How to balance blog integrity wth business commerciality in today’s blogging world
Big question right? It’s something I’ve been thinking a lot about this year, triggered firstly by an exclusive Q&A I attended in Cannes with Wycleff Jean in June, who discussed the balance he tries to find between originality and pure ideas with the requirement to stay modern and ultimately sell music. And again, further triggered by a conversation with Henry Holland where I asked him his point of view on integrity versus commerciality based on his own experience in the fashion industry. And finally bought on by my own experience of reading blogs, working with bloggers and working with brands myself. The industry is changing, blogging is a business, but staying true to your blogs integrity whilst commercialising your content and product is essential.
Truth be told it’s a topic that’s come to the forefront of my attention based on my own experience of reading blogs, that increasingly seem to be based on 80- 100% paid for content.
Now that’s not to say I don’t enjoy that content, I do, and more than that I’m inspired and impressed by the business savvyness and the success these people have clearly gained. But for me, without that balance, I find myself questioning the integrity of that content. There has to be a balance. And more than that there has to be originality, authenticity, and integrity.
So how do we go about expanding our blogging business, continuing to attract and engage our audiences, all the while staying true to ourselves (because this is ultimately why blogging became a thing in the first place). I have some tips …
THREE TIPS TO HELP YOU BALANCE BLOG INTEGRITY WITH COMMERCIALITY
Of course the prospect of work and payment for doing what you love is hard to deny, but to sustain your success, keep your readership and maintain that blog integrity you have to be selective. Work with brands you adore, only accept projects if it truly does fit your brand, and find the strength to say no when it’s not right. The strength of your blog, your content and your voice will only benefit from this level of brand integrity. It’s how any other brand would work, only associating their equity with the equity of another brand or business with the same values.
Maintain a balance
It’s about balance. We all need to pay rent, buy food and sustain a living. And what we do for brands and businesses deserves remuneration, no doubt about it. But if you’re lucky enough to be getting lots of paid for opportunities, try and organise your schedule so you maintain a balance between sponsored content and free content. Not only will your reader appreciate the mix (and respect and feel proud of your paid projects), but you’ll also maintain that originality of thought and creativity that sometimes a paid for brief can stifle. Just that creative flare with no constraints. In fact this point is something I talked about in detail in my post ‘why you don’t need to quit your career to run a successful Blog business’ … having an outlet without constraint or pressure is key if you’re a creative.
Do it your way
And finally, regardless of whether your content is paid or not, what’s important is that it’s always you, your tone, your style and delivered your way. When you’re true to yourself and your brand the content will feel authentic and genuine regardless of whether or not it’s in collaboration with a partner. The key is never sacrificing yourself for the sake of a commercial deal.
I’d love to know how you balance your blog integrity with the commerciality of your business and content? Are you strict on partners or try to achieve a balance in your schedule? I’d love to know your thoughts on the matter … Especially as a blog reader too!