The dirty words: Advertising/Sponsorship

Advertising by Crafty Planner

I was recently tagged on an Instagram post asking for suggestions of regularly updated blogs that don’t “constantly push affiliated/sponsored products and posts”. Thankfully, I was being tagged because someone else felt my blog and podcast fit that description.

When I read the post, I immediately had two very different thoughts.

  1. I get it! I want good content and inspiration when I read a blog. Following blogs can be an investment in reading time and I don’t want to “waste” it reading advertising.
  2. But… what would be an acceptable way for the blogger to make a living outside of sponsorships and advertising?

My podcast sponsorship story

After producing one podcast episode weekly for seven months, I was approached about sponsorship. While I already asked for donations if listeners wanted to support the podcast, I had not taken the next step of searching for sponsors. Listening to other podcasts made me feel that ads could feel disjointed, disrupt the flow of conversation and overwhelming. And yet I was spending anywhere between 6-15 hours on each episode. I don’t know of another profession where a person would consistently work that much time for free. This issue came up with my podcast with Vicki Howell.

So I decided I could adjust my sponsorship program to fit my own needs. With the exception of my Mighty Lucky Quilting Club and Quilty Box series, I handpick my podcast guests. My natural curiosity feeds into my guest list and I have a LONG list of potential guests. I have been asked what I will do when the list is finished. Umm… I am not sure that will ever happen! There are so many fascinating people. I want to share their stories.

Someone recently asked to be a guest on the show. They assumed that a company paid for a sponsorship and then got to pick the guest. Nope. Sorry! It doesn’t work that way for me. I pick the guest and then see if an affiliated company would like to sponsor. If they don’t want to sponsor, I will look for other sponsors or publish the episode without one. My commitment is to the story.

And yet, blogs are different

For bloggers, there is also a choice to be made. Do we allow/solicit advertising on our websites? For each person, it is their own decision. When my episode with Vicki came out, Natalia Bonner of Piece N Quilt posted about how people have complained to her about her blog advertising. As Natalia describes it, “I love blogging, however it’s very time consuming. I think blogging and the internet is something that we all take for granted. We all search the internet for the answers to just about everything. In doing this it’s easy to forget the people behind the blogs/photos and articles. Every single word that is written, every photo that is shared takes time. Everyone’s time is valuable. I’ve chosen to have blog sponsors as a way to help pay for my time. I love the blog and hope that by having outside sponsors it’s a way to keep content free for everyone who visits my blog, but still feel like it’s not a total waste of my time.”

It’s a Business…

When the sewing/quilting/creative industry is a career, these decisions are not easy ones to make. Instagram followers, blog subscribers and facebook likes are fantastic but don’t pay the mortgage. I hope we can talk about these issues openly to raise awareness as both content consumers and creators.


Comments 4

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  1. Thank you for bringing this up. It’s such an important issue to really help people understand and be aware of the TIME it takes to do anything. From quilting to blogging to podcasting to social media to… It – literally – never ends.

    There’s a whole idea that once you know that a post was sponsored it somehow ‘cheapens’ it, but that isn’t giving enough credit to the bloggers. I can’t imagine a blogger not respecting their audience enough and willfully leading them astray bc they were compensated for their paid opinion. Quickest way to turn your readers away is to recommend a product that sucks.

    It’s a great conversation to start and keep people aware of the logistics that information is not necessarily ‘free’. Thanks for opening a dialogue.

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      I agree!

      When I’ve reviewed books/products, I have said I will be completely honest. If you want me to say something specific, I’ll pass on the review. It is not worth it for me in the long run.

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