Nowadays, our readers are becoming more and more savvy and often question our motives when we are just sharing our favorite products. They want to know if we genuinely like the products or if it's just something we're saying we love because the items are sponsored. I don't blame readers for feeling skeptical though, there have been so many questionable behaviors regarding sponsorships with bloggers that they have good reason to feel doubtful.
I know all of us want a trusting relationship with our audience while also wanting to pay our bills. Accepting sponsorships doesn't have to come at the price of losing the trust of our readers. I always like to have a few things in mind when I'm being pitched an idea and this article is going to cover some of those do's and don'ts to help you along the way as well!
Not only is it illegal when you don't share that something is sponsored, it's also unethical. Transparency is key to a positive relationship with our readers.
Don't: Accept sponsorships that you don't genuinely like and would've been happy to use otherwise.
That's the #1 way your readers will lose their trust in you; when the collaborations seem so far off and detached from anything you've ever posted in your life. For example if your blog is all about luxury items but suddenly you do a post dedicated to Old Navy, that will be confusing and even possibly annoying to your readers.
This past week, besides turning down men's underwear and a clothing brand that doesn't reflect my personal style, I've turned down a sponsorship with a toilet paper brand because my blog is primarily a style blog and…let's be real. Seamlessly integrating toilet paper into a styled post is just not going to happen. I also turned down a skinny tea brand because I'm morally opposed to encouraging slimming products for women and spend a lot of time encouraging women to accept themselves and live balanced and healthy lives without focusing on thinness.
While a paycheck is hard to turn down, it's not worth it when it will lower your blog and brand and have your readers angry with you. So don't sell yourself (or your blog) out!
Do: Test out a new product before agreeing to a sponsorship.
Don't be afraid to ask the company if you could have some time to test the product out first. If you're promoting a new skincare product for example, you want to actually make sure you like it and would recommend it, as it will go a long way in keeping the trust of your audience as opposed to sponsoring a product that you know absolutely nothing about.
Don't: Neglect a contract or clear agreement.
Make all your obligations clear from the start. The other day, I agreed to a collaboration with a brand I really like. After I posted and amplified across all my social media accounts, the brand wanted me to share additional links as well as links to all their social media accounts on my blog I stood my ground and kindly declined because not only was it not fair on their part, but my blog can't turn into a constant brand shoutout or my followers will start to hate me! That was a lesson for me as a contract would make things clear from the get go.
I believe that sponsorships with brands can enhance your blog when they're done right and if the sponsored posts are with brands you genuinely believe in. Authenticity is key to keeping and growing your audience.
Do you have experience working with brands for your blog? What other tips would you include on this list? Comment below with some other ideas to help your fellow bloggers!