The folks at BlogFrog, one of the many influencer networks I work with, have asked me to tell my readers why I choose to participate in sponsored conversations and work with brands. I thought it was a wonderful opportunity to let you know my philosophy behind why I post what I post, so here it goes.
I’d been out of the work force for over four years when I started my now defunct mommy blog, followed shortly after by This Mama Cooks! Blogging was a way to start writing as a way to get back into corporate marketing communications and copywriting. I did freelance copywriting for awhile, but it was the blogging that took off for me financially, first with a paid blogging gig with ClubMom, then with reviews, advertising, product reviews, brand ambassadorships, community moderation, and sponsored posting. (You can learn about how I evolved as a blogger here and more about the work I’ve done in the past and currently do here.)
Blogging was always about getting back to work, but instead finding a corporate job, the work came to me as a freelancer. Social media consulting along with publishing This Mama Cooks! On a Diet is a full time job, even when I take time off in the afternoons to take a nap or run errands. I’m lucky to have the flexibility to do so, even if it means that I’m working on weekends, holidays, and late into the evening after the kids are in bed. It’s also been wonderful to be able to work at home around my family’s schedule, and to have a job that came with me cross country when I moved from Colorado to Georgia.
However, it’s not all about the money. Blogging is also about using my skills as a writer, being creative, and sharing my passions for good food and a healthy lifestyle. In addition, I’ve had amazing opportunities to travel, to go behind the scenes at major companies, and to visit farms and factories. And I’ve done this while meeting wonderful people and making lifelong friends. I’m truly blessed.
Why I choose to work with BlogFrog and other influencer networks
I work with BlogFrog for many reasons. First, it was because their founders, Holly and Rustin, are very supportive of the blogging community. You can always find them at blogging conferences either as sponsors or participants. Second, I know Holly from Colorado blogging events and I’m always happy to support a local company. Third, I like their community based platform. It’s enabled bloggers to grow community and provide a forum for discussion on their blogs. Fourth, I like their clients, like Udi’s Gluten Free and Wholly Guacamole, and are proud to work with them. Finally, I like that they pay bloggers what they’re worth for their time and efforts.
I’ve worked with many other publisher/influencer networks over the years. Bottom line, I stay with the ones that have quality sites and clients, offer paying opportunities, and pay well.
How I choose who to work with
I’m very passionate about a lot of brands and products, but not all of them are good fits for This Mama Cooks! On a Diet. For example, I’ve been invited to Detroit several times by GM. I’m sure the trip would have been interesting, but I had to turn them down since I don’t write about cars. However, there are occasions where I get creative and try to find a food or health angle, like my Cooking beignets with Princess and the Frog and a healthy Cajun recipe roundup post. Obviously, it was to promote a Disney movie. (One that I adored, by the way.) Of course, beignets aren’t healthy, but they’re a wonderful indulgence and I balanced it out with some healthy recipes.
When I’m approached by BlogFrog, another network, a brand or a PR agency, I look for several things:
- Is the subject food or health related?
- Is it of interest to me and my readers?
- Is it from a reputable company?
- Is the compensation appropriate?
Then I do a gut check. If I get a funny feeling in my tummy (seriously, there is a physical reaction) I won’t take the gig. If I don’t like the company, wouldn’t want to be associated with them, or think it’s a boring topic, forget about it!
Let’s talk about compensation
Blogging is my business, whether it’s being paid to talk at the US Personal Chef Conference, to help a local business get set up on Facebook, or to provide information on this blog. I understand that some people don’t like ads, don’t like sponsored content because it’s too commercial, and find the monetization of blogs a turn off. However, good luck finding an ad free magazine, newspaper, TV show, movie, or online site to entertain you. Or a local music venue that doesn’t require a cover charge or an museum that doesn’t require you to pay admission (or isn’t using tax payer money to subsidize free days). I’m not doing anything different than other media outlets or entertainment venues. Yet if it still bothers you, feel free to stop reading and move on. That’s your right as a consumer.
So how does compensation affect what reviews and sponsored content I’ll accept? Well, if the brand, agency or network is asking me to do a million things and are only paying peanuts, forget about it. My time is valuable, after all. If the product is crap, but they’re paying me a lot of money, I won’t take the opportunity. Why? Because that affects my integrity and reputation with you, my reader. Also, sponsored posts are identified and I have a Disclosure Statement policy that I encourage you to read as well.
There are times I’ll do things for free such as writing about good causes and charities or news that I feel is of importance, such as what Consumer Reports had to say about organic food. Or I’ll post a recipe, a Wordless Wednesday photo, or a personal experience just because I feel like doing so as long as it fits in with the theme of this blog and if I feel it’s of interest to YOU!
That being said, I reserve the right to expand the coverage of this blog. For many years, This Mama Cooks! was food related and very general. Then with a slight name change to This Mama Cooks! On a Diet, I started writing about weight loss and exercise. Almost two years ago, I expanded my coverage to include anything health related from dental hygiene and braces to puberty and skin care. My newest expansion will be travel, but with a food and healthy focus in mind, so stay tuned.
Thanks for taking time to read why I participate in sponsored conversations and work with brands. I’d love to get some feedback on what I wrote in the discussion section below.
More about BlogFrog’s Influencer Circle:
As a part of the BlogFrog Influencer Circle, I have the chance to create meaningful, authentic content for brands I love. If you’re a blogger interested in new opportunities, join BlogFrog’s Influencer Circle and check out some of the top brands already working with BlogFrog.
If you’re a brand looking to work with online influencers, learn more about BlogFrog’s Brand Solutions here.
BlogFrog. The opinions and text are all mine.
Disclosure: This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of