I’m always interested when people seem to get their knickers in a knot about a blogger doing a sponsored post. I figure they either think bloggers are rich eccentrics who have nothing better to do than wile away their day and their inheritance online, or they have no understanding of what is involved in blogging.
Yes, when I started writing it was all just me and no product promotions. What was also just me was the expense of running it. I didn’t mind though, because it was fun and Facebook played nice.
I did try to monetarize the site by putting Adsense into my posts a few years back but felt so horrible about the idea of making money off my readers I took them out again.
Sponsored posts are about balance. Or more specifically, balancing my accounts. Like most people I have a mortgage and the kids have this thing about wanting to eat regularly.
I’m careful about what I agree to write about. You might not agree with some of my choices, but for me if I’m writing about a company then I’ve an interest in the product or service they offer, or when they’ve asked it’s reminded me of a funny story I could use. The ones I really enjoy have a competition or giveaway/promo code element, because I love love love I get to give something to you guys who support me. But I certainly say ‘no’ a lot more than I say ‘yes’ when I’m approached. I feel I have an obligation to keep things on point with the blog content.
You might have also noticed I don’t do many of them. I figure one every two weeks would be nice – around 25 a year. Ideally, there’d be maybe five posts of my usual nonsense between them and my page wouldn’t feel like an infomercial channel. The difficulty can be I can’t control when they come, so you might find one a week for a month, but then another month without any. That, unfortunately, is beyond my control – and I can assure you it irks me as much as anyone else.
Running A Blog Costs Money
As you might imagine there’s a bit of tech involved. My workhorse iMac, a laptop and a big-ass iPhone are just the beginning. And while I might have wanted all that even if I didn’t have a blog, I certainly wouldn’t have been able to justify it to Tracey and I wouldn’t have been working them so hard they need replacing more regularly. Then there’s cameras and lights and all manner of apps and programs and, of course, my geeky tee uniforms (okay, that one’s bullshit). I’m not complaining. I love buying gadgets and stuff, but it does cost.
I also have to own my .com and pay annually to keep it, and the hosting of my site alone is over $400 a year. There’s demands for small and large amounts of money from just about every quarter when you own a site – even simple things like Rafflecopter for competitions.
But the biggest expense by far these days is boosting on Facebook. It used to be if someone liked your stuff they got to see more of it. Not these days. I have to boost things which link to my blogs, and it’s in US dollars. I’ve had a couple of months where I’ve spent AUD$1000 on this aspect of the blog, although I usually try to keep it around AUD$700. Remember, this isn’t to generate income, it’s just to get my every day posts into the FB feeds of people who already like my page.
You add it all up and I’m somewhere around the $15k mark annually and growing.
And then there’s the money which goes to my agent, GoodFunnySmart, for the sponsored work they find for me. Thirty percent. Worth every cent, of course, but then all my expenses come out after that as well.
Running A Blog Takes Time
I do this seven days a week. No holidays. I mean I can be on holidays, but I’m still checking in and sharing stuff and reacting to comments. I’m here every night, even when we’re out at a party or I’m shopping.
I do this because a) I enjoy it, and b) that’s the nature of the beast.
Certainly, blogging isn’t just writing 400 words and cracking open a beer to catch up on the latest GOT. What a lot of people don’t understand is I have to manage things.
Yes, this means I’m on Facebook a lot.
Yes, sometimes work is sitting staring at my screen, waiting for people to comment. I know that makes me sound needy. This is not news around here.
Yes, I get to debate with people if they disagree with my so obviously common sense position on things which interest me. Rather wonderfully, I see this as part of my job. Fact: I love this part of my job.
And, yes, I have an obligation to delete comments if they get too nasty so everyone play nice.
But, yes, even though it’s fun to FB it’s still work. At least that’s what I’ve got Tracey believing – I’m way more cunning than you thought, eh?
What can you do to help our family?
Tap that ‘like’ button on Facebook and write a small comment. It’s that simple. The more interaction a post gets the more Facebook will share something organically with my site’s other readers. Share if you really love something too. But mainly, click over and see what I’m up to.
And as far as the sponsored posts are concerned, what I’d really love is if you clicked on the link, of course, because if that doesn’t happen companies won’t use me and the kids will be sharing tins of cat food. Or just ignore them if you really really don’t fancy the idea, but please stay around for the other posts.
The thing with my blog is it’s free. I don’t ask for money. I don’t even sell stuff. I just write and get a thrill if people enjoy it. Clicking on a sponsored post is a wonderful way of saying thank you for the time I sit in front of this screen, and a little sign you support what I’m doing here – embarrassing the kids.
The fact is, after expenses, I barely make as much as I did at the bank and there’s nothing regular about the income either, which can be difficult. Without Tracey working her photography business I couldn’t afford to be a blogging stay at home dad. The important thing for me is I’m here with my kids. The blog is a lifestyle choice, not a get rich scheme.
You’ve probably noticed, I’m always careful to make it known up front on the Facebook link when it’s a sponsored post. I’m told this isn’t required and can be detrimental to it’s organic reach with FB, but I feel better about people knowing it’s sponsored before they click into a post. It’s about integrity for me. No tricks. I believe there’s an obligation about labelling something as sponsored on the blog site, but I tend to go overboard with that – I announce it on or under the post’s lead photo and at the bottom of the post and, more often than not lately, in the meat of the post as well.
Of course, I still mention products which I’m not paid to, although sometimes I feel the need to write ‘not sponsored’ down the bottom of the post so people know it’s not an underhanded sponsored post (how’s that for ridiculously paranoid?). If something happens at a fast food outlet or supermarket I’m not going to suppress it because they haven’t paid me. And I’ll continue to mention small businesses or products we use if there’s a story there which amuses me. That’s just what I do. But sometimes it’s nice to earn a little living because a company wants me to try their stuff.
I’m not out to make a fortune from this blog: I don’t think I could. I just want enough I can keep it going. I’m certainly not looking for every opportunity to cash in. I’d rather the blog continue to be what it is – a place I love to hang out and interact with like minded people: you guys. People who get me and my take on things. My tribe.
But the point I should also make about why I agree to do the occasional sponsored post on my site is they’re generally a bit of fun. There’s the creative side of putting something together and making it work that gets the ol’ grey cells working in ways they normally don’t have to.
So there you go. Now you know the ins and outs of my dirty little secret (not really a dirty little secret but I’ve always thought I should have one so let’s pretend).
I’ll be very interested to hear your reactions to this and I’m more than happy to answer any questions. As you know, my life is an open blog.
Raising a family on little more than laughs