The Blogger Brand Engagement Balance

I am going to have to tread lightly, or else come off like a hypocrite. Again.

See, the other day, I tweeted this, mostly as a joke, because I like to laugh, and when the news broke about Twitter having promoted tweets, the funny people of Twitter were having a field day over on the Favstar leaderboard, and I was laughing along with them. Again.

But then the voice of reason, Loralee Looneytunes made me think about what I had just said. Again.

I mean, *I* work with brands, right? Am I a douchebag?

The answer is: probably to some people.

We all find our balance, what we are willing to do, and who we want to work with as we enter the blogger + brand relationship world. A lot of it is who you choose to work with, and who you choose to continue working with.

Example. I have been lucky enough to be a Ninendo Enthusiast for a few years now, but that mainly comes into play on my blog when they have a product launch, and we throw a launch party to accompany it. However, I will admit, I am also lucky enough to receive new games and such out of the blue from them every now and again, BUT! With the understanding that *I* choose when and *if* I will mention them on my blog. And how.

Like, right now. I am thinking when they sent their new Endless Ocean game, that they didn’t think it would end up in a post about brand relationships. But while I was at SXSW, this huge box arrived, and my hubby texted this photo to me. A dolphin the size of my son from Nintendo – and oh yeah, the game.

How did they know I would love this, both the dolphin and the game? I won’t reveal their trade secrets, but it’s because they know me.

I also won’t get into the gentle nudge I also received lately regarding the fact that we go out to eat to much but did you know the DS has a Personal Gourmet Cooking game?? – which they sent complete with protective onion chopping goggles. HUMPF! We *all* can’t be Pioneer Woman, OKAY???

But seriously, this is an example of a long-standing relationship with a brand who knows me well. And I *still* take pause before I post things about them, because what comes first and foremost?


Then you.

I have been a speaker at a few conferences or events lately and invariably the question comes up.

“Do you make money at your blog, and how do you do it?”

I invariably answer, “Yes and no, and don’t be a lifestyle blogger.”

I removed ads a while back to allow me more freedom with the contests I run, specifically my Greeblepix photo contest, which I love dearly. Whether ads will ever come back, I do not know.

But the yes part of the question is all the experiences, and yes, swag, that comes along. Whether through Mile High Mamas, or my former Savvy Source gig, or directly through Greeblemonkey, I get to *do* a lot of cool stuff.

For example, in early May, my family will be going to Puerto Rico on a partially sponsored trip. A trip that *I* pitched, so the engagement does work both ways! Clearly, that is going to be one hellofa awesome experience. Something I wanted to do way more of after our (unsponsored) Ireland trip, so I decided to go for it.


Had I not had such positive feedback on our adventures in Ireland, I wouldn’t have pushed for Puerto Rico through my blog.

Like I said. This is a place for me. And for you. I like the community here and never want to lose it.


How do you find the balance with brand engagement and your blog? Or even if you don’t have a blog, what kind of balance issues do you see elsewhere?


On a semi-related topic, my post over at Mile High Mamas today is “When Is It Ok To Edit? Even When Your Are Editing Yourself?” Check it out!

This article has 13 comments

  1. Megan

    I agree with Loralee. I think it is all about balance. It’s hard to find that I know…. but I don’t like billboards, but I also think working with brands is fun and part of the blogging world now.

  2. Anonymous

    Absolutely Aimee. And yay Puerto Rico! Can’t wait to see the pics! 🙂 – m

  3. Meghann

    How do I find balance? That’s easy, I suck enough that no brands want me. Ahahahahahahahahahahaha. I did put ads on my blog a while ago, but considering taking them down. Everyone reads me through RSS feed anyways.

    I am jealous of all you get to do, but I know that your blog is so much more well known, and there are perks with that territory.

    Although this past week I finally got to do something for you to be jealous of, so I’ll bask in that a bit. 😛

    p.s.-I have trouble knowing how my typing comes across, so please know that everything above is said in a lighthearted tone. *This message sponsored by*

  4. Aimee Greeblemonkey

    Meghann – ha ha ha! I think I have known you long enough to know that. 😉

  5. Aimee Greeblemonkey

    And Julie – yeah… good point. Not sure if I made that clear enough – my first question is – “am I interested in it?” And not just IT, but when I would be doing with IT.

    And if I say yes, I think about if readers will be turned off by it, but I definitely do think of myself first.

    An example of that is when I was approached by a candy company that I did really like their candy and their pitch… but as a diabetic I didn’t think it sent the right message, even if I can have candy occasionally. kwim?

  6. MPPs Mom

    Well I have a blog but no one reads it. And well most can’t now anyway because my dear husband was worried about privacy. So…..this is not a problem I have with my blog, and frankly not with anyone else’s that I follow.

    I think in my world, I read the blogs of people I know and or like, and thus like the content they choose to share, with brands or not. I think it really depends on what you think or want your blog to do for you. If you just want the perks and the freebies, that will come through. If you are true to yourself, your readers will know and act accordingly.

  7. Aimee Greeblemonkey

    Loralee – regret is interesting too… I definitely have had live and learn moments!!!

  8. Aimee Greeblemonkey

    And MPP, good point about finding a blogger who matches what you want to read, brand or not.

  9. Tree

    From a branding perspective, is it not better for the brands you do wish to present if you are wholeheartedly involved, rather than simply involved for the money / exposure?

    In my mind, you have struck a good balance and when you feel like it is out of balance, you make necessary adjustments.

    As a friend and a reader, I appreciate your honesty and integrity.

  10. Julie @ The Mom Slant

    You’re more generous than I am. My blog is for me. So even if my readers might be interested in some promotional YouTube video or a new variety of frozen food, the bottom line for me is whether *I’m* interested. More often than not, I’m not.

    Great post, Aimee.

  11. Loralee Choate

    I am still figuring out the whole “brands” things myself.
    I’ve agreed to things I regret (and sure I will do many more) but for the most part, I’ve enjoyed the work I’ve done with brands though it is sooooo not a priority or my “thing”.


    Luff you, woman.

  12. faintstarlite

    Great post Aimee. It’s a tough balance for anyone to strike and I think we all sort of intuitively know when the line gets crossed. I put up with a lot from people I know in real life because I care for them and believe they’re doing their best – even if I disagree with the tactics they use to make money. And at the end of the day, you have to find what works for YOU. That might be different from what works for me.

    For me, I’ve worked very closely with Weight Watchers as a brand spokesperson and consultant for 2.5 years and have found what works for me is to produce content that lives on their sites. I only talk about it on my personal site when I want to share about something related to my own weight loss history or journey, and it goes in phases… and actually, I usually get comments like “can you talk more about that part of your life?”, but because I have a paid relationship with them I’m careful to not push their message too hard. If only because I don’t want others to misinterpret my intentions.

  13. paul merrill

    I’ve been pretty lazy with the brand-engagement side of things for my blog. I guess I just keep it as my personal expression vehicle. And the few who enjoy that make it worthwhile.

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