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This is a blog, not an advertising company...

This article in The Age about PR companies needing to be more savvy when trying to get bloggers to advertise for them is just the springboard I've been looking for for a post on advertising and sales in the blogosphere...

I've been blogging for five and a half years. I certainly don't have the longest standing blog, not by a long shot, but I've been around for longer than most I know. In all that time I've blogged about a number of 'things'; personal 'things' and public arena 'things'. I've blogged because I love to write, and I kind of think my opinions on 'things' are enlightened (mock me, you may, but Nostradamus and I share a birthday and I don't think that's coincidental! You'll see, my pretties, you'll see!)...

Seriously though, when I got into blogging I absolutely was just doing it for myself. In the intervening years the concept of 'the blogosphere' has really taken off, and many entrepreneurial types (of which I'm not one) have turned blogging into quite a money spinner - and more power to them! Professional blogging has become a, well, a profession - a legitimate as any other web-based profession. Blog Cons abound, and bloggers are flocking to them! It's a new world full of possibilities, and I think it's wonderful!

Lately though, I've noticed that a lot of bloggers are becoming advertising adjuncts, and I think it's quite off-putting. The article I've linked to above describes the jarring sensation of reading a blog that used to be a personal account of life as the blogger saw it, and suddenly has become an interactive billboard for some PR Companies'R'Us.

I do understand that bloggers want and need to make a living from what they love - blogging - but when will readers start to feel that blogs have become replacements for television and newspaper advertising (which is more and more failing to achieve it's goal because viewers and readers are tuning out)? Self-promotion without quality content (a term I'm using losely, but by which I mean honest, heartfelt content) is like those little trophies they hand out to kids at the end of the footy season - plastic and tacky.

More importantly, how can bloggers retain their integrity and still manage to promote their blog and possibly even make a living from it? You know, without becoming cheap and cheesy?

I know I don't want to promote any products I don't actually LOVE - though there are many products I DO love! I want the content of my blog to reflect me, my thoughts and personality, and not the thoughts and personality of a PR company (coz, let's face it, they may be charming, but you wouldn't bring them home to mother)...

I don't want my readers to feel they are being pitched a promotion every other time they enter my space on the interwebs because I want them to come back and I want them feel this is a place away from the constant assault of the world and it's capitalist, consumerist NOISE.

Image: source
I also want to read blogs without having to wonder if I'm being sold a line. I don't want to read adfomercials or infomercials, though if a blogger genuinely loves a product or event or service they use or have found, I'm more than happy to hear about it... Sharing of insights is one of blogging's greatest assets - there just needs to be a strong sense of personal value. Blogs that seem only to exist as a vehicle for PR companies will eventually alienate their readership, I fear. So, PR companies need to be savvy, and so do bloggers!

Comments

Jocelyn said…
I dont mind advertising unless there is lots of it.. I even like reading the reviews and entering the competitions but i think some blogs are over run by ads. I dont read those anymore. Oh by the way i found your blog while i was FFF through my little drummer boys :)
Kellie said…
I think a few ads are okay, but when you click over to read something and have products shoved in your face it's a bit off-putting.

Found you through the FYBF linky!
x
Sif said…
Thanks for visiting guys!

I've had a range of responses to this post from, advertising is fine, to I'll never read a blog against if it tries to sell me something.

I think it's up to the individual blogger, of course.
Seana Smith said…
Hello, I'm a very newbie blogger, visiting via FYBF. I dont mind a few adverts at all, especially if they look good. The Google adwords ads and many other look cheap and tacky and they make the blogs look tacky too. But some people's opinions are well worth having and I'm glad to read reviews by people like yourself who have been around a long time and clearly have integrity.
SaraMG said…
If all buyers were like me, most companies that rely on ads and PR would go broke... I buy what I need and I don't really care for advertisements or giveaways etc.
I like reading blogs because I like good writing and I like knowing people's stories and their points of view, so I tend to be very put off by lots of ads...
Joy Johnston said…
Hello Sif
I appreciate your thoughts and your ability to write.
Sif said…
Seana, I was having a bit of a hissy fit over "ugly blogs" yesterday - haha! That said, I have google ads in a prominent position on my blog, myself (though I earn nothing from them, hmmm, people just don't click them).

Sara, I'm like you, I never click on ads, though I do often ask people where they sourced "that product" or "this service". I'm talking more about the blogs which read more like those magazines you get on the train, one infomercial after another, not personal perspective or enthusiasm...

Hi Joy, lovely to 'see' you again!!!
Kebeni said…
I totally agree with this post. I have no advertising as I can't bring myself to advertise anything I wouldn't personally use or support. I use a reader most of the time so I dont' have to look at ugly blogs filled with adverts
Really interesting, Sif. I think it can be jarring too, especially if the site becomes quite over run with ads/reviews and you lose the original voice of the blog.

I've limited the amount of reviews I do because of it, and will only ever write about something in my own style, so hopefully it won't read as just an ad, but still me, if that makes sense.

It's a fine line to walk though!
Deborah said…
A very interesting read, I've been thinking some similar thoughts. I agree with Sara - I read blogs for good writing, hearing people's stories and points of view. I get totally put off advertising on pages. I don't think I could bring myself to advertise on my page. I'd feel such pressure to write regularly, or feel like my personal thoughts/feelings were for 'sale'.

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