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Wednesday, 15 January 2014

Blogging and Brands

Hold on to your knickers before they get in a twist and brace yourselves for my honest opinion of the ongoing 'bloggers and brands' saga and some of the responses to it. There's been a lot of discussions, blog posts and other such things around this topic over the past few months; more recently over the approach of a certain brand asking plus-size bloggers to contribute to their blog (for free). I'm not going to discuss the ins-and-outs of said request as most of you are probably familiar with it; if you're not (or otherwise want to read more about it) I'd recommend checking out Big Fashionista's post here which addresses some of the issues.

Anyway, I digress. There have been many mentions about bloggers only being interested in brands, payment, freebies and whatever else; because 'someone out there' decided that we're not allowed to operate in even remotely similar means to any normal business these 'interests' are viewed by some as a negative. This narrow-minded opinion that all bloggers are part of some homogeneous collective irritates me somewhat. However, it doesn't irritate me nearly as much as comments I have read that have implied that bloggers are stupid and/or naive to accept certain terms (writing for free, for example). Okay so none of this is personal and I haven't received any remarks aimed directly at me, but you may as well replace 'bloggers are' with 'I am' in the majority of cases where such comments can relate.

So in the interest of clarity, FYI-ness and generally getting things off my chest...

1) I am running a business. I may not write everything (like this post) from a business perspective but I am registered as self-employed. If I want to and I am able to earn money then I have every right to do so. Nobody has the right to dictate to anyone how they earn a living. I invest in my blog financially and I am sure that nobody would disagree with me at the very least recouping that investment through paid work (yeah, blog designs and hosting cost money y'know, they're not paid in internet fluff).

2) I am not stupid or naive. You have every right to have a different opinion or disagree with someone, but you do not have the right to imply that I am somehow wrong by doing it. I am a qualified administrator and by the end of this academic year will also be a graduate; I am by no means stupid. I have experience of working with national organisations and managing multi-agency events and meetings. Basically what I am trying to say is that if I choose to do something, I do so fully understanding what it is that I have committed to.

3) I am not 'all about the brands'. The sponsored posts and reviews of gifted items that I have done are few in comparison to my overall post count. I only undertake 'work' that is relevant to my blog and that I think my readers will find interesting/useful. Whilst my blog is a business, it is primarily a hobby and I do not rely on it as a source of income (although if I did, there's nothing wrong with that). At the end of the day if you don't like it, don't read it.

4) I am not responsible for maintaining the earnings of other bloggers. I've read on more than one occasion comments about people working for free meaning essentially that brands won't pay anyone for anything and that doing so is somehow 'undermining' the 'community'. Last time I checked I wasn't responsible for anyone's business strategy, pay check, blogging ethics or anything of the sort. If blogging isn't working out for you as a full-time means of income then I am genuinely sorry to hear that, but it isn't my fault.

5) I take the fact that anyone wants to work with me as a compliment, whether they're paying me in money or not. At the end of the day, if I couldn't write to some sort of reasonable standard I don't think it would be wrong to presume that brands wouldn't want to work with me.

Basically what I'm trying to say is that there's a whole load of opinions out there and people are entitled to have their own thoughts, but what is NOT okay is making mass presumptions about other people, their decisions and/or dismissing other people's opinions/decisions because they don't match yours. Period.

12 comments:

  1. I agree with what you are saying totally. Whilst I am not all of the 5 I agree with the views behind them.

    I blog because I enjoy writing. I enjoy blogging. I have no training in writing so would not expect to be paid for it. However I have accepted offers to review things. So far only two, but I have enjoyed reviewing things, and in payment I have received the product to review. As a non-professionals writer this seems only fair.

    I still post my usual opinions and blogs because I enjoy it. Everything else is a bonus!

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    1. Thanks for your comments Roxanne. I am much the same as you, I do it for the enjoyment and I don't have any training x

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  2. I agree with you as well Betty. It is your blog and you can do and say what you want. And why would anyone judge you based on your decisions as it is your life. You can't be held responsible for anyone else! I started blogging because I wanted to look back and see how I could develop my style, but also because I like writing and take photos and tell about my life. It is a great bonus that someone wants to read what I write. When it comes to working with businesses and brands I have been reluctant so far as I have been too scared thinking what people would say, would I just be doing this for the sake of getting free things? I have been offered a couple of things so far, but I can't say my inbox is full of offers. I am the kind of person that doesn't know really how to approach it, as I don't know if most bloggers approach businesses to ask if they want to work with them or if they wait and see if they are being approached. This might have given me a bit of a draw back, but I'm very careful as a person, I don't like to pry, brag or do anything that can seem like I'm in this only for the money or free things. So that you have to write this post to defend yourself and your actions is very sad as this is your space and you do what you want with it. xx

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    1. Thanks for your comments Mookie. It's strange this blogging lark; nobody would bat an eyelid at my profession or other hobbies, yet some bloggers feel they are 'qualified' to judge other bloggers on the basis of their own decisions/opinions which irritates me greatly.

      I struggled greatly the first few times I was approached by brands & PR companies, especially with my first offer of paid work...I had no idea what to charge and sought advice from another blogger (who is now my go-to person pretty much haha, she is very helpful bless her). At the end of it that particular arrangement didn't work out but it was all an experience/learning curve. To be honest I still struggle with some things now, for example last year I went to an event where we were offered to take a few items of clothing as gifts; it felt very strange to me! x

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  3. Feckin brilliant post - agree with every single word - well done you x
    Jules

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  4. Excellent post, totally agree with everything you have written!
    x

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  5. These sorts of issues have been mooching around in my head for a while. For ages I was worried about conforming to what others thought bloggers should do or be but in the end I follow my own rules. If a new brand come on to scene I will happily write for them for free, as long as they are not trying to take advantage (see current controversy). When it comes to reviewing items, I can never quite believe it when that sort of email arrives and always think it's been sent in error. Yes I get sent free items to review, but I am also incredibly grateful and can't believe how lucky I am when it happens. I'm definately not all about the brands, I go with the flow of what happens, happens.

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    1. Thanks for your comments Vicky. Going with the flow definitely sounds like a good idea! I still sometimes worry, quite unnecessarily I think...I even got concerned over publishing this post! At the end of the day, as a famous song goes (although with different lyrics), it's my blog and I shall write if I want to ;)

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  6. I've done free posts for a couple of brands who asked nicely, but when they asked me to do follow up posts again for free, I declined. I'm willing to help out a new brand, but my time ain't ALWAYS for free - I use my time to talk about things I want to talk about. However I drew the line at you-know-who because of their long list of demands and lack of freedom. But as I said in the group on Facebook, each to their own and I look forward to seeing the posts from the people who DO do them.

    There's no blogging Bible, no set of rules, and we all do our own thing OUR way *inserts Frank Sinatra soundbite*. No one has the right to tell or infer that someone must do things a certain way. There are enough blogs and enough readers out there for everyone to be happy, and for no one to feel they HAVE to do things a certain way to be read/popular.

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    1. Thanks for your comments Leah. After all the polava and faffing trying to meet requirements, I decided not to write for 'that' brand in the end; I haven't been chased about it so I'll leave it at that for now. I think there's a lot of pressure in the blogging community at the moment, although it may not always be visible I think it's quite often felt...but I agree, each to their own.

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