How to… Not become a Blogging Pushover

Credit: Via Love Shot

I have thought long and hard about actually posting this after I wrote it. It is, in all honesty, a little bit of a rant but I hope it actually might give you a greater insight into my world. As I hope most of you know, I put a lot of work into running Rock n Roll Bride. When I’m at home I’m on my computer pretty much from 10am to at least 10/11 pm past midnight working on posts, running up new ideas and keeping in touch with people. It’s no longer just a hobby for me, and weird as it feels to say this, it is now my business and one I work very hard on. Anyway…

This is a bit of a random post, but I think it’s something that needs to be said. I hope in sharing this I won’t p*** anyone off and if anything I hope it might be able to give you, my loyal readers an small insight into how I view the blog in terms of advertising and sponsorships.

I love my sponsors. Every single one of them. I never take offers of sponsorship from companies who I deem to be spammy or not right to recommend for my readers. It would horrify me to think I’d ‘recommended’ anyone to be involved in your wedding that was unreliable or shady just because they were paying me to. I have and will continue to turn down these kind of sponsorship offers.

Similarly I often (like on a daily basis) receive emails from companies and individuals wanting product mentions or reviews…and don’t want to pay for it. ”Sure, I say, I love your product, here are my rates” I’ll be honest here, in about 95% of these emails I am fully aware that these companies are wanting free coverage, as if I’m some kind of platform for them to get free advertising. The response is usually something along the lines of “erm…thanks but we don’t have any budget for advertising, we were thinking something more along the lines of an editorial mention, in exchange we’ll give you a link back to your site from ours/we’ll send you something for free/we’ll think you’re really really cool.” Oh reeeeeally?

FYI – in my book the definition of editorial is something I make my own editorial decision on, something that I blog because I love it. If in your book editorial means free advertising, well in the nicest possible way. F-Off!

I’m not being funny (well maybe I am) but FFS a) this is my job. This is how I make my living and I am not going to apologise for making money from advertising and b) Where exactly would I draw the line with these ‘free’ mentions? What would Rock n Roll Bride become? A place for companies to freely spam you with their products? Well I wouldn’t have many readers left would I? Who wants to read that?!

So is everything you read on Rock n Roll Bride paid for? No of course not! Every single real wedding, engagement shoot or photo session I feature is up here because I love it and I know you will too. I do it because I hope some of you will be inspired by them for your own weddings and photo shoots. I work very hard to source original and unique content for my readers and I pride myself in only sharing things that I know you’ll love to read about. I have mentioned many companies on the blog who haven’t paid a penny to me. People I’ve met who I think are ace. People who’ve done something amazing for me and people who I just really want you to know about. As a rule I don’t run ‘free’ editorial on products. I started Rock n Roll  Bride to share photography and real weddings/photo shoots that I love and I think you’ll love too. That is the core of the site and the advertising and sponsorships are what keep the blog going. Quite simply, without them I’d still be working for someone else.

I do run a select few sponsored posts in my ‘Under the Spotlight’ features which, along side my ‘link love’ adverts not only give me a little bit of money (hey, I’ve got kittens to feed and tattoos to get!) but I hope bring to your attention some really great vendors that I hope you might use for your wedding. I’m not going to apologise for making money doing something I love.

What was the point of this post you might ask? Well in all honesty it’s actually a bit of a vent. I’m literally sick to death of getting emails like this and to anyone thinking of spamming me with your ‘special reader offers’ or ‘check out our XYZ product - your readers will love it!’ with no intention of paying for it, well forget it.

This post was inspired by this great post I read on Mommybloggers (don’t get scared – I found a link via Think Splendid - I’m not reading ‘Mommy’ blogs!) It reads:

“Yesterday, the advertising team at Cool Mom Picks (a small and worthy mom-run business if I ever knew one) spent a good deal of time putting together a proposal for a four-month advertising program for a major brand that was rejected because *gasp* we had the audacity to ask for actual money to run their banners.

Not giveaways for our readers.

Not “a link on our microsite” or “access to our event” or “gift cards for your readers” which is in fact what they were hoping to compensate us with.

Money. As in, that stuff we use to pay our writers and designers and tech guys and the US Postal Service and the fine discount hotels of Las Vegas during trade show season.

I think the actual response from the marketer was something like: Oh, we don’t need to pay for this. The mommyblogs are so great, they’re excited to help and do it in exchange for a link! “

Here here sistaaas! Read the full post here.

Bloggers, there are some other really great posts relating to this issue on Mommybloggers. Check out:
What are you worth as a blogger
Lookin’ out for Mah Peeps - don’t undervalue yourself
Bloggers and self-promotion

Blogs are not a place for companies to get free advertising. We will not be seen a pushovers or magazines ‘lite’ (in many instances our readership vastly outstrips the readership number of many real life print magazines) You wouldn’t dream of emailing the editor of Brides magazine and asking for a free advert would you?

207 comments

  1. Helen

    I got the total impression you hadn’t, which kinda proves to those non-believers! how genuine you are about how you want your site represented and that you know your readers. Privileged to be considered :) Some people obviously don’t know what their market is, I certainly wouldn’t have approached you if I didn’t think your readers would be interested in my product.

    What does annoy me though FAR more about people making money from a sort of ‘advertising’, is that I’ve heard about wedding venues CHARGING people to be a preferred supplier and then only allowing any potential bride and grooms to have suppliers from that list!! I know where I’d tell them to take a hike…

  2. Post author

    thanks Helen, yes I hope it does. I love being contacted by amazing and cool vendors/photograpphers and I certainly wouldn’t charge a photographer someone to feature some of their work. its harder with wedding vendors/suppliers as its sometimes hard to draw the line between what should be paid for and what shouldnt. any links i add to thursday treats or sunday servings for example are NOT paid for. i share them because I love them however if a vendor wants a full post dedicated to them and their work, to help advertise their product/service to my readers then yes, they have to pay for that.
    i certainly wouldnt tell someone like you Helen to take a running jump as I loved what you had to offer. My issue REALLY is when I get emails from completely irellevant companies who clearly know nothing about me or my website and want me to link to them/write about them for nothing in return (well maybe a link back – big whoop!)
    let me share with you an example i got just YESTERDAY!

    Dear Kat,

    We have a story idea we think your eco-conscious readers will absolutely love! {company name} the most comprehensive and credible resource for engaged couples seeking eco-friendly wedding ideas, products and services, has launched a new green wedding gift shop and registry service.

    With $19 billion a year spent on wedding gifts, couples now have the opportunity to make a difference and support environmentally conscious businesses by registering for pre-screened eco-friendly home products.

    · Below is the official press release for your reference

    · You have our permission is use any photos within the gift shop, and here’s a link to pre-selected photos you may wish to utilize: {link}

    · Also, if your blog/site participates in affiliate advertising programs, you’re invited to join ours, which pays a 10% commission on sales through the new shop. Click here to join! {link}

    Now if that’s not mass market SPAM then I dont know what is? I bet every other blogger in blogland got this same email!!

  3. Kat,

    I really love your blog – so much so that I started up my own a few days ago. Planning my wedding, I have realised just how much time I spend looking at pretty pictures and getting ideas to make our day that little bit different.

    Doubt it will ever get to the stage where I give up my day job, although that wasnt the intention to begin with, more just a place to put all the amazing gems out there in the wide wonder web!

    Keep up the good work and thanks for the inspiration!

    Clair

  4. It is NOT against Googles ‘rules’ to sell links, that’s a common missconception. It IS against Googles webmaster guidelines to sell links for the sole purpose of passing Pagerank from one site to another, but that is not what is happening here.

    nofollow links are designed for links to external sites that the webmaster cannot or is not willing to vouch for, Kat is endorsing these companies, having carefully selected them, and therefore the nofollow attribute is not appropriate here.

    Selling advertising is not against Googles webmaster guidelines.

    Kat, this is a great Blog, you are a great writer, and I hope you make a ton of money from it.

  5. Emilyjane

    Oh man…. its a shame someone with no idea has got so many people riled up and annoyed! This site is for enjoying. I hope I never meet pissedoftog, I wish I knew who he was so I can make sure I don’t hire him for MY wedding. Kat, I love the idea that you can wake up in the morning and make a living from something that excites and inspires you and us so much, I think your ethics are spot on.

  6. SashaCat

    I think you’re totally right about the “no selective colour” rule! My rule is “no amateur Dutch tilts”.
    The best thing about this blog is Kat. Although we’ve never met, your personality is my favorite thing about rocknrollbride! Xxx

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