As blogging continues to take off in Australia so does the question of monetisation become more hotly discussed (just in case you hadn’t noticed!)
Currently the law in Australia does not require that a blogger disclose when they are being paid as part of their work for a brand. That said, I believe the general consensus is that bloggers have a moral obligation to disclose when they have been paid using the words “This is a sponsored post.”
Some brands try to get around this by asking bloggers to do one of the following things
– not disclose at all
– use a different word such as “collaboration” or “partnership”
There is another approach to the sponsored post market, and that is where a business will ask to place a “guest post” on your site – this may or may not be a paid post but it is not written by the author of the blog but by a business owner. I have to say, I think this is a terrible idea! The blogger is the one who knows their readership the best and knows how to deliver content that will be meaningful. Not only does the blogger risk breaching trust with their readers by allowing this content on their site, they aren’t likely to deliver value to the business they are working with. Being paid to blog can be a great opportunity for a blogger, but make sure you never compromise your authenticity or credibility with your audience – if you lose them, more than anything else you will have lost the heartbeat of your blog.
Why It’s Important To Disclose
It may not be illegal for you not to disclose, but it will cause you problems with your readers.
1. Readers can tell if content is sponsored. Many bloggers have even taken to including a disclosure on even non-sponsored posts to say “this isn’t a sponsored post, I just really like the brand”.
2. Many readers don’t mind sponsored content where it’s a really good fit with the blog; what they do mind is being duped.
3. If you damage your relationship with your readers then you will probably feel a bit sad; you will also damage your cred with many amazing brands, who are looking for bloggers who have great integrity and trust with their readers.
4. One of the arguments in favour of sponsored posts is that a brand can’t pay for your words but they can pay for space on your site, and your time crafting and promoting a post on their behalf. If you don’t disclose this argument loses its potency which hurts everyone.
Why Sponsored Posts Are Legitimate
I am not going to go into this in great detail in this post as it’s been covered in the other posts I’ve written on this topic but there is one thing I would like to say. Bloggers who write sponsored posts are not being paid for their words, it’s because I hold this high standard that I also don’t believe that bloggers should have their posts reviewed by the brand before they go live. If a brand or agency takes the time to select the right blogger for the campaign; a blogger with a good track record for integrity and quality brand partnerships, then there should be no need to review a post.
How do you feel about sponsored posts? Would you (have you) ever not-disclosed payment to your readers?