It happens to the best of us. We follow a blog for a long time, and suddenly they start writing a bunch of sponsored posts. What happened to that girl/guy you once knew? It’s like they’re a completely different person now and you don’t know if you can ever trust them again. Put down your pitchforks for a second, ladies, and let’s talk about it. Here are 5 reasons why you shouldn’t hate bloggers for writing sponsored posts.
1 // Sponsored posts support the blog. This one is obvious. First and foremost, sponsored posts give a blogger the opportunity to be self-sufficient, especially if their site is self-hosted. Do you know how much it costs to host a typical self-hosted WordPress website? In a recent Facebook group discussion fellow bloggers shared info about their hosting expenses, and the pricing varied between several hundred to several thousands of dollars a year. In addition to paying for other services like a website design, monthly fees for premium plugins, and social media scheduling programs [my expenses in this last category alone are roughly $60/month], it all adds up quickly. That’s mortgage payments for some people!
2 // Most bloggers don’t just “sell out”. Yes, there are bloggers who will tout any product for the right price, but most won’t. Reputation is hard to earn and easy to lose, and readers remember everything. Just recently I had someone email me about the whole “selling out” situation because they thought I was strictly anti-petrolatum, and then I go and endorse Vaseline. Truth is, after doing a very thorough research on this controversial ingredient I gained a new perspective and now use products with it again, but sparingly, and from select few brands. In the past couple of years I changed my mind about several things I had a firm position on when this blog first started. Point is, beauty is not a religion, and my opinion will change based on facts and science. I consider myself to be a reasonable person, and none of my beliefs are precious enough to hold onto when provided sufficient facts to disprove them. Back to my original point, if you see your favorite blogger suddenly endorsing a product they used to hate in the past, it’s highly likely that there is a perfectly reasonable explanation.
3 // We choose our sponsors. Yes, there are bloggers who will accept every single gig that comes their way, but they are few. Most of us often turn down sponsored opportunities that don’t resonate with us, and you guys only see the ones we accepted. For instance, I can’t see myself writing about test-driving cars or cell phone plans, because I don’t really have much to say about them [I have been offered both many times], but I will freely endorse feminine care products, because I’m tired of this topic being some kind of a taboo. Can you even imagine life without feminine care? Which brings me to my next point…
4 // Bloggers sometimes promote products they normally wouldn’t. Which isn’t a bad thing, and here’s why! If you blog as a hobby without even thinking about any kind of monetary return, it doesn’t matter which products you feature. But if you plan to offset some expenses, you probably start using affiliate links at some point. The thing is, most affiliate links operate on commission [which is usually between 1-10% of the total sale], so naturally most bloggers would rather write about products that can deliver a few bucks per sale rather than a few cents. Which is why featuring drugstore products is one of the most selfless things for a beauty blogger: they probably won’t ever get more than a dollar total in commission even after a dozen people buy that Maybelline lipstick through their affiliate link. In fact, most people will probably just go to the drugstore and buy that lipstick there instead. And that’s the reason why bloggers love partnering with drugstore brands: it gives them the opportunity to tell you about the great new budget-friendly releases without FOMO on commission. Basically, drugstore brands have to make it worth our time even if the products are awesome, because there are just too many other equally awesome products we would rather write about. However, this doesn’t apply to everyone, because some blogs get very high traffic that makes writing about low-cost products worth it anyway.
5 // Bloggers get paid for time-consuming projects. I hate doing tutorials, they take forever to photograph and even longer to edit, but if a company is willing to pay extra for me to create one for you guys, why not? We’re not talking about 1-2 hours here, it takes me at least 5-6 hours of hands-on work to write a 700-1000-word blog post, photograph the products plus the tutorial, and edit every single photo of products plus every single photo within the tutorial grid. Add the time it takes to schedule the social shares, and we’re looking at a full day of work. Don’t you think all that effort should be compensated? Tutorials always do well on Pinterest too, so it’s a win-win for the brand, the blogger, and the readers.
6 // Bonus! The 5 reasons above are the most common, but this last one is often overlooked. Sponsored posts may be the only way for someone to feed their family. A long time ago I was told about this girl who was up in arms against sponsored content until a her husband got diagnosed with a life-threatening disease and had to quit work, so she ended up being the only breadwinner in the family. Because she was previously very vocal about her anti-sponsored beliefs, the girl started getting nasty comments from her readers on her sponsored blog posts, and the brands didn’t like that. Eventually, some brands did not want to continue partnership due to that constant trolling in the comments, resulting in reduced earnings that could have been used to help feed her children and offset some of her husband’s medical expenses. I don’t know how that story ended, and I don’t know if it was even true or more of an urban myth, but I can totally see something like this happening.
My point is, you just never know what someone is going through and why they chose to partner with certain brands that you normally wouldn’t associate them with. Yes, sometimes it really is all about the money, but we don’t judge people for doing their job anywhere else, so why judge the bloggers who chose to turn their website into a source of income? But really, the most important thing to remember is, as a reader, you are not paying anything. The content on this blog [and many others] is always going to be free for you to enjoy.
And now it’s time for some shameless self-promo! 🙂 Here are some of my favorite sponsored posts I’ve written that bring in new visitors every day. Check them out and let me know if you think they add value to this blog or not, I’ll be happy to hear your opinion, even if it is a negative one.
- Long to Lob: Spring Style Update and Why I Chopped Off My Long Hair
- Peek Inside My Spring Capsule Wardrobe
- 5 Reasons You Should Add Products with Pomegranate Extract to Your Beauty Routine (Backed by Science)
- Easy Negative Space Manicure Tutorial
- How Eating Chia Seeds Every Morning Greatly Improved My Diet
- So Susan Lip Love July 2016 & Other Awesome Subscription Boxes at Cratejoy
- LabGrab by Silk Therapeutics | Clean Skincare with Minimal Ingredients
- Easy Steakhouse Blue Cheese Burger Recipe
Edit: Earlier today I found out that one of my fellow bloggers Elle wrote a whole series on the topic! Check out her 4-part informal research here.
What are your thoughts on sponsored content? Let me know in the comments below!