Blogging With Integrity

August is my blogoversary month, and a time when I like to share my thoughts and insights on blogging itself. Lately I’ve read a lot about blogging with integrity. I’m sure we all agree that blogging with integrity is important, but I’ve realized that it can mean different things to different people.

Blogging With Integrity
To me, blogging with integrity relates most to original content, sponsored posts, and blog link ups. Here’s what I think about each topic, and my own personal code for blogging with integrity.

Original Content

First and foremost, I think blogging with integrity means only claiming original content as my own. This should go without saying, but sadly it doesn’t it.

I blog to share what’s on my mind, to show you how I balance my life with fitness and faith, to tell you about new products I tried and liked (or didn’t), to share new recipes that my family really enjoys. I have enough to say without copying someone else’s writing and sharing it as my own.  

The closest I come to sharing non-original content are some of my recipe posts, but when I share recipes that I found somewhere else, I give credit to the source and link to the original website, use my own pictures, and write out my own directions (with my own variations), like I did for my recent Tomato Tart recipe. I do all this not to “copy” someone else’s recipe, but because I use my recipe posts as a “cookbook” and want to be able to make them again if the original sites go dark, and if I don’t write them down, I’ll never remember the modifications I made to suit my family’s tastes.  

Sponsored Posts

Blogging with integrity comes up a lot in the context of sponsored posts. Here, I think blogging with integrity means being selective about the products I review, being honest in my reviews, and disclosing up-front in full-size, legible font that the post is sponsored (if it is). 

As a general rule, I only review products that I would spend my own money on. I laugh at how many products I first tried for a review have become staples. It started way back in the day with Chobani, and more recently has included Manitoba Harvest Hemp Hearts, and Blue Diamond Almond Milk. I still buy Chobani every week, still sprinkle hemp hearts on my toast every day, and still use almond milk (and hemp hearts!) in my oatmeal. I am always honest in my reviews, and don’t mince my words if I really didn’t like something.

Sponsored BreakfastA recent breakfast–I spy Chobani and Manitoba Harvest Hemp Hearts.

Lately I’ve seen a lot of sponsored posts that bury the disclosure at the end, often in small and/or light-colored font, and not always disclosing the sponsor. While that type of disclosure may be all that the sponsor wants you to do, it probably doesn’t satisfy the FTC’s requirements (which you can read about here and here), and doesn’t come across as very honest. πŸ™ 

Blog Link Ups And Link Love Groups

You may not think that blog link ups and link love groups would test a blogger’s integrity, but when a blogger participates in blogging networks without following the guidelines or commenting on or sharing other posts, it does make me question that blogger’s motives. It’s disrespectful to the hosts and other participants when you drop your own link without taking the time to visit other blogs, and you really won’t grow your network if you don’t actively engage with others. 

When I participate in a blog link up, I make sure to visit/comment on/share the host blogs, do the same for at least five other blogs in the link up, and do the same for everyone else who comments on my blog. Maybe some will criticize me for setting only five blogs as my minimum, but the time it takes to visit/read/comment/share adds up quickly–so please make sure you don’t have a complicated captcha comment system. πŸ˜‰ 

Put my blogging integrity to the test and check out my sponsored review and giveaway of Freekeh (an easy-to-cook ancient grain).  

What does blogging with integrity mean to you?

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26 Responses to Blogging With Integrity

  1. Great post!!

    Do people actually copy people’s content! That is CRAZY!! and DISRESPECTFUL!!

    I have to say, I have reduced my link-ups recently because I found that it was difficult for me to devote enough time to view other posts. I have been trying to determine a min to read and found that I ended up reading more than I should (due to time). Really something I am trying to determine the right # for me.

    I have begun reviewing products and want no confusion-lol. I put my disclaimer in bold right at the top and again at the bottom.

  2. Marcia says:

    Amen sister. I’ve had content stolen, pics ripped off to the extent I rarely if ever show my kids anymore, linkups abused, all of it. It makes me sad. I feel like so many blog posts are contrived vs authentic these days.
    Marcia recently posted…Marathon Training, Sinkholes and Wasps in the AtticMy Profile

  3. Yes, reading & commenting is a time consuming business!

    I was reading a particular well known (not running, although the blogger does run & talks about running sometimes) blog this morning & the blogger started to mention a certain product they snack on . . . several times . . . I could just tell it was a sponsored post & sure enough it was. Mentioned at the end.

    However, I also get it – when I reviewed my one & only cookbook (actually I did just request another), I put the sponsorship link at the end. Because obviously you want to draw people in.

    Such a balancing act, like so much on life.

    Thanks for a thoughtful post!
    Judy @ Chocolaterunsjudy recently posted…Half Marathon #11 β€” Tuesdays on the RunMy Profile

  4. Karen says:

    Reading and commenting is a very time consuming thing. I enjoy it for sure, but some weeks, I keep getting interrupted, I can’t make the rounds to everyone I want and I feel guilty.
    I always try to share what’s going on with me in all my posts. I will say it is interesting how sometimes on days, even though it’s not a link up day, you will click to someone and they will have similar thoughts as you. That happens to me a lot, and I think it’s because we are on similar journeys, with like experiences. I do my best to be honest and I feel like everyone I read is on the same journey.
    Karen recently posted…Wrapping Up, Moving On!My Profile

    • Coco says:

      Yes, there have been so many times when I’ve read a post with thoughts that I’m still working out for myself! That is one reason why I do love blogging – getting to know others and have company on this journey.
      Coco recently posted…Blogging With IntegrityMy Profile

  5. Chaitali says:

    Interesting thoughts. I had heard that people do copy content but that just seems crazy to me. Why even blog at that point!?! I do the same thing with recipe posts sometimes when I’m trying a recipe from another site but I always disclose that, link back to the original recipe, use my own photos, and describe my modifications. I agree that reading and commenting can take a lot of time and I can’t always make it to everyone’s posts but do what I can πŸ™‚
    Chaitali recently posted…Summer vegetable skillet lasagnaMy Profile

  6. HoHo Runs says:

    It is difficult some days to get ALL of the blogs read. I want to, but just can’t. If I join a large link, I try to hit 10 or sometimes more if I have the time. After all, the purpose is to find bloggers I like and want to follow. (That’s how I found you!). I just can’t imagine copying someone else’s content as my own.
    HoHo Runs recently posted…Weekly Wrap #1My Profile

  7. Really great post! I am still learning a lot about blogging but I feel and I hope that I do all of the above you mentioned. Hosting link ups is a lot of work but also very rewarding if you play by the rules. Happy Anniversary!
    Deborah Brooks @ Confessions of a Mother Runner recently posted…Freekeh, Roasted Eggplant, Tomato & Pasta SaladMy Profile

  8. great post and thanks for sharing! It amazes me that people don’t follow rules and basically are lazy πŸ™ I love link ups- helps organize my content but it does drive me a little crazy when people link up and it has zero to do with the content for the link up. Like you, time is valuable and I just skip right over those posts and go to the next!
    Mary Beth Jackson recently posted…Kiss of Summer with SkoopMy Profile

  9. I hear ya. The only “bad” thing I do is post memes that I find on the internet. I’m sure that’s stealing in some form. But everything else I do is original.

    Great post.
    Wendy@Taking the Long Way Home recently posted…Hey Sole Sister…My Profile

  10. I’ve gotten lots of sponsored post requests lately that say – you cannot disclose it is sponsored because we want it to seem natural. Then the are shocked when I say no because that is illegal. So shady.
    Abby @ BackAtSquareZero recently posted…Periscope 101: How to Be a Rocking ViewerMy Profile

  11. Carla says:

    YES TO WHAT ABBY SAID.
    It be crazy.
    Carla recently posted…Im no ringmaster.My Profile

  12. This is SUCH an important post. Back in January I went to a continuing ed sessions for dietitians on disclosure, and they went over a lot of the ethical concerns. I try to do the same as you with sponsored posts – only choosing brands that I enjoy/believe in, making proper disclosure either at the beginning of the post or when you begin talking about the product, including ‘sponsored’ in tweets & social shares, etc.

    And I 100% agree about the copied content. I’ve had entire posts & photos taken directly from my website and put on another person’s site. The last thing I want to waste my time doing is tracking down the person or host to get them to take down content that’s mine – but unfortunately such is the world of the internet.

    GREAT POST!!
    Chrissy @ Snacking in Sneakers recently posted…The Wedding Songs WorkoutMy Profile

  13. Great post, and something that many would do very well to heed! I always try to lead with authenticity and integrity. In my mind, there is no other way to live!
    Susie @ SuzLyfe recently posted…Five Tips for Optimal Muscle Recovery for RunnersMy Profile

  14. I really enjoyed this, and felt a little ashamed at the same. Not because I’ve ever broke copyright laws or even considered sponsored posts that I don’t mesh well with me. I’ll be honest, it boils down to not visiting and commenting on enough post. I’m just skimming by with the time to allocate for taking care of myself, family, upcycling projects, writing, trying to promote..etc. I would love to befriend and network but I fall short. This is probably the longest comment I ever written, probably because it struck a cord. I’ve just started to link up to more blogs and I guess I’ve kind of looked at the link ups as more of dedicating my time reading the hosts daily blogs as a thank-you to them, for hosting. But, I know you are spot on about visiting other blogs and actively engage with to grow your network. Maybe I’ll start with atleast two, and build from there. Thanks again!
    Heather @ Viral Upcycle recently posted…Backyard Play Area Design with Upcycled AccessoriesMy Profile

    • Coco says:

      I appreciate your honesty. It does take a lot of time to read and comment on other blogs, but it can be a good way to grow your network. And, if you’re not interested in doing that, just skip the link-ups or save them for when you have time to participate more actively. πŸ˜‰
      Coco recently posted…Grand Canyon Hiking At The South RimMy Profile

  15. Great post – There are some big bloggers that I read that are terrible about disclosing their sponsored posts and it drives me crazy. And especially when it’s clear that they don’t really use the product on a regular basis but then they write this sponsored post all about how they love it. So artificial.

    I’ve received pitches that ask for do-follow links and when I’ve said no, I’ve never heard back. But, I’ve never received a pitch saying not to disclose – that’s wild.
    carrie@familyfitnessfood recently posted…August Ultimate Coffee DateMy Profile

    • Coco says:

      I am starting to boycott posts that aren’t upfront and even avoid the bloggers if they do it regularly. I feel like they aren’t respecting me as a reader when they try to hide what they’re doing. And these bloggers know better, so ignorance is not an excuse! πŸ˜‰
      Coco recently posted…Grand Canyon Hiking At The South RimMy Profile

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