Why I (Mostly) Say No to Sponsored Posts

sponsored posts hands holding money

photo: 401calculator.org

What is a sponsored post?

In the blog-o-sphere, paid content on a blogger’s own platform is known as a “sponsored post.”

In some circles,  sponsored posts have a bad name.  It’s  assumed  viewpoints attached to money must be dishonest.  To protect  consumers,  the FCC’s  Sponsorship Identification Rules  decree that anyone being paid to say something must say who paid them to say it.  Awesome.

While there are schmoes out there taking whichever paid endorsements best pad their pockets, not all paid content is undependable and low-value.

What’s the Deal on Half the Clothes?

  • You can expect  honesty disease.
    We’re talking Jim Carrey Liar Liar, complete  disclosure, socially awkward, full-frontal honesty.  Despite the enormous cash potential,  I’ll never write  rave reviews on things like cruise ships,  pyramid scheme tour-groups, or  house sitting websites so many bloggers claim  to love.
  • Keeping your wallet closed is the #1 commandment here.
    To earn income, bloggers use various methods to  connect readers with people selling things.  However, most of the content here is about not spending money: e.g. why you shouldn’t buy RTW Flights or purchase senseless packing cubes.  Why I kind of hate travel insurance. Why not to invest in a new backpack.
    so in speech bubble
    When a rare, money-based, life-improving thing appears, I welcome the win-win for readers.   You get a hot tip on what to buy, which in turn funds more hot tips on what-not-to-buy.
  • Ads suck.
    I loathe having my attention tugged at by the digital equivalent of a whiny toddler.   I will not do this to you, my fellow slow-travel loving, 9 to 5 loathing, life enthusiasts.   Unless your interests stray from travel into milking sheep, making cheese, and fighting lice, you’ll never see an ad on Half the Clothes.
  • My to-write list is already too long.
    Half the Clothes’ has 72 months of upcoming articles and stories. Product reviews aren’t as important as  How to Bargain  or  The Hidden Reality of Travel Blogging.  If a business approaches me about promoting something already on my “write-about-someday list,” I’ll at least consider it.  However, I’m not keen to add to the already gargantuan lineup.

Why Sponsored Posts are Valuable to You — The Reader

  • Sponsored content, if you have a good moderator, is good content.Most prolific bloggers have an editorial calendar.   They aren’t going to let a product that only some readers care about get in the way of publishing content that nearly all readers care about, like free accommodation opportunities.
  • How else are you going to get free information?If you have a discerning moderator, vetted sponsored content also pays for unsponsored content.   And neither type of information costs you a cent!

Why You Can (Usually) Trust Sponsored Posts

Bloggers  are protective of their babies.

Anyone with a popular blog worked for free for a minimum of a year.   At the salary we’d make writing for a boss, we’ve given up between $20,000 and $60,000 in income just to create an online resource for a community of people.   No one who cares enough to do that is going to destroy years’  worth of work by flooding your inbox or  attention-span with schmoozy, self-serving crap.

How Does a Sponsored Post Get on Half the Clothes?

When content is a win for readers, the community, and  the sponsor, the information is welcome here.

Readers: If a new airline is selling fares for $5 to get their business rolling, you bet you’ll hear it here first.   If there is a new backpack on the market that weighs 10 pounds no matter what you put in it, I am absolutely going to let you know about this miracle.

The Community: we’re all about slow travel, minimalism, and laying the smackdown on habits robbing us of life’s #1 resource — time.   The community benefits from knowing about companies whose values align with those categories.   The community also benefits when sponsor dollars make it possible to publish unrelated content about how to travel without money and how to live without giving all your time to a job.

The Sponsor:   Not only does a company get connected to an audience that shares their values, they are also funding content that helps grow the community.   It’s a snowball of awesomeness.   A rad company gets customers and provides funding for info that helps more people figure out how to change their lives.   As the community of slow-travelers grows, the demand for slow-travel, slow-living, minimalist companies grows.

I reach out to companies whose products and services I love and give them the opportunity to support our community.   I find most are more than willing to make a contribution that ultimately connects more of us to the resources and tools we need to achieve our dreams.

More questions about sponsored posts?   Want to sponsor a post on Half the Clothes?   Get in touch!

Happy Traveling! ♣