It’s funny. When I started this blog back in June of 2010, I had visions of becoming one of the “big” bloggers. I don’t really know what I thought that meant. Except, of course, people far and wide would be touched by my words, my favorite brands would invite me to extravagant events just to be in my presence, and world-renowned sites would throw wads of cash my way to write whatever moved me.
It turns out, that’s not how it works. (At least not for me…or virtually any other blogger I know.) Goodness knows, I’ve had amazing fortune thanks to each of you. You read, you share, you comment, you engage, and you help bring great value to this blog and this community. I really couldn’t have asked for more loyal, insightful, fun readers. (In case you missed this, the long thank you is here.)
When it comes to making money as a blogger, well, things aren’t quite as warm and fuzzy. A couple years ago, I remember being thrilled to get my first “pitch” email — which included a free Jamba Juice coupon (can you imagine working for a year and feeling like that was your first windfall?). Now I get about 25-40 emails a day. While that sounds like I must be uber important, the fact of the matter is, most people want bloggers to write about their brand, product, or event for free. I can appreciate that many people see bloggers as traditional media, but the difference is, the NY Times (or even the Palo Alto Weekly) isn’t paying me a salary to cover stories. And those fancy ads on the sidebar? I’m pretty sure the IRS would laugh if I declared them as income. No, I personally pay all the costs of running my blog — web hosting, web support, child care, etc.
But lately? Well, I’ve been getting some pretty wonderful opportunities. I’m working with brands I adore like Leap Frog. I’m participating in campaigns to support causes that are near and dear to my heart like Office Depot’s REAL Change program. I’m flying to cool places to get the inside scoop on companies like Club Penguin. And in the next few weeks, I’ll be writing about some other brands I love.
This is a shift. I really haven’t done many of these sponsored posts through the years. But I’m trying it. For a few reasons. One, because I’m finally hearing from brands that I truly love, use, and feel good partnering with. Two, because it allows me to make a bit of money (and who doesn’t love that). And three, because many of the opportunities are allowing me to do cool things for you — whether it’s sharing a tidbit that makes your day a bit easier/more fun/more meaningful, or hosting a giveaway that will make your family a bit more sane.
I value you, I value this blog, and now I’m trying to value myself. To give it a go when a sponsorship opportunity seems like a natural fit.
And here’s my promise. I won’t sacrifice the integrity of my writing for any sponsored opportunity. I’ll always look for the angle that’s meaningful and/or fun. Using Our Words is my personal brand, and it means a lot to me. If something ever feels out of place to you, call me on it. Because without you, where would I be?
Thanks for hearing me out, growing with me, and trying new things. As always, I’ll be transparent, and I hope you’ll continue to enjoy everything you read here at Using Our Words. (Well, almost everything, at least.)