Do bloggers really love the products they write about? When you see a glowing review for a product how can you know it’s authentic?
I wanted to address this topic because long before I started my blog, I would read reviews frequently.
Like you, I wanted to get some insight before buying a product and to this day I still Google reviews.
Now, I can only speak for myself and the bloggers I know and have become friends with but yes, for the most part, reviews are authentic.
I am not saying you can trust every blog review you read.
Like anything in life, you have to use your own judgment.
Perspective also comes into play.
Maybe you and the review blogger are not looking for the same outcome from a brand.
Perhaps they have lower expectations, or higher for that matter.
Even a negative review does not mean you would not love the item.
Before buying a product based on a blogger review you need to know what you want.
What are your personal expectations for the item?
Are there comparable items in different price ranges?
Looking for a great deal or willing to spend top dollar?
How long you expect the product to last.
Before buying a product based on a blogger review you can research the blogger.
Does the blogger properly disclose?
Did they include photos, video, personal experiences?
Sponsored content or affiliate content does not always matter, but it can.
Does the blogger’s lifestyle align with your own?
Check the comments on their review to see how others feel about it.
Understanding Sponsored and Affiliate Content:
Sponsored content is articles the blogger is being paid to write, such as in this article.
Basically, ads wrote in a story format.
That does not mean the blogger is not in love with the brand!
I often write about the same brands more than once because I do in fact love them so much.
Affiliate links are similar except payment to the blogger is not upfront, such as in this article.
The blogger may earn a commission if you purchase an item through one of their affiliate links.
Often those payments are very small but over time they can add up.
Most bloggers, myself included, use these payments as a means of paying for our own blog expenses.
It does cost money to run a professional blog.
Some reviews are in-kind, or a trade.
The blogger will get a product for free and they can write about the product.
Does It Make A Difference If The Blogger Is Getting Paid?
Yes and no.
Bloggers need to earn a living too so yes, we do love getting paid!
However, authentic bloggers will not write about a product they have not tested themselves.
They would not promote a product they do not personally like.
When a professional blogger puts their stamp of approval on a brand, that is their word.
Authenticity is very important to most bloggers.
We want your trust and need it if our blogs are going to survive!
Selling our readers on junk won’t make that happen.
It is more valuable to bloggers that we earn your trust, over earning money.
Without your trust, we will not earn a dime.
Not all ads on blogs are items they have tried, yet they can still be authentic to you.
Then we have click-through ads.
You have seen them a million times on blogs, websites, and social media.
These are ads that appear based on your browsing history which is stored on your computer by cookies.
Ads like these, usually seen on the sidebar of a blog, or within the content itself, are based on things you personally have looked up.
You may have visited a site to purchase a sofa, only to see an ad for that very sofa on a blog.
I do not care for these types of ads, which is why you won’t see them on Fashion Beyond Forty.
The ads in my sidebar are brands I have worked with personally.
However, just because they exist on some websites does not mean they are unauthentic.
Clearly, you had an interest in such products to have researched them.
They are however ads that would make the blogger some income!
These ads are affiliate ads.
There is absolutely nothing sketchy about them even if they do annoy us at times.
Personally, I find that I see these types of ads after I had already purchased the item.
I am probably foolish for not using these types of ads.
My blog could generate a lot more income if I did but I just find them too distracting.
The last thing I want to do is frustrate my readers.
Bloggers Do Turn Down Paid Posts!
A blogger would turn down a paid article for many different reasons.
Some of these reasons are:
The brand does not meet our demographics.
That means the items the brand sells is not true to you, the reader.
I blog for the midlife woman so I want to represent brands that you want to know about.
Another reason bloggers will turn down a paid article is that it’s not something we agree with.
For example, I do not write about skincare or makeup that isn’t cruelty-free.
I do not agree with animal testing.
Another reason we would not write for a product is that we know it isn’t quality.
This may be based on past use of the product, or from our deductive insight.
Most bloggers truly do want to tell you about the very things we use and love.
Being authentic is extremely valuable to us as bloggers.
There are actually websites that grade us on our authenticity.
That means we use disclosures letting you know that we are being compensated in some way for writing about a product.
Including free product!
The USA requires us to disclose when content is sponsored.
If you click on the link above you will see my disclosure.
The way it is written is in legalese but in more human terms it means that I write content in which I may be paid in cash or product.
We are also required in the USA to put a disclosure at the top of any sponsored article before any links to the brand we are writing about.
It is very easy when you know this to determine if a blogger is being paid for content or not.
Don’t Let A Disclosure Send You Running Away.
Just because we are being paid does not mean we are tainting our opinion on the brand.
I have in fact been in an agreement with a brand to write for them and have changed my mind.
Other bloggers have as well.
It’s not a comfortable situation for the blogger or the brand.
When we have been paid or sent free product to write about and decide we do not like it we have options.
Some bloggers will still write for the brand but let them know their review will not be positive.
Other bloggers will just return the product and not write a review.
Since I do not consider myself a “review blogger” I only care to write about the products, services, and brands I do love.
That means if I end up disliking the product, I opt to let the brand know and ask if they wish for their items to be returned.
I do not care to fill my life or my blog which is a major part of my life, with negativity.
That is why I do not write about the things I do not like.
I would much rather fill my time, and thus yous with the good things in life.
The end result is just because we are being paid does not mean we are not being authentic.
They Work Hard For The Money:
I am not going to go into great detail here because all the details would be a full novel.
However, bloggers do work hard, really hard.
I have had very high-profile jobs, including working for a world-renown chef as his Public Relations Manager.
Exhausting work it was indeed but blogging, it’s harder!
A blogger has to know everything from SEO to creating graphics, writing skills, social media, pitching brands, and so on and on.
Blogging keeps me entertained and busy, I love it!
The point is, blogging is hard work and bloggers deserve the money they earn.
So, when you see a sponsored post or an affiliate link, please click on it!
Your click alone helps us continue to produce our content.
That includes the non-sponsored content you love.
Can You Trust Bloggers?
In my experience, I have to say yes.
Not just because I only write about the products I personally love, but from years of experience searching reviews.
You will naturally gravitate toward the bloggers you enjoy.
From their non-sponsored content to their paid content.
No one continues to visit a blog that isn’t producing value for their reading time.
You align with a blogger due to their lifestyle being similar to your own, or one you wish you had.
Or you find something within their content that speaks to you.
Maybe you just love their photos or videos.
If you keep coming back to their blog, something about it makes you feel good, even if you enjoy drama.
There are plenty of drama blogs and there isn’t anything wrong with that.
We are a reality-based society these days.
The point is, if you enjoy the blog, you will most likely enjoy the products being sponsored on that blog.
Know Your Blogger:
Some bloggers, especially review specific bloggers will have pro and con lists in regard to each product.
They will have equally positive and negative reviews.
Knowing your blogger helps.
That does not mean you are going to personally know the person behind every blog.
Especially if you do not frequent that blog.
If you are simply doing a random search of “television reviews” a million different blogs can pop up in your search.
So you refine that search to “review of the Samsung 4K Curve television”.
Ah, now you have refined your scope and only 100,000 reviews come up.
Okay maybe I am overstating the number of reviews but you get the point.
There is no way you can personally know much about every one of these bloggers.
Yet, it is fairly easy to tell when you click on a blog if they are a “review blogger” and if they write about the good and the bad.
Once again, I will point out, just because a blogger only writes positive reviews does not mean their opinion isn’t valuable!
Perspective is key, however.
Go to the bloggers “about page” as this can give you key insight on them and what you should expect.
Can A Blogger Be Wrong About Products They Represent?
Sure, there have been a few times since the inception of the Internet and product reviews that I have been disappointed.
Usually however when that has happened it was due to a fluke of some kind.
Either a technical product that was faulty, buying the wrong size in a clothing item, or having unrealistic expectations of a product.
There is always the case of a blogger not being authentic as well.
It does happen, even if not often.
Plus, it’s just a matter of fact that we won’t all love the same things.
A blogger may truly 100% absolutely love something and you just do not.
That does not mean they are not being authentic, you just have different opinions.
In all cases, there is one redeeming quality of everything I have purchased that was “wrong”…
Never buy from a brand that does not offer a fair return policy.
That’s just being smart.
Leave me a comment, please.
What has been your experience with reviews and sponsored content in blogs?
Do you search blog reviews before buying a new product?
Have you ever bought something you were not looking for that you saw in a blog post?
Do you think bloggers are mostly honest in their reviews and sponsored content?