Taking a little break from summarizing all the great info from BlogHer to actually talk about something that has been ruminating in my head for the past week. Although this isn't a summary of what I learned, it is directly related to the experience. Basically you make money from your blog by getting commercial sponsors, putting ads on your blog, and so forth. I was explaining this to a friend last week, and she asked why anyone would believe a post you'd written if you were being paid to write it. Great question! And the reason for my rumination!
No average person starts a blog with sponsors from day one. You could do it if you're already famous and have a good following that you know will flock to the blog the moment it exists, but then you are not an average person. So, you have to have a blog long enough to get a following, and your followers needs to know you as a person and know what you believe in. They trust you! When you decide to look for sponsors or advertisers, those companies need to be true to your mission and your beliefs. Obviously, if I had ads on my blog for McDonald's, people would be screaming "hypocrite" loudly, which would be a well-deserved criticism since I haven't set foot in one of them for something like a decade. And all of my followers would leave, along with the advertisers and sponsors.
So, the question is ... who do I want to hitch my wagon to? There were a lot of businesses in the expo at BlogHer looking to connect with bloggers. Some, like Food Saver and SodaStream, would be obvious great choices because I already use their products and think they're awesome! Some, like the wine companies, would not really be a great fit because we make our own wine, so I didn't even stop at their booths or sample their products. But then there are some that are in an area that is a little gray like vitamin companies. I am not a fan of vitamins, as I believe people should eat a natural diet filled with real foods to get all the nutrients they need. I do realize that getting enough vitamin D is impossible for many of us living in the northern part of the U.S., so I accepted some free bottles of vitamin D to give away on my blog as we head into winter.
Some companies gave us samples in the swag bag that we picked up at registration or left them in our hotel room, so we didn't have a choice about whether or not to take them. BlogHer had a swag exchange room, where you could leave things you didn't want and they'd be donated to charity, but it only opened on the last day, and I never found it. I'm still trying to figure out what to do with the plastic cupcake cups left in my room by Denny's.
However, we were also given bottles of vitamins from MegaFood, whose tagline is, "Fresh From Farm to Tablet." The shrink band around the top of the bottle says things like "slo-food process" and "fresh & local food" and "authentic nourishment." After staring at the bottles for a few days, I decided to open the Women's One Daily. To my surprise, the typical vitamin stink did not jump out of the bottle to assault me. I moved the bottle closer to my nose, but it wasn't until I practically stuck my nose in the bottle and took a big whiff that I got the scent. So, I decided to actually take one. Several hours later it occurred to me that I never had the typical nasty vitamin burp, and my pee never turned neon yellow. Maybe I missed it, I thought, so I took one again the next day. I've taken one of the vitamins every day for four days now, and I haven't had any of the typical reactions that I dislike about vitamins. And the bottle also states that the ingredients are GMO free, vegetarian, and for those with allergies, soy free, dairy free, and gluten free.
What's not to love? If someone needs to take a vitamin, this seems like a good option. Should I consider any sort of relationship with this company? How would my readers feel about it? How would new visitors to my Thrifty Homesteader blog view an ad on there? Of course, if I write about the vitamins, I could always throw in my belief that you need to be eating a nutritious diet of whole foods, but what about ads? This is going to take some more ruminating. In the meantime, however, I'm going to focus on making a list of obvious companies whose products I already use and love.