H O M E .      A B O U T .      C O N T A C T .      T U M B L R .      T H E   B O O K   J O U R N A L .      sailorjennie [at] gmail [dot] com

Thursday, 23 May 2013

Blogging: PR samples, advertising, constructive criticism etc.

This platform in many ways is almost unrecognisable even just from a few years ago and I have no doubt that it will continue to grow and evolve over the coming years. It's inevitable and also important because it's what keeps blogging so engaging and unique. I still remember signing up to blogger in late 2009 and being so excited to join the blogging community that had captured my attention for so long. It was undoubtedly one of the best things I've ever done, it came along at a time in my life when I really needed it, you know? And I feel so incredibly proud of what this little space has become. It wasn't about page views, seo or the number of comments each post got and I try not to let myself think about those things all that much now because that's not the most important part of this.

I never in a million years expected 100 people to subscribe to my ramblings, let alone the numbers that have now but I'm so so happy that you're coming along for the journey, it means the world! A few weeks back on my birthday my twitter notifications were going crazy and I had so many emails wishing me well and I could not remove the smile from my face for the whole day. I used to say that I could count the number of friends I had on one hand but I don't think that way any more, because I feel like you're all my friends now. Come on, group hug!

Constructive Criticism.
I want you to feel able to give me constructive criticism without automatically being handed a 'hater' name badge. Of course I don't want you to be mean, that's just not nice, but I'm not perfect, I'm not always right and I think constructive criticism is an important part of learning and growing. It's like when you have that one teacher at school who constantly pushes and challenges you, although it feels a little bit annoying for lack of a better word at the time, when you finally get that amazing grade it all makes sense; it's because they see something good in you, they understand your full potential and they want the best for you. Sure, it's nice to receive compliments but I don't need or want you to fall over yourself to say something nice just because you think you should, you know? I love the interaction with you, I love clicking through to your blogs and commenting. I like hearing your recommendations, learning more about you and sometimes it's nice to just to have a chat! I always keep the option of commenting anonymously open on every post, I do have my comments on moderation but that's just so I can catch all the spam which has got SO bad over recent months and the only time I'll ever delete a comment is if it's spam or if it's just plain offensive.

PR Samples.
PR samples seem to be at the centre of a constant debate and I can completely see why. There's someone I vaguely know who has recently started a blog with the sole purpose of receiving PR samples and the worst part is, it's working! I remember she quizzed me about 6 months ago via facebook (the source of evil ;)) about blogging and seemed very interested at the prospect of 'freebies' as she referred to them as. It's annoying but so completely obvious that others are beginning to cotton on to it I think. And that's an important point. Don't blog for samples, I can't imagine it would be fun for very long, you have to really love something to keep investing so much time into it.

With that being said I am lucky enough to receive PR samples occasionally, I will always be honest with you about that because a certain amount of responsibility comes with receiving products and I make a very conscious effort to mix them in with other content. I don't accept things that aren't 'me', if I start talking about bright green lipsticks or mini skirts you can definitely tell me to stop being so silly! I never hide anything, I always tell you the truth and I hope that in return you'll trust my thoughts and reviews even if I didn't pay for a particular product. I don't ever want you to waste your money on something that's completely pants, if I like something I'll tell you and if I don't I'll tell you why.

Adverts.
Another source of debate I often see discussed on Twitter are adverts. I'm a part of Glam and I thought for a really long time about whether to join, even making an extensive list of the pros and the cons. I specifically chose Glam because I think their ads fit with blogs really well, they're as streamlined as possible and I hope you don't mind them too much. Top tip - If you really hate adverts in general online, install ad-block.

Content.
I completely understand that not everyone will like everything I post about, but I hope you don't mind the more varied content. I needed to switch things up a little bit otherwise I think I would have fallen out of love with blogging completely. It's no fun to feel like you have to write a post that your heart just isn't in, that's when it starts to feel like a chore and not something I do because I love it. I also hope you don't mind these little rambles, thank you so much for continuing to read and leave comments - it makes me feel like I'm not talking to myself, although I totally do that too sometimes!

I'm going to leave you with one question - if you could tell me one thing, what would it be? It could be a general comment, letting me know what you want to see more of, what you don't like, a piece of advice or anything you want! You can answer in a comment below or you can click here or fill in the little embedded form and tell me anonymously/privately.

I hope you're having a lovely Thursday so far! 
Thank you for reading!
xoxo 

48 comments:

  1. I think a lot of people start (especially beauty) blogs to receive samples or even full-size products, but really, it isn't worth it. I enjoy writing about stuff like that, but I also like fashion and lots of different subjects. I'm lucky enough to receive a product every now and then, but it's not the "priority" of my blog. I don't want to have a super commercial blog, I just want to stay who I am, writing about life :) Great post!

    X Valérie
    scribblesofvalerie.com

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    1. I think that's the best way to be <3

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  2. I love the more varied content - I think that's one of the reasons I enjoy your blog so much! I was wondering if you had a dedicated portfolio site for your delightful photography work? If you want, I could invite you to Cargo Collective so you can set one up - let me know if you're interested! xxx

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  3. I like that you post about lots of different subjects, i think it's a good thing for a lot of blogs. Everyone's likes and dislikes change over time and what interested you in 2009 may not be the same sort of thing which interests you now, and that's totally normal. It drives me crazy when it's clear that people are trying so hard to change who they are in order to fit into a particular stereotype. :/
    Basically, I really like you and your blog <3

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  4. I agree with the PR samples. I love to get them, but if I were just blogging for that I think I'd give up. Its a lot of work. Hanna

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  5. I started out my blog thinking it might be beauty geared because that's what I was just getting into at the time I started it, but found I like writing a lot more about my travels and what I'm doing at the moment, with some beauty and shopping bits mixed in, kind of like my life. I love seeing blogs I follow grow, and I think even the beauty bloggers, once you read posts to get to know them you like seeing more lifestyle posts. I for one am an animal lover so I love seeing pictures of your pets! Maybe you could do a week in pictures series or something like that, as you take such lovely pictures. x

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    1. That's a really lovely idea, I think I'll give that a go - thank you! xo

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  6. This is an amazing post. I know that this will help a lot of new and experienced bloggers. I decided I wanted to be a beauty blogger, because I eat, sleep, and breathe makeup.. sad but true. I'm just totally obsessed, so I knew I'd be able to write really passionate accurate reviews and posts. I think you can tell if a blogger is blogging for themselves, or for 'how much they can get'.
    It's so sad that people think blogging = free stuff. The biggest pro for me, so far has to be the friends I've made through blogging. The 'freebies' aren't even 'free' as you have to spend your time reviewing it anyway.

    xxxxxx

    Gemma | ♥ MissMakeupMagpie.co.uk

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    1. Oh absolutely, the friends make it extra special <3

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  7. Great post, honest and refreshing xx
    Julianne

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  8. Great post! I can't imagine blogging simply for freebies, it would be so dishonest and so boring. Blogging about what you truly love is so great and therapeutic at times (and fun of course) that it just seems like a complete waste of time to do it otherwise. oh well, each to their own.

    loved your honesty =)

    Teffy || Teffys Perks Blog

    Xx

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  9. This post. I think you've said it all, Jennie x

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  10. I really love these chatty posts (although I pretty much love anythign you write about!). I think its crazy that people start blogs purely for samples. When I started blogging I had no idea how many blogs were out there, and I certainly had no idea people were sent stuff for free. I did see 'I received' or 'I was sent' and I always assumed they were competition winners or worked for the brand or something, so for me it was purely about the enjoyment of waffling about this stuff, not to receive anything in return. Its a nice bonus when you do get stuff of course but I got into this because I love what I'm writing about and would buy all this stuff anyway! xxx

    Visit The Other Side Of Cool
    Tweet me! @othersideofcool

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    1. Aww thank you so much sweet! I was exactly the same, I completely didn't understand samples or know about them at all! xo

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  11. I really liked this post, and that you're asking for constructive feedback. I don't have any "feedback" as such because I absolutely love your blog, but I can tell you something that I reeeeally noticed and made me like this blog that wee bit more. It's the fact you reply to comments, look through the blogs of people who have commented and obviously actually read their posts, commenting or following too! I consider you a "big" blogger, and when I started following this blog and commenting, I never in a million years expected a few comments/ follow on my own blog! It really made me think and realise why you're doing what you're doing. It's such a daft wee thing, but it's something I really noticed and appreciated, as not a lot of big bloggers do it! Anyway- I agree about the samples thing. I've never received any samples but then again, I blog about my pupils peeing into balloons so I don't know what kind of samples I would receive! Keep up the good work lovely, you have a fan in me, haha!xxx

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    1. Aww thank you, I think it's only fair that I have a look at those who have taken the time to leave some words on my posts. Sometimes I get a little bit behind but even if I just reply for 10 minutes a day I really enjoy it! <3

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  12. I really don't get how people who just started blogging do get samples, I rarely get them and I've been blogging for years. Anyway I'm doing it for fun, and that's what you should do too :) Keep doing the things you enjoy and we'll gladly read them :)

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    1. They pester people for them, constantly! Definitely blogging for fun is the best way <3

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  13. I'm intrigued about this new blogger who's in it for 'freebies!'! I think my request for you (note: not criticism! definitely nothing to criticise about your wonderful blog) is that I'd love to see more of your photography work like the ones you've included in this blog post. Unlike some of the photography i've seen on other websites, yours really transport you in to a dream world! And i like that! oh, and more ralphie, pleaaaasse! :-) x

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  14. yea, so many people start blogging cus they want to get samples, it's so so stupid. do blog with love not for free stuff...
    http://coeursdefoxes.blogspot.com/

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  15. Great post!
    Like you say it can't be much fun just blogging for freebies all of the time. There can't be much passion in the writing if all you are thinking about is the next free thing!

    Emily / Glittery Teacups

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    1. Ahh I know, right? It can't be fun at all! Xo

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  16. You have such a great perspective on blogging! Your blog is always so relatable and sincere and that's why we all love to read your posts. And on a side note, yes, the spam has gotten awful lately! I think I'll have to start moderating my comments too just so I can filter them. I like these candid posts Jennie, keep doing what you're doing!! xo

    Ellie | Ellalogy 

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    1. It's really crazy how bad the spam is at the moment, it seems to be getting worse! xo

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  17. I couldn't just blog for free samples either! it would exhaust me and I think I'd get bored quickly!
    Daniella x

    http://daniella-r.blogspot.co.uk

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  18. just continue to be the girl you are, cause you're lovely. and it's always nice to see a post from you or a new video on youtube.

    http://imeowlife.blogspot.ro/

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  19. Great post. It's lovely to read blogs and you'll always something to relate to, I made my first video I'm a bit shy to put it on youtube :) I might in time.

    Hugs o.x

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  20. You're always so honest, and that's the reason I read your blog every single day. You've inspired me to start writing my own blog, not for "freebies" or attention, but to have a place where I can say what I want to, and talk about things that matter to me. I'm making a lot of changes in my life (joining the military being the big one) and if I can help just one person with my words, then I've accomplished something special.

    Thank you, Jennie.

    Kirsty xx

    www.kisabe.blogspot.co.UK

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    1. Aww yay, I'm so glad I helped inspire you to start blogging too <3 <3

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  21. I love your blog because you always seem so down to earth and sweet and your posts are so varied - and Ralphie is so damn cute haha. I feel you can tell when someone is blogging just to get freebies or commenting to get page views or subscribers - it's the most irritating thing when it works! x

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    1. Aww thank you so much lovely <3

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  22. Interesting post Jennie - it's not often bloggers open up about these things, I've found for years now it's a very secretive subject. I'm glad you are honest, and I really admire you as a person and as a writer. You always have made me want to come back and read more - which is of course the best thing about writing to an audience xxx

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    1. Awwwww, you are always so supportive and wonderful - THANK YOU <3 <3

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  23. I enjoy the varied posts, it feels like we get to know you more and I'm just plain nosey! Someone above mentioned a week in pictures post, I think that would be fab xx

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    1. I'm definitely planning on doing that, it's such a wonderful idea <3

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  24. I loved this post! The one thing I would tell you is... I love your blog! You're honestly one of my favourite bloggers, you come across really genuine and nice :) I'd love to see more of the lovely photo's you take too!

    Lauren | Bits and Bobs xx

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    1. Aww thank you so much, Lauren <3

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Thank you so much for reading! I love when you leave your thoughts so I would love if you left me a little comment, I read every single one, they mean so much and I try my very best to reply to each one!

You are very welcome to leave a link to your blog in your comment, but please just leave one link and I ask you not to promote giveaways. Thank you for understanding. With love, Jennie May xo