As a soon-to-be-first-time-mom, I frequently peruse blogs written by mothers to provide insight as I look for tips on what brand of diapers to buy, which stroller folds up fastest or whether or not I really need a changing table. As you can imagine, there is no shortage of information on motherhood and childrearing.
Reading blog posts has been very helpful to me as I prepare for the challenge and adventure of motherhood, and I’m so grateful to have so much information literally at my fingertips. I feel that mothers today have an advantage over mothers of the past for the very reason that you can almost instantaneously receive a plethora of answers to questions you may have otherwise had to wait hours or days for.
And while I greatly appreciate the abundance of information, it’s not always that simple. Now that blogging has become a career for many, and because brands and corporations have begun to recognize their value, sifting through and analyzing the information I read has become a bit trickier.
As I read posts touting a specific product, book or toy, the questions that constantly linger tend to be: Are these bloggers sharing their true thoughts, or just ones that will please a sponsor? Are they trying to satisfy a requirement in order to continue receiving free trials and products for their own families, or do they truly stand behind the thoughts and opinions they’re sharing?
That got me thinking about the counsel we at Standing offer our own clients. We often partner with clients to create effective blogger outreach strategies, and one component we always focus on is the importance of transparency in social media – not just for the company, but also for bloggers they align with.
I find that most of the posts I read clearly indicate whether or not the blogger has been perked by a company or whether or not the post reflects their own, independent thoughts unrelated to a request from a sponsor; however, there are those I’ve read that don’t distinguish well between sponsored and unsponsored content that have led me to question the authenticity of the blogger’s opinions.
Maintaining transparency with readers is key to an effective blog strategy. Some tips we offer to our clients as well as the bloggers they work with are listed below.
- If you’re a blogger receiving a free gift or money from a company, it’s vital to share that information with your readers. Remember Walmart’s attempt at portraying a couple’s RV trip across America as genuine?
- Consider dedicating a page on the blog to sponsored posts so it’s easy for readers to discern which ones are or are not sponsored.
- Remember that whatever is posted affects the credibility of the blogger and the company. If a blogger is going to promote a product, make sure he/she believes in it and would sincerely recommend it.
- Include a disclaimer noting that the post is sponsored or a free (insert whatever product or service was given) was received in turn for posting about it.
- Most importantly, always be honest.
How about you? Do you generally trust bloggers’ opinions, or are you skeptical? What, in your mind, makes a blogger believable or not?