There’s been a lot of buzz out and about recently about bloggers getting paid for reviews, and what constitutes a paid or unpaid type of post. I want to share my beliefs and ethics about this subject with you and am grateful to TapInfluence for sponsoring this conversation. Know what that phrase “sponsoring this conversation” means? It means I got paid to talk about this subject.
Untrained Housewife Does Publish Paid Posts
One of the primary ways I monetize the blog and recoup some of the expenses involved in running the community site is through paid posts. These posts serve as an introduction or opportunity for a company to start a conversation on a specific topic. But there are some things I want you to know and understand about the paid posts you will find on Untrained Housewife.
1. They are always disclosed. This disclosure, or upfront statement that the post is compensated, is always included in every single paid post. That way you know whether this is a post that I was paid to share with you. Not only is this an ethical must-have for me, but it is a legal requirement for bloggers. A disclosure could be as simple as a sentence at the end of the post as in this example of a TapInfluence campaign for Make a Wish, or this Strawberry Planter post I did as part of an on-going contract I have with Lowe’s Creative Inspirations team. You never have to guess or wonder whether a post is compensated or not.
2. They are always original content. I am a writer, first and foremost. I have never and will never cut and paste a post onto Untrained Housewife unless there’s specific verbiage I have to include for legal or contractual reasons. When I wrote this post, for example, about Octonauts toys, I told y’all MY STORY. Those are my kids at home playing with Daddy, and my algae-ridden water, and my photos, and my own words. You will always hear my personal thoughts and unique experiences, even in a compensated post. That’s a promise.
3. I turn down 75% of the post opportunities I am offered. At least! I take my responsibility to you, my readers, very seriously. I don’t post about processed chicken nuggets, or fast food joints, or nanny services, or ____________ because those things don’t line up with the intentional living focus of Untrained Housewife. They don’t line up with me, my manifesto, and what you guys come to Untrained Housewife to read so those are paid opportunities I turn down.
4. I get paid for other things too. Sometimes I get paid for my time as a panelist on a Twitter party. Or for doing SEO work for a client. Or content strategy implementation for small businesses. Or freelance writing, eBook creation, and other writing gigs for clients who found me through the blog or conferences that I attended. These supplement my income but count in my mind as “working online”. The influence extends beyond just one blog post.
Where do I find paid post opportunities?
Most of the sponsored post opportunities are pitched to me. I am part of some great networks that send me blogging opportunities, including the network that sponsored this conversation, TapInfluence. As a blogger, this saves me a lot of time pitching clients on my own and frees me up to do more of what I love – writing and crafting great content for you guys. Occasionally I will reach out to a PR contact directly when there’s a particular company that I think you guys would enjoy hearing about, but as my schedule gets busier and busier, this doesn’t happen as much.
Posts That are Not Paid
1. I never take payment for reviews. Ever. If a company sends me a product in the hopes that I will mention it in a post, or one of my news appearances, that is a catch-as-catch-can situation and I do not take payment for those. If I accepted cash money in exchange for a review I am no longer giving an unbiased review, but have entered into a working relationship with that company. For example the posts with chicks from Hoover’s Hatchery are review posts – Hoover’s Hatchery did not pay me money, but just sent me the chickens to review their shipping process and quality of the chicks we received.
2. I sometimes donate placements on my blog for non-profits or public awareness campaigns. Sometimes agencies can’t charge for a post as part of a campaign, whether because of their non-profit rules or their federal status. I have donated time, articles, copywriting services, or even services as a photographer, for a cause I feel connected with. Remember when Samaritan’s Purse mobile response units came to Oklahoma after several counties in our state were decimated by wildfires? That post wasn’t compensated in any way except the blessing it was to see our community reach out to help.
3. Everything else. Everything else on Untrained Housewife, from the birth of our baby goats, to making robot pinatas for little boy birthdays, just comes from my day-to-day life. The paid opportunities I do choose to take part in allow me to keep Untrained Housewife’s editor, Brannan, and social media gal, Amanda, compensated for their time. They help the contributors to Untrained Housewife share their important messages. And they free me up to have a day-to-day life that I can then share on the blog.
My bottom line thoughts on paid vs unpaid:
When a company or brand contracts with me to create a unique post around a specific topic, publish on a certain date, and include certain information they have become my client. I have agreed to a contractual obligation and in return am compensated for those services. However, when a company sends me an item hoping that I will mention it, there is no set date, no specific talking points given, and no obligation on my part for services rendered. That’s why I could never ethically take compensation in exchange for a review post.
My online business does take some time each day. It keeps me busy and those close to me know that I spend a lot of mental energy dreaming up ways to improve it and make things better for y’all. Being able to take the occasional sponsored post and share those messages with you allows me to continue to do so!
What do you guys think? Do you have questions about the posts I write and my philosophy of pain vs unpaid posts?
There is a wide variety of ways that brands can work with people who are influential on social media. They can ask them to be advocates for their brand or work with them to create online conversations that increase awareness about their products. TapInfluence recognizes the value of influencer marketing and facilitates meaningful relationships between brands and influencers. To learn more about TapInfluence software, visit TapInfluence.com.
This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of TapInfluence. The opinions and text are all mine.