So, this is kind of meta, but I’m going to blog about blogging. As a sort-of follow-up to my last post, I want to talk about bloggers and brands. More specifically, how they work together.

Over the past few months, I’ve gotten some emails from companies that want to partner with me in some way. I’ve mentioned on here that I work in marketing and a big part of my job is social media. Partnering with bloggers is one of the latest PR strategies for brands. The two social media conferences I attended recently both had break-out sessions on working with bloggers. It’s cheap PR for the brands, and you the blogger get free stuff. Win win. Usually.

I don’t accept every single offer that comes my way, and lately, I’ve been thinking about why I accept some offers and turn down others. And of course, seeing that some of my fellow bloggers do talk about products/brands, and some don’t, it’s made me wonder what you all think.

So far, the brands that I’ve agreed to partner with/promote/accept free stuff from/agree to talk about/be an affiliate for, are usually:

  • a product I do or would personally use
  • a company I can ethically get behind
  • bonus points: small brands that need more exposure
Free things I’ve gotten as a result of this blog (the Firmoo glasses and the Brooks shoes).

So, clearly, I have received a few offers that made me say “yes, please!”

But, I have received a few offers that have made me raise my eyebrows. Some were just for products I would never personally use and have no interest in testing out, and I’m not so hard-up that I would push any old product on my blog. Some were just bad pitches made by lazy or desperate PR people.

But a couple of offers have been questionable to me. One was a product that I felt had zero connection to my blog (no matter how hard the publicist tried to connect it to running), and that would make me feel like a “sell out” for agreeing to partner with. Another was a “non-profit” with what I personally consider questionable business practices and would never knowingly support, publicly or privately.

In both cases I mulled over whether to accept the offer or not, but ultimately had to listen to what my gut was telling me. If I have to talk myself into agreeing to a partnership, that’s not a good sign.

Now, I don’t think that I’m some super famous blogger (and my blog stats support that self-awareness) or that it really makes a difference to some company whether or not I accept their offer. But, I do have some integrity, and at the end of the day, this is still my blog, with my name on it (OK, half of my first name), and I want it to be something I can get behind and be proud of. Shilling products that I wouldn’t use otherwise, or for companies that I don’t support, doesn’t jive with me.

I do not judge (most) bloggers who agree to partnerships. Obviously, I have agreed to work with some brands, and I know each of us has to decide what is a right or wrong fit for our individual blog.

So, I’m curious – If you have partnered with a brand, why did you agree to it? And, have you ever turned down a potential partnership? Why?

If you’ve received offers, but have never partnered with a brand, why not, and what do you think of bloggers who do?