Monday, 28 January 2019

The Truth About The #Ads

If you've followed my blog for a while, or you follow me on social media, or indeed if you follow ANY bloggers - then no doubt you'll be aware that sometimes...we do Advertisements for brands. they're usually marked on social media...#Ads!

These ads can be a source of a lot of anxiety for many of us bloggers, and they certainly seem to be a real bone of contention for many of the people who follow us.

And I get it - it can be irritating when you feel that you're always being sold to. Adverts aren't always going to be relevant to you, and even when they are - you don't always want to see them, maybe they trigger negative feelings in you if you're having a tough time financially - I know I've certainly been there (Seeing bloggers advertising their free Disney World holidays when I desperately want to go but I know it will take me years to save up for it bugs the life out of me!).

There can be lots of reasons that people aren't keen on ads.

But here's the the person doing them, they matter. And they are, for a lot of us, the difference between being able to be online creating content or not.

I started this blog as a hobby completely unaware that I could make money from it, I love writing and over the years I've grown to love sharing my ups and downs with my followers - my mental health wins and woes, my struggle with anxiety, my journey to body acceptance and self confidence, overcoming the after effects of domestic violence and so on.

I try to use my platform for good - to raise awareness of difficult topics that I feel are important, and to try to help other people if I can too.

But along the way, It also became an unexpected source of income for me.

I've learnt how to grow it into a business along the way, through putting a lot of time in.

And over the years, that has been a godsend.

It's enabled me to stay at home with my babies, it's given me the option of home schooling, and now that my health has become more of an issue in my life with two chronic and sometimes debilitating illnesses - it's allowing me to support my family while my partner supports my needs.

If I hadn't have been able to make a living from it, I would have had to stop doing it at all years ago.

Because I'd be too busy trying to find other ways to support my family to dedicate any time to it.

I try to make sure that the ads I do will be as relevant as possible to my audience, and I make sure that I never agree to advertise anything that I don't personally believe in and wouldn't use - this month alone I've turned down 4 well paid opportunities to promote various weight loss products because I don't believe in diet culture any more and I don't want to profit from promoting it. Even though this month has not been a good one financially and I could really have done with the money!

I have rules for what I'll promote.

 I try to limit the promotions that my children are involved in, and if they do get involved in ad - I make sure it's only if they WANT to and I pay them a share of my fee too because I believe that's only fair.

And the thing is HARD to do well in this industry.

It's a saturated market. There are thousands of bloggers out there for brands to have their pick of.

And believe me, being a 30-something plus sized working class woman only makes it harder - I am regularly ruled out of campaigns because I'm not under 30, I'm not thinspirational enough and I don't have a super stylish home or enough money to buy Farrow & Ball paint and live in Boden clothing.

Only a few months back I was kicked off a campaign for daring to talk about having saggy boobs on Instagram. Apparently certain crayon companies aren't down with women talking openly about their bodies, just from profiting off their ability to produce crayon-buying offspring.

I'm not your stereotypical drop dead gorgeous, 20-something, on trend middle class glamour puss. I don't get these jobs easily.

But when I do...they are the difference between me paying my rent or not. They matter to me.

If you follow a blogger online, then chances are you're following them because you enjoy their content, you relate to them or you get something out of it.

And if that's the case - do you begrudge them being able to earn a living at the same time?

The world we live in has changed dramatically in recent years and more and more people are making a living online in a variety of ways.

I see it as a positive thing to see people, especially women, having the opportunity to build a business for themselves online that allows them the freedom of working from home if that's what they want.

And I want to support that if I can.

And I'm hoping that if you're someone who follows my blog, then you would want to support me too.

I hear from so many people who say they want to see a change in the types of women that brands are using for advertising online - to be more diverse, and to see more plus sized and working class women used as well as women of colour and transgender people, and people from every single corner of society - and the way to make that happen is through the power of the click.

When you show your support to bloggers online by way of liking their posts, leaving comments, clicking on swipe up links in Instagram stories and so on - you are helping them to prove their value to advertisers as well as helping brands to decide which sorts of people to use in future ad campaigns.

If you want to see more diverse ranges of people used, then you can influence that by sending more likes and comments to those people - even if it's not on ads, upping their engagement levels even on their own non-branded content will help them to be noticed by brands.

I can't even begin to explain to you what a HUGE difference it makes to me, and how helpful it really is, when you click "Swipe up" on my Instagram stories - when you click through to links in my blog posts, when you leave comments or likes on my social media content.

It all helps me to keep my income going,  it helps me to pay the rent, it helps me to stress out about money slightly less.

Even if you have no intention of buying the product, the click alone tells an advertiser that someone was listening.

So thank you to those who have supported me in building this hobby of mine into a business over the years, I appreciate it more than I can express.

And please know that every click and like you do give me means a lot and helps me to show brands that people do want to see "normal mums" being chosen to represent them, not just the stereotypical Instagram-Perfect ones.

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  1. What a great post Hayley. Everything you’ve said rings true BUT it’s food to be different. I see loads of stuff on Instagram that are in so many Influencers houses (think black and white rug) and I think I’d like it even though I’m not sure I would. I think advertisers need to take a look at the cloned styles and houses that they keep reaching out to and start talking to the rest of us in our not so instagrammable backgrounds living normal lives. Don’t change xx

  2. fab post! you're so right. i'm guilty of judging the #ad posts. but truth be told i'd be well up for it if i was approached (as long as it's something i'd like anyway)

    i think it's awesome that you've been able to make some money from doing this and spreading positivty at the same time! x

  3. Great post! Taught me quite a few things about ads! x

  4. Well put. Blogging grew out of a frustration that magazines sold out to brands. Readers believed bloggers gave a more honest review. Over time its sad that this has changed and now there is a suspicion that bloggers too have sold out. I think a few bloggers needing to earn money may take the money where they can find it. However, I, like you, turn down much of the offers that come my way. Unless I love the product it doesn't make it onto my blog because I do not want it to be a place for negativity. So it may look as it I'm loving everything. Well I am - at least on my blog! xx Maria

  5. Oh Hayley, I do love you. Everything you've said here is spot on. I wish that everyone who followed a blogger could read this post. And I wish that every blogger was as kind and generous as you are. Hugs Lucy xxxx

  6. This is a brilliant post Hayley. A good blogger won’t sell themselves out and promote anything and everything, they are the bloggers I love to follow..the genuine ones. I don’t understand why people get mad about #ad , do people have a strop every time an advert comes on the tv?!xx #blogcrush

  7. Thank you for this really helpful post, Hayley. As a brand new blogger (as of this week), this whole advertising thing is something I'm still wondering about, so it's useful to hear your thoughts. As a reader, I don't actually mind seeing adverts on the page - I just scroll on past if it's not something I fancy. I don't get upset about them. But as a new blogger, I feel a bit embarrassed about advertising stuff. But I'm starting to realise how many HOURS and HOURS go into this, and someday I'll have to start thinking about paying those bills. Anyway, happy Sunday to you. x #BlogCrush

  8. Hayley, well said. While I don't run ads on my blog and only occasionally do a review/giveaway post of some kitchen equipment I love, I don't judge anyone who does lots of sponsored content as long as it is relevant to the blog and something of quality that the blogger actually uses and likes. #BlogCrush

  9. Fantastic post. Generally bloggers I read if there are ads on their blog are things that are relevant to me , if they're not such as baby related items then I just skip by , does me no harm I certainly wouldn't grumble . We're all here sharing our stories i think it'd be a bit mean spirited to begrudge someone making a bit of money from it .
    Congratulations! Someone loved this post so much they added it to our #blogcrush linky

  10. I love this post. I am trying to make sure the work I take on is more relevant to myself and my blog this year but I absolutely agree with you 100%. I hope you didn't mind me adding it as my #blogcrush (I totally forgot to tell you sorry)


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