Can you trust bloggers? Can you trust me?
A few days ago, I had a very candid and eye opening conversation with some really close friends of mine. These are friends who trust me with their secrets, with their children, husbands, homes, personal property….you get the point. But they were very honest and transparent in asking me this one question.
“How can I trust the products and reviews you write about on your blog, since you are paid to write about them.”
They shared the fact that they see so many bloggers who “never say anything negative.” They remarked, “They can’t love everything! How can we trust those recommendations?”
It was a valid question. I took no offense at all. It brought me to my big aha moment, however. If my actual friends who trust me in every other facet of our real lives are wondering about this, what must my readers who have never even met me in real life thinking?
So…let’s address this, shall we?
A few months ago, I let you guys in on some of my “online secrets” in the post “My Real Life vs my Online Life.” Among other things, I shared the fact that I purposely rearrange my messy house to take a pretty Instagram pic and the fact that I omit posts about my husband when we’re not getting along. My intention behind those are not deceive, but rather to find a healthy balance between running my business successfully and respecting some privacy in my home. Fair enough right?
Next, let’s talk about these sponsored posts and reviews.
Years ago, even before I started making any real money blogging, I enjoyed doing product reviews. On my first blog, Saver in the City, I would do what I called “Real Deal Product Reviews” and brought that same format to this blog. Through these, I’d list what I call “the ideal,” or the best things about the product, “the ordeal,” which are those things that are not so great in my opinion, and “the real deal,” where I’d give my final judgment on the product, who it’s recommended for, etc. . Sometimes it’s a product that may be just fine, but did not work well for my family. It may be the issue that it’s not ideal for young kids, or just a a few particulars you should keep in mind before buying. Sure, these are rarely just so terrible for me to exclaim,”Do not buy this product!!!” But that’s also by design…see my next point.
I write about what I want to write about.
The best part of running my own blog is that I write about what I want to write about!
I keep an open mind about most things, but there are some foods I simply do not eat and products that the “Chiro-wife” in me absolutely cannot endorse with a clear conscience. Are they the worst things in the world? No. They’re just not things I would personally recommend to anyone – both online and offline. Since I don’t want to spend my time writing negative or brand-bashing posts (unless truly warranted), these are the reviews and sponsored articles I simply decline. Because it’s my blog and I can do that!
The truth is, most of the sponsored or affiliate posts I do are for brands I’ve personally sought. This means I might have an interest in a brand and ask them to allow me to review. Likewise, brands have found me based on their knowledge that I am already a supporter. For example, if they’ve seen a post on social media where I’ve shared my interaction with the brand, they may approach me for a blog post and I’ll gladly work with them.
If it’s a brand or product that’s totally new to me, I try it out and if I like it, it gets a real deal review. If I don’t like it, chances are it gets thrown in a pile of other samples that have been sent to me until I figure out a way to re-purpose it. Either way, I am always genuinely excited and interested in the brands I write about.
With that said,
Here are a few ways you guys can be honest or “keep it real” with me too:
1. If you’ve had a less than ideal experience with a brand I’ve raved about, leave a comment sharing your story!!!
I can’t stress this enough. As a blogger, I tend to get the royal treatment sometimes and, as much as I love it, I know I’m doing a disservice to my readers if I’m endorsing a brand that doesn’t value them as consumers as well.
True story: A few years ago, I wrote about a brand that I personally had a great experience with and later learned that there were many others who had horror – I mean horror -stories instead. Not only did I remove that post, but I gave the owners a piece of my mind in the hopes that they would improve their practices. They did not and are out of business now. Oh well…
2. Contact me for my “offline” review. I have readers write me quite often asking me for more info and details than what I’ve included on my post and I am happy to tell all! I like to think that I tell all on my blog, but I admit that I’m not necessarily TMI unless requested. Always contact me if you ever have a question or need a true insider opinion on a product I discuss on my blog.
3. Understand that we can agree to disagree sometimes. Again, the products I write about are those that I love and/or my family loves, but everything’s not for everybody and I get that. Please Do Not insult me, call me names, shoot off expletives or bash me on social media just because we disagree on a review. That’s when keeping it real goes wrong!
There you have it. A little insight into my life as a blogger – a paid blogger – who takes a lot of pride in what is placed on this blog. People who know me offline (and hopefully online too) should know that next to my actual babies, this is my baby. The content, and its integrity, are very important to me and I share a piece of myself with every blog post. I’m not saying that each and every blogger follows these personal rules, as I can only speak for myself, but I ‘d like to believe that most quality bloggers feel the same and at the very least, are open to your honest and “real deal” feedback as well.
I hope this sheds some light on your questions about bloggers and honesty. Can you trust me? Can you trust bloggers? Just give us a chance!