When I first started blogging there was a ton of blogs that I really loved. I could relate to them and enjoyed reading them. They were personable. The other bloggers also took time to leave sincere thought felt comments.
I don't blog to make money or to get free stuff. I've done product reviews here and there if I felt it was something that I could relate to and truly enjoy. While I would love it if someone would go out and offer to provide my family with toys for Christmas, all new baby swag for Jujube, new cars, furniture hair products, etc - I don't think many of you would want to read about that.
I also doubt you would stick around if most of my blog posts were sponsored or prompted. It seems like more and more often though - that's what Bloggyville is turning into. Rather than being a place where you can connect and support - it’s all a big marketing scheme now.
Many of my former favorite blogs have lost their credibility and authenticity with me now. I can no longer relate to these people because they've changed and so have their blogs. They exist only to promote - rather than to commiserate. If that was what I was looking for then I'd be at the mall browsing rather than reading your blog. So, more and more I find myself skipping over blogs in my reader. Knowing that once again they won't be anything but a thinly veiled advertisement.
You can also sense it happening in the comments you get back from those bloggers that use to care - before it became a job. They use to leave responses that showed they had really read your blog or comment and were replying to you. Now? It’s a one or two word response, and time to move on to the next customer. That sucks!
I think it is possible to maintain your credibility and still have a blog that pays you well and conducts reviews. Katie at Confessions of a Young Married Couple does a good job at it. She maintains a relatable quality in her writing and posting while mixing in sponsored posts and product reviews. As I said before - I'm not opposed to making money and getting free stuff through blogging. I've done it and enjoyed it. I also believe in sharing my thoughts on products when I find a good one. I have shouted my love for products like the Moby Wrap, Sprout Baby Food and others without any compensation - I just truly loved them. I mainly keep it real here in my little space in Bloggyville - marriage, dirty houses, chores, etc. I let it all hang out.
What good is a product review or sponsored post if you've ceased to be a "real person" in your audiences mind? I try not to take my recommendations from advertising agencies and when your blog starts to resemble one - I no longer trust you.
Give some thought to the next post you write. Are you writing about something your readers can relate to? Is your review believable? If I choose to do product reviews they have to be something I'd actually use and I think my readers would too. Obviously right now, I wouldn't be reviewing an ovulation kit. But an Intelligender test? Heck, yeah. No one would believe me if I reviewed a Princess Castle for Jellybean but if Fisher Price sent the hottest toys for toddlers this Christmas season then I know that is something my readers would believe and could relate to.
Know your audience. Respect them. Remember that your blog exists because of them. Value their time and return the favor by visiting their blog and leaving a meaningful comment.
I'm not always the best blogger. I have huge gaps between posts and sometimes I forget to comment back to people. When I do though I make sure each person feels important and is valued.
Do the same for me my friends!