I’ll address the white elephant in the blogging room:
As a blogger, there are many different ways to make money depending on your situation and wants. This doesn’t include services like coaching or selling a product. A few of those include sponsored posts, ads, campaigns, Instagram campaigns, affiliate links, and commissioned sales. There are also Patreon pages which you can directly support or donate to podcasts or bloggers.
The two I personally use are ads (you can usually see on the sidebar) and sponsored posts from brands. The rest of the options aren’t for me, but they do work well for others. To add, if you start blogging to make money, you probably should choose a different career path. I know plenty of people that make a full-time income from blogging (not selling a product, just themselves as a brand), but unless you are internet famous, you probably won’t make a ton. Or you’ll work with a lot of brands all of the time.
Being internet famous is like having a lot of monopoly money and when everyone logs off or stops playing…what do you have? A bunch of likes that don’t exist when you shut off social media…
Through blogging, I make enough money to cover the fees associated with having your own domain and to cover most of my race entries for the year.
Moving forward though, someone asked the other day why there aren’t many “negative sponsored posts.”
It would involve the following scenario:
Blogger and Company Talk and Agree on some sort of terms of an agreement (product, payment, whatever)
The company sends blogger thing to review (and maybe even pays the blogger for review)
Blogger bashes the company and says it’s garbage.
Therefore the company just sent and possibly paid someone for bad publicity.
The company might lose many potential customers because everything on the internet is true. Even if that product might work for someone else.
I’ll tell you first, why you don’t see it here.
I only accept brands I’ve used for long periods of time and already like. Some brands I’ve worked with before include Vital Proteins, Vitamin Shoppe, Runners World, even brands like Scott, and places for the military to get their hair cut like Great Clips.
I don’t try and set myself up for failure with a brand, or something I know won’t work.
So now you must think, wow Hollie just has favorable luck with everything?
That is not the case! There have been plenty of higher paying (for me anyway) campaigns I have turned down. While my blog does not garner the attention of $1000+ influencer “deals,” I do know, of course, they exist!
I look at every single offer that is given to me. I’m not going to ever choose something I already know I won’t like…that’s dumb. (just like I’m not going to go to a diner with 0 stars but 1000 yelp reviews…LOL).
Here are a Few Recent Examples of Things I Turned Down that Would Have Been Negative:
On several occasions, I’ve gotten requests to post already written blog posts. Prewritten content isn’t a big deal, and I’ve been happy to post prewritten content if it makes sense. I turned this particular post down because of the material.
The content was about losing weight. While many people do need to lose weight and exercise, that isn’t that focus on my blog. My blog isn’t about losing weight, and that isn’t the tone I want to set. The company was going to pay me $200 to just copy and paste into my blog. It was a lot but for me, wasn’t worth it.
A few months ago, I turned down a campaign for the promotion of an app having to do with babies. I have no children, but because many of the readers do, the brand thought it was a good fit. It didn’t make sense, and it makes more sense for someone who has children to blog about that!
The last and best example is recently I was sent free activewear as well as a monthly subscription to a brand (about $50 per month). On the website, the workout and lounge gear looked nice and something I could use.
When I received the activewear, it wasn’t the style wasn’t for me. I emailed the brand my honest feedback and exactly what I planned to blog.
I actually didn’t workout in or wear the apparel at all. In the email, I also said I wouldn’t be posting photos of me wearing the attire because I wasn’t my style nor the style I wanted to portray. I was more than happy to send the clothing (with tags) back, and they could use it for someone who is a better fit for the style. Instead of taking a few photos and making a few extra dollars, I sent the clothing back. I don’t have any regrets about that.
My point is, that is why you won’t see too many negative sponsored posts. For me personally, I don’t accept every single campaign. I won’t promote anything I don’t like or use. Do I have to absolutely LOVE something like a free haircut to the military on certain days? No, but do I think it’s an awesome gesture, of course, I do.
I am fortunate that I don’t rely on blogging as my full-time income or job. From this post, it sounds like I’m given dozens of opportunities every day, but I can assure you I don’t! Unless you are one of the top bloggers, blogging is not a luxurious job that generates an easy and high paying income. I blog because I like to share my story and things I’ve learned along the way. It’s nice to make money and cover the costs of blogging, so it remains a freeish hobby, but I cannot see myself pursuing trying to “grow” and making it fulltime. (I appreciate those who have worked hard to do so though!)
I don’t have a question today, but more of opinions on topics like influencers sponsored posts and making money as a blogger.
I started blogging as a form of personal therapy, as a hobby and to maybe help others who have been similar situations to me. I’m now writing a book and hope to use the blog to launch it. Thanks for revealing the honesty and integrity behind which brands you choose. Posts placing brands always seem a bit contrived to me. I also tend to avoid blogs that are plastered in ads. Great post as ever Hollie 😊
I used to think the “more reviews, the better”, but I can’t justify selling myself out for something that I have interest in. I always appreciate your comments. 🙂
Love the honesty here! I was recently sent some shoes for a review in a sponsored post, and they wee so uncomfortable and one of them broke! I simply contacted the company, let them know, and they were fine with it. When it comes to reviews it’s better to have no review than a bad review, after all!
I can only speak for myself on this one and I’m sure everyone’s different. I recently started accepting album reviews as sponsored content. I give positive reviews when warranted and neutral reviews if I don’t care for it. That fits in with my overall style though. Since music is super-subjective I try to go to great lengths not to rip a musician on my normal posts anyways. I won’t take sponsored content if I know flat-out that I will hate it and I won’t say something is great when it isn’t. I actually turned down a company yesterday that would not let me include a disclaimer in the post that they wanted to be “honest and organic.” If I can’t be transparent than there’s no point to being “honest and organic.”
That makes complete sense and it’s somewhat similar for running shoes. Some running shoes are better fits for others. Thank you for your insight John!
I know what you mean. It took me forever to find the right pair of sneakers. My walking/running style wore out so many shoes, but it wasn’t until I had orthotics that I was able to walk comfortably. I used to think it was the shoes and was completely wrong. Good thing my wife works for a podiatrist.
This was interesting read. I hadn’t really considered all the things you would have to turn down to keep the integrity of your site. Well done for sticking to what you want to project.
I also get sent offers for items that don’t really have anything to do with me. Recently, I was offered a $100 baby carrier for free in exchange for a review… except my kids are now too big for it, so it wouldn’t be genuine for me to review it (without borrowing a baby!). I think you are spot on – most people aren’t doing negative reviews because it’s not worth posting something you don’t believe in.
I appreciate it and your honesty. I ask myself too…will I even use the product? If the answer is no, why would you even want it?
Love this post! I feel exactly the same way regarding brand partnerships. I only accept products/brands that work with my values and my blog, and it’s hilarious how often crazy things come out of the woodwork. “Hey, will you promote our new spring line of glasses frames?” “Well, I don’t wear glasses, AND you’re not going to give me anything in return, so, no?”
Very interesting, thank you!
“Being internet famous is like having a lot of monopoly money and when everyone logs off or stops playing…what do you have? A bunch of likes that don’t exist when you shut off social media…”
I think that is a very profound statement, not necessarily about sponsored posts but about social media in general. Honestly, with the rise of social media, it almost causes MORE disconnect between people sometimes. You only see the positives, the likes, the kudos, etc. People hide behind the highlight reel and screens and often people are suffering in silence- and don’t get me wrong, encouragement and comments on the internet are great, but no substitute for real life interactions, friends, etc.
I have been an ambassador for a few races (Coastal Race Productions, Savannah Women’s Half Marathon) and done a few posts for those, to review and give away products. I applied to be an ambassador for those races because they are nonprofits, locally operated, and races I would do even if I did have to pay. I was an ambassador for another race company but their mission and management changed and I did not reapply. I don’t care if the entry is “free”, my presence at that event indicates I support them.
Something funny happened a few months ago. I got a comped blood test from a company that does bloodwork/biomarkers for athletes (it was not Inside Tracker)- in exchange for “honest feedback”. The whole experience was terrible! The lady was 4 hours early for my blood draw, it took 4 sticks for her to get my blood, and it took FIVE WEEKS for me to ever get my results. I emailed the lady multiple times and even asked if they received my blood.
Thankfully, everything was normal or close enough to not cause major issues, but what if something had really been wrong? I ended up basically telling the company everything that happened, no blog post, etc. I hope they will remedy the situation before they kick off, but who knows?
But hey, I still held up my end of the bargain with the honest feedback ;).
Thanks for this. I love how you laid it all out and shared with us how you handle incoming requests. I’m more likely do a sponsored Instagram post than a sponsored blog post because they are shorter and more frequent. But like you, I only accept sponsorships from brands I think I am going to like! Great post.
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