My baby's getting faaaaaaat.
Yesterday I got an interesting comment on my post about a baby product I was showing off. It was a sponsored post, meaning that I was compensated to do the post. The commenter stated that she liked reading my blog and would continue to read it, but that she missed the days when there wasn't a sponsored post every 3-4 days.
Part of me felt really sad when I read this. I felt like I was letting my readers down. This isn't the first time I've felt this way. I often have to fight the temptation to feel like a sell out or a fraud when I write sponsored posts. There are a lot of bloggers who don't accept sponsorships or ads in any form. They have total freedom to write what they want when they want on their blog and their readers don't tell them that they are disappointed. Sometimes I am jealous of these bloggers.
My blog stopped being that kind of blog two years ago. I look back on my first year of posts and they are so carefree. I can almost smell the newness and excitement of the blog. Everything was straight from my heart. I had 24 years worth of thoughts and ideas and ramblings to share- the blog was practically exploding with all my weird, random thoughts.
But my blog changed. When I read my posts now, they are so different from those first ones. A lot of the times my posts aren't necessarily as funny or fun as they used to be, and I am okay with that. When I first started this blog I wanted to entertain people and I wanted to people think I was funny. Now I want to connect with people and I want people to think I'm kind.
There are some things that have changed about my blog because of lessons I learned the hard way. Online critics have made me less willing to share things that are personal to me. Hurting the feelings of loved ones through thoughtless remarks on my blog have made me much more careful about what I say about them. I have to remind myself that this is my blog for my stories and I don't have the right to share other people's stories.
When I started accepting sponsorships, the blog experienced perhaps the biggest shift. Some posts were now scheduled. There were days I had to get a post up no matter what. Sometimes I had to really stretch to relate a product to my blog. As I accepted more sponsorships and worked with more companies, my blog continued to change to accommodate. I had to learn to say no to a lot of products and posts that I knew my readers wouldn't like, but only after saying yes first and realizing my readers could smell the insincerity.
Now I hope to have found a sponsored post balance, but comments like the one yesterday always leave me doubting. Part of me feels like I don't have to defend my choice to allow for sponsored posts to readers, but the other part of me wants to explain to you why I continue to do this. The truth is I owe you as my readers a great deal, and heck, if you want to know why I can't quit with the sponsored posts, I suppose you deserve to know. (Because no, I can't quit with the sponsored posts.)
Each blog post I write serves at least one of three purposes:
1) To connect with other people, build relationships, and tell stories.
2) To help provide an income for my family
3) To grow the blog and my social media presence.
The most important purpose of the blog is the first one- I started the blog to build connections and to tell stories. This is my favorite thing about blogging and it is what keeps me coming back day after day. HOWEVER. Without the second purpose, I could not justify the amount of time I put into my blog. Especially now that I have a baby and am so busy with many different demands on my time- I just couldn't sustain a blogging "hobby" without monetary compensation. If I am getting paid, though, this "hobby" then merges into the "job" lane, and it is easier to justify the time I put in. I am providing for my family by doing something that I really love. (The third goal explains why I run giveaways, contests, link ups, etc. I will always be trying to grow this blog as bigger growth allows for more connections with others and, admittedly, bigger earning potential.)
My goal now is to keep it to one sponsored post a week. That means there is only one giveaway, guest post, or me telling you why you should buy awesome chocolate post per week. Ideally it means four genuine real life Bonnie posts and one "commercial" so to speak. Of course, it doesn't always exactly pan out this way. Sometimes all the opportunities come at once (when it rains it pours) and I will find myself with a very sponsor heavy week only to have absolutely no sponsorship obligations for the next three weeks. (This week I have three sponsored posts and two giveaways. All of July and August I had no sponsored posts). In the sponsor heavy times I hope that my readers give me the benefit of the doubt and realize that while there are many sponsored posts that week, they will be rewarded with lots of thoughtful, quality writing in the near future.
I am constantly seeking to find the perfect sponsored post/ non sponsored post blog balance. Most bloggers I know who are financially compensated struggle in the same way. The truth is, I owe you, as my readers a great deal. It is because of my audience that I was able to go part time this year and stay at home with June the other days. Without you as readers I would be most likely working full time and spending less time with my baby. I would also be spending much less time blogging, as there would be no time to do it in and no financial compensation to justify the time. It would certainly fall much lower on a list of priorities. My sponsored posts allow me the luxury of writing many more genuine and real life posts than I would otherwise be able to.
All this basically to say thank you. It is because of my blog, my readers, and those silly little sponsored posts that I am able to simultaneously pursue three passions of mine- writing, teaching and being a mom. So thank you thank you thank you for reading the sponsored posts. It means everything to me.
And with that, I introduce a giveaway to you. Because I absolutely love wearing red lipstick. And again, thank you.