Wednesday, July 23, 2014

no more ads: how sponsorships made me hate blogging.


I was thrilled when I realized Mr. Thomas and Me had an audience and, in having one, we could begin offering sponsorships. In doing so, I would be taking a step to being bigger, better, more blogger-ful. Everyone's doing it, I told myself. So, I started. I created spaces, fees, perks and the like. Everyone's enjoying themselves, I noticed, surely I will too.

Except I didn't.

Offering sponsorship meant seeing the sweet souls who'd invested their money in our space, my dedication to grow them, my promise to provide exposure. I wanted to do everything better than good, the best. I wanted to know I was pushing readers in their direction, creating new conversations and audiences in their inbox. But I couldn't measure it all. I couldn't hack being more dedicated to my advertisers than to my writing wants, whims, and needs.

Be it me, the readers, or them: I felt bad.

Over the last year, I've bought twenty different ads on twenty different blogs with twenty different promises. Throughout that time I've found what I love, what works for my space, what success looks like and what feels like a failed partnership. Feeling success and failure as a sponsor, I grew a sponsee (is that what it's called?) complex. A complex that said better, faster, stronger. Offer more, more, most. And, so began the process of never enough.

More, more, most. Further, farther, farthest.  

I dreaded the organization of it all -tracking who got their welcome email, who needed a thank you for purchasing email, what this month's grateful for you buying, come back soon code would be. I was exhausted trying to track who was in line for social media mentions, when I was going to get the interview questions back, how often was too often to share a new sponsor. I worried about my output -how many posts per week, what if my content takes a summer-time dive, can I just take a week off for goodness sake?!?

The light flickers on: it is me, I hate it.

But everyone else is having fun, so what's wrong with me? I felt weird like I couldn't, shouldn't say no more. I felt guilty stepping out of the game when it felt like I had just stepped in. I didn't want to spend my hard-earned sponsor money on ad space, I wanted to spend it on me. I felt forced to write, to keep in my niche, to shy away from this or that in the name of brand and continuity. I found myself more concerned about the advertisers than my readers.

Turns out I'm a writer (sort of a blogger), not an investment. 

And the fun returned. Late May I said goodbye to my last sponsor spot and hello to freedom here. And for June, I didn't worry once about who I needed to plug, where I needed to shout out, how my writing would lead to other's spaces. The removal of pressure reminded me that I blog for my love of words and inspiration and people, not for love of money or numbers or the masses.

Moral of the story: do you. 

Whatever that means for ads, for sponsoring, for your space. Anything otherwise isn't fair to you, to your readers, to your inspiration. Growing up my Mama said, "If everyone else ran around the block naked, would you?" The answer: no.
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ALSO, tomorrow, Thursday, July 24, Juliette and I are going to be hosting a little link-up.
Mr. Thomas & Me

We're talking bodies and confidence and self-esteem. We're talking weight and frustration and exercise routine. Basically, we're talking anything that's got to do with your hot bod. So, steal that button and join us because it's Humpday and you know you're short on post ideas and all those things.

49 comments:

  1. I started reading blogs long before I started one myself. I loved the slice of life I got from the blogs I read - how women my age had husbands and children before I was even engaged, what their homes were like (pre-Pinterest), how they spent their free time, products they raved about simply because they loved them. I started a blog and realized it just isn't that easy anymore. Opinions are shared because something was received for free, twitter recs aren't always genuine, and those sidebars that used to hold friends are now commodities that change every month. I guess I'm simple, but I much prefer some writing from a blogger every so often rather than five posts a week that are completely forced with lists and links and gifs. I support "doing you;" I guess I need to just find more bloggers whose version of themselves is a little bit simpler. I love that you've gone back to the basics!

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  2. I could never do sponsorships because I honestly don't spend that much time on social media in the first place. I would hate having to schedule tweets and promotions. I barely even tweet about my own blog. Plus, like you, I blog because I enjoy writing -- and I don't want something to take away from that focus.


    blakeseverydayadventures.com

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  3. Southern Komfort BlogJuly 23, 2014 at 5:38 AM

    I love that you're back to square one and enjoying it! I've wrestled with that thought: Should I provide sponsorships? My answer: no. Simply because I know that I will lose my whole focus on why I started blogging. You go girl!

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  4. Yes. To all of this. I tried the sponsorship thing, too and hated it. It was too much to keep up with and I wasn't forming authentic relationships. It all felt very....fake. Glad to see you're a lady of integrity and you're staying true to your craft :)

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  5. You already know how I feel about it! I have toyed around with the idea of offering sponsorships again, but I just haven't been able to bring myself to do it yet. If I ever do get around to it, it will be much more different than the first time around.

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  6. I loooove that you shared this; mostly because I'm really, really tired of seeing sponsors push push push bloggers I've never seen them speaking to or working with. Especially when something bad then happens with that blogger and then people are deleting posts, talking badly and etc. Wasn't it a week ago that you were promoting them? It just feels fake to me, which is why I haven't offered sponsorships and have stopped purchasing them. Big hugs!

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  7. I've loved you and this precious space through it all - can't wait to read tomorrow too (VERY interesting topic!) x

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  8. This is great! I've chosen to only accept sponsors who are in line with what I want my space to be and have the disclaimer that I will turn some people down. Which I have had to do. But I really respect those who don't offer sponsorship because of their own blog space and what they want it to be! Every blogger has a different system and that's ok--that's great, even! If sponsorships don't feel right for you, don't do it. If they do, awesome. Love your take on it!

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  9. I can't even imagine how hard it is to keep track of sponsorships. I can see where it can take away the enjoyment and I tip my hat to you for boldly stepping down from something when you knew it just wasn't right.

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  10. Man, this is so spot on! I can barely handle posting regularly, responding to comments, and reading other blogs that I can't imagine throwing another thing on top of it right now. Thanks for being honest! Hope you're having a great day!

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  11. I worry about this when and if the time comes that I am fortunate enough to have people that would invest in my blog. I really appreciate you being candid about this topic, and letting people know it is OK not to offer sponsorships. In the end, it is about writing, not about sponsors.

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  12. Love your honesty, as always. I jumped into sponsorships too soon, too new onto blogging, and yeah, ive made a little money, but im certainly not GOOD at sponsorships. Im thinking of stepping back, sticking to one option maybe. Ive got some major blogger burnout to work through right now, worrying about sponsorships is not helping.

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  13. i feel you. i got incredibly overwhelmed when i was taking sponsors. and the twitter mentions were starting to just not be genuine. like ok i have to pimp this person because they paid me to but i really don't like this post... it was just too much all around. now i only offer a sidebar spot. nothing comes with it. so it's cheap and simple and i don't have to do anything "fake". i have a hard enough time replying to comments or keeping up with my favorite blogs, so feeling like i was forced to find time to read a blog i didn't really enjoy just because they paid me, didn't seem right. i got over it fast!

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  14. I did sponsorships for a while but I didn't enjoy doing it either. It felt so forced for me too. I love the idea of helping others grow their blogs and vice versa. I want to do it on my terms though now. If I shout out a post I want it to be because I personally was moved by it or it made me laugh etc. but not because I someone paid me so I have to. I just wanted a more genuine experience. :)

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  15. I love this post. I don't have the audience to do sponsorship's but I don't think I would even if I did. I don't ever read guest posts unless I already read that blogger - for example, if Juliette wrote a post for your blog, I'd read it, but if I didn't know the guest posters blog already, I wouldn't read it. Backwards I know. I like best when someone tweets about someone else's blog post because they genuinely enjoyed it and thought their followers might as well. I feel like it's more genuine and there's no pressure behind it. Way to 'do you'!

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  16. YES. I think 100% people are always talking about how to bring back the love of blogging -- here's a clue, drop sponsorships! I have never offered sponsorships, although I have bought them, and I do have an ad swap thing set up on passionfruit just so I can get my button out there a little bit, but there is no responsibility attached to it. I definitely get people that want to use blogging as a little business and for them that is OK, but when you start a blog just to write and post pictures and capture this moment in your life (and make friends along the way!) when you add the other stuff in that takes over and you lose track of what matters. I would be much happier to see bloggers plug bloggers who they really like, not someone who paid for a spot and it's a forced "love this girl, you won't regret it!"

    i think this was a babbling comment but I just wanted to say I love this and I think it's the first time I've ever read a post where a blogger has stopped accepting sponsors . . . and too many blogs have gone from being a daily read for me to a sometimes I'll check it out on the weekend if there's nothing new in my reader because all they do is promote sponsors / write lists and that's OK every once in a whle, but at the end of the day that's not why I read blogs.

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  17. This is exactly how I've been feeling.
    I think that its long overdue to sit down and re-evaluate where I'm at.
    Thank you, for bringing some clarity to the feelings that I couldn't quite nail down on my own.

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  18. I have been noticing this as a trend. At least a dozen bloggers I have seen recently who have decided to scrape sponsorships and go back to just writing. I think writing is more authentic when you are writing for your own enjoyment and not to fulfill obligations of others.

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  19. I tried sponsorships for a while and while I loved working with the bloggers who signed up, sponsorships ultimately aren't for me. However, in addition to putting a strain on how MY blog, the hit-and-miss luck I've had with sponsoring other bloggers have kind of made me hate some of them and their blogs. Whiiiiiich kind of sucks, because clearly it's not like I would sponsor a blog I don't like. But when you mix money and expectations with an online friendship (or at least respect) and it falls flat, then... well, it is just kind of crappy all around.

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  22. I love this post & am so grateful you opened up. It is something I have been considering myself, but the very thing you went through has been my quiet fear. Thank you for putting this into words.

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  23. i have a miracle testimony to share with everyone, is the only lord who could ever get my HIV cured with his healing prophet saibaba who prayed for me, I have tried almost everything but I couldn’t find any solution on my disease, despite all these happening to me, I always spend a lot to buy a HIV drugs from hospital and taking some several medications but no relieve, until one day I was just browsing on the internet when I come across a great post of! jessy! who truly said that she was having a relationship problem with her husband which will lead to divorce and after the prophet prayed the marriage was settled, sometime I really wonder why people called him prophet saibaba I never knew it was all because of the great and perfect work that he has been doing that is causing all this. so I quickly contacted him, and he ask me some few questions and he said a thing I will never forget that anyone who contacted him is! always getting his or her healing in just believing and have faith after doing all he ask you, so I was amazed all the time I heard that from him, so I did all things only to see that i should do, all the strength that has left me before rush back and I becomes very strong and healthy, this disease almost kills my life all because of me, so I went to hospital to give the final test to the disease and the doctor said I am HIV negative, I am very amazed and happy about the healing from the lord through prophet saibaba gave to me, you can email him now for your own healing too at templesaibaba@yahoo.com




    ,.

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  24. I tried doing sponsorships because I had to quick. Promoting myself is hard enough- it's just not a natural thing for me- so I don't know why I thought I would want to do it for others. It's a lot to keep together and I just don't have the time to keep up with it all. And in the end, I felt bad about it, so I stopped offering them, and I haven't looked back since. It's been the best thing I've done for my blog, and I just write when I feel like posting something.

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  25. Simple. YES. I feel like simple might be what's best for my content and for my blog... The more complicated things get, the more forced things feel for me and that makes it hard for me to maintain my creativity. I love to share a good post or idea that really inspired me, but I don't want to feel like I'm doing so simply because of money or other goods that might be sent my way. :)

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  26. Girl it's so important to know your limits and boundaries. I guess I needed to test the waters before I knew how I'd feel in the whole sponsorship arena... I've always been the kind of girl who learns by making mistakes her own way! :)

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  27. It's so tricky girl. So tricky, because the opportunities do seem cool when others are enjoying their perks and such, but it's just something that doesn't feel or come natural to me... I guess that's why I work in billing and not in sales! :)

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  28. It's exhausting right? You want things to feel authentic and honest between you and your sponsor and your reader but then when it's not that can overshadow any and all that is good or inspiring... And that inspiration thing is what got me interested in blogging in the first place!

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  29. Sometimes I have the thought that I should try it again, then I remember how stressed I'd feel about putting out content that is in alignment with their content rather than with my life. That isn't fair to me, I've realized, so no thanks... But remind me when it all crosses my mind over again! :)

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  30. Girl, you've been the reader I've had the longest. Since day 0. And, well, I cherish you dearly for that.

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  31. At first I didn't realize when those bonds felt fake between bloggers because, well, I'm oblivious. But I've become much more aware of it lately and it makes me sad that people feel like they've got to force those bonds or connections. :) XO to you boo.

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  32. "when you mix money and expectations with an online friendship (or at least respect) and it falls flat, then... well, it is just kind of crappy all around." --> Exactly that. Exactly, precisely, perfectly that.


    It IS so fun to work with other bloggers.. In fact, I still sponsor other blogs that I REALLY love/enjoy/am inspired by, because I love the collaboration, BUT I don't miss the pressure of the money and expectations that are invested in and expected of me. :)

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  33. I think it comes in waves of loving then hating, fun then not. And, well, I'm thankful that readers are such a wonderful community that can be supportive and understanding and engaged with the learning process that's writing online. :)

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  34. Oh course Paige! It's not all bad, definitely not all bad, but it just wasn't a good fit for my blog and my life and my time. So, I guess sharing how it just didn't work for me could open up conversations and thoughts for other bloggers is exactly what this space is meant for! :)

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  35. While you're sitting down and re-evaluating can you just take 5498401360154 pictures of how adorable you are with that bump for me because never can have too many.

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  36. Girl, you go. I was never good at turning anyone down... And that was part of the problem. If I'm going to partake in the sponsorship game, I've got to be bold and brave enough to say sorry your message and mine don't go. I still love to sponsor blogs (something I just can't seem to stop doing) that inspire me and encourage me and who's writing just warms my soul. :)

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  37. I've seen bloggers who do it AMAZINGLY. I just am not one of them... Well, not one of those bloggers who wishes to go and track all those little details. I had to learn it through jumping in and realizing the water was WAY TOO HOT for my liking. ;)

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  38. Oh Kari, yes! I mean, OBVIOUSLY, I'm struggling with the responding to comments in a timely way which TOTALLY illustrates how not into/not good at the sponsorship thing I just so happen to be! :)

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  39. You'll just know. I know it sounds trite and stupid, but if you decide to jump into it you'll be able to tell if you love it or not in the first few months. The good news is about blogging is you get to use it to as a documentation through your learning process and, well, sponsorship is part of that learning! :)

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  40. Oh Twitter mentions. Don't even MENTION it. :) I was struggling with all the pimping and shizz because, oh my soul, life happens and I don't want to worry about all the blogging things I need to get to after having fun.

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  41. The moment you get burned out on writing, sponsorships compound it. Oh girl how I hear you. I realized that I'd have an idea that I wanted to write about, but then I wouldn't because I didn't know how to connect with that one blog that I really needed to plug this week... So then, I'd write nothing! :)

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  42. I completely agree with you about guest posts! I will easily go and read something from someone that I love, but when it's someone that I'm ehhhh about or don't know I usually just can't force myself through the whole reading thing. Terrible: yes, but honest. :)

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  43. I am honestly genuinely impressed by bloggers who run their space as a business whether I'm a fan of their writing or not. It amazes me the way they track everything and manage their creativity with honoring their sponsors. I mean, amazing. I've realized that the community is what makes me love blogging, the way we all learn together, process together, and share together, and for me, sponsorships don't accentuate those things so it's been vital to step back and reevaluate.

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  44. My name is Olive Perry from USA After being in relationship with smith for seven years,he broke up with me, I did everything possible to bring him back but all was in vain, I wanted him back so much because of the love I have for him, I begged him with everything, I made promises but he refused. I explained my problem to someone online and she suggested that I should rather contact a PROPHET harry that could help me pray to bring him back but I am the type that never believed in prayers, I had no choice than to try it, I mailed the Prophet harry email prophetharryprayerhome@yahoo.com, and he told me there was no problem that everything will be okay before two days, that my ex will return to me before two days, he pray for me and surprisingly in the second day, it was around 4pm. My ex called me, I was so surprised, I answered the call and all he said was that he was so sorry for everything that happened, that he wanted me to return to him, that he loves me so much. I was so happy and went to him, that was how we started living together happily again. Since then, I have made promise that anybody I know that have a relationship problem, I would be of help to such person by reffering him or her to the only real and powerful Prophet who helped me with my own problem and who is different from all the fake ones out there. Anybody could need the help of the spell caster, his email prophetharryprayerhome@yahoo.com) you can email him if you need his assistance in your relationship or anything.

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  45. Great post! I've thought about starting sponsorships and then not and back and forth. I suppose it's all what your goal is in blogging. Thanks for this post!

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  46. I'm so glad I found this post! I'm fairly new to blogging, but I see these sponsorships everywhere and I kind of just don't get it. I spend so much time already working on my writing, I don't know how people manage to organize and maintain a sponsorship program on top of it. I am just not of the right personality to manage such a thing!

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  47. My name is Linda Wilson from Canada My boyfriend and I were happy as far as I could tell and I never thought that we would break up. When his cousin died in a tragic car accident he went back to London for a week to be with his family. I could not go because I was in the middle of entertaining out of town clients for work. He did not seem to be upset that I could not go so I let him be. The next thing that I know, he reconnected with an old friend from high school that he had a crush on years ago and they started to have an affair! I had no clue what was going on until a month after he came back from London.He proceeded to see both her and I until I caught him testing her one night. I confronted him and he told me the truth about what happened. We broke up and went our separate ways. Neither of us fought for our relationship. I was angry and decided not to be upset about it and just keep it moving. Then after about a month of not speaking to him I became sad. I wanted him to tell me that he wanted to be with me and not her. I contacted {Prophet AMEDE} for a love spell prayers and he totally helped me! he was able to get him to miss me to where he wanted to get back together again. He had a lot of regrets and felt bad for not fighting to keep me and for cheating in general. He values our relationship so much more now and we are together now! You can also get your lover back with the help of {Prophet AMEDE} contact him through his phone number +234-813-264-2680 or email: amedehealingtemple@yahoo.com

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  48. I am shannon by name. Greetings to every one that is reading this testimony. I have been rejected by my husband after three(3) years of marriage just because another woman had a spell on him and he left me and the kid to suffer. one day when i was reading through the web, i saw a post on how this spell caster on this address aisabulovespell@gmail.com , have help a woman to get back her husband and i gave him a reply to his address and he told me that a woman had a spell on my husband and he told me that he will help me and after 3 days that i will have my husband back. i believed him and today i am glad to let you all know that this spell caster have the power to bring lovers back. because i am now happy with my husband. Thanks for Dr.Aisabu. His email: aisabulovespell@gmail.com.

    ...

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