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Some Changes to the Blog

I posted recently some thoughts on blogging, and I have been thinking a lot since. I have been chatting to contemporaries in the UK and also on my travels about how they make things work. Sometimes, as much as I love this, I find that the work that pays my rent takes so much of my energy that I have little left to pour in here. I never expected that when I went full time. The truth is, I am a full time food bod but not a full time blogger, and when recently I couldn’t blog for 3 weeks because of other distractions, that really made me think.

I have also been talking to people in advertising and business. Like every other established blogger I get pitched to many times a day and often that is exhausting too, because it is rarely beneficial and almost never relevant. But that has become smarter too, and I have recently started having conversations with a couple of agencies who get blogging and bloggers and don’t try to compromise them in any way when they work with them. What they want is great content that is associated with a brand, and they will work it out with a blogger so that everyone is happy. This takes time, but it is worth it.

The reality is this. Right now, as I ease into my eighth year here, I want it to be better and I want it to be the centre. I want to love it as much as I did in Year 1. I want to upgrade everything. I want to do videos, get a better camera, upgrade the design. To do this I need money.

Bloggers, blogging and money always feels a dirty subject, but why should it? You aren’t surprised to see advertising and advertorials in your favourite magazines and newspapers. Why not apply that logic to a blog? Is it that bloggers aren’t trusted to manage this, that this is always handled by an advertising team? Well, this way, that I am describing, I now have an advertising team, an agency that I have chosen to work with, I create content for them, and they help me work out which advertorials and brands work well with me.

So, the hope is this. By doing occasional advertorial work, I can support myself better, and have more energy to pour in here. That means: improved design and search functionality, more content, more recipes, more travel content (I want to do comprehensive travel guides that you can reference when you travel), and more recipe content from the times when I travel. I have so many recipes gathered from my travels that I have not had time to share with you here yet.

I know this won’t bother regular readers, you have always supported me before. But I want to be clear and transparent. So when there is sponsored content, I will mark that clearly at the top. My first one, which will be published immediately after this, is a piece that I worked on for Hellman’s Mayonnaise. The agency that I mentioned asked if I would be willing to work with them on an advertising campaign spread out across many blogs. They wanted me to come up with a list of my ten favourite sandwiches, make them, and photograph them. There was no steer on anything, everything was entirely my choice. I am really happy with the results and you will see it across the blogosphere as advertising, and also as my next post.

Here is to the future. Which I hope is brighter and easier. Bear with me as I learn while I go.

 

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I like food. I like to make food. Eat food. Photograph food. Write about food. Mainly in London but when I am lucky or organised further afield.

29 Comments

  1. Well said.

    After so many years of ‘I’m a freelance journalist with a blog rather than a blogger per se’, in January I said to myself ‘oh sod it’ and decided to treat the blog as my own publication. And if I write for a publication, well, it’s nice to be paid for it…

    Completely understand the dilemma – I didn’t typically accept blogger invites etc because I didn’t want to be beholden to anyone as the blog was the ‘fun’ bit where I got to write about what I wanted to write about. However, the lines have become more blurred and, best of all, the opportunities, as you say, show more understanding. It might sound like semantics but I think there’s a big difference between selling out and making the most of economic opportunities. My blog isn’t in the same league as yours of course – few are! – but I say ‘good on you’ and look forward to future posts as much as I ever did.

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  2. Good for you. There are often hidden costs that readers do not see when it comes to blogging and running a website. They have to be paid for some how so why not work with agencies and people who are prepared to work in harmony with you to help pay for it all.
    Good Luck, I look forward to the changes.

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  3. Hi there Niamh,
    I think this is the post of yours that I have enjoyed the most. As a Blogger, I think these sort of things need to be spoken about. We have to develop an element of trust in your work and in your judgement, as to what will suit you – us – (your readers) and your writing. In my mind, as long as you are keeping all those elements to mind as you create, develop and allow your business to , then as much as possible you will be striking a balance.
    On one level, the reality is – to support ourselves we all have to find a way to make a living.
    Thanks for the heads up and look forward to more posts like this.
    take care
    Janice

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  4. Well said and good idea! I hope it works out for you and give you a better balance! :-) I think this is an honest solution to this never ending debate about money and bloggers. You need to earn and this way is clear, honest and straight forward! X

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  5. Good on you. I can’t imagine the time and money that you must invest in this blog so it makes sense for you to get something back for it. I have no problem with bloggers doing sponsored posts once it is clear from the beginning.
    Good luck with it!

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  6. Go for it! If I’m made aware that there is sponsorship I can make my own decision about the ‘product’. Of course you should be able to make a living from your skills. 20, 10, even 5 years ago I would buy magzines to get the ‘fix’ blogs give me. Until the consumer puts some money in, you are quite justified in seeking renumeration elsewhere. Just don’t stop writing because you’ve worn yourself out!

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  7. Good for you! In an ideal world we’d all have as much time as we’d like, and be massively loaded but we’re just not. If you can get paid work that you also enjoy doing and is relevant, then surely no harm done.

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  8. Hi Niamh – such a relevant post! I think a lot of us bloggers are in the same frame of mind. Sponsored content doesn’t need to be boring, it can actually make things a lot better in every sense, if we use it correctly. And if there’s ever someone who’ll do this the right way, it’s you! I cannot wait to see what the future brings for you. Go girl! :)

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  9. I think your being very sensible , Blogging takes a lot of time and organising of thoughts and is difficult to work in somtimes esepecially with a ful time job, not to mention the money that it invariably costs in finding things to blog about taking photos etc ,
    It will quite fun (but a different pressure Im sure) working on/with varios products triing their ideas etc. .
    I enjoy your bog enormously when I read it and will continue to enjoy reading it Im sure.
    Thanks for taking the time to blog and making it so interesting.

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  10. Fair enough! As long as sponsored content is clearly identified – as you’ve said it will be – then there’s no problem. Good luck to you.

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  11. Thanks for your honesty Niamh; I really appreciate hearing about the tougher side of being a pro food blogger. I’ve often wondered how you pay your bills, as you clearly give over most of your life to your ‘Eat Like a Girl’ exploits! Of course ‘paid advertorial’ is fine – nay, expected! Money isn’t a dirty word, after all. As long as it’s labelled, as you say, it’s perfectly okay. Sleep easy lady ;)
    Mandy

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  12. So well said. Perfectly resonates with my thoughts and the dilemmas that crop up in my mind every now and then. Good for you… and ignore my suggestion of a Middle Eastern wrap sandwich – am reading this post after reading this post.
    All the best Niamh!

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  13. I think it’s great. Good for you, money isn’t a dirty word at all and you deserve to earn an income from your work. I work in the arts and too often money is considered a dirty word when actually it’s that attitude that devalues creative industries and the work of the people who belong to them.

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  14. No problem, Its the way we all work (nearly). I am not giving up my job because the supermarket I work in is not selling rare breed or such . I need the money, I still give good customer service.
    Good luck with it all.

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  15. You know Niamh, I love how you say it as it is. Whenever I find the conundrum, I do find myself reflecting on your emails to me. The truth is, unfortunately or not, that although many bloggers are utterly talented and full of love, income is relevant. That said, I’m most impressed at how you have carved a career where you make income from doing what you love x

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  16. Good job Niamh – it’s tough to find that balance with advertisers and agencies and sponsors and all that, but I know you’ll manage it well. I’ve seen bloggers describe their relationships with sponsors as allowing them to continue to blog at a certain level, and I think that’s a good reminder to readers – not many of us can keep it up for so long (eight years!) without financial support. I’m going to go read about your sandwiches now…xx

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  17. I think in many way, blogging is much better because you have this “privacy” to explain you own words and this is basically supporting the freedom of speech. I wonder why people judge blogging as a bad influence to information.

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  18. Hello, Niamh. I’ve been following your blog for just a few months now and have been enjoying it, so it’s exciting to hear your plans. I just read your sandwich post and it was great! It’s amazing (and inspiring) that you’ve been blogging for so long. All the best with the plans! I will definitely look forward to your recipes from your travels. :-)

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  19. Good for you. I don’t see what is wrong with bloggers being paid or receiving products for their services, it is all about balance and not losing your unique voice in the process as that is what keeps readers coming back. I don’t think for a second you would compromise this so I look forward to reading future posts whether sponsored or not, especially as I take on my first own one!

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  20. Go you! Can’t see how all that you mention will compromise your blog, only mean that you have more time for the good stuff :)

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  21. Fair enough, really. For most online scribblers this will never be an issue: it’s a (rather time consuming!) hobby that you try to be good at, that’s all. The dilemma for someone like yourself who’s gone “big” must be quite different; how to maintain the voice that brought everyone here in the first place, while finding a way to get paid from what was once a hobby but is now a career. The fact you’ve got that problem is only testament to the fact that you write, and organise and package that writing, really nicely, which in turn suggests you’ll manage this stuff just fine. More power to your elbow!

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  22. Glad to see your next step as a food entrepreneur!
    I totally agree with Neil and many of the comments above – if you can be honest with your readers about what you’re doing and still doing the things you love, why not?

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  23. Pingback: Peach, Almond & Bourbon Pie, an Update on Sponsored Content & Project Bacon | Eat Like a Girl

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