old) I can't follow you on there. I review stuff too but have never been paid to.

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  12. Haha. Good for you! Love it xx

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  13. Bloody good for you. Always admired your work and even more so now. This outlook will keep you at peace whatever the future may bring. Just keep being you.

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  14. This is because you have integrity. As a journalist (who blogs too for fun and entertainment and to stop me throwing my three year old out of the window because she refuses to walk ANYWHERE at the moment) I would never cross the line between editorial and advertorial. If I did this in an article for a magazine the audience wouldn't trust me anymore. So I wouldn't do it on a blog either. Keep up the hilarity/honesty (and fuck Ruth although she wouldn't do reviews either) X

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  15. I love your honesty. You have a space here that works, that people love and that you have carved for yourself. It's a precious thing and you should definitely protect it - do what works for you x

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  16. Where can I buy the Highchair 3000?? It sounds amazing!

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  17. And this is why I love your blog, you are honest and you break the rules of blogging! I've done a couple of sponsored posts and I'm happy to do it for things that I can genuinely include on my blog. And I do reviews for things my son would like because its fun and he benefits! But I do hate it when you read certain blogs and you can tell a mile away that its a sponsored post...and always really naughty if they don't say it is when you know damn well it is! Keep doing what you are doing Sarah xx

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  18. In 9 years of blogging, I think I've maybe just about crept into double figures in total in terms of reviews, competitions, sponsored posts and the like. Because monetising my blog isn't a goal, I've only ever done stuff I felt like doing. I know this kind of thing is important for some bloggers and I'm fine with that - but, like you, not for me. I'm more likely to be drawn to blogs where every other post isn't a 'commercial' one, simply because my interest is a reader is to find out more about people's lives rather than what brand they're promoting this week (as relevant and exciting as it may be).

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  19. FANTASTIC BLOG POST! A friend just directed me to this post as she knew it would resonate with me. I have been exactly the same as you and lay there at night feeling uncomfortable with the idea of sponsored posts and paid mentions etc. Right now, and for the foreseeable future, I don't want to go down that avenue. I won't say I might not in the future, after all, bills don't get paid by free shit (I wish they could!), but right now, and this point up until now, I feel uncomfortable about the idea. I label any of my blogs if they have been press samples, I also state on my blog that I will not guarantee to review any products I'm sent, and likewise, free product does not qualify for good review. On the other side of the coin if I pay for something that I end up loving, I'll rave about it on my blog! Authenticity is key I think, and it feels good to hear of another blogger feeling the same. Kudos! xx

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  20. I have just finished reading your book! It is a brutally honest account of parenting covering the highs and lows and all the bits in between! I nearly wet myself with laughter (easy these days as mentioned in the book!) in parts! It also made me tearful in others! It has been a very long time since I read anything so open heartedly written. Brilliant work! You are an amazing woman who I am sure have brightened the days of many a mummy...with or without the sicky shoulder!

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  21. I have just finished reading your book. I live in Germany and my best friend sent it over. I laughed tears for hours. I saw myself often. On finishing the book I went back to favourite bits and read them again. Jude's birth was my favourite bit. Kate

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  22. Good for you! Stay true to who you are & why you write - it is why everyone loves you x The rest will follow, how could it not?

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  23. Good for you. You easily can build a brand without selling out. Just keep doing what you do.

    Rich
    Babyamour

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  24. I am regular reader of your blog and no doubt it all stuff is awesome. The best thing about your sharing and posting is that you always provide content that is helpful for both the newbie and experts. Looking for more stuff and tutorials.

    Love from Tech Solutions Desk

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