Am I Selling Out?

by Christine - From Dates to Diapers on April 26, 2011

Why so many sponsored posts lately?

Although no one has actually asked me this this question, some of you may be wondering.

I actually asked myself this question as my brother and I were catching up the other day. He wanted to know how work was going and asked me about some of my recent sponsors. I replied that I felt bad that most of my posts lately were sponsored, simply because I felt like I was letting my readers down by not being more personal with my topics.

Does it make you feel like you’re selling out?

Jake didn’t ask the question to offend me. In fact, he apologized if I thought it sounded mean. Although I quickly became defensive, I wasn’t upset. I began spouting off excuses as to why I have been publishing mostly compensated posts…

We need the income that my space – my little mom blog – is providing, just so we can maintain even a semblance of life as we knew it before becoming a completely self-employed family.

I was without a computer for several weeks and fell miserably behind.

I just lost all of my photos that I was going to use in posts where I talked about family activities and events. And, I hate to publish a post with pictures.

you CAN make money from blogging without selling out

While some reasons are better than others, all of this is very true. But, there is another reason why there have been so many sponsored posts — I truly dig all of the companies and brands that I’ve talked about lately. But, more than that, I hope that the information I’m relaying to you is useful and fun.

I guess I think of a blogger who “sells out” as one who writes about anything and everything just because there is something in it for them. These bloggers accept items they know they will never use, simply because they can. They write about companies and brands even if they don’t truly like what they are getting paid to tout. They clutter their sites with useless information and tacky ads, and their houses with stuff, all the while compromising their honesty and authenticity.

We all know plenty of bloggers who are truly selling out. And, I can promise you that I am not one of them.

Talk back!

As a blogger, do you ever doubt yourself and begin to fear that you’re becoming a sell out? As a reader, what makes you feel like a blogger is selling out?

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{ 34 comments… read them below or add one }

kristin April 26, 2011 at 11:34 am

Just because an opportunity is useless to you doesn’t mean someone else is selling out. In fact many “useless” as you deem them opportunities have given me many more opportunities.

I was totally with you until you lost me at the end. That was actually kind of mean…

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Christine - From Dates to Diapers April 26, 2011 at 1:16 pm

My intention was not to be snotty or mean, nor did I write this post to, or about, anyone in particular. I’m sorry that I upset you, but I truly am trying to understand how I did…

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Elizabeth April 26, 2011 at 1:39 pm

I am confused too. Love you both!!

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Kelby April 26, 2011 at 1:40 pm

I am not sure where she was mean here. It sounded to me like she is saying that the opportunities that are not a good fit for the blogger are ones more to cause someone to be a sell-out. If they are a good fit, then what is mean here? You seem to be assuming what she is considering useless. What do YOU think she is considering useless? I am a little lost.
Kelby´s last blog post ..More Speakers Announced

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Tara @ Deal Seeking Mom April 26, 2011 at 1:48 pm

Hmm, I didn’t read it that way… I thought that by “useless information” she was referring to bloggers posting information about a product that they don’t really stand behind and not being true to their audience.

Sure, all information is relevant to someone, but in a blogger/reader situation where neither party is really interested or invested in the product at hand for varying reasons, that’s just a useless, filler post.
Tara @ Deal Seeking Mom´s last blog post ..New 125 off Silk Milk Coupon

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Christine - From Dates to Diapers April 26, 2011 at 2:35 pm

Kelby and Tara articulated, far more clearly, what I was trying to say. Yes, it’s true that what may be valued by me, won’t be valued by you, but it’s all about partnering with companies, and aligning yourself with brands, that you can stand behind.

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Julie@my5monkeys April 26, 2011 at 12:05 pm

Not selling out , you are a self employed family and your blog brings in money and sponsored posts help your family live. But there is fine line with posting about products and family life. If your blog always with products you love, thats fine. Thats your blog. I can make the choice to follow you or not.

While I book blog — I get BOOKS while my review of the book is my own, I do get to keep the book.So is it selling out, No. But I hardly have to pay for Hardback books and I have found some new authors for my kids and myself.

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Cat Davis April 26, 2011 at 12:25 pm

I never feel like I’m selling out. I’m a very picky blogger when it comes to sponsored opportunities. Before I accept something I decide if it’s useful to my family, worth my time and useful information for my readers.

Now as a reader … when I see someone blog about say .. tampons or 50 cent hot wheels .. I’m left scratching my head.

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Christine - From Dates to Diapers April 26, 2011 at 1:22 pm

“Now as a reader … when I see someone blog about say .. tampons or 50 cent hot wheels .. I’m left scratching my head.”

Exactly!

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MommaDJane April 26, 2011 at 1:41 pm

If I ever write a blog post about tampons it’s going to be a fully pun intended post! ;-) Now the Hotwheels, I have a 4 year old son so I could possibly see myself sharing on that topic… Possibly.

I don’t judge with the whole ‘sell-out’ thoughts and you shouldn’t worry either. We are human. We are bloggers. We all go through times where we don’t post our regular stories full of wit, some weeks are simply quieter around the house. Making money doing what you love and believe in, makes you smart. You know the difference between a walking advertisement and sharing brands you support.

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Christine - From Dates to Diapers April 26, 2011 at 2:07 pm

I wasn’t trying to be judgmental at all… I hope you didn’t feel I was!

And, you know what? I have six boys who LOVE Hot Wheels. I saw Cat’s example as one to prove the point that some value must be placed on what we as responsible bloggers choose to bring to our readers. Truly nothing meant against Hot Wheels, per se.

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Cat Davis April 26, 2011 at 6:28 pm

Yes, that. :) Tampons and Hot Wheels were just two very low value products that popped into my head at the moment, nothing against either of them … well, except maybe the Hot Wheels. Have you ever stepped on one of those?

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Christine - From Dates to Diapers April 26, 2011 at 7:22 pm

It is no fun stepping on a Hot Wheels, but I have to say that stepping on Legos is even less fun! ouch!

Carissa April 26, 2011 at 2:18 pm

I TOTALLY have a hot wheels post coming up. Not a sponsored post but free product none-the-less.. just thought I’d add that since it came up! :)

I think we are all in interesting territory right now.

Product reviews only?? not so much, not willing right?
Sponsored Posts? Yes. IF. If they make sense and I can tell a story a real story.

I do have to say I see a lot more sponsored posts (self included) than blog ‘journaling’ etc.. but we are all finding our way right now eh?

Also more during the holidays, but you saw sooo much product pushed from bloggers who I assume genuinely were attempting to ‘monetize’ their blog(S) however I heard from readers (who were not bloggers themselves just truly readers) that they were so turned off by the constant pushing of products that they stopped reading several prominent bloggers who they had been reading/addicted to for years.

So? Is there a line? THAT is the real question. IMHO.
And me.. dude I’m in a total writing funk right now. So I would likely write about tampons for the record.

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Christine - From Dates to Diapers April 26, 2011 at 2:27 pm

There is a line. And, I find myself coming awfully close, at times. It’s at those times when I have to pull back and re-evaluate my goals for From Dates to Diapers.

In my opinion, there is nothing wrong with talking about the products that we love, and those that resonate well with our families and our readers. But, I think you hit the nail on the head when you talked about telling a story. For those of us who claim to not be review bloggers, we need to tell a story when we talk about products, brands and companies, no?

A writing funk, say you? Ugh. Write about those tampons, woman… If nothing else, the comments from your readers should provide plenty of blog fodder!

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Linsey Knerl April 26, 2011 at 9:46 pm

I would even go so far as to say that those of us who do claim to be review bloggers should be telling a story when we review. Otherwise, why would anyone read what I have to say when there are perfectly good press releases out there? I think the story is what separates the good review bloggers from the bad review bloggers from an ad in the back of a magazine. We should better than that (or else your readership will really reflect that.)
Linsey Knerl´s last blog post ..Did Walmart Bring Your Favorite Products Back

Gena Morris April 26, 2011 at 1:53 pm

I look at a sell out like someone that blogs for Coke but is often seen drinking Pepsi.

PS Christine I love you and I think we all go through times when we need to catch up. Hope you get caught up soon!
Gena Morris´s last blog post ..Giveaway Monday April 25- 2011

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Christine - From Dates to Diapers April 26, 2011 at 2:00 pm

I actually did that exact thing long ago! I am a total Coke fan, but I hosted a giveaway for Pepsi. I tried justifying it by saying that I was doing it for my bro-in-law, who IS a Pepsi fan, but it made me feel dirty – like I was cheating on Coke or something. LOL

PS I love you, too!

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Gena Morris April 26, 2011 at 2:06 pm

WHAT??? LOL Christine you naughty thing! I would totally feel dirty. Now there is such thing as trying out the competition but be honest about it. Sometimes you will find things are just better. But I will NEVER be a coke fan! LOL
Gena Morris´s last blog post ..Giveaway Monday April 25- 2011

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Cat Davis April 26, 2011 at 6:31 pm

That’s so funny you brought up Coke because they contacted me not long ago and got a big no way hose! I’m a Pepsi girl through and through. And you know what, the PR firm respected that. Sticking to who you are is what helps develop a relationship with readers.

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Andrea (Lil-Kid-Things) April 26, 2011 at 2:00 pm

I am pretty picky about the sponsored content on my blog. That said, I have been getting more “quality” offers so I feel like my paid work has gone up leaving less space for my personal posts. I am at a crossroads. Do I post more often, or accept a less personal blog ? Still can’t decide!
Andrea (Lil-Kid-Things)´s last blog post ..Why should a Blogger Join Mom Spark Media

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Christine - From Dates to Diapers April 26, 2011 at 2:19 pm

It’s a tough call, really. Ultimately you need to decide what is best for you, with your readers in mind. As long as you are staying true to yourself I think you’ll be good! ;)

P.S. YAY for those quality offers!

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Lolli @ Better in Bulk April 26, 2011 at 2:41 pm

I have been getting more and more sponsored opportunities as well lately. In fact, of the 5 posts in my to-write list for the week, 4 of them have some sort of sponsorship/brand affiliation connected with them. My rule is that I have to tie it in to my family and my life somehow. If that means talking about doing taxes or watching cable tv or visiting the salon with my girlfriends…..I do it happily. I don’t feel like I’m selling out. I’m incorporating products and services into what we’re doing already and writing about my experiences. And I am feeding my family while doing something I enjoy.

PS – for the record, I love you too!
Lolli @ Better in Bulk´s last blog post ..Wonderful – A Dessert That Lives Up To It’s Name

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Andrea (Lil-Kid-Things) April 26, 2011 at 2:44 pm

Love that approach Lolli!
Andrea (Lil-Kid-Things)´s last blog post ..Why should a Blogger Join Mom Spark Media

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Christine - From Dates to Diapers April 26, 2011 at 7:24 pm

I feel the same way, Lolli… it’s truly about telling our story and often our story includes the products and services we love. It’s even better when we get paid to do so, right?

PS – Love ya right back, babe!

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julie/just precious April 27, 2011 at 1:21 am

what Lolli said. I used to be a review blogger on another blog–and I still write there occasionally. that’s a totally different thing, when people come to you to read about your experience with a product.

But as a “response” blogger, I like to respond to life. So if the product or topic fits in my life, then I’ll do it.

I’d be selling out to write about how much I love chocolate, since I am allergic. But to write about a chocolate allergy? Then it would pertain to my life.
julie/just precious´s last blog post ..Returning to normal&8230 Menu Plan

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Tina - Mad Hatter Mom April 26, 2011 at 4:41 pm

I’ve also been writing many compensated posts lately.

Like many have stated here, I choose to write them because it’s something I probably would have done anyway. Plus, several of them simply give me a topic and tell me to have at it. Those are ultimately my favorite. I often feel like I’m in a rut and so having someone give me a topic starts those creative juices flowing again. More often than not, once I complete a compensated post I have ideas for other posts stemming from the topic.

Have I posted about a product that I wouldn’t normally use? Yes, but only because I believed in the brand behind the product. Those are the posts that I think are worth doing because they end up opening up further opportunities within the brand. However, I think you become a sell out when you begin pumping a product/brand which you never would use or choose simply because they are padding your pockets or giving you something that you will ultimately give away to a friend just to get it out of your house.
Tina – Mad Hatter Mom´s last blog post ..Gifts by Little Hands GlueNGlitter

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Christine - From Dates to Diapers April 26, 2011 at 7:26 pm

I think you become a sell out when you begin pumping a product/brand which you never would use or choose simply because they are padding your pockets or giving you something that you will ultimately give away to a friend just to get it out of your house.

Couldn’t agree more.

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Jennifer B. April 26, 2011 at 8:30 pm

Personally I don’t feel like you’re selling out, unless you don’t stand by your product or the topic of your post. I write about the things I like, I know my readers will like and feel pretty good about it, however I can say that in the past that wasn’t always so. You have to follow your heart because at the end of the day it’s just you and your conscience.
Jennifer B.´s last blog post ..Frecklebox Review and Giveaway

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Alice Tucker April 26, 2011 at 11:00 pm

I’m not a blogger, just a grandma who likes to read about people and their activities. I like to learn more about people. When I first began following your blog, Christine, I was excited to know you live close to me…. I was not particularly interested in products, but figured you had to post about them sometimes. When there are products, I usually skip over those entries, particularly when they don’t apply to me. That is my choice. I realize you do this to earn money. That is your choice. But when there are too many product entries too close together, I tend to not open the blog at all for several days. I won’t give you up completely, but I might not read daily. You need to seek what God wants you do do with your blog. He will lead you in His paths. Proverbs 3:5,6 offer good guidance! I know you will do what is right for you!

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robin April 27, 2011 at 2:57 pm

Did people accuse Michael Jordan of being a sellout when he did Nike commercials?

Well, yeah, some people did. But they probably don’t play basketball. Jordan spoke for Nike because he wore Nikes and they worked for him, and if you play basketball then you’d WANT to know what worked for Michael Jordan. If you didn’t play basketball, it wasn’t as relevant to you… but some people bought anyway because they liked Michael Jordan and they liked the shoes.

It’s when Michael Jordan starts pushing, I don’t know, mac & cheese in a box to kids when he’s a vegan that I get annoyed.

Everything has commercials. Even PBS (not as often but just as annoying). Don’t beat yourself up.
robin´s last blog post ..Conscious Consumerism- Marcal Small Steps plus giveaway!

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Krista April 29, 2011 at 1:35 am

I have to say, after reading all of these comments, I don’t have a whole lot to add! I do like to hear about your family, the funny things that happen, and if that ties into a sponsored post that’s okay. When it becomes all product all the time then that gets old (like 5 Walmart posts in a row? ;)
I personally try to limit the number of products I talk about to one a week because I’m already not posting every day. When I did books it was sometimes two, but mostly because I didn’t control the schedule.
I wish I could find some more sponsor opportunities though. I feel like I’ve been around a long time and have a decent community around me, but I’m not sure a) how to connect with the brands and b) what I might need to be doing differently myself.

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Christine - From Dates to Diapers April 29, 2011 at 4:34 am

Yeah, I hear ya… Sorry about that, but four Walmart posts in a row was better than a way-too-long-nobody-is-gonna-read-it post and I needed to get all that info out there! I’ll try not to let that happen again!

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Christine - From Dates to Diapers April 29, 2011 at 4:38 am

PS – I posted about my family and a couple of funny things that happened today. ;)

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