How To Be An Ethical Blogger


I have a job and that is, I handle the online and pr marketing efforts of various brands. Now as a blogger who has worked with various brands from past to present, I've heard many stories about these so- called "Freebie Bloggers". I've never ever thought that there are people who will actually trade in their dignity for free stuff and event passes, until I have verified their existence.

I'm currently handling this fashion brand, and I was approached by a Beauty Vlogger and Blogger: The  Vlogger (who is reportedly notorious for stalking brand managers) informally offered a Youtube feature, while the Blogger (who is reportedly an event crasher) was pretty upfront and asked for some gcs. Thank goodness for traffic measuring tools, I was able to gauge right away if my company's investment would be worth it or not.


I'd like to believe that there are two types of bloggers, at least in our country: The Famous and Infamous. The Famous ones have gone through all the necessary procedures, invested enough time, money, and effort to get to where they are, while the Infamous ones are an audacious bunch: They set up a blog, write about one or two posts, then declare themselves as "New Media" and invoke the magic word "Blogger ako!" (I'm a Blogger!), trying to shortcut the process and commanding brands to cough up event invites, loot bags, and gcs.

I do not wish to lambast Freebie Bloggers in this post, but rather I want them to use this as a reflection sheet and make them realize that there's still time to change before the grave gets deeper. So to the Freebie Bloggers out there, I have some valuable tips for you.


1. VALUE-FOR-VALUE EXCHANGE

- Companies collaborate with bloggers because not only do they want to create new networks, but they also want valuable mileage for their brand/s. Before you approach a brand and order a loot bag just like how you would order burger and fries, you have to ask yourself: Can I give justice to this brand? (whether in writing or exposure) Are my statistics and blog impressive enough to back me up? There are a lot of companies who track press releases for their brands (and your track record as well) and if they find out (through measuring tools) that you're not as good as you seem, it's time for you to start singin' London bridge is falling down, falling down...

2. ESTABLISH A RELATIONSHIP BEFORE APPROACHING A BRAND

- Brands are handled by people. People are people therefore, treat them as such. You know how it feels when you encounter a new person and that person instantly borrows money from you? How does that make you feel? Irritated, right? It's the same thing with brand people: If they sense that you're insincere and you just see them as huge walking loot bags and event passes, good luck on trying to erase the first impression.

3. ON APPROACHING BRANDS

- For me it's okay to approach brands if you've already accomplished Tip #1 and Tip #2. And when approaching brands for any collaboration or request, you have to make them see why you're worth saying yes to. However, approaching brands all the time makes you look desperate and-pardon my French-cheap. Don't lose your delikadesa.  

Another thing, write a formal letter when approaching brands. Be professional!


4. THIS IS NOT A CHARITY

- Being invited to an event or approached by brands clearly doesn't give you the right to invite or request products for your blogger friends or even your family. I was tagged in an event invite on FB, and there were invited bloggers who kept on adding their blogger friends to the guest list which to me was quite unbecoming. Usually, blogger invites are good for one person only. Wait for brands to tell you that yes, you can bring a companion or they can give you extra products. If you really need a companion to accompany you when going home, be polite and ask if they can accommodate your guest. If they can't, then that's the end of the story. Don't attend the event. Pushing it and mouthing various reasons as to why you need a companion makes everything awkward, not to mention it makes you look bratty.

5. IF YOU'RE NOT INVITED, THEN YOU'RE NOT INVITED

- I've heard stories of freebie bloggers emailing brand managers, asking them why they're not invited to a particular event or much worse, if they could invite themselves to that event. How hard it is to understand that you're not invited? There are brands that don't invite me to their events and that's okay-that's life: Sometimes you get it, sometimes you don't.

 So don't assume: If you're not invited, then you're not invited. DON'T PUSH IT! 
6. WHEN POSITIVE REVIEWS MAKE YOU LOOK FAKE

- I LOVE IT: The most abused phrase in many sponsored posts. I'm not questioning your perception about any product-what I'm saying is when you do product reviews, lay out the pros and cons of the product (I'm sure there's always one!). There are bloggers who are afraid that brands won't sponsor them anymore if they mention the cons of any sponsored product that's why they highlight all the positive aspects only. Brand people are not as unforgiving as you think-in fact, almost all of them prefer honest opinions. (but civilized ones, please)

If you keep on churning out positive reviews, eventually, your viewers and readers will smell something fishy in the way you write your reviews and trust me, they'll start dropping out one by one. If you're insincere yourself, your audience will feel it.

7. SELF- ENTITLEMENT

- Self- entitlement is evil: It makes you feel that you deserve anything you want, whether you work hard for it or not. I believe that yes, you deserve all the good things in life, but guess what? You HAVE to deserve them. You have to understand that putting up a blog does not entitle you to media perks overnight-it doesn't work this way.

8. IT TAKES TIME

- Time is the natural course of life. Seeds endure seasons before they turn into trees or flowers and babies go through stages before they become adults. Laureen Uy may seem like she became an Internet star in just a short span of time, but bear in mind that she has honed her skills by being a fashion enthusiast all her life and by apprenticing to other stylists before she made a name for herself. Even if life is very fast in Cyberspace, it will still adhere to the universal principles of time. So be patient. One day, your time will come.

9. STALKING PEOPLE IS CREEPY

- And irritating, if I may add. Brand people appreciate bloggers who are open to collaborations, but if a certain brand person doesn't know you and you keep on bombarding him/her with messages, phone calls, emails, and Twitter and FB messages, you'll just drive them away. Be polite. Contact them once or twice then wait for them to respond. If they don't, then look for somebody else who is willing to collaborate with you.

10. DON'T BE RUDE

- Even if Social Media Marketing is very hot right now, there are brands who are still trying to learn the tricks of this trade. Don't take advantage of their innocence and inexperience. You wouldn't want the same thing to happen to you, right?

Being famous is great, but being famous and respected is even better. Your dignity is one of your most precious possessions so please, don't trade it for two lipsticks, free food, or an invite to a 2- hour event.

Disclaimer: All photos were sourced from Google

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Beauty. Fitness. Fashion. Food. Travel. Unicorns. World Peace. Digify Corporation.

18 Lovely Thoughts

  1. amen!these are all true and very informative..thank you ms. m!every blogger should know this. ;)

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  2. I subscribe to a vlogger who declares her love for nearly everything she reviews. It annoys the hell out of a lot of people, but I've learned not to listen to her words; instead, I just watch her demonstration. So I still find value in her reviews...but yeah, "loving" everything sounds so insincere.

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  3. There are too many "Yes Man" bloggers out there that authenticity is starting to become a novelty. I think it's inevitable to point out bad stuff in makeup and I just hope that brands and readers both understand that.

    I am completely honest and unedited but that doesn't mean I wanna pick a fight with a brand. Not liking something is never a reason to burn bridges. No need to be tacky!

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  5. I absolutely agree, Martha. I believe that blogging should be a PASSION, something that you will love doing without expecting anything in return. I've been blogging for quite a while but only to a very limited audience, i.e., my closest friends, and it was our way of keeping updated even if we don't see each other much (way before FB, Twitter and BBM came into the picture). If anyone emails me to thank me for my two cents, those are plus points. I'm with you in this informational post to warn brands of such types of bloggers. Again, I'd say, there should be passion or an advocacy for someone to come across as sincere in their blog posts. And I trust that blog readers can sense that, and won't be swayed away with sugar-coated posts from these bloggers. Your blog is one of the few I trust. Keep it up Martha :)
    xoxo, Genefel

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  6. Very well said, Martha! I can definitely relate since I'm also working in PR and directly liaising with bloggers. I love the way you wrote this, honest and tactful. See you soon! :)

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  7. I'm not a blogger, I don't have the guts or the drive to write about anything consistently - which is why I look up to bloggers like you. I am amazed at your dedication towards your blog. You make your readers aware that you receive a lot of free and amazing stuff, but never have I seen a dishonest review from you.

    I am saddened whenever I read blogs by freebie bloggers. They could have been as good as trusted bloggers like you, but they are slowling wasting their potential because they keep on churning out overly-positive and unbelievable reviews about products that they have obviously gotten for free.

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  8. Very well said, Martha. This is truly a blog that we can trust. Thank you for all your honest opinions and reviews. :)

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  9. hmm blind item ang peg! haha. My friend just put up her own accessories online store, and at first, I didn't believe her na this blogger who is pretty famous approached her. Kung titignan mo ang mga posts nya super parang lahat na ng stores eh ine-endorse nya, sa akin lang sana when you like to partner with someone, be sincere and it should be in line with your interests and goals.

    Missed reading TBJ btw! xx

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  10. Naremember ko nga po ms m isa ito sa mga naging topic nung time n nagmeet po tyo..meron po palang mga ganung klaseng blogger. Before kya nwiwili aq magbasa ng mga blog dahil sa mga travel post at mga events sa buhay ng ibang tao..

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  11. you're really my no. 1 idol when it comes to topics like this. :) well said Ms. Martha! no wonder why you're so succcessful now. :) God bless!

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  12. I think this is one of those perceptions in blogger/vlogger, di mo maiiwasan pero meron talagang mga ganun. this post should spread and read by those.:)

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  13. hahah! you are right! A blogger who would declare "this is the most, best etc" all the time is FAKE..really, how can it be the best kung lahat nalang the best???nye!

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  14. well said Miss Martha! This is why I love reading your blog, you are one of the most trusted bloggers out there! I hope those bloggers will be able to read this post. I'm sure they will learn a lot! :)

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  15. This is so far the best post I`ve ever read!! I`m actually laughing while I`m reading this. It`s an eye opener and somewhat a "sermon" to those "FREEBIE BLOGGER" haha. I`ve seen a lot of them and really annoyed me.They actually look like begging for free loots and stuffs when blogging isn`t really about that. Whenever I visit their blogs It disappoints me to see nothing but their personal life and stuffs. :( only 2-5 post and BAMM! They declared themselves BLOGGERS that worth sponsoring! wew !

    To be honest I`ve started blogging only this month and I wrote "NEWBIE" on my profile to avoid misinterpretation. And so far all the products that I`ve posted were bought from my earnings. :)

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  16. 100% Agree with everything. This is a must read for every blogger. Thanks for sharing this Ms. M! :)

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  17. CJ and Gen-Zel: Welcome. :)

    Betsbygolly: Hi there and thanks for sharing! Well, I used to follow those kinds of bloggers-I unfollowed them eventually one by one and that made my social networking accounts cleaner! Haha!

    Issa: I hope so too :)

    Leilani: Yeah that's true. Unfortunately, there are very new and promising bloggers out there who keep on saying I LOVE IT to almost all of the sponsored products they got. Makes me wonder too. :p

    Ohms: Yup! That's why I wrote this in high hopes that they'll zap back to reality soon! :)

    Jam: Welcome dear. :)

    Raych: Thank you. :)

    Rhain: Yup! I've been around-and there are even worse!

    Arra: Is that so? Oh well. Just don't mind them. TBJ misses you too! :)

    Krissy: Hey dear! thanks for dropping by. :) Oh now I feel you because I'm handling brands on my own too! Haha! :)

    Genefel: Hi there! Thank you for sharing your sentiments. Happy to know were on the same page. Thanks also for trusting my blog. :)

    Aviva: Oh who could that blogger be? LOL. Anyways, let's give her the benefit of the doubt-maybe all those I LOVE IT products really worked for her, but if she does not lay out the cons, then that's something fishy.

    Tellie: Thanks for sharing dear! Yes, there's a proliferation of YES MAN bloggers lately, like beauty bloggers reviewing something that's totally unrelated to their niche such as furniture and appliance. O.O

    BrownOso: Yeah, I feel you. I'm a blog reader myself and I get turned off when i sense that a review is too biased.

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  18. Hi Martha! I was randomly stalking your blog, looking for bag reviews hahaha :)) Then this post randomly popped below the post, where usually three previous posts are shown.

    I can very well relate to this post, not as a blogger, as a seller. I used to co-own an online store on Facebook and Instagram. I used to sell phone cases. There were a lot of people sending us messages, asking for a collaboration. They call themselves bloggers, but I beg to disagree. They don't even have reader statistics to back up their claim. I can tell that they are just in for the free case or two. My friend and I never came into an agreement to sponsor a 'blogger'. I don't know how to best describe what I felt back then, but probably it was annoying for the lack of a better term.

    I hope these people will learn that being in the blog network is not all glitz, glamour and freebies. It has to be worked hard for.

    Thank you again for sharing another insightful article, as always. :)

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Thank you for your comments!