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My promise to You

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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?

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Katie is the baker, photographer, and author of the popular blog Chocolate-Covered Katie. Her favorite food is chocolate, and she believes in eating a balanced diet that includes dessert every single day. More about Katie—> 

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  1. Well said Katie! I feel very similarly to you. I blog because I LOVE food and I love sharing delicious and healthy recipes with people! I really want people to learn that healthy food can be so so tasty. That is the main reason why I blog 🙂 and also, of course, to meet other awesome bloggers

  2. VeggieGirl says:

    Keep up your blogging and integrity, dear Katie! 🙂

  3. Lindsey says:

    Nicely put! I started blogging a few months ago as a way to share my recipes with my family and friends. Growing up, I could barely boil water….so it’s more of a source of proof that I can cook, and cook well! 🙂

    1. Haha I know where you’re coming from! I was so proud the day I made “microwave eggs” for my family. (Poor family had to suffer through my creation as their dinner.)

  4. Jennifer says:

    THANK YOU for having the bravery to post this! You rock, Katie :).

  5. i really appreciate this and i think you have the perfect outlook and reasons for blogging. keep up just being YOU! thats who we all love 🙂

  6. Lisa C. says:

    I don’t have a blog, but I enjoy commenting to feel like a part of the blogging world. And you are so sweet to feel like you have to apologize, but really Katie, you’ve given us so much that you ought not be apologizing for anything!

  7. Being so new to blogging, I am just having a lot of fun posting. I don’t have a crazy huge reader base quite yet (although for a month old blog, I’m super proud of my 60-100 hits a day average!!!). Although it would be nice to maybe make a buck or two at some point later on, I don’t ever want that to be the main focus. The friendships I’ve made in the blogging community are worth way more than any product or money could compare to! 🙂

  8. Sarah says:

    I LOVE what you wrote! I get tired of reading blogs that just promote themselves. I don’t like I have to follow all the links to previous posts, which are porbably just there to increase blog traffic. And I hate when they write they same thing they wrote yesterday in case you missed it. Every once ina while, I can understand that. But it gets BORING!

    1. I sometimes have to stop myself from incessantly linking to previous posts… but the reason I link so much isn’t to make more money, it’s that I’m so attached to old posts, and I work so hard on them, that I don’t like to think about the fact that people will never see them again after the day they’re first published! All that hard work… 😕

      1. Sarah says:

        That makes total sense, especially given how your posts are so well-thought out 🙂 I wasn’t meaning to imply you were trying to make money by linking to other posts… but I do think people do that.

        1. Oh no no, lol I completely agree with you, 100%! I am sure people do it for that reason. But, as you said, it can be annoying to click so many links before arrivinng at the one you want. So I’ve been trying to link less (although sometimes it’s easier to just link so you don’t have to re-write something).

        2. Emmy says:

          Sarah you are absolutely right. These unessecary links are the reason I stopped to read some blogs. Like the one Anonymous mentioned.

          Katie congrats for your integrity and basically because you just want to have fun and communication through your blog.

  9. Noelle says:

    Katie, this post (and this blog!) are a breath of fresh air. I’m so tired of feeling like my clicks are only valuable in a monetary way; just supporting someone’s lifestyle. I don’t envy bloggers for making some money, not at all in fact, especially when so much work is being put into it.
    But when I see that the blog is toted as the only source of income, posts are all about pimping their ‘stores’ or are just photos of lunch, and the blogger raves about all the restaurant outings and fabulous trips she’s taking…it makes it harder to go out and work my 2 jobs. And then I stop reading.
    Cheers to you, and many happy years of blogging to come!

    1. Thanks so much, Noelle. I agree in that I don’t like feeling that the blogger thinks of me only as a “click.” I absolutely love all of the people who leave comments on my blog (well, the nice ones hehe), and I’d never think of them as just numbers. ‘Cause every single one of them (er, you) has a different personality, and I learn so much (and even sometimes change my opinions) from y’all!

  10. Hahaha… Why do I blog? Because my real-life friends and family were SO SICK of hearing me go on and on about the yummy things I was creating and eating! I guess I get a little TOO in-depth. 🙂

    1. LOL what, your family and friends don’t like to hear you ramble on and on about the joys of peanut butter? 😉
      (Haha mine either!)

    2. Anne @ Food Loving Polar Bear says:

      This exactly why I blog 😀

  11. I agree with you on it being boring to read a blog that is constantly plugging a product. I blog just because I like to record my thoughts somehow and wanted to share what goes on in my life….at least part of what goes on =D

  12. Jennifer JCD says:

    Thank you for writing this post. Your promise is exactly what it should be; a promise to keep the blog yours. I stop reading blogs that get too self-indulgent with stores and stuff. I want to read quality posts about life, food, health, and have a laugh once in a while too. In other words, you have created a wonderful blog, and as long as you still have fun writing it, I’ll be here reading it…

    Now those vegan cookies you mentioned… 😉

  13. Kelly says:

    Thank goodness for your down-to-earth approach to blogging, Katie! I have to say, I’ve been getting a little discouraged at the Open Sky posts I see everywhere. Honestly, I find it a little distasteful when bloggers promote their shops in every single post, and quite frankly, it leaves a sour taste in my mouth. I’m so glad you’re sticking to your guns and only sharing what *you* want to share – which, in my experience, is totally worth sharing!

  14. Roselie says:

    Oh Katie! If anything could make me like you even more is these thoughts! I second everything you said, and I also loved how you were honest and real about buying into what the companies wanted you too! We are all humans and make mistakes and thankfully people like you learn from them and turn them into positive lessons for us all… 😉
    I can’t wait to read what you think about the ex “vegan” issue…

    Keep up the great work! I love your blog even more now with the changes you ‘ve made recently!

    1. Thanks so much, Roselie! And yeah, I am definitely not above giving in to temptation :(. But I can learn from my past mistakes too.

  15. I love it! I love your honesty…and as someone who finds herself only going back daily (or every few days to catch up on) to blogs like yours which are honest, creative, and lacking in sales pitches…I applaud you! 🙂

    I like to think I make those promises silently on my blog.

  16. lindsay says:

    Not preachy at all. To each his own. Your blog is an expression of you, no matter if you are gettin paid or not. I am thrilled to see more recipes and prodcut reviews but I also just like hearing whats on your heart.

  17. Kelly says:

    I agree with you that some blogs push products they benefit from selling way too much. But on the other hand, for blogs to exist in the way that they do, sometimes a blogger has to make use of mainstream marketing. It’s just not possible for people to make a living (typically) off of blogging alone. There’s a trade off somewhere. If you want to put your heart and soul into blogging by making it your full time job, you have to make money somewhere. It’s very difficult to maintain a high quality blog with consistent posting and working full time. That’s what I’m doing right now, but I’m not sure if I could do this forever. I don’t do a lot of product reviews or give-aways. i don’t have an open sky shop. But, if given the opportunity to take this hobby and make it into my dream job, I would have to succumb to these marketing techniques in order to contribute financially to my family. If you’re promoting products you truly believe in and you’re not bombarding readers with advertisements, then I think you’ve achieved a good balance.

    1. See, this is why I encourage disagreement: because sometimes, someone with an opposing view can really make me stop and think about the views I hold. That’s exactly what your comment did! You’re so right about the fact that blogging–when it’s more than a hobby–takes a LOT of work and time. I mean, I’m only starting to get into doing this for a job, and I only post once a day and that takes a lot of time… it’s hard for me to imagine the bloggers who do it three times a day. So your point is really valid. Thanks for having the courage to bring it up. 🙂

      1. Kelly says:

        Thanks Katie! I only stated my opinion because I feel like you welcome divergent view points if they’re done respectfully. People change my mind all the time so it’s great to have an open forum for real discussion. 🙂

  18. What a sweet post. Good to know Katie and I agree with you!

  19. Great aims, Katie. Blogs like that are the kind I really want to read, and the kind I hope to make mine as well. As far as giveaways and freebies go, I really think having a blog is a great way for myself and my readers to find out about and try some new products, but I don’t accept any offers for products that I wouldn’t be excited about eating or using for myself.

  20. Stacy says:

    I agree with Noelle in that you are truly a breath of fresh air! Thank you for continuing to write the way you do (and thank you for helping me find my way to raw carrot cake bites!).

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