I've rarely (if ever) shared advice or thoughts on blogging. This is partly because I know that I am still figuring it all out, even after almost two years. But one thing that I do know, and if you read a lot of other advice posts, is that the most important thing to remember is to stay true to yourself. In your topics, writing style and design. The fastest way to burn out with blogging is to feel like you are being something you aren't on your corner of the Internet.
Staying true to yourself extends into the decision of whether or not to write sponsored content or accepting products. If you have been blogging for a while, you have probably received emails from companies, organizations or brands. These can range from writing about them or their new product, hosting a giveaway (sometimes for free) and receiving a product to write a review. The pros and cons of the last option have been debated by bloggers over and over.
I wanted to focus on making the decision to write about a brand for free. The ones who have done their job (or have hired a pr firm who does their job right) will know exactly what you write about and what your niche is. They will address you by name in the email and will reference a recent post you wrote. This is a good sign. The others will send out a mass email to hundreds of bloggers hoping that a few of them will respond. If you are a food blogger who shares her favorite recipes, they will ask you to write about finance and budgeting.I've been contacted to review small business loans (I don't own a shop) and gift packages for men (I'm single).
The main things to consider are:
1. Does the content fit with what you write about? Is it something that you would normally buy or look into in real life?
2. Can you fit it seamlessly into any posts you have in the works? What you want (and ultimately what the brand wants) is coverage that doesn't sound like a used car salesman.
3. Do you want to be told what to write? If you are blogging solely as a hobby and are not looking to make any money off of it, then you have complete control over your content. It gets a little diecy if you want to blog part-time or full-time because then you may jump at every opportunity that presents itself to make money.
The bottom line is to decide ahead of time how you want to handle requests to write content. If it is something you want to do, always consider it on a case by case basis and never feel pressured to tell someone that you don't think it is a good fit. You know yourself and your readers and the last thing you want to do to create a relationship with them is to constantly write content.
Leave your thoughts in the comments section. I would love to hear how you handle these requests.