Honesty In Blogging
Throughout my years of blogging there has been a lot of changes in how bloggers and Youtubers work with PR's. Nowadays the blogs that we all know and love are businesses and some of them are making some serious cash from what started out as a hobby. With the recent regulations brought in by the ASA it really made me think about the importance of honesty in the blogging and Youtube world.
My thoughts on PR samples and sponsored content aren't something I really don't talk about as it doesn't really have a place in my content but of course in this instance it does. As a blogger myself I see both sides of the constant rows that go on about these topics and I think as long as you are open and honest with your audience there is no need for there to be an issue. Whenever I work with PR samples for a post I always go through the same thought process and if it isn't something I would ever think to buy myself than I won't ever accept it, I don't like getting things sent me when I have no interest in it as it's a complete waste of time and money for the company. My disclaimer for stating something is a sample is an '*' which is something that I have done from day one when one when working with a brand. A lot of bloggers now don't even disclaim PR samples or just state at the bottom of the post that it 'may' contain samples, as a reader this just leaves a bad taste in my mouth. By not being transparent I don't think you're being open to your audience as it doesn't make it clear which items have been sent to you so who knows if you are in fact being honest?
People read blogs because for the most part they are completely honest and it's just like asking a friend what they think of a product but whenever creators start being dishonest about products that is when viewers and readers start to lose the trust that we all work hard so hard to build up. Readers are now so wary of content creators giving something a rave review because they automatically presume it's sponsored and I think a lot of this has come down to posts or videos not being properly disclaimed. With the new ASA regulations videos now have to be declared as sponsored in the title or top line of the description (from what I've read?) and I think this is a really big step forward to creating an honest relationship with viewers. When I watch a video I like to know whether I am watching an advertorial from the beginning, disclaiming something right at the very bottom means a lot of people don't see that and aren't completely aware of what they are viewing. Sponsored content isn't something that bothers me in the slightest, it comes with the territory but the way a lot of people have disclaimed in the past does.
Having an audience that trusts what I write about products is really important to me, I don't think I would enjoy blogging if I just became an advertisement for brands because that isn't why I do this. When you take the step into monetizing your space you have to accept the fact that not all of your audience is going to like that and they are fully entitled to that opinion. I know that if I accept sponsored work then it might rub my some of audience up the wrong way and that is ok. Personally I think it's incredibly rare that sponsored work will benefit your viewers and ultimately the only people who it does is the creator financially and the brand for exposure. Like I've stated I have absolutely no problem with sponsored content as long as it's disclaimed properly but it's something I do take very seriously when considering taking a piece on. Whilst I write From Roses for myself I also take my audience into consideration with every single thing I do and I think sometimes people forget that their readers deserve honestly and respect.
What are your thoughts on this subject?