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On-Message/Off-Message

Posted May 14 2009 1:21pm

After a few months of blogging, I had a frank phone chat with Steph at Back in Skinny Jeans (one of the first blogs I’d ever read religiously) about paid advertising and blogging.

She’s fantastic and I might be speaking with her on a panel at the BlogHer 2009 Conference … still waiting to hear!

Anyway, we talked about being true and authentic to yourself, and how blogging gives you the opportunity to make 100 percent of your own decisions. You’re your own boss, your own editor … the content is yours to decide upon, the images, the timing … it’s all up to you.

This means you can choose to accept advertising … or not. You can choose to accept guest posts … or not.

I expressed my interest in Google AdSense, but the more we talked about it, the more I realized it would be counter-productive to my blog. She noted how, using it, you don’t have control over what ads float on the blog … so sometimes she’d get ads for quick weight loss products, and it was totally off-message from her blog.

Since my blog is a recovery blog, the last thing I want to do is have ads like that popping up.

Along those lines, recently, I’ve been contacted to do some product and book reviews, all of which have been on-message with my blog ( Monica Seles’s book review is next ). I’ve genuinely appreciated the outreach and since I do PR for a living, I’ve been impressed with how social media has really changed our field and made it, in many respects, less formal and more exciting.

That said, I’ve also had to turn down some opportunities, which meant in one case turning down someone’s desire to write a guest post on my blog.

Why? Well, the topic was off-message for me. But even beyond that, when I began, I made the decision that since this is my journey, I will write 100 percent of the content … which means, by default, no guest posts.

As a disclaimer, I’ve done guest posts on other blogs, and was grateful for each of those opportunities.

And so I realize my self-imposed rule might alienate me from some bloggers … but I just feel very strongly about keeping this blog the verbal account of my authentic self. If my blog were more general, perhaps having other voices would be a good thing. But for now, this is my story and I’m sticking to it :)

In another instance, it meant turning down money. In this economy, who does that? But here’s my argument: I need to remain true to the audience and purpose of my blog … and making money simply isn’t on that agenda.

The product I was being asked to help promote — while fun and awesome (jewerly, and no, not Lia Sophia, which I sell on the side) — just wasn’t on message. And so I had a really nice chat back and forth with the person who reached out to me, who understood my position.

Someday I hope my writing will lead to something ( Glamour, Self, Shape, Oprah, Oxygen, Health, Women’s Fitness … are you listening?!) but ultimately, I need to stay true to my readers and my purpose.

It’s not always easy to say no (especially when the rewards are tempting) … but staying on message is really important to me, as a writer, as a blogger, and as a PR professional in real life.

How about you? Have you had to take a stand on something you really believe in recently that you’d care to share, blogging-related or otherwise?

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