Transparency in Blogging

Transparency in Blogging | Ethics

The past few months of whirlwind crazy life have also been a good time of reflection for all things related to this blog. I'm fortunate to be a part of an awesome group called Ethical Writers Co. and lately we've been having lots of excellent discussions about transparency and fairness for bloggers! We've been exploring the value of what we do and how to balance the need to be compensated for our work while also promoting thoughtful living. Blogging is a strange space. With bloggers that have millions of followers and make millions (no joke) of dollars blogging, the game has changed so much. Gone are the days when blogging was simply an online diary (although I still really enjoy some blogs that are just that). Todays blogs and bloggers are platforms for original content as well as a space for brands of all sizes to share product with new audiences. The business of blogging is quite a complicated one. And it becomes even more complicated for bloggers in the thoughtful marketplace.  The past two months I've been thinking a lot about the brands I promote on this blog through collaboration and review and how I can do that in a way that feels like I'm using transparency and integrity but also not getting burnt out. I don't blog for a living and therefore have a lot of flexibility but I also feel there's a need for solidarity among bloggers to create safety for people who do write for a living and just to protect the integrity of the thoughtful blogosphere as a whole. Since we are all about transparency and sharing our journey, we want you to know what's going on behind the scenes at Let's Be Fair. Here are some changes you can expect to see around here this year!

  • Fewer, but better quality giveaways. I am only going to agree to giveaways for items I'd actually want to own and find valuable!
  • Greater focus on reasonably priced goods. Just because it's ethical doesn't mean it needs to cost a fortune. It's frustrating trying to do this lifestyle and feeling like you need to make six figures to do so. I believe (and want to convince you!) that thoughtful living can happen on any budget! 
  • Affiliate Marketing. Sometimes I will share an item that I love and if you buy it then I get a percentage of the sale (usually 7-8%). This little bit of money (and I really mean a little) helps keep our blog running. I think affiliate marketing helps keep bloggers honest by promoting things we genuinely love instead feeling a need to hype product they don't actually like just because someone paid them too!
  • Paid promotions. We are experiment with offering 'sponsored' space. Until now the only thing we've ever charged for on our blog are the side bar advertisements. However, every now and then we get a pitch we think our readers would be interested in that might not quite fit with anything we are currently working on. We are going to offer brands the option of promoting these types of posts for a fee. I tell you this in a spirit of transparency. It is likely that the overwhelming majority of blogs you read are doing this as well (and hopefully they're being transparent about it too!)  Sponsored posts will always be clearly noted at the top of the post. Also we are only going to offer this option six times a year because we don't want our blog to turn into a giant paid advertisement. Not because there is anything wrong with it as long as you're being honest about it, but I just don't personally enjoy reading blogs that have too much sponsored content and I want to keep some boundaries on it. Once we start these posts we'd appreciate your feedback! If you hate it, we'll ditch it. 
  • We are starting a series called "In Real Life". I realized that there are so many products we use in our home that we've never shared about on our blog! These will not be guised advertisements or reviews. They will be simple posts featuring products we actually use and love for our family. We are excited to share a little glimpse into our real life with you!

What about you?! Do you blog? If so how do you find a balance between transparency and being compensated for your work? Anything you want to see more or less of on LBF? We really value your opinion and want to hear from you! Thank you for sticking with us!

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