My crazy family- by Tim
I've been meaning to publish this post for quite some time.
Weeks ago I asked you how you felt about seeing Courtesy Of's (c/o) and Sponsored Posts on blogs. Most of you suggested that while it wasn't your favourite part of the blogs you read, you would't stop reading because of them.
For a little while now I've been lucky enough to find the occasional parcel on my door step from small brands and PR companies. It's a really nice treat and one I'd suggest i'm rather undeserving of.
In the past I've added links to those products in posts without declaring that the goods were gifted to me. I never really thought too much of it to be honest, I didn't even consider that it may have been deceptive. It was out of gratitude, not obligation that I shared the goodies. In more recent times, I've changed my views.
Lately, 'gifts' have been arriving with more frequency and I've had to make a decision about my approach. This decision is largely based on you, the people who generously visit this silly little blog on a regular basis.
I've given it much thought and consideration over the past month or so and have had some fabulous email conversations with some lovely people that have helped refine my views. Some were critical (and yes, still totally lovely) and some were encouraging. Most importantly, all were willing to engage in dialogue and that's something I really value.
I decided that I would move forward in 'working with brands'* and continue to accept great stuff for free. I also decided that I would write 'sponsored posts' for people/brands I'm interested in and hope that they would be of interest to you too. I made these decisions based on a number of factors including my desire to have nice things that I can't necessarily afford. But more so, I concluded that if I could alleviate some of our financial pressures (baby number 3 on the way and over 4 years on a single income isn't easy) by writing the odd post for money, that it would be a positive thing for my family, and my family is always my first priority.
Additionally, behind most of the brands I've promoted are real people. Typically stay-at-home-mum-trying-to-earn-some-coin people. Mostly people that I really like and am eager to support like Em from Little Tienda, Pip from Fillyboo, Tess from DTLL, Sally from Fawn and Fox and Alison from Bayside Vintage. My prices are teeny tiny and most certainly aren't aimed at big business ( and they do not line my pockets with wads of cash!)
Yes, IKEA have sent me some things before; yes I love it when they do. No, it is not run by a stay at home mum but I do genuinely like IKEA and am a regular customer. I would write about their stuff even if they didn't give it to me (don't tell them that). Other large brands have also sent product my way, brands who's ideals don't align with mine but you wouldn't know about it because I don't share them here.
I will be completely upfront and honest about sponsored content. If something is given to me by a brand, you'll know about it. It will have a c/o and a link back. Not because i'm a total wanker and I want you to think i'm awesome for getting free stuff, more because I think you are highly intelligent and deserve to know when something is being promoted.
If I am writing a sponsored post, it will be labeled as such at the top of the page.
I really love writing this blog, thats why I do it. As a stay at home mum, it's given me a connection to an amazing community that I wouldn't have had otherwise. You, my friends, have provided me with words of wisdom, encouragement and support during some of my darkest days as a mother. I've written openly about my struggles with my spirited child, my experience with postnatal depression and the hum drum monotony of being a house wife. You've also patted me on the back when things are going brilliantly. In the future, you might even congratulate me on the birth of a little baby boy or girl.
For now, i'll keep going in the same way I have been for the past 18 months- to write daily about our daily life. Sometimes amongst that, you'll see 'sponsored post' at the top of a page- it'll still be me though. My thoughts, my words, my ideas. My blog.
As always, I welcome your thoughts on this. Feel free to share your ideas openly and under your real name.
* wanker alert
There is so much more I could say here on this issue, like my thoughts on consumerism and being apart of the 'machine' that drives people to spend money on unnecessary stuff that they don't need and that truly won't make them happy. This is something that makes me uncomfortable and something I am conscious of in my own spending/consuming life- i hope in being selective (working with cottage brands and other mums) in products/ brands that i'm promoting AND being completely overt in doing so that I aleviate any confusion in what i'm doing.
EDIT- I received an email reminding me that I neglected to address one little issue in this mammoth post- that being 'how this free stuff actually finds it's way to my door step'. In the past I used to contact brands that I loved regularly asking them if they'd be interested in being featured on The Beetle Shack. It's amazing how many people are willing to send things to bloggers in exchange for free promotion- try it (i'm happy to write more about my approach if you're interested)! These days, I find myself contacting brands much less frequently- I would never ask for 'cash' payment from a brand I had approached. So any content that is 'sponsored' is because a brand/individual has contacted me asking for a feature post, we then talk payment. Often, crazily enough, products so simply 'turn up' on my door step accompanied by a press release. If you'd like to learn more about how I approach brands, feel free to emial me, or maybe i'll pull a post together in the future. Please be aware, 'free stuff' has not always just arrived without me having to ask for it.