I sat down to respond to the huge amount of comments generates from yesterdays post and decided a follow up may be better. Here were the recurring topics I found, if you have any further Q’s leave another comment and I’ll try and get back to you individually
1. Lots of bloggers are posting about the same thing, those posts must be sponsored
This isn’t necessarily the case. When you see an influx of tweets/instagrams or posts of a certain product the brand has likely just sent it to a lot of people. I personally don’t consider a review of a PR Sample a sponsored post because I am under no obligation to review. I am sent items that never make it on to my blog because I’m not excited (or annoyed) enough to write about them. I can’t tell you that some bloggers are paid to review these products because I don’t know but I think it’s a common misconception. I’ve also found lots of products I love this way and they’ve made it in to multiple posts and videos that the brand has no idea about.
2. PR Samples sweeten the deal
That’s a tough one because it really comes down to ones own moral compass. As I said in yesterdays post you have to respect your readers or they’ll lose respect for you and everything you say. Ultimately you either trust a blogger or you don’t, I review a lot of products which are sent to me but my opinion is my opinion, I often negatively review PR samples and I have never been contacted and asked to change or take down a post. In fact one brand recently got in touch after a particularly ‘constructive’ 😉 review and thanked me for my honest feedback!! I have only once been paid money to review something – link – and although I was entirely honest it does put you in a strange position and I wont do it again.
3. Sponsored posts are always reviews
Not the case at all. most sponsored post consist of paid links, the post could be about absolutely anything but the company wants a link to their site/product/service within it. This could be a post you already had written on a relevant subject and doesn’t have to be specifically promoting the brand. These are the posts that you may not notice and these are the posts that NEED disclosure. It’s not transparent that there’s a paid link in that post and unless you make it clear to your readers they might think that you are recommending said product/service. I wont tell you I love something if I don’t but most of the sponsorship that I accept comes in this form and is always clearly marked.
4. I hate sponsored posts
Well that’s absolutely your prerogative! Unfortunately blogs are no longer just online journals of our thoughts and feelings but a genuine source of information and INCOME.. for many their SOLE source of income. There are VERY few bloggers who are sponsorship free by choice, of course there’s the odd genuine non-profit blog and if you’re one of them, fantastic but I think most people would consider sponsorship if it was right for them. If you LOVED Cadburys Dairy Milk and they wanted to pay you £100 and a years supply of chocolate to put a link to it in a blog post I think most of use would be hard pressed to say no.
Moving forward I have decided to mark all posts containing sponsored links or content with a *sp in the title so that you can choose to avoid them entirely if you wish.