Late the other night, I received a rather peculiar comment on Instagram. It was the type of comment that fills me with frustration and left me awake late in the night brewing on it. I cannot remember in exact words what this Instagramer had written, but the general premise was that she was a fan of mine during the Meilleur Patissier; had spent a long time searching for my account; and now that she found it, she was highly disappointed that I post photos featuring things other than just cakes. She assumed that if it wasn’t a culinary photo, it was a sponsored post, and according to her, money ruins everything.
Unfortunately, this was not the first time I’ve received a comment like this, and I know for a fact that pretty much every Instagramer/blogger has or will receive comments like this at some point during their careers. I believe that everybody is entitled to their own opinion, but I feel that some people forget there is a real person on the other side who will reads these comments and feel pain, frustration or sadness as a result of what is written. So before, I start talking about why I love sponsored content, I feel it’s important that we all remind ourselves to envisage the person behind the Instagram account and think of how they will feel as an actual human being before hitting that send button.
Anyway, let’s get back to the subject at hand. For me, sponsored content is SO much more than just a way to earn a few bucks. I won’t deny that the money is appreciated, but it’s not the be all and end all. It’s quite a hot topic at the moment and I know there are a lot of people against paid partnerships and sponsored content. Personally, I don’t mind seeing others posting sponsored content on Instagram, particularly when the product placement is artistic and creative. The only time I don’t like it, is when it’s overly obvious it’s sponsored and the caption is too fake, or when an influencer makes no effort to create a beautiful setting for the product. As an “Influencer” (I hate calling myself that), I love creating sponsored content. As I mentioned above, it really isn’t all about the money for me, so I thought I’d share with you all a few key points I love about it.
It’s a creative challenge
Many people envisage sponsored products to be all Chloé and luxury goods. This is far from the truth. If you see a post featuring a something quite glamourous and drool-worthy, for many of us Instagrammers out there with an audience under 100k, it’s usually because we’ve actually saved up and bought that item ourselves, not because it’s been gifted or because we are getting paid to promote it. In my experience, companies that reach out to me for paid partnerships will often like me to promote items that may not be the most photogenic*. To give you an example, I recently produced sponsored content featuring the most delicious chocolate mousse I’ve ever tasted. Like all chocolate mousses, they were not the most photogenic. It was such a creative challenge to create a setting that not only highlighted the product but also made the photo appreciable to those less interested in that product. Even when promoting a more glamorous item, my mind goes into overdrive trying to find ways to create a beautiful yet unique setting. With so much competition now on Instagram, it’s more important than ever to push yourself creatively to produce something original. For me, working with brands has been a great way to do so.
*I want to stress here that before agreeing to a partnership, I will ALWAYS ensure it’s a product I support and would use or eat myself. I will never promote a product/experience/place I don’t thoroughly love.
Unless I spend the day blogging from a café or having lunch with a friend, I often don’t speak to anyone all day. However, when you are working on a paid partnership there’s always a lot of back and forward emails or phone calls with PRs. It seems silly but this interaction is really nice when you work from home. Despite not having colleagues, working with brands or PRs means you’re still able to engage in some sort of human interaction.
Getting feedback on your work
Unlike most jobs, I don’t have performance reviews or bosses that tell me if I’m on the right track and meeting expectations. Feedback on my work typically come only from Instagram and the comments left by you guys. However, the Instagram algorithm changes mean that sometimes my photos are barely seen and receive little to no comments. Often work that I’m most proud of receives a disappointing amount of likes and leaves me questioning the quality of what I’ve produced. That’s why I love working on sponsored content. Not only do you receive direct feedback from the brand themselves but also from the PR agency. It’s honest feedback that can really help you to progress or to give you the confidence you need to continue in your career.
Learning new skills
It’s easy to stick to your comfort zone once you’ve been blogging for a while, but often sponsored projects encourage you to challenge yourself and learn something new. I recently taught myself how to edit and create videos on Adobe Premier Pro – something I never thought I’d be able to. The project I was selected to work on required a video. Instead of refusing the project, I taught myself the necessary skills. I’m sure if I never created sponsored content, my skill level would have plateaued quite a while ago.
Producing sponsored content means something different to everyone in the industry. For some it’s a way to make a quick buck, but for others it’s a way of fulfilling themselves creatively. For me, it’s definitely the latter. I find that it challenges my creativity, it allows me build relationships with brand managers and PRs, it gives me a boost of confidence, and it encourages me to learn new skills.
I hope by opening up and taking the time to explain why I choose to engage in paid partnerships, you’ll be able to see my posts as more than just an advertisement. A lot of love goes into each and every one.
I would love to learn a little more about how you, my readers, feel about sponsored content – does it bother you? Do you feel that Instagram has gone too far with this? Do you think I post too many sponsored photos? Please share your thoughts or questions on this subject below and I’ll respond as soon as possible!