18 September 2015
F R E E B L O G G I N G
Can't Buy Sincerity
Bloggers are increasingly faced to with the choice to work either as an independent writer and opinion leader - or being a purchasable promotion tool utilized by companies to share their scripted 'corporate wording.'
In this post I will share my experiences and views on the topic of compensated Collaborations between Bloggers and Brands.
"Blogging" is a new and undefined grey area set somewhere inbetween media and marketing that has everyone kind of improvising as they move along. Which is fantastic, because it makes blogging incredibly innovative, exiting and bursting with opportunities. Opportunities that come with a certain risk. With standard guidelines and empirical values completely missing, there is little ‘theory’ to fall back on. Each blogger is at total liberty of choosing their own values, conditions and parameters. The first thing most people that I speak to about 'being a blogger' ask me is - "(how) do you earn a living with that." Ironically, the standard question that companies ask is usually "what are your conditions." Blogging is a true black box - new and hard to categorize because each blog/blogger is so completely unique. Also its hard to estimate the value and influence of a Blog/Blogger because there are so many factors tied to it, many of them hard to measure but easy to manipulate. It comes down to being something in between a gambling board and a matter of trust. The only factors that can sustainably affect a bloggers success, is a strong and unique vision, along with a reputation of hard work and credibility.
As a blogger to work together with a large brand or company is a two sided coin, completely depending on the mentality of the company and the way they see bloggers. A lot of companies may be very forward thinking and looking to support and work together with bloggers to share an ideaology - which can be an amazing way to create something positive, fully based on sincere opinions and giving the blogger complete freedom in his means of communicating.
I absolutely support those kinds of collaborations. Further I believe it absolutely okay for the blogger to be compensated with a fee on such a collaboration for his/her efforts and inputs. As long as the nature of the message truly coiincides with the bloggers own views and personality, acting as an ambassador, testimonial, spokesperson for a product worth sharing.
There are however other examples which I would like to raise some attention to. I have several times now encountered Companies who seem to believe that a blogger is a ‘purchasable promotion tool’ that can be fed an opinion and will then share that skripted ‘wording’ via their own channels. Sometimes these companies can make this seem ‘like the most normal thing in the world’. When it is actually not! Its actually the same thing as paying off a journalist to write an article on a topic in a certain way. Advertisement should always be declared and noticable as such. I very much encourage all Bloggers to back away from such demands - deeming them unethical and unjust.
I had to back up myself several times drawing attention to the fact that I will in no way be obligated to say anything. I prefer to act as an ‘investigative journalist’ looking for great, shareworthy content, that I personally believe in. I personally will absolutely refuse to use any kind of ‘skripts’ or adhere to any type of ‘posting plans.’
I am more than happy to collaborate with companies on my blog, given that I share their philosophy, if the company in turn accepts and respecty my values and my way of sharing.
I have encountered several incidents now where corporate partners have tried to ‘structure’ the way I do my writing or posts. Giving inappropriate feedback, or asking me to adjust certain statements. I assume that my fellow bloggers have experienced this too. So I strongly encourage all bloggers to keep up a sincere approach to their work - as influencers I believe that we ought to never neglect our responsibility of being authentic and sincere.
Finally its everyones own choice on how they wish to conduct themselves and I am not to be the judge of anyones values or approach. Terms of any collaboration is private between blogger and brand and the conditions do not need to be publicised (yet) as there are no applicable laws really existing yet. The internet generally seems to be an 'anything goes' environment at the moment, with very little regulation or control.
Without wanting to change the world, I did did wish to use my own plattform to share my mindset, my values and my perspective on this matter and I do hope, that with this post I could inspire my dear fellow bloggers that it is fully OKAY to say NO whenever you feel that your opinion is being violated!
I definitely will show this post to any businesses approaching me in the future regarding collaborations. Just to be clear from begin with how I choose to do my work. Its highly important to me, that my readers and my community believes in my authenticity, and I like to ensure that I have at no point, and will not at any point, accept any 'deal' for sharing any message that I do not personally believe in. Having chosen to name my Blog with my real & official firstname, Sylwina, I feel obliged to stay true to it.
Thanks to those Brands & Partners who do give bloggers the possibility and plattform to share their own thoughts. I am continuously impressed by the innovation and creativity of those collaborations. Further I wish to congratulate my fellow bloggers & social media aficionados for each running their own individual and uniquely interesting channels. Its extremely personal work run by amazing creative, strong and visionary minds. It takes some courage & confidence to be different.
I am happy to see so many daring to take that step.