Blogging and all its glamour is pretty much taking over the world at this stage, right? Is it really all that perfectly polished and as simple to master as it’s cracked up to be? Absolutely not. There seems to be a lot of misconceptions surrounding the blogging industry at the moment, and also a few things that certain bloggers are keeping quiet about around their followers. My aim in this post is to clear up a bit of that confusion and fill you all in on what’s going on behind the scenes. I’ll only touch on it briefly in this post, focusing on the main questions on most people’s lips at the moment, but if you find this post informative and useful, do let me know and I’ll work on some similar pieces to follow.
For those of you who are unfamiliar with the term, affiliate marketing is the process of earning a commission by promoting products. You find a product you like, promote it to your followers, and earn a piece of the profit for each sale that said product makes. At present, bloggers are really making the most of affiliate marketing through the use of sites such as Reward Style and Lyst. Gone are the days of “where did you get your shoes?” “Penneys hun!”, replaced by lengthy links, directing you from one social media platform to another. These are third party sites which a blogger must be approved by in order to use their affiliate service. Once they’ve been approved, the blogger is then free to link their outfits and beauty buys through these sites, and then onto the shop’s website itself.
Mind blown? I don’t blame you. There’s probably a few thoughts running through your head now. Do all bloggers use this? How can I spot an affiliate link? No, all bloggers don’t use affiliate marketing. As I mentioned above, you must be approved by the site so therefore the ‘power bloggers’ are generally the most likely to be using it. It’s actually quite simple to spot whether a link is affiliated or not. If on clicking it, you go straight to, e.g, asos.com, then that’s just a normal URL. However, if you see a sub heading on clicking the link, as I’ve shown below, then you know it’s an affiliate link. These links usually take a few seconds longer to load as you’re kind of going from A – B – C rather than A – B, you get me?
On learning the truth behind affiliation, some people believe they are being deceived and may even lose interest in that particular blogger. Personally, I’m all for affiliate marketing, despite not using it myself (yet). It’s a fantastic way to monetise your blog, especially if it already receives a large volume of traffic anyway and I think as long as a blogger is honest and doesn’t deny using the programme, there really is no issue. (It’s important to note that affiliation is not sponsorship, the items you’re being linked to are what the blogger is wearing or using themselves and affiliate programmes don’t pay bloggers to use their site).
You may have seen this little guy popping up on Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat more and more recently – what’s that all about? Basically, word is getting out that bloggers are *shock horror* being paid to promote things, who knew, eh? By right, as social media influencers, they should be declaring any paid posts to their readers and setting them apart from products they just genuinely love anyway. The reason behind this is, bloggers have a big influence on their reader’s shopping decisions.
If they rave about a certain beauty product and claim it works wonders, the chances are their followers may go out and buy it, purely because Mrs. Blogger said it’s unreal, am I right? Of course, that’s perfectly fine if the product is genuinely fantastic, but if a blogger is paid to promote something, you can’t always believe it’s quite as good as they claim. There are exceptions to this of course, there are a few bloggers who despite charging for posts, will still be 100% honest regardless of their opinion on it (I include myself in that).
My advice here is, to take sponsored/endorsed reviews with a pinch of salt at times, and maybe read a few more reviews on the same product, by different bloggers before purchasing. At the end of the day, some bloggers are earning a living from this industry, and you know what, FAIR PLAY, because that is not easy by any means. Transparency and again, honesty, are key here and I’m delighted to see more and more bloggers coming on board and using #AD on their social media when required to do so.
The ‘Fairytale Lifestyle’
It may all appear luxurious and care free through Instagram and Snapchat, but realistically, what you see of a blogger’s lifestyle is generally a view through a rose tinted glass and should definitely be taken with a pinch of salt. Of course, there are many perks that come with the title and if you’re earning a living from it you’re entitled to spend that on luxuries if you wish. However, giving the impression that your life is nothing short of a fairy tale? Well, I smell bullshit. Now matter how perfectly preened, fitness-obsessed and saintly some bloggers may appear, I guarantee you they still have hormonal spot breakouts, pizza binges and wild nights out that result in killer hangovers, just like the rest of us. Nobody lives inside Pinterest, not even the girl with the marble toilet seat and rose gold door knobs.
Now I’ll admit, this practice isn’t overly common, but it is happening and that alone warrants it being spoken about. A minority of bloggers, who in turn are of a high, well-known status aren’t writing all their own content or coming up with their own ideas. For what reasons I’m not sure, wanting to off-load the work, running out of inspiration, a poor level of writing skills? Whatever the reasons are, I think this, above all blogger practices should be transparent, if it is happening. Might I add, this shouldn’t be confused with guest blogging, which is where a fellow blogger or someone with an interest in an area contributes to another person’s blog in some way, which is quite a common practice. The big difference is guest bloggers are credited, ghost writers aren’t, and if such a blogger is claiming to have written something for their followers to read, but in fact an unnamed writer has penned it, that’s a bit deceiving, isn’t it?
And there you have it, a few of the biggest blogging misconceptions cleared up in a nutshell. Feel free to leave your thoughts and feedback below!