It’s Thursday. I’m sitting at my desk, studying for university and answering emails. I’ve been in contact with an agency who wants me to write an article for one of their clients. Happy to work on a new tiny project I start brainstorming, while waiting for the final okay from the agency when this happened …
In the previous emails we have been discussing the conditions – topic of the article, fee and extra performances. I researched the client and thought it would fit in my blog’s content just fine. It would be something that I want to talk about and share with you, guys. The client was in the furniture business and so I suggested a collage with products that I would pick from their online store. Ideas have been popping in my head and I instantly wrote them down, so I won’t forget them.
Then this ring – that means “you’ve got mail” – woke me from my creative trance and I opened the email from the agency. It was a friendly one – about my blog and how much they would appreciate working with me. They repeated the conditions we had been talking about and that they were okay with them – but they have some small extra conditions they have forgotten to mention before: no mark as “sponsored post”, only do-follow-links – if I don’t agree the cooperation will be recalled. First I though it’s a joke and for those who aren’t that into blogging it might seem like I’m totally overreacting. But I’m in the blogging business for quite some time and had the opportunity working with many brands so far, which is a good thing even though some readers think it’s wrong working for specific companies because it clouds one’s judgement – but nobody can doubt that cooperations are what keep blogs all over the world up and running.
Anyway, there are some lines a serious blogger would never cross – if she wants to keep her readers trust and love. The one I’m now referring to now is the “honesty” line. Okay, it’s a delicate one – because who knows its borders? The point is, that you have to have a voice in this world if you want to be successful and the time is over when power can be drawn from family or status – we have to find our own way, all on our own – and this is achieved only be being honest, true to the ones loyal to you, being creative and having the courage choosing the path less traveled by. As bloggers we have built this voice ourself though out writing articles and sharing them with the world. We have the (sometimes frightening) power to show our followers products they don’t need and don’t really want but buy them anyway. To tell our readers that we like the products we are showing them but we wouldn’t have posted them without a company in the background paying for it we mark it with a “sponsored”, “sponsored post” or “in friendly cooperation with xy” tag. I handle it with a “sponsored” label above the title. With this simple tag we give up our power and hand it to our readers so they can decide for themselves if they like what they see and are interested in buying from our clients – we don’t persuade them and this is what develops trust you can’t buy or inherit, you can only earn it with hard and honest work.
When this agency mentioned it’s conditions and I refused to cooperate under these circumstance they only answered that these are the conditions from their client – but as I’ve had many inquiries from this specific agency during the past years I know that it’s not their greedy clients it’s them. Always the same conditions, the same sneaky way of getting bloggers to work with them. As I always see the good in people I gave them one last chance and they screwed up. Obviously they don’t realize that they are damaging their own reputation because girls talk especially in the blogosphere and soon they won’t have any more bloggers to turn to, because we are not depending on them but they are.
I hope one day agencies out there start seeing bloggers and our work as something valuable, even the work from rather small bloggers and start understanding that honesty is what makes us the fastest growing voice in this world and make them rethink their strategy for their own and their client’s sake.