Archive for November 2013

The Simple Reason Why Sponsored Posts, Links, and Trips are Bad

November 2, 2013

Since Boots N All launched a bit of a furor over sponsored trips/posts/links a few weeks ago, a number of people have weighed in on FB and in blog posts. It’s been interesting to watch. People have given long and impassioned responses and intellectual reasoning for both sides of the argument. Here’s my take on why it’s all bad. It’s really simple:

Look at the top, top bloggers in every niche – whether travel, fitness, finance, entrepreneurship, self-help, four-hour work living, marketing, etc. These are the bloggers with the biggest mailing lists, the largest traffic, and the ones who always seem to get links and mentions in the media.

What do they have in common? They don’t do sponsored content or links or take many freebies.

They have built businesses and have products.

Now look at all the bloggers in all fields who complain about how “hard” blogging is and how there is no money in it.

Are these the ones who follow the best practices of the top bloggers or tend to take the most sponsored shit?

Think about it.

So the real question you need to ask yourself is:  do you want to be a top blogger or do want to take free shit and complain about why you aren’t making much money?

If you want to make some actual money and have lots of readers, follow the best practices and examples of top bloggers. Don’t do the opposite of what they are doing.  I constantly mimic what the best in other niches do and adapt it to my own blog. It’s worked.

Let it work for you.

A couple of other points:

You may be the most honest person in the world and I have no doubt that you are going into that press trip with good intentions but the road to hell is paved with good intentions. Perception is reality and if people perceive you are taking all your trips for free, they will simply stop reading you because eventually your “all opinions are my own” will begin to ring hollow and readers won’t be able to relate to your experience since what you get and what they get will be a totally different experience.

There’s nothing wrong with partnering with brands you love and creating long-term partnerships (I have one with G Adventures). What rings hollow for the public at large is stuff like “Guys, I’ve never used this brand before but you should totally use them. They are the official X of my site now that they have paid me a ton of money!” People see through this stuff.

Is it fair that magazines get away with this and bloggers are held to a different standard? No. It’s not. But it’s reality.

You’ll always find a core group of people to read your stuff but you’ll never gain mass appeal if all your posts are “brought to you by….”.

If you can only afford to do this job because you are getting free trips, you might want to re-examine your business model.