I was just scrolling through my ‘foodie news’ list on Twitter, and this little gem popped up, from Eater.
Now of course, when I actually read the full article (well, it’s a podcast, but I read the transcript) it turned out that Eater were misrepresenting David Lebovitz slightly, no doubt to entice people like me in – he’s not really saying that bloggers shouldn’t get paid, but that your reason for blogging should be that you love it, not that you want a restaurant or a book deal.
Still, it made me think of a view I’ve heard from a lot of bloggers – that really, the only way to be authentic and true to what you love is to make absolutely no money from your blogging. Sorry folks, but I reckon that’s boohockey.
For some reason, it’s been decreed that in this case, it’s ‘not right’ to make money out of something you love. As a person who has done just that, let me tell you – it’s absolutely fantastic, and I wish it could be the same for everyone. Turning what I love – cooking and writing about food – into my day job is the best thing that’s ever happened to me. I look forward to Mondays. I enjoy every single day. It’s incredible. As well as writing for my own blog, I write content for other people’s – usually smaller independent companies, but bigger ones too on occasion.
But Sal, some people will be saying – how can we trust bloggers to be authentic when we know they’ve been showered with cash for writing about this recipe book/bar of chocolate/eyelash curler/set of headphones? How do we know they’re not rolling around in a big pile of fifties while the brand writes the post and uploads it straight to their blog? Can we believe anything anyone says anymore??
Well, I’d say that the fact we’re quite happy to trust reviews and features from elsewhere, when those people get paid too, is probably the answer to your question. We have no problem with magazines reviewing a product, or people on telly talking about something new that they love. We trust them to know what they’re talking about. So why do we feel differently about bloggers?
I suspect that the real problem is that it’s been decided that no one should have to pay for work from bloggers, because somehow it’s not really worth anything. And you know who decided that? It sure as hell wasn’t us. It was certain brands and PR companies who are looking to get something for nothing. The clever bit is the way they made us think it was our idea – that it was all about authenticity, when actually it was about the bottom line.
By all means, stick to your principles when it comes to your blog. If you don’t want to write about something, don’t. And if you don’t like something, either post an honest review or post nothing at all. But if you want to turn your blog into your job, and get paid for all the funny/useful/entertaining/moving/thought-provoking content you come up with, using your own time and brain and hard work, then go ahead and don’t let anyone tell you that’s wrong.