Yesterday a blogger had the balls to publish a post on a subject that has been irritating a number of running/fitness bloggers for some time; that of sponsored blog posts and blog content.
Although some running/fitness/lifestyle bloggers have managed to resist the temptation of grabbing *ALL of the freebies* (that would be the majority of us who live outside London), some blogs now follow an all too predictable content cycle. Day 1 (usually after the weekend) will be a sponsored post reviewing a race and Day 3 will be a review for a vastly overpriced fitness class that no one with a modicum of common sense would pay for. Finally, Day 5 will be a sponsored post reviewing a “must buy” overpriced piece of running kit that no one knew that they needed.
I actually do enjoy reading the majority of race reports, I am often left wondering whether the blogger would have paid to enter the events that they are urging us to enter. I would love these types of blog posts to start with a statement along the lines of:
“Although Brand x provided my race entry for free in return for a review, I would have been happy to pay £y to enter Event z/I thought Event z was overpriced and was not worth the £y entry fee”.
I cannot see this happening.
Recently in return for a blog post advertising the event, I along with several other bloggers, received free entry to one of my bucket list races; the London Winter Run. At £39 for a 10K I think the event is overpriced and I will ensure that I share my feelings when (injury permitting) I write my race review next year.
Does this make me fickle? Probably yes! As a student on a tight budget *yawn* I was happy to accept a freebie entry into a bucket list race in return for a blog post. By the time I have written my race report I doubt that I will be offered any more free entries!
In more than two years of intermittent blogging I have written two sponsored posts. I hope that I have managed to avoid irritating the few followers that I have. I recently changed the title of my blog from The PhD Runner: Running from my PhD to The PhD Runner: Keeping it Real. I, therefore, want to ensure that I really do continue to “keep it real”.
I have been guilty of wanting to work with brands whose products I know and I trust. Back in July, in response to a tweet I spotted I applied to be a Brooks blogger.
My blog was clearly not what Brooks were looking for as my application did not even get a response. I now see this as a bonus as I feel that I am free to write honest reviews of my Brooks trainers.
I also applied to be a blogger/product reviewer for a head torch manufacturer based in the Birmingham area. As a Birmingham-based runner I thought that I stood a chance of being selected; wrong again! This head torch manufacturer has now built up a reputation for itself on twitter for all of the wrong reasons. I do not need to name and shame them but I had a lucky escape!
A couple of weeks ago I read a product review that I thought was really misleading. How can anyone honestly recommend an item of clothing that they only wore once? I contacted the brand in question and asked how they selected their product reviewers? The answer was straightforward, the number of followers the blogger has on twitter. Does having more twitter followers really make someone a better blogger?
Last month I contacted a number of brands asking for recommendations for running tights for tall female runners. I am fed up with having chilly ankles! I did not ask for freebies. As a result of me getting off my arse and doing some product research, a brand whose running gear I have worn for years will be sending me some running tights to test and review.
Do I feel guilty for accepting a freebie? Absolutely not! I will ensure that my third sponsored post in more than two years of blogging will be factual and honest. Will my sponsored post irritate other running bloggers? Hopefully not! I will inform my followers that I did not pay for the running tights. I will also thoroughly test the running tights before I review them.
My final thought of the evening is this… If you dislike like the content of a blog then do not read it. If people stop reading and engaging with these blogs, then perhaps the brands and PR companies will look elsewhere for their cheap advertising :o)
**Disclaimer: As a tea addict I will never,ever turn down the opportunity to test and review different flavours of tea! **