Blogging has become a serious business. As the awareness of bloggers and blogging has crept evermore into the public conciousness, the expectations have risen to ever higher standards, including when it comes to advertising. Although I still see my own blog as very much a hobby and do not plan to monetise it, I do attend blogger events and promotions and occasionally receive samples to review, so understanding the legalities around sponsorship and disclosure is important. With the ASA (Advertising Standards Agency) now cracking down on companies and brands who have been flouting their rules (accidentally or knowingly) and readers becoming more aware of the situation, it’s crucial to know where you stand.
So thank goodness for #BlogClub! The June meetup was all about discussing the ins and outs of paid links and disclosure. Sophie from Saints on a Plane led the discussion and had even prepared a handy resource to refer to covering the basics. I’m not going to go into to much detail here as even the basics are a little complicated, but do go and check out Sophie’s post on the subject here if you are interested. It hits the key points about deciding what sponsorship to accept, and how to disclose it properly as well as useful links.
For me, the most important aspect of the whole debate is transparency and trust. Some bloggers seem nervous of declaring when a post or video is sponsored as they think it will discredit their opinion, but actually I think the opposite is true. The more transparent a blogger is, the more I will trust them, including what they say about a sponsored subject. I have a few beauty bloggers who I follow and trust their opinion 100% as I know they are always honest with it. They do have sponsored content, but as this is clearly declared, I can make up my own mind knowing this. I know this is the same for many other blog readers – transparency breeds trust.
We were hosted for the evening by Bath & Unwind, a local Bristol company with an awesome office (fully stocked bar and all). I had actually never heard of them before so it was really nice to discover a new company. Bath & Unwind are an online luxury beauty store with a carefully curated line of products from well known brands (such as OPI, Ren and Bumble & Bumble) alongside lesser known brands (Tokyo Milk, Phyto and A’kin). They were really sweet and made sure we had plenty of cupcakes, beer and snacks to keep the conversation flowing. We were also all kindly gifted a product from their range – I received this Aroma Works body cream which smells and feels amazing.
The next Blog Club will be on the 11th August in Bristol and will be discussing how brands can work with bloggers – I’m sure we all have a few ideas on that! You can sign up to attend via Eventbrite here.