I’m not exactly sure how to start this post.
One of the sub-topics, Advertisers and Blogging for $$$, has controversy written all over it (although not as much as two of the other controversial topics I mentioned yesterday). But I just can’t stay away. I know a lot of y’all will have different opinions from mine on the subject; that’s ok! I want to hear your thoughts even if they’re not congruous with mine. So please don’t shy away from leaving your honest opinions. And my aim at writing this post is not to have a go at the bloggers with Open Sky accounts; it’s simply to try and get a good discussion going.
Open Sky, Amazon stores, endless giveaways…
The advertisers are taking over the blogs!
I have no problem with bloggers who have Open Sky or Amazon stores. After all, it’s a completely-legal (and harmless) way to make some extra money. It’s only when a blogger tailors every post to mention his or her store, that I start to wonder “What exactly is the reason he/she blogs: A genuine love of blogging? Or simply a desire to make money?” If a blogger wants to continuously promote his/her Open Sky or Amazon store, that’s fine. But I don’t read those blogs very often; I just get bored. If I read blogs for the sole purpose of seeing advertisements, I could just watch tv!
To be completely honest with y’all, the advertisers hooked me into their trap, at first, too. You see, about a year or so ago, when my blog started to get a lot of traffic, companies suddenly began contacting me left and right—dangling all sorts of yummy/exciting/expensive products at me, with the hopes that I’d mention such yumminess on my blog. In the beginning, I said yes to it all. My blog became bogged down with giveaway after giveaway; sometimes two at once! But I wasn’t having fun writing my posts anymore, because I wasn’t using my blog for its originally-intended purpose: to share fun, creative, and crazy ideas with the world and meet other fun, creative, and crazy individuals. Hopefully, you’ve noticed that—in the past few months—I’ve been getting back to writing posts that make me happy, with much less of a focus on giveaways/product reviews. And when the Open Sky Project contacted me, I turned them down. I am so grateful for you all—loyal friends, and fellow crazy souls—therefore I will not sell myself—or you all—out for free products, compromising the content of my blog, ever again. In light of my new blog, I thought it’d be a fitting time to highlight just exactly what that promise means:
First, what my new blog won’t be:
1. It’s not going to turn into a sales pitch.
For me, one of the best parts of blogging is the creativity involved. I don’t want to tailor my posts to push a certain product. Instead, I will mention the foodie products that are making me happy at the moment, not the ones I want to sell. (For the record, I’ve never received a penny from Artisana for the thousands of people I’ve turned on to their coconut butter!)
2. It won’t be all giveaways all the time.
Y’all, I receive offers for giveaways/product reviews at least once a week. At first, I wanted to accept all of them. (Who can say no to free products?) But I got tired of just writing giveaway posts; as I mentioned above, my blog was becoming very boring! So now I only accept the ones I get really excited about and think you all want to hear about too. As fun as new products are, does anyone else ever feel like companies are taking over our personal blogs?
How does this sound: I’ll continue with giveaways every now and then, but instead of highlighting big companies, I’ll focus more on recognizing some truly-worthy little guys whom I know personally and who deserve attention even though they might not have the same exorbitant amount of funds at their disposal as the big companies. For example, I am privileged to be friends with the owner of a 100%-vegan cookie company! Stay tuned…
Also, to make my giveaways less “we’ve seen this before!” maybe I could throw in some of my own products, such as fudge babies, Afri-cards, or even photoshop creations, like my personalized money… what’dya think about all of this?
3. No play-by-play of my workouts and daily eating.
Many bloggers do treat their blogs as food diaries. But it’s just not my style. It’s not how I started my blog, and it’s not the purpose of my blog. So if that’s what you want in a blog, there are many others (many good ones!) you can read. I don’t have the time nor the interest to write out/photograph everything I eat and do. (You don’t want to see it all. I don’t usually bother making all my food look as gorgeous as my raw Carrot Cake.)
Now, what my blog will be:
1. Healthy Vegan Recipes for Everyone! (vegan or not)
It will continue to be a space where I share my crazy vegan recipes, dispelling the myth that you have to sacrifice taste for health. I know a lot of you are disciples of Clean-Eating-type philosophies, and while I agree with parts of those philosophies, they just seem a little monotonous to me.
Why eat plain oatmeal for breakfast when you can have Chocolate-Chip Cookie Oatmeal and still be just as healthy (if not more so, thanks to the fact that eating yummy foods, as opposed to boring ones, will give you happiness, which in turn contributes to your overall health and well-being)?
2. Product Reviews of foods I genuinely love (many of which I don’t receive for free)
I said before that I’m through selling out my blog for free products. But I think that doing some product reviews can be a good thing. Personally, I’ve learned about a few cool new products thanks to others’ reviews. So there’s something to be said for product reviews, as long as they’re only for products you are over-the-moon in love with. (You couldn’t pay me to not talk about my beloved coconut butter!) However, as I stated earlier, you won’t find me saying, “I just had the most amazing coconut butter for breakfast and it’s available in my online shop on sale this week for only __ dollars.” Instead, I’ll be saying, “Get thee to a store—I don’ care what store—and pick up some coconut butter. Now! Don’t make me come down there…)
Yikes, I hope the above doesn’t make me sound preachy.
As I wrote, I’m not against bloggers who have Open Sky accounts or Amazon stores. It’s just not my thing. Although the money is nice, my main enjoyment from blogging is still what it’s always been: connecting with others, as well as sharing ideas and a love of life! The fact that someone wants to pay me to do something I love and would be doing anyway… well, heck I’m not complainin’ ;)! But if it ever turns out that, in order to get paid, I have to compromise the content of my posts, I won’t do it. There are more important things in life than money. If, in the future, you ever think I’m going against my promise, feel free to call me out on it, reminding me of why I blog. But please do it in a nice way. After all, I’m only human, and I’m not perfect by any means.
What are your thoughts? Also: why do you blog?
Is it to hold yourself accountable to diet or fitness goals? To have an online scrapbook? Or maybe to be a part of a community?