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Keeping it Honest as a Paid Blogger

Aug 17, 2007
With all the controversy around paid blogging, what can you do to keep your reputation yet accept payment for blog postings?

The main thing you need to do is quite simply keep it honest. If you can't be honest about your feelings about what you're being paid to blog about, just don't do it! Think of the payment as being for bringing something to your attention, rather than payment for your good opinion. Say what you mean so you don't feel embarrassed or want to delete the post later.

Yes, that does mean you can choose to criticize something you've been asked to review. Even if you hate a product or website I recommend keeping it professional. You can say you loathe something without ranting and raving, and you will sound more credible.

Be upfront about the fact that you do sometimes get paid for blogging. At the very least have a disclaimer easily found on your site. If you feel the need, just mention it every time you do a sponsored post.

Keep it relevant to what your readers come to your blog for. I personally blog for a couple different companies that pay me to post, and when an opportunity is not something that can be fit naturally into my blog, I skip it.

The biggest controversy has been over required positive reviews. Fortunately these are not as common as critics would have you believe. And the solution is so simple... if you don't honestly believe the site or product in question deserves a positive review, don't review it. Or if you feel strongly enough, do an unpaid negative review.

The other big problem is that there are some junk blogs out there accepted into pay for posting programs. Junk websites of all kinds are a chronic problem on the internet, and it is to be hoped that they each fail quickly. But sometimes really lousy paid posts are accepted, which does reflect negatively on those who put forth more of a genuine effort.

Yes, some people do blog sheerly for the love of sharing their thoughts. The rest do it in hopes of earning some money, maybe to make a name for themselves and similar reasons. But most do need to bring in some kind of money, whether through traditional ads on the site, affiliate programs or by accepting payment for posts. The problem isn't with earning money. The issue is whether or not you can maintain your integrity as you do so.
About the Author
Stephanie Foster has been doing paid blogging at http://www.homewiththekids.com/blog/ and finds there are benefits and pitfalls. You can find more paid blogging resources at her website.
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