Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Sponsorships, Thank Yous, and Explanations

Some of you may have noticed I had a sponsored post yesterday. Given that this was my first ever sponsored post, from a blog that is mostly personal and not really about selling stuff at all, you all deserve an explanation. And context, because context is always nice. So, to clarify and contextualize: I've been offered sponsorship opportunities before that I've turned down, so I had to think long and hard about taking on yesterday's sponsored post. I ultimately decided to go for it for two main reasons:

1. I genuinely love Williams-Sonoma. Like, in an unhealthy way. The giveaway was something I personally would have loved to win, so promoting them on this site feels honest. Should I decide to take on any sponsored posts in the future, I can promise you I will only ever promote companies and products that feel right to me.

2. I was excited to offer something great back to you. You guys stop by here regularly to comment on my wedding/life-planning musings. You email me when I'm down. And you all voted like crazy in the recent Wedding Channel contest in a way that still makes me a bit weepy with joy and gratitude. I jumped at the chance to offer something amazing back to you, after all the support you've given me. If I ever take on any sponsored posts again, you can be sure that I'm thinking about whether it's worthwhile for you guys.

And that's it. I kinda like that this is a personal space and I don't have to think about whether my blog content might rile up potential advertisers. It's entirely possible to be ethical in choosing advertisers who you support and who entirely support you, but it's a hard line to walk. I know a few people out here in blogland who do it incredibly well, but it takes a ton of hard work. And so, I promise you that, on any future sponsored posts, I will continue to monitor that line. I will only promote opportunities/products/companies/artists that I love too. I will only have sponsored posts of things or people that I would lovelovelove to have at my own wedding. And I'm not going out of my way to find those sponsored posts, because that's not really what this blog is about. If great things come my/our way, then great. And if not, then that's great too, and I'll continue to talk about opportunities/products/companies/artists that I love simply because I love them, and not because they paid me. I will always distinguish a paid-for-but-honest-love by designating it as a "Sponsored Post." Anything else, you can assume it's just an honest-love-without-pay situation, which is generally where I feel most comfortable anyhow. This is a personal blog, above all else, and not a business. 

In a similar vein, some of you have asked me about the "sponsors" on my sidebar. And so, I need to clarify something about those pretty logos and images: they aren't sponsorships, they are links to our fabulous wedding team that I lovelovelove. Have I received discounts?  Yes and no. We paid full price for our photographer (though we were lucky to book Kelly Prizel before her 2010 rate increase, back when she was waaaay underpriced for her talent. But that's a "discount" any savvy shopper could have secured.)  We received a discount for our fabulous DJ, the Michael the Human Jukebox of The Flashdance wedding collective, but we're still paying more than the going rate for most Los Angeles DJs and I'm pretty sure the discount was only possible because we're getting married on a Sunday.  We also received a discount from Sweet Emilia Jane because she's a friend and she refused to properly price her talent back when we first started talking about DOC stuff (again, this was before the wedding world got smart to how amazing she is, so we're getting a steal of a deal. And I'm tipping her heavily, because DOC-ing is haaaaaard work.)

In other words, I'm not blogging here for the money and so this blog will never just take any old sponsorship. And I will continue to promote our Wedding Team members, every one one of which we chose because we lovelovelove them and not because they were inexpensive. I'm pretty insistent on paying a fair rate and promoting our wedding team talent, because I know how hard it is to make it as a small business owner and I believe in how great they are.

So in conclusion, this is a personal blog with occasional gushing about wedding folk I lovelovelove, and possibly some occasional gushing about wedding folk I lovelovelove who have ALSO have paid or discounted me some nominal amount. That's it. Thanks for reading. And now I really hope you can go and benefit from the amazingness over at the Williams-Sonoma giveaway or by wasting entirely too much time over at Kelly, Michael or Emilia's sites. Because it's entirely worth it, I promise. Because I couldn't feel good about myself if I didn't believe in the people supporting my wedding or my site.

11 comments:

  1. I was a little surprised at first, so it's nice to hear from you separate about it. Not in a OMG UR SELLIN OUT way but just unexpected.

    Then I promptly forgot all of that in the joy of potentially winning the giveaway. I wasn't planning on doing the register at specific stores thing, but I suppose that's the point of this giveaway from WS' marketing department's point of view.

    Anyway, thank you for sharing this with your readers on top of everything that you do already.

    Kelly is also our photographer and I'm slightly jealous of your steal there but then I slap myself when I realize that she is very likely STILL underpriced so stop being silly, self. Yay Kelly!

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  2. @KWu - YAY! Kelly is your photographer too! Don't you love her to pieces? And yes, she's definitely still underpriced for her gorgeous work. We feel like the luckiest couple in the world to have her photographing and sharing in our wedding day. (If it makes you feel better, we're paying for her travel to get her out to LA, so we're not saving anything over a local photographer in the end. But it's an entirely worth-it splurge for us.)

    And oh good. I should have provided context upfront, but I'm happy you like the giveaway. I figured: if it's something I wish *I* could win, then I'm okay with it on my site. Just don't forget to use the link to register and leave a comment so you're entered.

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  3. I've been thinking about adding similar links for our wedding team, but I worry that being linked from my blog would be considered BAD press. I'm a lunatic like that.

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  4. @hitchdied - we love your fabulous blog because you're a lunatic like that (ie, a lunatic like us, aka other potential customers for your vendors.) And also, we love your blog because it's fabulous and smart. And good vendors like working with people who are fabulous and smart.

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  5. psssh! no need to justify anything. this is your blog and you do what you want. those of us who have been reading before you attained big time status know who you are and that you're sharing the love you've received.

    BUT. i do think it's commendable for you to follow up. you're a good person and good-hearted!

    i'm actually hoping to feature a photographer friend again. he's a really good bud of my husband's and he's so nice and talented. i just feel like people should know about him. if people think it's selling out or plugging someone in the industry, they can shove it. i want to share this guy b/c i wish he was available to document our wedding day. to me, it's the same as asking someone to guest post. you're featuring someone you admire and enjoy so that others can admire and enjoy them with you. no harm, no foul.

    AND... with the whole discount thing. don't feel bad for that either. some of us get some wedding magic in all sorts of ways- discounts, volunteers, happenstance, etc. plus, you're using your powers for good, not evil.

    <3!

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  6. @Angie - I don't feel bad about discounts, so long as everyone feels like they are receiving a fair deal (me AND the wedding team folks). But I just found out there are legal reasons I need to disclose every discount relationship and clarify the sponsor relationships (or lack thereof). I knew about the sponsor thing, but not the discounts (see here: http://www.thinksplendid.com/2010/08/legalities-of-free-and-discounted.html) So now everything is all above ground.

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  7. williams and sonoma makes me swoon too. Don't fret, no judgement here!

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  8. ya you def got a dream team on your side :)

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  9. I don't get this at all. So what if you were to make money off your blog? Would you revise current or past content to make that money? I'm going to guess not. Would you revise future content? That would remain to be seen, but I think the point is that people like reading your shit. It's real. You are a real person. If you changed that, people would stop reading and advertisers don't like that.
    So anyone who accuses you of "selling out" just doesn't fucking get it and is actually under estimating the POINT of marketing and advertising on blogs like yours (and mine). They WANT to advertise to your readers. Readers who like your shit. And clearly you like W.Sonoma so why wouldn't you do a paid post (even if it wasn't)?
    I personally think that it's quite OK to advertise. I've been approached to do paid posts on certain products and services. I did one and it was such a fucking headache I decided not to do it again - it was SO not worth it - even though I thought the product was groovy. I don't personally believe in affiliate programs either, only because I don't want to clutter my page with Beaucoup and Paper Divas and all that shit that all wedding blogs seem to have. Ya follow?
    But seriously, who do people think they are to deny you your blog and who you choose to present or represent on it? I just don't get it.

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  10. @30-something Bride: this post is legally required, with respect to the sidebar logos. Now that I've taken on a sponsored post- even one- I have to disclose my relationships or everyone (me and my wedding team) could get fined $11,000 apiece. Unlikely, sure. But I have no desire for fines due to improper disclosures, even when there's not much to disclose. Also, I definitely DO want to clarify that I'm not going to let the lure of sponsorships affect content. And you're right that it's time-intensive to manage, which is just another reason that I won't bother unless it's really worth it to me and my readers.

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  11. I just came on here to tell you that you're sweet but you don't need to big time tip me because I basically forced myself into your radastic wedding, m'dear! BUT this is craziness about getting discounted/free wedding vendors and then not stating that info on a blog. So now I have to go back and write on Veiled Vows any stuff I got for free? AND I have to make sure that anyone I gave a discount to does the same. Oh man. Thanks for the tip!

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