There are a lot of thoughts relating to blogging that have been bumping around in my head over the last few days. Stimulated by recent experiences and also these two posts which I found really interesting:
Caffeine & Fairydust – How product reviews work on Caffeine & Fairydust
Mama Zombie Mumbles – About Blogging
I’ve been blogging since 2008, that’s a fairly long time in blogging years. And while I, by no means consider myself one of the big bloggers or influencers, I do consider myself an experienced blogger. I’ve honed my craft over the years, I’ve written crappy posts (see the archives from 2008) and blog posts that had no business ever seeing the light of day, let alone the eyes of readers. I’ve made all the blogging mistakes, I’ve over shared, I’ve ranted, I’ve used blog posts as a weapon to cause dissent. Pretty much every mistake a blogger can make, I’ve done and then some. But when you know better, you do better and I have learned from each mistake and been mindful of not making them again.
But as time has gone by and I’ve become more experienced as a blogger, my writing has changed. I’ve matured as a blogger and learned from mistakes (I’m certainly not saying that I won’t make mistakes in my future, I am still learning every day, with every post I write and every post of other bloggers I read).
With those thoughts in mind, I feel it’s time to clarify my stand point on how product reviews will work on The Blessed Barrenness.
The thing is, the theme of my blog has changed over the years, it’s very fluid and I really hope that it continues to grow and change and morph and always be a reflection of who I am at my core, how fluid and changeable my life is. I started out as an infertility blogger, then I was more of an adoption advocate, from there I became more of a mommy blogger and now I like to think that my blog is more of a lifestyle themed blog, encompassing so many aspects of who I am as a person, reflecting the many facets and aspects of my life, whether it’s parenting, adoption, infertility, health, fitness, books, you name it, I like to cover it.
But here’s the thing. Being a “serious” (can I call myself that?) blogger costs money. Yes, it’s my hobby and a passion of mine but it doesn’t come cheap. Over the years I’ve spent thousands of rands on hosting, on upgrading my hosting packages and domain names. I’m undergoing a very exciting re-branding exercise currently that costs a lot of money. I have grown an audience over the last 7 years and it is worth something, to me anyway.
I always want my readers to know that the one aspect of my personality that I honour the most is my integrity!
It is a top ranked quality for me. ALWAYS. Staying true to myself, to me, to what I say, think, do and write regardless of the consequences.
With that in mind, I’ve wanted to share with you how reviews and campaigns work on the Blessed Barrenness and once I’ve formalized it all, I will be incorporating it into the menu of my blog for all to see. I really liked what Maz did over at Caffeine & Fairydust did, and I think in keeping with my ethos of integrity and honesty, I’m going to follow suite.
So here’s how it works:
I do, occasionally, get paid to write a post, in South African Ronds, but most commonly I receive products as a form of payment or in exchange for reviews or campaigns – and these posts will always be tagged as “sponsored by…” This is non negotiable and is very important to me.
I am passionate about supporting charities and I will and do always promote the charities I support – Kitty & Puppy Have, Wetnose & The Grace Factory, to name but a few, for mahala and for free!
Reviews and campaigns are at my discretion and my discretion only. If I do not believe in a product or service or don’t believe the brand is a good fit with the ethos of my blog, I will not do it.
I’m passionate about supporting smaller companies where I believe they offer a valued product or service and am always open to negotiating with them.
My blog always remains my space and I won’t be dictated to on how or what I can share in terms of a review.
My reviews will always be fair and honest. If I dislike a product, I will either NOT review it, or will try to find something positive to go with all the negative – but generally I will avoid this.
I get a lot of emails, offers & blogger drops, most of these never make it into even a draft form on my blog. I’m fussy like that. I turn away a lot of stuff/offers etc because I do not want to lose the essence of what my blog is about… personal stories and accounts. I don’t want to become a slave to the freebie and I certainly don’t want my blog to become a walking copy & paste press release. If that’s how you want to blog, that’s fine, it is personal after all, but it’s not who I am.
For me… Integrity above all else!