Mind your tagline.
I read a blog post that got me all fired up (shocking I know) a few days ago. I'm not linking to it because this post isn't directed at the writer. I've seen rumblings on this issue for months and finally got annoyed enough to write about it.
My tagline states: eye candy. inspiration. kids. life. happiness.
It says nothing about keeping it 100 24/7, debauchery, sex, cursing, ratchet behavior, drama, etc. therefore I do not typically blog about anything that falls into those categories.
The purpose of my blog is to share my experiences as an MBA wife in the Ivy League, my photographic knowledge to (hopefully) inspire other women to capture their special moments, and other assorted topics I enjoy writing about like social media, cooking, and reading. Nothing earth shattering but I have a good time.
My blog is profitable. In the two and a half years since I began blogging my web presence has increased and I've had the good fortune to work with a handful of select brands I believe in and stand behind. Cash or no cash these are companies I patronize and whose missions I support. Any and all dealings with brands are always properly disclosed and transparent.
Why is my writing perceived as less authentic because I'm fortunate enough to be compensated for it?
Feel free to thumb through my archives. I began blogging on a whim, because Twitter told me to (fancy huh?). I was a full-time work outside the mom with a demanding career. I shared my experiences as a crunchy mom and happy wife living in Vermont with two little ones. That's it. No branding. No business. Just writing. The same voice.
We left Vermont and our jobs and began new lives in Ithaca. My passion for photography and helping other amateur photographers grew and I decided to restructure my blog and content. There was nothing calculated about it. My life changed and my blog changed. It's done well and I've had some wonderful opportunities presented to me. I also do some freelance writing and photography work. My voice has remained the same throughout the two and a half years I've written publicly.
I'm not a brand friendly, faux version of my in real life self. The few bloggers I've met in person (ask Joanna or Beth) can attest to that. I don't change my content, voice, or online mannerisms to attract work, sponsors, or readers and I'm also not judging anyone who does. How people choose to feed their families is their business. Some women are lucky enough to draw a full-time income from their blogs. Good for them! I think that's great.
*I * do not change anything about myself to attract brands or page views. I don't need to. Business is just fine. I also don't rely on my blog income to survive or support my family so there's no stress or need to hustle for work. The brands I work with like the real Veronica. Why switch things up?
I'm authentic, sometimes to a fault. If I were worried about my blogger image and brand I wouldn't ask tough questions and write posts like these. I am a human being not a brand. This isn't a space I contrived to make money and create an empire (not that there's anything wrong with that). This is my personal blog.
I'm not a reality show and I'm not here for anyone's amusement (unless I'm trying to amuse you in which case please laugh along with me). If people feel that I'm somehow less authentic than they are because I choose to conduct myself in a (mostly) professional manner online then so be it. I owe you nothing. I don't need to show photos of myself looking a mess or my house in disarray to prove something. I don't reveal these things offline why would I online? THAT would NOT be authentic. THAT wouldn't be me.
This is my life and it's beautiful. I hope my blog reflects that. I have my struggles and lows but in the grand scheme of things they're pretty minor and I am blessed. I'm not going to drum up issues or painful memories from my past to convince you I'm "real".
I know some bloggers have compromised their integrity by selling out or switching things up in a shady way. Guess what? There are bad apples in all walks of life. Does that make it okay for people to generalize and question everyone's integrity? I don't like indirectly being called a liar and I really don't like my integrity questioned.
This is my space, my life, and it's always real.
If you aren't getting the opportunities you feel you deserve it may have little to do with your "authenticity". There are other things to consider such as SEO, marketing yourself, seeking out partnerships, and more. Unpaid/unsponsored/not for hire writers aren't any more (or less) talented or real than those of us who do profit because they aren't getting a paycheck.
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How would it feel if I suggested that perhaps unpaid writers aren't legitimate because no one has deemed their writing worth a penny? Wouldn't make much sense would it? It's also not very nice and a very unfair characterization.
Here's the deal. This is the me. Offline and online. Like it? Feel free to stick around. Don't? Please keep it moving, feel free to grab a scone on the way out but keep it moving.
I've personally never done anything on this blog that would suggest I'm engaging in any deceitful or unethical behavior. I loathe the notion that I'm not authentic because I'm compensated.
If a writer is going to question the authenticity and integrity of compensated writers without cause then I'm going to assume that the accuser is a hater.
Yep. A hater. Work on you. Mind your tagline and I'll mind mine.