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blogging + my integrity

i don't know what the deal is but lately i've been getting all manner of random requests in my inbox.

"partner with us and sell our product!"

"write a post about such-n-such and we will send you pay pal money!"

"we want to buy ad space on your blog - when should we get started?"

i'm not sure exactly when my blog made that turn from "hobby blog for fun" to "hey i'm dying to make some extra money over here please solicit my blog for ad space!" i'm not entirely sure how i feel about this. i've always considered myself to be a person of at least mediocre integrity. i'm an honest person, i don't like to be lied to, and i don't like pretending to be someone that i'm not in order to make a few extra bucks.

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i've partnered with shabby apple in the past - which of course i did not make a dime from. which is fine - whether or not they pay me i still love their clothing and love to have them around here! next week i am partnering with campus book rentals for a fun post and giveaway. again - i'm not receiving any compensation for it. these are things i am ok with because i believe in what they do or sell and i'm keeping my integrity while sharing with you a product or service that i stand behind.

what bothers me i suppose is that lately i have seen a few of my favorite blogs, that i used to read daily, sell out and become nothing but one big flashing ad. they became more about "sponsored post from pier one" than "i love pier one - aren't these vases divine?" it just didn't seem honest to me anymore and so i quit reading their blogs. not to say that they weren't honest about it being a sponsored post - because they were - but if you have to write one sponsored post after the other just to make content for your blog then what is your blog really about? i don't want to read it if that is what you are after.

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i have often wanted to say that i will never charge for advertisement on my blog. but i hesitate because what if one day i get to a place where i do? right now blogging is still just a hobby for me and i enjoy it. i don't want to charge for advertisements because then i feel pressured to blog so many times a week and tweet about products all the time and that isn't what this blog is about for me.

this is my home on the internet. i get to choose the curtains and the wallpaper. for right now, i want to have lovely people around that i adore who create products and tell stories that i want to hang on the walls and put in books on my coffee table.

i get to choose what stays and what goes. and for now what stays is sponsor swapping with folks who i truly stand behind. maybe one day i will charge a small amount to advertise here which will offset the cost of me advertising on larger blogs. and even then - i will be picky about who i let advertise here. there are some reasons why though. some of them, like showcasing products and people i truly believe in and would actually purchase, are under my control. some of them, however, or not.

being a pastor's wife, let alone being a Christian, dictates what kind of things i can do or say in public. i knew this when i married chris and i still struggle with it a lot. especially over the past year, when being a pastor's wife really had an impact on some close friendships. as a pastor's wife i have to remember that i am always that first and foremost in public. but the brunt of that post is a different story for a different day.

it does mean that i have to be selective about what i choose to share here and who i choose to promote. i had someone want to swap ads with me ages ago. she was a sweet girl with a fresh and funny blog (who i still follow, actually) but she had some pictures on her blog that didn't set well with me. if one of the kiddos in our youth group or members of our church saw her ad on my blog, clicked over, and saw these pictures... what does that say about me? they will automatically judge me (whether i like it, or want to admit it, or not). it does constrain me a bit but not in a way that makes me feel censored. it requires me to check myself regularly and keeps my integrity in tact. (can i get an amen from the other pastor's wives out there?)

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so for now things will remain as they are. i will continue to swap ads. i will probably never use an ad network but if i do it will be after careful research and soul searching. if i ever charge for ads it will be after i have decided that i feel worthy of taking your hard earned money and i know that i have time to thoroughly promote you in trade for said money. it is the only thing that feels right to me.

so i just wanted to share these random thoughts with you. do you agree? disagree? have an opinion? i'd love to hear from you on this and see how others handle it.

the pictures were taken on a recent road trip
to see some friends in baton rouge.
1 » corn field in north east louisiana
2 » a gorgeous old bridge just north of sicily island, la
3 » crossing the mighty mississippi

11 comments:

  1. I've wondered about this as well! I've only recently started getting recurring offers for ad space and I've only just accepted my first sponsored post, but I do get to try the product and give my honest opinion/take before/after pictures. I feel like if it's done in a way that gives an honest presentation of the product and lets the reader decide, then that's ok. I hope I dont sell out. I've always felt that my blog was a tool for God to use as He sees fit. If He allows me to make a little bit of money (maybe enough to cover what I have to put into the blog), then that's a blessing. But I can't lose my integrity over it.

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    1. Maury,

      I totally agree with you on using your blog as a tool for God and I have nothing against the occasional sponsored post. I just hate it when I see a blog that I love, that is genuine, funny, and personal like yours, go to nothing but sponsored posts and canned content. It breaks my heart! I think being totally aware of what your boundaries are and what you want your blog to be about will keep you from being any sort of sell out! :) xoxo

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  2. I love this post and your honesty in it. While i've have never accepted a sponsored post {i've gotten e-mails from people asking and it just doesn't feel right because I know nothing about their product} - I felt like sponsors were taking over my blog which is why I extremely limited the number of guest posts I know accept and my sponsor spotlight has been moved to a bi weekly thing. It was getting off track from what I want it to be - even though I adore promoting my sponsors, I still think I can promote them the right way even if it's not as often. I love your blog and what you do and how you write and your honesty and how you promote those shops/blogs that you love! :) Really your just all around amazing!

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    1. I have done "sponsored posts" but I have passed the benefit on to my readers and not kept it for myself. I just don't feel right! Plus I love you guys so I want to hook you up with sweet stuff. Tomorrow's post (the campus book rental thing) is a perfect example. They offered me either $25 in paypal or $50 in book rental credit. I just don't feel equipped to accept payment for a post yet! It doesn't feel right, so I don't do it. I think trusting your gut is sometimes the best way. :)

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  3. Amen from a very not pastors wife, but does it count that for years people always assumed I was like a preachers daughter?
    WHAT DOES THAT MEAN!? lol.
    Yes. yes. yes.
    Blogging has changed for me so much over the past year.
    people want so much.
    Stuff I'm not willing to give.
    If you are true to yourself, you won't have regrets later. ;)
    and OH WOWOW. LOVE the picture of the bridge. LOVE IT.
    {reminds me of the bridges I crossed in Oregon when I was little}

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    1. Well speaking from someone who is married to a PK (preacher's kid), one of my biggest fears is that I will have a rebellious and crazy PK of my own - daughter or son! Yikes! ;)

      blogging has changed SO much since I started and that was only two years ago. It makes me a little sad and apprehensive of what is to come over the next few years! :( i agree with you - the more i stay true to myself and what feels right to me the better. :) that is what is important!

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  4. What a wonderful post my dearest! I celebrate who you are in so many different ways and know you have been spending time on this topic for a while. This weekend was amazing and i hope you felt the joy of so so so many friendships and relationships. SHMILY, The Rev.

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  5. Coming from another pastor's wife, amen! (and, my hubby is a PK- we seem to have lots in common as e. texas gals!)
    I think there's nothing wrong with the occasional sponsored post as long as it's something you can vouch for. You're doing a great job! :)

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  6. Skye, I applaud you for writing this post.
    I can tell you that working in the advertising industry has taught me a lot about brand integrity. It is something that is not given but earned. Blogs these days are brands in themselves and many have given in to companies by compromising their own integrity. Good for you for taking a stand and realizing that readers cannot be bought and that advertising on blogs must provide something of relevance to the reader.

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  7. I'm so glad to see someone else express these thoughts as well. And I highly respect you for keeping your blog YOURS. I also hate seeing good blogs turning into some kind of commercial ad. I think the commercial interest of many bloggers is going over the top, and real, authentic lifestyle blogs are becoming more and more uncommon. I just found yours so I can't say I've read much of it yet - but thanks for taking this stand.

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  8. I happened upon this post and I love what you've said. I've recently gotten emails from random companies asking me to write about them for compensation and I just didn't feel good about it so I turned them down. I don't judge anyone who does do it but for me that's just not what my blog is about. If I like a product I will say so, but all the opinions and opportunities are mine- my choice! I blog frequently but if I charged for sponsorship I would feel like I could never have a lull or a down week and I don't like that either. I blog for me and no one else!

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