If there's anything everyone on the planet has in common, it's how we love getting sh*t for free. A bargain makes us smile, but a freebie sends us over the moon with a joyful sense of accomplishment. But when you're embarking on a career, hobby or journey simply to accumulate as many free items as possible, this is where I have an issue. It seems as the world of blogging and vlogging expands, with new blogs appearing every day, people's reasons for starting a website of their own can begin to seem dubious. Blogging shouldn't be about the free sh*t, but for some, it seems that gifts are the only reason for joining this world.
I had a conversation with someone about a month ago which started this whole thought process off. We were chatting about dream careers, and they mentioned that one thing they would love to do as a job would be blogging. I smiled excitedly and explained that I ran my own blog (although as a hobby), and they replied with something along the lines of, 'lucky you, you must get SOOO much free stuff. I'd love to be a blogger just because you get so much stuff sent to you all the time'. I glared and politely tried to shut down the whole conversation.
While this is just one person, I can sense that quite a few may start a blog with the wrong intentions. Hopefully this post will put a few freebie myths to bed. To start a blog, you have to be totally, 100% committed and dedicated to your website. You often drag yourself from your social or work life because there is content that needs writing, a flow of ideas that need creating, photos that need taking, posts which require promoting, and website design which always needs tweaking. To be able to maintain this on top of a full/part time job, studying, socialising and making time for loved ones, you need serious grit and determination. Mostly, however, you need unwavering passion for whatever you write about.
I ran this site for two years before I was even approached by anyone wanting to send me products. TWO YEARS. And even now after considerably growing this site, I get offered deals with brands perhaps once every month. You need to put in so much blood, sweat, tears and time to even get a blog to the point where brands will want to collaborate with you. If you're just doing it for these freebies, how are you going to manage all that hard work before you get to the gift stage? It's not a sustainable way to blog, and, in my opinion, quite unethical.
When you get sent a product, it largely won't be for the sake of it. You are not Taylor Swift; you're not famous enough for brands to want to send you stuff willy-nilly. Things are usually sent with a purpose- looking to review, try out, perhaps promote. There is a relationship going on there, and brands are not going to throw presents at you like there's no tomorrow, just because. They don't have an unlimited amount of products they can just send out to bloggers. Sometimes, if a deal is made, it may be necessary to ask for a product (eg. you can't promote a Clarins lipstick never having tried it, and if you do, your readers will see through this and lose trust in you). But it shouldn't be expected. Nothing in life should ever be expected.
It's the automatic title of BLOGGER which makes people think they are entitled to a plethora of goodies which really pisses me off. And for people on the outside to look in and think that is what happens is quite upsetting to me. Yes, some of the successful bloggers get sent loads of stuff, but they've worked their arses off for it. We work bloody hard what whatever sized site we have managed to build up. For the most part, we are passionate, determined and intelligent; not greedy sell-outs who are full of our own self-importance. Blogging is such a lovely community, and it's a shame that people are joining with this intention of grabbing as many freebies as possible. It is not the attitude to adopt, and, simply, won't get you very far. Especially when you realise just how much work you are going to put in for those few freebies.
Have you seen this happen in the blogging world? What's your opinion on the 'blogging for freebies' debate? I'd love to hear your thoughts, so please do leave a comment!