3 Things I Will NEVER Do for a Sponsored Post

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3 Things I'll NEVER do for a Sponsored Post | Pretty Handy Girl

Warning, Blogger rant ahead. I’m taking off my DIY educator hat today and stepping up on my soapbox (tutorial on how to build a soapbox coming soon.)

I’ve shared these thoughts with several of my blogger friends and colleagues. But, I think it’s high time to pick up my megaphone to share it with the masses.

Sponsored posts are the bread and butter for many full-time bloggers. Although I chose to write several sponsored posts a year…

…Here are the 3 Things I Will NEVER Do for a Sponsored Post:

1. I WILL NEVER write about every brand that waves cash or free product in my face, UNLESS I absolutely love the product/service/etc. Sponsored posts can provide significant income to a full-time blogger. But, it’s important not to become a sponsored post whore. If you take every sponsored post that comes through your email, it can weaken your own brand. I have tried to remain true to my word that I’ll only share the products that I love with my readers. Have there been tools that I loved at first but then found a better one later? Yes, but I will take the time to go back and update the post letting you know that I have new feedback (like here or here.) Ultimately, I won’t share anything that I wouldn’t give a positive review to. I won’t mention any product that I wouldn’t refer to my closest friend or my own mother. Why? Because in my opinion, a blogger is only as good as their word. If you tout any product that appears before you, your readers will eventually stop believing you.

3 Things I'll NEVER do for a Sponsored Post | Pretty Handy Girl

2. I will NEVER write a sponsored post or product review without disclosing it to my readers. This is a particularly sore spot because I see countless bloggers and celebrities who will gladly accept free goodies and mention them on social media (or their blogs) without a single note that they were paid or that they received the products for free. WTF! Why wouldn’t you mention it? After all, it is required by the FTC. Do you really think that your followers are stupid enough to not realize that the product you’ve just linked to ten times wasn’t handed to you in a neat little bow wrapped package? I’ve seen bloggers who have been touting without disclosure for years. They promote companies, tools and the like without one single mention that they got it for free or, worse yet, they were paid to mention the product. I urge you to stand up and make some noise. Let celebrities and bloggers know that you demand full disclosures. Don’t be fooled, demand to know.

3 Things I'll NEVER do for a Sponsored Post | Pretty Handy Girl

3. I will NEVER sign a WORK-FOR-HIRE or other type contracts. This is a huge no-no for any artist, writer, or content creator. Why? Because a “work-for-hire” type contract says that anything you create (photos, text, slides, graphics, products, etc.) is the sole property of the company that is paying you to create. You may think it’s not a big deal, but it is. Say, for example, you took some photos for a sponsored post of a chair. One of the photos is a wider shot of the chair in your living room. Two years later, Better Homes and Gardens wants to use that image on their website and will give you credit. Guess what! Legally you don’t own that image. The brand that had you sign the work-for-hire contract does. And worse yet, they could legally ask you to remove that entire post and all the photos from your blog because they own the copyrights (although this is a doubtful scenario, it could happen.) The brand can do whatever they want with your photos because they own them! They can sell them to a magazine; use them in their own marketing; make t-shirts with your image and sell them; etc. etc. etc. Work-for-hire contracts are the worst for a creator. It basically states that you are an employee of the company for the time you are creating for them. In return, you don’t receive any benefits like health insurance, life insurance, and other benefits.

Next time you see those three little words (work-for-hire) in a contract, run the other way. Refuse to sign it. Hopefully if we all speak up, these contracts will cease to exist.

3 Things I'll NEVER do for a Sponsored Post | Pretty Handy Girl

What can you do if you really want to work with the brand that sent you a work-for-hire type contract? Explain to them why you can’t sign it. Ask them to change the wording. Offer to sign contracts that give them “exclusive rights to use the images for the specific campaign”. But, make sure the new contract states that you retain the copyrights.

Okay, stepping down now. Let’s get back to the DIY tutorials!


Disclosure: I am not a lawyer, nor do I play one on TV. If you have more questions about work-for-hire contracts, consult a copyright attorney.

31 replies
  1. Nancyinnortheastiowa
    Nancyinnortheastiowa says:

    You’re welcome to climb on you soap box any time you like! It’s so discouraging to find that some of the blogs I’ve been reading for years have turned into continuous commercials for branded products.
    If I wanted to watch continuous commercials, I can turn on the tv……. on my computer, there’s that lovely little “delete” key! :>) …And it’s their loss, not mine.

    • brenda
      brenda says:

      amen they can be so cluttered it is impossible t scroll and read the info they are trying to impart.

      I am wondering if this is what has happened when one receives a notice from a Pinterest pin that has to be removed

      • Alanamous
        Alanamous says:

        Most likely what happens when one recieves a notice from a Pinterst pin that has to be removed is that somebody copied the image and posted it on Pinterest without verifying that it was acceptable to copy and share in the first place.

        Most people don’t seem to understand copyright and image sharing in the first place. Just because an image appears on the internet doesn’t mean that it’s alright to copy it and use it elsewhere. That image is someone’s property. Often times, it’s someone’s artwork and quite a bit of time and effort went into the planning and execution of the image. Not to mention the editing, publication and branding of the image.

        People wouldn’t take objects they find elsewhere in their lives and start showing it off without it being considered stealing. But because they see others doing it online and it is so easy to do they don’t even think twice about copying and posting images, memes, jokes, quotes and all sorts of things without first getting permission from the originator, and if necessary paying for the work. Everyone else gets paid for the work they do.

    • bean
      bean says:

      Absolutely–I have recently stopped reading one of my (formerly) favorite blogs because it has turned into an infomercial. It bothers me when blogs originally designed to help those with generic beer budgets but craft wine tastes turn into an orgy of commodity fetishism.

  2. Katie @ Addicted 2 DIY
    Katie @ Addicted 2 DIY says:

    Thanks for sharing and looking forward to that soapbox tutorial;) I keep forgetting why I shouldn’t sign a “work for hire” contract, so thank you for the reminder! I hang my head in shame when I think back to the sponsored posts I took early in my blogging career, just to earn money to fund my next project. I learned my lesson and I’ve become much more selective so I don’t get that icky feeling that I just sold my soul for a paycheck. Some things just aren’t worth it.

  3. Linda Nelson
    Linda Nelson says:

    Thank you for sharing your perspective. I blog for the pleasure of it, and do not participate in these things. However, any time that I have read the type of post as you’re describing, there’s always a line that goes something like this, “all opinions are my own…etc…”, but I’ve never come across a blogger who openly shares their opinion that they didn’t like the product. For argument’s sake, let’s just say I chose to “test drive” a popular new product from a big box craft store, and thought it could be improved upon, wouldn’t the honest thing for me to do is be forthright with my opinion? Don’t the stores want honest feedback?

    • Brittany Bailey
      Brittany Bailey says:

      Linda, personally I won’t write a review about a product I didn’t like because I don’t want to give any press to a poor product. Lest someone forget what was written but only that there was something written. If it’s a sponsored post for a product I’ve never tried, I ask for the product ahead of time to try out. If I like it, we proceed. If this isn’t possible, I have (on two occasions) returned the sponsored post fee and gave the company feedback about why I disliked the product.

  4. Cindy Brooks
    Cindy Brooks says:

    You wouldn’t believe how many sponsored posts I delete without opening cause I know the blogger wrote it for money and it’s not a true recommendation of the product. It especially annoys me when the product doesn’t even fit their blog, like a decorating blog writing about a company’s long term care insurance products. It also irritates me when some company decides to do a campaign on blogs and I see the same thing on many of the blogs I read. Sometimes it’s the exact same post! Thanks for keeping it honest!

    • Brittany Bailey
      Brittany Bailey says:

      Cindy, I agree with you. It takes some guts to say no to big $$$ because it doesn’t fit the theme of your blog. I admit there have been a few posts that were outside my normal projects, but I felt they related to the home and garden theme enough that it still was relevant to my audience.

  5. Anne F
    Anne F says:

    Great post!!! I know a lot of people will have learned something new today, because you called it like you see it!

    P.S. Can’t wait to learn how to build a soapbox! I know I’ve wanted to climb up on one from time to time!

  6. Tracy Shudo
    Tracy Shudo says:

    Brittany Thanks for all your information. I am a person who has been a crafter for years. I want to be a blogger to share all the things I have learnt to do. Over the years. ! because I love to make things 2nd I love to share.
    So where did you learn to start to do your blog? Did you take a course or did you do it just like you do when you are creating, by just doing it? Thanks for all you do and thanks if you can give me a heads upon blogging.

    • Brittany Bailey
      Brittany Bailey says:

      Tracy, yes, I just sat down one day and started blogging. I learned a lot from reading and Google. Plus, I followed some inspirational bloggers and saw how they ran their blog. I’d recommend two things. Start on WordPress (one mistake I made) and buy a SLR camera and take some good photography classes. I like ShootFlyShoot’s online videos (affiliate link)

  7. kathy@petticoatjunktion
    [email protected] says:

    I have to admit to giggling like a little kid when I read “whore” and “WTF”. Great post. I’ve signed away my rights on a few projects to a big name brand. I knew what I was doing but I had wanted to work with this company for years. Turns out I wish I hadn’t. They were hard to work with and after all the hours of work I ended up making peanuts. But putting the compensation factor aside the whole process left a bad taste in my mouth and I no longer love the product and the company. Thanks for the great information Brittany.

  8. Beth Ann Chiles
    Beth Ann Chiles says:

    Yes! Thank you for a great post. I have pretty much stayed away from sponsored posts because I want to stay authentic. I did have a not so great experience on a sponsored blogger trip one time and was able to write truthfully about the issues with the airline by approaching the post with “a few things to think about before you use this small airline service” and it worked really well. It was honest but did not bash if that makes sense. Definitely sharing your post. Thanks!

  9. Angie @ Postcards from the Ridge
    Angie @ Postcards from the Ridge says:

    “Sponsored post whore” – snicker. I know some, sadly. And yes! It’s so frustrating to see big bloggers who don’t disclose that they’re being paid!! Thanks for standing up for bloggers and reminding us to stay true and honest. It’s hard to pass up sponsored post offers when bills need to be paid, but it’s so important to stay true to your brand and only recommend things that you love. I’ve done a couple that weren’t a great fit for my brand and wish I hadn’t. Sticking to my guns these days and it’s so much better. And thanks for the info about the work for hire. Now, where’s that soap box tutorial?


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