Wednesday, January 06, 2021

How to know if I'm sharing a sponsored post

I've been blogging for 15 years by May this year. And, boy, have things changed! Before 2010, bloggers just wrote about everything they fancied. That's why bloggers were so trusted. Reviews were always from personal experience and since these were paid for from our own pockets, readers knew we had every right to say whatever we wanted - positive or negative.

Oh, those were the days! Such freedom! I didn't do reviews, though. I couldn't because I was the editor in chief of a magazine. I once wrote a glowing review of Olay on my blog. Pond's, a major advertiser of my magazine, complained. I protested, "My blog is a personal hobby. It has nothing to do with my job!" But my bosses persisted and so I deleted the Olay post and avoided doing reviews thereafter. It's okay. Reviews are an expensive thing to do anyway! (But do it because people Google reviews all the time!)

Around the start of the decade, brands started taking note of the huge following of bloggers and so advertising budgets were shifted from print publications to blogs. But with bloggers now taking payment for featuring a product, a restaurant, a salon, or a hotel, readers began doubting their credibility. I avoided this by choosing to work only with brands I believe in. That meant not raking it in, however. Sometimes, I will admit, I wished I could just say yes to all the offers since who's to know anyway? Well, I would. My family, too. And eventually, my readers would, too. The loss of my integrity is the most costly of all so I can't do it. 

I wanted to be transparent so all my blog posts were marked at the beginning or at the end with a "This blog post is brought to you by [brand]." And they were also tagged as sponsored posts. On Instagram and Facebook, I used the hashtags #THx[Brand] and #thblogsp (Topaz Horizon Blog Sponsored Post) until the platforms added the Paid Partnership feature. 

Now, it's my 15th year in the blogging world, and I know from emails from my Loyal Readers that they don't like blogs and Instagram accounts that are all about products and services because they never can tell if what they're reading is paid for or not. Influencers usually don't like marking posts as sponsored because followers don't trust paid posts. While it would be nice for bloggers to never charge for anything, a blog isn't a cheap hobby. And for influencers with massive followings, it really makes sense to earn from their influence, right? 

I'm not a huge blogger but I've built enough credibility to be considered an influencer (or in agency speak, KOL - key opinion leader). Even though disclosing sponsorships usually means fewer likes and views, I'll still disclose anyway and hope you'll still support me by liking the IG/FB post and reading the blog feature. I'm making it easier for you all to know if what I'm sharing is a sponsored post or a press gift. Here's how to know:


Sponsored posts on the blog, Instagram, and Facebook will all have my face on it! That will differentiate it from the other products that I share. That way, you'll immediately know I'm endorsing it. And brands like it when people pose with their products. 

I want to make sponsored posts more special because a few years ago, a sponsor complained that I'm posting and writing about other brands for free. The brand felt gypped. Struck me as a little petty but I've thought about it and I'll do something about it. Hence this blog post!


This is actually tricky. Some press gifts are sooo nice or I really love them that I blog about them happily and people assume it's a paid post. I will always always always disclose if a post is sponsored. Always have, always will. But to differentiate them further, press gifts will not have my face on them when I share on social media. And they can be lumped together with other similar gifts in a thank you post or a blog feature. 

On the blog, however, I haven't decided. Some gifts need to be worn (clothes, makeup, jewelry) or experienced (a resort, a salon makeover, restaurant). I figured I'll present the gifts the best way I can on the blog even if that includes me with the product/service and then just disclose that it's a gift. But I'll only share the experience on IG Stories. Same goes for events.

Some bloggers advised that they share gifts and events on Instagram as a carousel, but the first photo will not have the brand in it at all. That seems like a good idea. 

Oh, and all gifts will be shared on my blog's Facebook page, in the Blogger Gifts album. If I extra love them, then they get an IG post and a blog feature, too! But as a thank you, every gift will be shared in this album.


One thing that I do that baffles people is I don't post events in real time. My reason is I don't want anyone to know where I am. I always post about an event hours or even days after it happened. Many brands ask that I post in real time. I never say yes. And they can't make me because I never charge for event attendance.

I don't think you should follow my example, though. Agencies and brands love influencers who post in real time and stay throughout the event. So if you want lots of campaigns, go to all the events! It really helps you become visible to brands and agencies so they think of you for campaigns. It's really a good idea to go to events, guys. However, brands don't like people who charge an attendance fee but if you want to, then do so. I know why other people charge. Parking, gas, Grab fare, outfits, the time spent in traffic - all of these cost money. 

I will charge if I'm asked to work at the event as the host, part of a panel, or as a speaker. So if you notice I'm posting about an event in real time, then you know I was hired to be there. But if I'm invited as a guest, then I go as a guest. That way, if I want to leave, I can leave and no one can stop me. And because I don't have an attendance fee, I only go to events I like. It has to be worth my time and money and what makes that worth it? If it's a brand I really like, if it's for a friend, or if my friends will be there. Events are a great place to catch up - there's free food, free drinks, and everyone's all dressed up! 

Again, don't do what I do. Events are a great way to build your brand and network. Attend as many relevant events as you can!  


I used to publish press releases on the blog on Press Release Tuesdays. I think that some announcements are interesting for my readers to know and it makes for additional content. But now I'm putting all press releases in my News to Know album. Mostly because news gets old fast and it's easier to post them on Facebook then delete after it's no longer relevant.

And that's it! That's what's you can expect this year on my blog and social media platforms! Okay, and just in case you're not following me yet, please like my Facebook page and follow me on Instagram

Thanks so much!


  1. Replies
    1. Haha of course! But you have so many sponsors because they love you for being so generous!


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