I Have An Issue With People Saying "Not Sponsored"
Ohh influencer marketing, how fascinating and controversial you are.
There is so much going on in this new industry that I am constantly analysing, but today I specifically want to have a little chat about Bloggers, Instagrammers and YouTubers feeling the need to say “ohh this is not sponsored, by the way” whenever they talk about a product that is unpaid.
Now, I am 100% guilty of saying this before because naturally we all feel a need to reassure our audience that we are authentic and that they can trust our reviews and recommendations, however, I’ve been thinking.
What the actual fuck? (the general thought that popped into my head once I started thinking about this maybe a little too hard).
All though this may not always be intended, essentially when a Blogger/Instagrammer/YouTuber (I hate the word ‘influencer’ but I’ll use it from here onwards to cover all three) says “this is not sponsored”, it comes across as if their sponsored work isn’t authentic. Don’t you agree?
It’s like they’re saying that this isn’t being paid for so it’s how I ACTUALLY feel. Okay, but then it comes across like all of the paid promotion work you do isn’t how you actually feel?
In an industry that can be so corrupt and full of bullshit, I feel like it’s our responsibility as genuine, honest reviewers to really push for our audience to believe in our sponsored promotion work just as much as our “omg not sponsored, I just bought this on a whim and absolutely love it” work. People already struggle to trust most influencers, so we need to shift this idea of sponsored vs unsponsored work being completely different.
This phrase is also starting to become a boring broken record by every influencer under the social media sun, but, I will NOT promote or discuss a product or a brand that I have not tested or genuinely love. Most brands are making space for influencer marketing in their budgets each month so I can confidently say that I do not need to take up every paid opportunity that comes my way in order to sustain my business. I would rather take the great opportunities and get paid to promote things I LOVE and that I think you guys will too, otherwise WTF would be the point? I would just be over here being like “Hey guys this toilet cleaner is SO INSANE AMAZING #Spon” and you’d all be like.. girlfriend you’re so full of shit.
I don’t want that. It’s not even in my nature anyway because my relationship with you guys come before any type of paid opportunity! That’s why I started blogging in the first place. I started in Jan 2016, back when absolutely nobody was doing it in New Zealand, it wasn’t a saturated market and it was still considered a bit weird, and something that people were only doing overseas, so I most definitely never started with the intention of trying to be ‘cool’ or wanting free products, let alone to get paid.
For the influencers: you and your audience should view your content so that it’s authentic whether it is or isn’t sponsored. You should already love and have tested the product prior, and you should be so honest and truthful with your recommendations so that your followers know that when you’re promoting a #sponsored product, it’s because you genuinely love it.
I know it’s tempting to say “not sponsored” when chatting about a product we love and bought ourselves or have been sent to try and speak about at our own discretion, but for the sake of our readers trust I think we need to banish this phrase all together.
It’s certainly difficult when there are so many ‘influencers’ who will take up any opportunity for the money and then the honest, authentic ones are associated with them and given a bad rep, BUT I think if you do stay true to the products and brands that you love, you decline the sponsored work that you know in your heart does not fit in with you or your brand, then your audience should be able to see and appreciate you and you won’t feel the need to disclose any unsponsored promotion you do.
I just hope you guys know that when I do sponsored content it should be looked at as a positive thing because I am getting paid to talk about something I either already love or have recently discovered and love, so it’s a win win for everyone! I know there are so many of you who trust what I speak about and get excited when I get to promote a new fab product from a brand that you all already know I absolutely love.
Anyway, I am just sick of sponsored posts having a bad reputation because I can tell you one thing, I eat Nutella on toast almost every single bloody morning and have done since I was 15. Lol