This is a post written mostly to other bloggers. About my experience with paying to sponsor another blogger. Read at your own risk.
I have some questions for you guys who have paid to sponsor another blog.
What are your expectations of a blogger when you pay them money to promote you on their blog?
Has it been worth it for you?
Have you seen your blog grow from it?
Orrrr do you think it's just a get (a little) rich(er) quick scheme (of sorts) for the blogger you are sponsoring, with little return on your investment?
Next set of questions.
Do(es) the blogger(s) you are sponsoring with money correspond with you, follow your blog, and/or interact with you while you are sponsoring them?
Would you be disappointed if they didn't?
I have experienced sponsorship of both kinds. Of the three blogs I have paid money to sponsor, three of them I have had some swell, dandy, and grand experiences with. Ahem, Krysten and Digger. Oddly enough their rates were way low, but their services were above and beyond. Then there was one other. The one that cost me the most. That one was completely lame and totally not worth it. But that's just my opinion.
Here are my thoughts on the whole sponsorship business. What? You didn't think you'd get more of MY opinion? Pssh. Please.
I think with some of the larger blogs it's a bit contrived. Me thinks most (definitely not ALL) bloggers who accept paid sponsorship are looking at it merely as a way to bring in some side cash. Not because they want to help other bloggers be more successful. It's a bit like this: "Hey. Pay me money and I will tell everyone I like your blog. Even if I don't. But I will do it just this month. Want my love affair with your blog to blossom and continue, all while your blog grows larger? Well then pay up for next month too, sister."
This past month I sponsored a blog and it was pretty much like that. Except my blog didn't grow from it. And no. I am not going to tell you what blog it was. Well OK. Snail mail me a box of Girl Scout Samoas and I will leak it to you. Maybe.
I know I am a total noob to paid sponsorship. I did, however, do my research when I was looking to invest some money in it. I chose a few blogs that I genuinely liked. I then assumed that after learning I was interested in sponsoring them and accepted my money that they too were feeling my blog and writing style. I think I was naive in that thought process. Does that make me silly for thinking that way? Maybe. I dunno. But a good part of me doesn't think so.
So when this particular blogger that I sponsored took my $20 (yeah, it was only $20--NBD in the end really) and then didn't say boo to me until February was almost over I was a bit annoyed. Not like I lost sleep over it, but it made me realize that this paid sponsorship business is so not my bag. Or at least she is not my bag.
And this may alienate me from the blog world (wait, that probably already happened when I admitted to hating Harry Potterhead and TOMS) but I thought I'd offer a bit of unsolicited advice to those bloggers who accept paid sponsorship. Some food for thought from this noob. Who may or may not know what she is talking about. Doubtful it will be read by some big box bloggers (my guess is that they don't read my little ol' blog) but maybe it will strike a nerve with a blogger who eventually will accept paid sponsorship down the road. And maybe my rant won't all be for naught.
1. Don't be fake. I can smell fake a million miles away. Others can too. Genuine is a much nicer fragrance. Wear it.
2. But if you are going to be fake, at least be good at being fake. I have an unofficial BS degree in BS. I learned how to point out a BS'er a long time ago. I am also sometimes full of it myself (but not right now obvi). That's how I know a few (dare I say a lot?) of you BBB's (big box bloggers) are full of BS. So either cut the crapola (ala #1). Or be a really, really good faker of genuine.
3. If you can't pull off #2 then consider this: Don't accept a sponsorship from someone you can't see yourself making a modest amount of time to interact with here or there during the month(s) they are paying you. Regardless of how much they are paying you, consider them your best paying sponsor. Yes. I think its important/awesome when a sponsored blogger goes above and beyond. In the end this is a business transaction, and those who pay you money are your customers. Right? Whether this blogging biz is your side gig or the only way you make money, its important to remember the basics of customer service. Don't be lazy and do the bare minimum. That sucks. Any good business person knows they should want to exceed the expectations of their client. And no. I am not expecting us to ride off into the sunset and be besties forever, and ever, amen. Not at all. But it would be nice to be wined and dined just a teensy bit during the time that I am supplying you with some extra ching ching to spend on quirky Etsy products. Plus if you do this then you don't have to worry about the things mentioned in #2. If you only accept sponsorships from people you can genuinely appreciate and be on the same wavelength with, then you don't need to be fake about it, right? You will want to visit these blogs that sponsor you. You will be excited when they update their Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, what-have-you. Hey, you might even show them some comment love (and don't act like you are more evolved than that). I know it will suck having to possibly tell a blogger that you don't think they'd be a good fit for your blog. Gasp! What if the word got out that you didn't dig a certain blogger? Cuz that's basically what will be happening if you deny them. People wouldn't sponsor you. You wouldn't get money. You'd have to go back to writing the way you did before people paid you to do it. Well guess what? I also have a solution for that. Act apologetic and tell the interested sponsor that you juuuuust filled the last spot for sponsors like four minutes before you got their email. Yes. That technically falls under #2. And its lying. But if you are good at it then you will come off genuine and you may not even lose a reader. Win-win. But just don't try it with me. I will see right through you. And cry myself to sleep because you don't think my blog is worthy.
So there you have it. Did I say too much? Did I not say enough? Highly unlikely. I am sorry if I offended anyone with this opinion. But really I am not. Oh well. If you don't like my blog then get your own. But you probably already do have your own blog. So what gives?
On an unrelated note: I just found out I am going to be jobless for approximately six weeks in April and May. I thought about backpacking through Europe for several weeks, but then I remembered I am a broke ace foo. So instead I will probably dig myself a hole and live there, and off the land until I am making money again. I will keep you updated on how that all pans out.