This post is mainly aimed at our readers who are also fellow bloggers. If you have no interest in a non-beauty post, no worries, we'll be back to usual beauty content on Monday. However, even if you're not a blogger but, are interested in what goes on behind the scenes and in our heads, feel free to stick around and have a read!
So we've done a few posts at this stage about blogging - what works for us, our tips and our thoughts on the community. We are both quite opinionated people, but there is no place for negativity or bashing on this site. It's a fun space for chatting about products and pampering, and it's rare that we deviate from that theme.
Nevertheless, we can't always keep our mouths shut! This post is just going to be some of our thoughts on the subject of honesty and disclosure in the blogging world. We've touched on this before in You Blog and You Learn, but we both wanted to emphasise and expound our feelings on this issue by giving it its own post.
When considering what to write about a product, and especially in terms of disclosure, we both try to put ourselves in the reader's shoes. We both appreciate honesty when reading blogs ourselves, and feel that we have a duty of care to readers to tell them all the facts and let them make their own fully informed decisions.
We feel that it is unfair to trick a reader into ever possibly thinking that we buy everything that makes it onto this blog. We don't, and if we did, we would be broke. The amount of products we feature is not a realistic representation of a normal person's stash, and we would never want anyone to feel somehow inadequate or inferior, even just for a second, simply because they can't afford to run out and buy the latest collection of pastel nail polishes. There are any number of methods of disclosing free products; you can write it in the body of the text "We were sent a few bits from X to try...", mark it with an asterisk* as we do now or highlight/bold the products which were sent for consideration. Just find a method that works for you, explain it, and stick to it - your readers will thank you!
Money Talks...Or Does It?
We've been blogging for the best part of three years now. What once started as a project between ourselves soon blossomed into a full-time hobby and it became our passion. Recently, we have begun to monetize the blog through accepting Sponsored Posts and adverts. We are also looking into the possibility of using affiliate links. However, our primary objective is not to make money. Rather it is to be honest and transparent. Sponsored posts are always marked as such and we never accept anything, money or product-wise, that doesn't fit in with the tone and ethos of our site.
As any blogger will tell you, writing and maintaining a blog is no easy task. It takes time, hours usually, and if if monetization becomes an option for you, seize it with both hands. Think about it, would you put in 5,6,7,8 hours of work a day as a photographer or as a journalist and not expected to be compensated somewhat for your hard work, research and dedication? But, for God's sake, disclose when you have been paid for something or when using an affiliate link. Similarly, don't sellout for the sake of a few quid; your reputation is worth more than that. For instance, we were recently in talks with a brand to write a Sponsored Post. It is our belief that these should not be peppered with opinion but, the brand rep tried to railroad us into linking to a product within the brand that we would not have organically chosen. We politely told her as much and she eventually relented. Similarly, we have been offered money to write posts on various cosmetic procedures. Not only would that contravene our policy of only reviewing products we have tried firsthand but, it is also against our blog ethos to promote surgical beauty and/or invasive procedures as something that is an easy decision. We're not against it but, it's not for us to tell you if it's good or bad, right or wrong.
In truth, omitting the fact that you have been sent something/have been paid to write a certain post/failing to label affiliate links is bad news. As a community, the blogosphere needs a good reputation in order to be taken seriously as a form of credible media. Making money online is possible and, as a relatively new form of employment, has come down for a lot of criticism of late, possibly due to the suspect actions of a minority. As one of our favourite bloggers Ree put it, ''This is the kind of behaviour that will exacerbate the stigma around monetising blogs.'' Put simply, if we are all honest and upfront about what we're doing and how we do it, there is no shadiness or secrecy surrounding the issue, and everyone is happy.
Reputation & Credibility
How would you feel if someone lied to you, or omitted some necessary truth - a bit hard done by, right?
The bottom line is that, in our opinion, bloggers in every field have absolutely nothing to lose and everything to gain from being 100% open, transparent and honest. If you're publishing a sponsored post, label it clearly. Been sent some goodies? Disclose that fact. Whilst blogging is far from a perfect science and our opinions can all differ enormously, good morals never go astray. Honesty really is the best policy, and it doesn't cost a cent to be transparent!
So, that was another long one! We'd love to hear your thoughts on this one. Understandably, some of you might think we are being a bit particular but, to us, this is an important issue that causes much annoyance. Do you guys feel the same?! Let us know in the comments!