Business Blogging with Integrity

Last week I posted about Blogging for Business. I want to expand on that and talk specifically about the importance of doing that with integrity.

Why integrity is important

Integrity is the lifeblood of Brand You.

integrity

noun

  1. adherence to moral and ethical principles; soundness of moral character; honesty.

Dictionary.com

Being honest with your readers ensures that they will continue trusting you.

If you are less than honest, misrepresent something, or get something wrong, your once faithful readers will start dropping off before you can say “retirement”.

Trust is especially important in online journalism, as readers rely on you to provide the true story and the whole story.

Recapping revenue streams

After building a large, faithful readership, you might want to start earning money from your blog. You can do this several ways.

income-stream

Information sourced from Nikki Parkinson’s presentation at QUT.

Maintaining integrity

Being trustworthy is critical to keeping the readership you have worked so hard to build.

So if you want to make money through your blog and keep your readership, I suggest you concentrate on earning money in ways that will ensure you maintain your integrity.

The following income streams can get you into hot water with your readership if you only focus on the money:

  1. Sponsored posts,
  2. Brand ambassadorships,
  3. Selling products or e-courses, and
  4. Affiliate sales.

However, if you focus instead on how well the income streams will reflect on your integrity, then your readers will remain loyal.

The number one thing to think about in relation to the four income streams listed above is whether you trust the product or brand. Your readers will quickly work out if you don’t, and as soon as they figure this out they will lose respect and trust for you. So make sure if you engage in any of the above four methods of advertising that you like and are comfortable with supporting the product or brand.

Notify your reader from the start that what they're about to read is a sponsored post. Taken from Nikki Parkinson's presentation at QUT.

Notify your reader from the start that what they’re reading is sponsored. Taken from Nikki Parkinson’s presentation at QUT.

Another thing to make sure you do is notify your reader if what you have published is sponsored. Do this at the top of the post, before they get a chance to read it. This way they will go on to read what you’ve written already knowing that you’ve been paid for it, rather than finding out after the fact, which can lead them to feeling duped.

Also, declaring that a post is sponsored from the start allows readers who don’t appreciate this to navigate away. You don’t want to have wasted your readers’ time.

Integrity is key to building and keeping a loyal readership.

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