Friday, 29 April 2016

Why I Publish Sponsored Content

I received a comment yesterday on a sponsored article, basically questioning why I publish sponsored content on this I thought I would address it.

The commenter's own words were that they "didn't understand" why I post articles that are clearly sponsored when my blog posts that are from the heart and honest are more engaging to read.

Well I suppose I should try to take something of a compliment from that, but it bothered me a little.

I realise that as a blogger I should be someone who has grown a thick skin to opinionated people and their comments, but I'm not that kind of person and I never will be - I've blogged a lot on the topic of my social anxiety and to be honest it can be quite difficult as a sufferer to put myself out there on this blog as part of the issue I have is that confrontation (in any form at all)  upsets me and sends me into panic mode - most people can probably read a negative comment on their blog and never think of it again, but with me they play on my mind for a long time and even have me second guessing myself and what I do.

You could argue that if the comments can bother me so much, then I shouldn't be putting myself out there with an online presence and that might be true...but I think that sufferers of anxiety blogging about their issues is very important to fellow sufferers, so I choose to stick with it despite the fact that what can seem like a simple harmless comment to somebody else can be something that deeply upsets me. 

First of all...yes I absolutely do publish sponsored content on this blog and will be continuing to do so for as long as those opportunities present themselves to me, so if you have an issue with that you might as well find yourself that unfollow button right now because it won't be changing any time soon.

So WHY do I publish it?

Well I would have thought that was obvious - to make money. 

As I have spoken about numerous times before on my blog, this is now my sole source of income - it began as a hobby blog when I was pregnant 3 years ago and on maternity leave, but I now earn a wage from it equivalent to the wage I earned from working a full time job for the NHS before falling pregnant.

I have 3 children aged 3 and under to support - this blog gives me the opportunity to do what I love for a living (write), and do it from home which enables me to A) stay at home with my children and B)Not have the need to pay out for childcare for 3 kids which would end up costing so much that it would more than likely leave me with very little left from a wage to make it worthwhile.

Writing my own content is something I do for fun or to express myself or connect with (and hopefully help) other people...I don't make any money from my own content.

The upside to this blog is the fact that the sponsored content that I publish enables me to consider it my work, and therefore put time into creating my own content to accompany the sponsored stuff.

If the sponsored content wasn't there, I wouldn't be able to justify spending so much of my time on creating my own articles...I would need to be finding other ways to support my family, I would need to have a job outside of the home which would mean that I would be left with next to no time to put into writing blog posts.

In my situation right now...if I had to go out to work on top of having the 3 children, this blog simply wouldn't exist because I wouldn't have the time to put into it.

Do I enjoy posting sponsored content? Well it's not my favourite thing to do - I much prefer writing my own content on topics that I want to talk about and OF COURSE I know that my readers like to see that too, my stats show me that my own content gets four times the hits that any sponsored content gets.

I read blogs too, and I also get bored by the sponsored content but I completely understand the need for it to be there.

Do you ever buy a magazine that isn't filled with adverts? Of course you don't...because adverts are a huge percentage of what makes up that magazines profit.

Do you ever read a newspaper that doesn't have adverts?

Do you ever go onto websites like Facebook or Twitter or Instagram or Mumsnet and not see ads? don't.

ALL publications, online or otherwise, contain adverts....because writers who are creating content for you to read need to be paid for their time.

Sure, there are some bloggers who work on their blogs purely as a hobby and that's great - but I put over 40+ hours a week of work into this blog, and I also have 3 very young children to look after at the same time - why shouldn't I earn a decent living from it? I've created the entire opportunity for myself, some of the many emails I've received over the years from readers going through similar experiences to me have told me themselves that my blog has helped it's doing some good is it really so awful if I make a bit of money from publishing sponsored posts alongside my own stuff?

Does it hurt you in any way if I'm paid to place an advertorial post on MY blog? The blog that I created, on a domain that I pay for, with a readership that I earned with my own merit?

No, it doesn't and to be quite honest it's not really something to complain you contact the editors of all the magazines you read to complain about the presence of adverts in those?

If you don't want to read sponsored content, nobody is forcing you to...just click off it. Click on to the next post (there'll always be one on this blog, because I make a conscious effort not to ever have sponsored material as my most current post), or click onto the next blog.

Just like you'd flick past an ad in a magazine without thinking twice about it.

It's really that simple.

I saw an article the other day discussing how much money Zoella supposedly earns from her YouTube channel per month...I saw the figure and thought "Wow! Go Zoella! How inspiring that a young woman started up a whole one-woman empire for herself out of her bedroom and is now turning over that kind of money!"...I then noticed a fair few hundred of those "Angry face" Facebook Reactions on the seems people don't feel the same way as me and for some reason feel pissed off that she's making good money from what she does.

But why?!  Would you expect a writer in a printed publication to work for free? Would you expect a presenter or host on the TV not to be earning any money for their time?

So why do people get so angry about online content creators being paid?

It's quite a taboo subject amongst bloggers, well actually in any kind of industry, to discuss money and how much we earn...but I'm not one to shy away from facts let me just put it out there.

That post that this person complained about yesterday? I was paid £100 to publish that.

Let me ask all honesty...are YOU in a position to turn down £100 to upload a guest post? If you are, then you're lucky and I envy you....but I'm certainly not in that position.

My blog is registered as a business, I pay taxes like any other business woman does, and I feel no shame for accepting paid advertorials on this blog.

I have my limits - there are subjects that I won't post about, and there are minimum fees that I ask for before I'll consider publishing something - believe me if I published every single piece of £10 or £20 content I was offered this blog would be a constant stream of sponsored posts and I'd be a damn sight better off financially, but I don't...I keep it to a level that I feel comfortable with and to fees that I feel are appropriate.

My commenter also questioned the relevance of the content given that this particular piece was a link for a business in another country - so to just address that quickly - see that url up there? That www stands for World Wide Web...That means that this blog is available worldwide, just like every other website is.

Just because I am based in the UK, that does not mean that all of my readers are - I have an analytics plug in which tells me exactly where my readers are based and its a pretty even mix of UK, Ireland, USA and Australia with a good sprinkling thrown in from Germany and Sweden too.

Sometimes I will publish content that is aimed at my American, Australian or European audience. If something isn't relevant to you, then click off it by all means but please don't be self-focused enough to assume that just because YOU are in the UK that every other reader of this blog must be too. It doesn't work that way.

In closing, let me just say that I'm not writing this post to have a pop at anybody or be a bitch or even to brag about earning money from my blog - I'm just explaining the situation and addressing why the sponsored content is here and why it won't be going anywhere.

I am so very lucky to have experienced very little negativity on this blog over the years, and to have so many readers who take the time to engage with me in a positive way - it honestly makes my day every time I get an email or Facebook message from a reader, I LOVE finding out who you all are and that you're out there thank you for that, and I do hope that you can understand why I need to publish sponsored content here, but that I'll always follow it up with my own work.

In an ideal world I'd love to be paid to write my own posts on topics I want to talk about - I hope that my love for writing and enthusiasm and passion for blogging come across in all of them - but right now  the sponsored work allows me the time to write my own posts and that needs to be good enough.

If it really does bother you too much, then do feel free to unfollow because I simply can't afford not to accept the work.

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