Update to PR Policy

May 24, 2014

Apologies in advance for a long, wordy post!

So, a few months ago I published *this post* about why I did not want to accept PR samples on my blog.

As my blog and YouTube channel have grown I have found that this has been a blessing and a curse in almost equal measure.

I've realised that there is a HUGE grey area when it come to PR samples, special offers, blogger discounts and small samples. It isn't easy to have a blanket 'no' policy as some things are up for debate and fall into that grey area.

As it was pointed out to me in the comments section of the original post, PR samples are important to both the blogger and the brand. I have to admit I did not consider my policy from the point of view of a retailer - a small brand with a great product that wants to reach more like minded people could benefit hugely if a blogger were to review their product.

I am a huge advocate for smaller, independent brands. I love discovering, and then supporting, companies that have been born out of passion. I also try to regularly feature local brands and shops that I enjoy as I know I have a (small) audience of like minded readers who will also enjoy discovering and supporting these brilliant brands.

I thought that by not accepting PR samples I was removing any possible bias but I also know that you can still write an honest and informative review of the item regardless of if the item was given for free or if it was purchased with you own money. I read lots of great blogs and I fully respect and trust their opinion despite the review items being PR samples.

What I wanted to avoid was being a blogger with a new skincare regime (that apparently works wonders) every week, a different shampoo every other day, a new holy grail make up product every time they do a GRWM... those Bloggers and YouTubers who love everything and seem to use something different all the time. I was disheartened and disenchanted by these people and they are the epitome of what I DON'T want to be.

I believe that my original decision was correct at the time, as a new blogger trying to find my feet I would have likely been over whelmed with what to accept and what to refuse, how to review, etc. I am glad that I have said 'no' up until now.

However, I am confident enough in myself and my blog to feel that I am ready to accept a small and selective amount PR samples, I have been thinking about making this switch for a number of months but worried that I would come across as a 'sell out' or even false. I still want the main focus of my blog to be DIY and affordable options but there are so many great brands out there that I would love to discover and also bring to my readers. 

I will never, EVER let my opinion be influenced. I will never, EVER, EVER accept payment for a blog post. I will also be extremely selective with the items I do accept. 

While I do want to support smaller brands and bring options to my readers I don't want my blog to be an advertising platform with review after review of random 'freebies' that I would never have bought with my own money.

I will trial this new, selective policy for 3-6 months and see how I go. I will do a video to address this on my channel in a couple of week's time, I cannot film at the moment but obviously the blog and the channel are linked, I need to have the same policy on both.

I hope that those of you who have been reading my blog or watching my videos for a while will respect this decision, it has been coming for a long time. I have turned down a number of great offers and I have waited for a period of time when I hadn't been offered anything for a few weeks to see if I would still want to change my policy without the temptation of a particular product. I wanted this to be an independent, un-influenced decision... which it is.

I have to be honest, I worry that this will compromise my perceived integrity so I am nervous about publishing this post. I hope that you will know that I will always bring you my honest opinion and I will be very selective with what I accept.

Please do let me know your thoughts below, I welcome your feedback - readers, fellow bloggers... even companies! I'd love to hear your opinions on this, good or bad! I'm ready for it!
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10 comments:

  1. I think it's great that you're doing this Rachel because it really does help small businesses! I don't think it changes anything - its an added bonus of blogging and although it is a hobby, it is nice to get some freebies every now and then. Anyway, with how hard you work on your blog & youtube, you deserve some goodies!

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    1. Thanks Amber! I'm not surprised by you though, you are such an enabler!! haha!! It's true that blogging and YT are hard work, I love it of course but trying out new, exciting products would be a great added bonus :-) xx

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  2. I have always thought that if my channel ever grew to such a size that I would be offered free samples for review, I would accept, but only those who were actually relevant to my channel. For example, I would never accept PR samples from the likes of L'oreal and such. Other than that I think it's totally fine because, as you said, smaller companies might not be able to find a bigger audience even though they deserve it. :) x

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    1. Thank you, you are so right about the items needing to be relevant. thanks for reading xx

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  3. I'm really rather pleased that you have changed your PR policy Rach. Good bloggers who write with integrity and honesty are like gold dust both to the consumer and brands. I actually think that because we sometimes have the opportunity to try out some products that perhaps our budget may not have stretched to initially, it makes our reviews more unbiased. We can fully immerse ourselves in that new experience. Your blog is broad enough whereby a few PR sample posts isn't going to change that focus. And like you, I decided a long time ago not to do paid posts. I think you lose your voice more with them that PR samples. Good luck lovely. i hope you get some great offers xx

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    1. Thank you! That's so great to hear and really encouraging! xx

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  4. I agree with all these comments Rach. I think your blogging is honest and strong enough to live with a few PR samples. From my point of view, it doesn't make a blind bit of difference whether a product is a freebie or not, I'll review it exactly the same and I think you would too. xx

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    1. Thank you Annie, I really respect you & your opinion so that means a lot to me. To be honest, reading blogs like yours, Sarah's, Amber's, etc showed me that you can blog honestly even if you did not purchase the item. I think I watched too many 'big' YouTubers who are sponsored and managed etc so they put me off. I will maintain my integrity and if I am struggling I will re-evaluate. However, I'd like to think I won't struggle, I am an honest person to a fault! It gets me in trouble all the time :-/
      No, on a serious note, I am sure I can balance honesty with integrity and professionalism which is why I have re-thought my policy.

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  5. I definitely don't hold it against you changing your mind Rachel! I'm personally pretty selective with the PR samples I accept for my blog too, and end up turning down a lot of offers if I'm genuinely not that interested! I always test products for weeks before reviewing and stick to my honest thoughts so I hope that comes across in my posts! You have nothing to worry about in terms of integrity, like Annie said it doesn't make a difference to me - I know I can trust you will be honest with your thoughts, irrespective of whether you were sent the products to review or bought them yourself :) x

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    1. phew, thanks Ria! I really respect your opinion and you know I love your blog. As I said to Annie blogs like yours and hers help me feel more confident that you can still have a great, honest, respectable and trust worthy blog whilst accepting samples. xx

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