In the age of social media, it seems like the idea of being a responsible blogger is going down the drain. You’re able to write anything, post anything, and on the internet, you’ll see it all. As influencer marketing grows, it is in some cases the largest marketing budget for a company. How can we make sure that we aren’t falling victim to the blogging industry?
Know what you’re talking about
I wish I could explain to you how many inaccurate blog posts I’ve read over the past few years, it would shock you. I’m the daughter of an educator, so the importance of research has always been important in my life. When I was a beauty blogger, I would make sure I knew exactly what every ingredient was that I was talking about. Knowing your facts is just as important in any industry as it is in any industry!
When you’re doing your research, it is in fact, making you more knowledgable about the topic that you’re speaking on. I don’t know anything about auto mechanics, so you’ll never see me writing a post about that. In the same sense, I work in marketing and study it at a higher education level, so I’m going to share everything I know! It’s a community!
You also need to know the laws of being a responsible blogger
If you’re part of the blogosphere, then you know how important it is RIGHT NOW to be a responsible blogger. It seems like we can’t go one day without seeing one of the biggest influencers breaking FTC regulations. As a creator, you need to know what you’re allowed to do and what you aren’t allowed to do. Not only are laws there for a reason, but not adhering to them can get you into some serious trouble. We are talking PRISON people. I love LockUp as much as the next reality TV junkie, but I don’t want to live it.
I’m not a genius when it comes to laws, so these are all things that I am learning and researching as I go. There are obviously a few common sense issues that come to mind, but even linking to someone else’s content could be defined as bad practice! I’m a fan of linking to support others, so that is a risk most of us are willing to take. Here are some articles to read if you are interested in learning about the legal side of being a responsible blogger.
- FTC Disclosures | Ohsheblogs.com
- FTC Endorsement Guides | ftc.gov
- New Blogging Regulations |huffingtonpost.com
You need to be transparent about sponsored content
Once again, I think this is a pretty common practice now. I say that, but there was just a huge scandal a few days ago about UK influencers and disclosing ADs. Having done sponsored content in both blogging and social media channels in the past, this just doesn’t make sense to me. You sign a legal document stating that you WILL disclose the content as being sponsored. There is an issue with users not interacting as much with sponsored content as they would organic, but you just cannot please everyone!
When you are creating content, it is not that difficult to add in a few words stating that you were paid, gifted, or whatever! As bloggers, you’re trying to build a community. If you start out by hiding things from them, I don’t think that is going to work well for you later down the road. Be honest, be upfront! As someone who works in the industry, I get excited for my friends and fellow bloggers to get those opportunities!
Oh gosh, I’m not the best at this one. We’ve all watched those videos online of influencers opening their PR packages, and the amount of trash is just crazy. Something that I am working on this year is to reduce waste to practice being a more responsible blogger. Sustainability is a huge topic right now. Some will say that it is trendy, but is it trendy in a bad way? Is there ever anything bad about reducing waste?
I’m working on incorporating a recycling system into my everyday life. So far, it has actually been a lot easier than I imagined! Spring cleaning is also just around the corner. Instead of throwing away your gently used items, make sure that you donate them to local shelters!
Be Mindful of Others
When you’re recommending products on your blog or social media, you need to be aware of who your audience is. The other day my grandfather said you can’t sell a Cadillac to a Chevy Truck guy, it really resonated with me. Granted, he himself was a Chevy Truck guy who indeed purchased a Cadillac, but he also thinks we are from Ireland. Not the most credible source, but I liked the idea.
Not everyone has the same purchasing habits, and not everyone has the same budget. Being aware of who your audience is will actually get you further in life! Your audience wants certain things from you, and if you’re not offering information they find relatable, they will go find someone else. Being a responsible blogger isn’t just about following the rules. It is ultimately about being a good and honest person.