Once again, there’s been a whole pile of hoo-ha about sponsored posts, and review products, and whether or not people should accept them on their blogs.
I’ve spent the past 20 years writing for women’s consumer magazines, so I understand the symbiotic relationship between editorial, and advertorial. Now that I’ve moved into professional blogging I don’t have a problem with reviews, and relevant forms of advertising – provided the mix is right, and the content is engaging and interesting.
If I’m giving up my time (time I could be spending with my children, or reading a magazine, or sleeping) to give a product exposure, I don’t see any problem with being recompensed in some small way.
I don’t insist on it; in fact I often write about products just because I think they’re fab, or because I want to support a great company, or because a particular cause has struck a chord with me.
People argue that the best professional review sites (such as Which.co.uk) and magazines don’t accept freebies, but what they forget is that their journalists are being paid salaries. They’re not doing it for nothing, so why should we if we don’t want to? Plus (spoiler alert) many of those highly regarding publications actually do rely on freebies, whether it be beauty, consumer tech or press trips. In fact, the only department that generally returns items is fashion.
Keeping a review product doesn’t mean you can’t give an honest opinion about it. If I come across something I can’t wholeheartedly recommend (which is not often, since I carefully select what I want to feature) then I let the PR know I won’t be posting the review. My blog isn’t about slamming bad products, it’s about highlighting great ones.
I’m careful to strike a balance between review posts, giveaways and my own musings on family life. I personally don’t like blogs that are just review, after review, after review.
I do enjoy reading about new products, but I also like to get a sense of who the blogger is and feel like I’m being granted a sneaky peek into their lives. I think I get the mix right most of the time, but I’m sure there’s still some who don’t like my blog.
I don’t expect it to appeal to all of the people all of the time, but as long as I’m happy, that’s just fine with me.
Disclaimer: no, I haven’t been paid, or bribed with toys, to tell you this.