On My Soapbox: Sponsored Posts

I may be preaching to the choir on this one, but hear me out.

I don’t know why making money from my blog via sponsored posts makes people go ape shit crazy, but it does. Lately, I’ve been getting comments on my sponsored posts like, “SO.MANY.SPONSORED.POSTS!” [I’m lookin’ at you, “Olive”] or comments calling me a sell out because I get paid to write about coffee creamer and other products I otherwise legitimately spend my own money on.

So, I felt like addressing the topic [again.]

For anyone who is annoyed by sponsored posts, my question to you is: do have a job that you get paid to do? Like, do you do work every day and get paid for it? You do?! How DARE you?!

Do you see how stupid that sounds? 


The Lunchbox Diaries may have started out as a weird hobby/experiment three and half years ago, but since then, it’s turned into a small business.

Bloggers make money because creating content and sharing it with the internet is work. Writing posts, editing photos, responding to comments and emails, managing several social media accounts – that’s work. While it’s fun work, it’s not like playing a video game or writing in a diary.

I genuinely enjoy the companies I work with, the products I write about, and yeah I enjoy getting paid to do it. I also enjoy running ads on my blog, as I get paid for that, too. [Tip: if you hate this blog, stop coming, because every time you lurk around, I make money.]

I can’t speak for every blogger out there, but it’s never my intention to “pull one over” on my readers. I’m as transparent as possible. I work hard to make this a blog that empowers and encourages other people. I also like to make people laugh. And like anyone, I don’t consider extra money a bad thing.

That said, if you enjoy what I post here, I want to  assume you’d be cool with me being compensated. Yes, that sometimes means writing about products and companies, rather than random mishaps or self-esteem, but that’s the name of the game, son.





  1. Kathleen says

    Keep doin’ you, girl! That does sound like a lot of work! That’s a heck of a lot more than just typing up your thoughts of the day. More power to ya!

  2. amanda says

    I think the primary problem (not just with your blog!! totally not singling you out) is that many readers (myself included) enjoy “hobby” blogs a lot more than “small business” blogs – the content is so much easier to relate to and thus more enjoyable to read. Some of my favorite blogs I have stopped reading as they’ve increased readership and transferred from day-in-the-life-of-someone-i-can-relate-to to lots of SEO-driven (10 things about blahblah lists especially) or sponsored posts…and then once they quit their full-time job to blog from home full-time, well, I just can’t relate anymore, and usually stop reading. And I genuinely miss reading the content they used to post. If I had a blog and could make money from it, I totally would, so I’m not trying to be insensitive – it’s just a reality of turning a hobby blog into a small business, I suppose. I’m not really sure what the point of this is because I’ll probably keep reading this site, anyway, haha :) Just wanted to provide a reader’s perspective, I guess? BTW, the ads don’t bother me a bit as long as they don’t slow down the load time.

    • Colleen says

      I love this response, Amanda! And I’m totally with you, as a blog READER myself. I have totally stopped reading blogs I used to love because ALL of their posts are exactly like what you mentioned, and I don’t believe they are genuine anymore. I like to think I have a very genuine blog. It is not my intention for The Lunchbox Diaries to turn into a SEO driven, all-sponsored-posts kind of blog. BARF! That would be terribly boring for ME, let alone YOU. My point is that if someone offers to pay me to write about something that’s already in my house, or something I’ve genuinely been wanting to try, of course I’ll say yes! I turn down sponsored content every day, either because I don’t like the message, or I don’t like the product. I’ve just gotten more pushback that usual lately, and I wanted to set the record straight. Yes, I make a *small* amount of money from my blog. Am I stroking checks left and right and pouring bottles of champaign on strippers because of this blog? HELL NO. Am I able to buy a new dress or get my nails done? Yes, absolutely. I hope that makes sense?! :) Again, thank you so much for your comment!!

    • says

      I was going to comment but Amanda took all the words out of my mouth! I am thinking about certain blogs I stopped reading because they did not feel genuine AT ALL anymore. And sometimes when I would go to their blog, a huge add with SOUND popped up on my screen and I had to close it to read the blog. This is my first time on your blog (came over through Strength and Sunshine) and I like the candidness of your post!

      Oh and about the sponsored posts, I always skip them.

  3. Ashley says

    I don’t blame you at all, we the readers love what you post and hearing your opinion on items, you are a real person! I love that I can read about a product and a real human being is using it and then decide if I’m going to give it a go and just like the girl at the make-up counter makes commission on me listening to her review, so should you!

  4. says

    I enjoy your blog and I think you have a good balance of sponsored vs normal content, and so long as it is relevant, I don’t have an issue. That said, I think there has been a real move to sponsored posts lately, and it can get too much (certain running bloggers are horrendous for this), but at least there is disclosure. One thing that bothers me even more than a heap of sponsored posts is non-disclosure. That’s not on.

  5. ErikaMC says

    If I find myself getting annoyed with a blogger because of what they post than I simply stop reading it. Obviously too many sponsored posts get annoying but I understand why bloggers post them. The sponsored posts don’t bother me as much when I believe it’s something that the blogger actually uses. There have been plenty of blogs that review something sponsored and rave about it but then you never hear them mention it again. As long as the sponsored post is written well (like you did with putting an actual story to it) then I’ll read otherwise I’ll just skim that one for the day.

  6. Anonymous says

    I have typed and retyped this like 40 times because I don’t want to be a jerk but this has been bugging me for a while.

    I think the problem I have with the sponsored posts is that they just seem very disingenuous. The ads on the side are harmless and don’t necessarily impact your actual content; I can support you but it isn’t influencing my reading experience, ya know? But the sponsored posts seem to be you finagling a topic into talking about whatever you are promoting. Your posts used to be very real and authentic; I used to laugh and agree and comment because they were REAL events, thoughts, ideas, etc. that I could connect with or empathize with. Now I feel like you are just BSing posts so you can earn money from sponsors. I DO feel like I’m being manipulated into giving you money because I click on a post expecting a real topic but instead it’s actually a post disguised as an infomercial. I think there have to be better ways to utilize sponsorship without seeming so fake, especially when I think most of your readers like you because you (used to) keep it REAL.

    I like getting extra money on the side as much as the next person but I feel like you are sacrificing why readers actually LIKE you for in order to get a nice little check at the end of the month. You get substantially more comments on your genuine posts as opposed to the sponsored ones.

    But you also keep saying you DGAF about what people think so I am thinking this comment will not matter much. I just had to throw in my 2 cents.

    • Colleen says

      1. I’d thank you for your comment, but I have no idea who you are, since you chose to remain anonymous.
      2. I don’t give a fuck what nameless and faceless people think, but if you had the balls to at least tell me your name, I’d have given a fuck.
      3. Also, no one is forcing you to be here, so I’m not manipulating anyone.
      4. BSing posts? I have a few sponsored posts a month, and the rest of them are me *really* putting myself out there, so I have no idea what you’re talking about in regards to me not “keeping it real.”
      5. Some of my most successful, most shared posts have very few comments.
      6. Have a good one, Anonymous.

      • Mary says

        I’m leaving my name so does that mean my opinion matters? :) Sponsored posts are annoying but whatever, we all do what we have to. I didn’t have an issue with anything on your blog until I started reading your responses to readers.

        Since you consider this blog a job, you may want to think about TREATING it like a job. You get paid based on page views and writing sponsored posts for your readers; every reader is essentially a client of yours, regardless of whether or not you know their name or have seen their face. You’d get your ass fired from a real job/lose clients if you talked to people like that. Perhaps something to think about…

  7. says

    I like your sponsored posts far more than a lot of other bloggers because you tell stories while still promoting the product. You don’t just say “oh my gosh, x,y,z is so great”…It makes sense that you want to get payed for something you enjoy doing. It’s silly people get upset about that.

  8. says

    It’s a shame that you even had to write a post like this! People are always going to have something to say and will always find something to complain about! I love reading your blog because even if you’re reviewing a product, your personality still shines through and the post still makes me laugh. Keep it up!

  9. says

    I’ve gotten some rude comments lately too. Someone accused me of being ” so spoiled” after I wrote about the media trip that I went on this summer. A media trip = a WORK trip. Would a person in any other profession get ridiculed because of that? Bloggers need to make money and have new professional opportunities too.

    • Colleen says

      Really?! That’s sad, but not surprising at all. I’m excited you got to go on a trip like that! Kudos to you!

  10. says

    Keep doing what you’re doing. You’re job is my Dream Job, and watching people like you succeed gives me hope.

    As much as I hate this sentiment, it does ring true: “Haters gonna Hate.”

  11. Elizabeth says

    I never understand why people throw such a fit over sponsored posts. It takes a lot of time and energy to run a blog, and I don’t see why anyone thinks a blogger should provide free content to readers without somehow getting compensated. To anyone complaining – would you do it? I had a photography blog for a while, and while it was fun, it was way too much work on top of my normal job and life, so I understand how much time and work goes into a post that people will look at for about 30 seconds (if that for just photos!) and move on. Keep up the great work, love your blog!

    • Elizabeth says

      I also had to laugh at this, such a good point! – Tip: if you hate this blog, stop coming, because every time you lurk around, I make money.

  12. says

    I honestly don’t think you write *too many* sponsored posts (unlike some other bloggers). And like others have stated, you always find a clever way to tie in your sponsored content into a real life story or example – which I love!

    And anyone who says your content isn’t as real as it used to be is not a regular reader. I truly feel like your posts are getting more real with time!

    With that being said, people are always going to find something to complain about. Just remember that the vast majority of your readers love your message and what you stand for!

  13. Chelsea says

    The internet sure brings out the crazy in people doesn’t it? It blows my mind that people will go to a certain website/blog JUST to comment and tell them they don’t like it or don’t care about it. Really? Because you took time out of your day to come be negative so you must care a little!

    Keep on doing you, girl. If I could make extra money by sponsored posts, I would! If someone doesn’t like it, then we don’t want them around here anyway. I recently started blogging (like, literally less than a month ago) and I had absolutely NO idea the amount of time it takes just for one post (after editing/uploading pictures, writing, proofreading…etc.)

    And now I’m just rambling. Don’t let the negative Nancies get you down – your blog is, and will continue to be, one of my favorites.

  14. says

    Never knew so many people would be scared of a little coffee creamer.

    I was actually just thinking that you’re the only blogger I read who does an excellent job of writing sponsored posts that fit in with the theme of your blog – with little stories, memories, etc. rather than just throwing a product in the reader’s face. Turns out you’re also the only one to be so thankful for support and up front about disclosing sponsored posts. Looks like you’re the one doing it right, sister. KUDOS. Love love love your blog!

  15. Kate says

    I have loved reading your blog, but will admit I have been a bit put off by the sponsored posts. I know you mentioned that there have only been a few in the last month, but with the frequency with which you have been posting, it feels like a good portion of them are sponsored. I also have to agree with the above comment that it makes the stories associated with the sponsored ads APPEAR disingenuous (although I completely appreciate that they likely are sincere on your part). I also think some of the issue with ads could be that sometimes the sponsors seem random and not really related to the general theme of your blog or target audience. Just my two cents.

    As a side note, I was really put off by your response to that anonymous commentor. It was very defensive, I see why you were upset, but it was a bit unprofessional on your part. There is the option to ignore the comment.

    • Colleen says

      Kate, I appreciate your comment. I understand being put off by sponsored posts, absolutely. As a blog reader myself, I get it. I do my best to tell genuine stories when I’m writing a sponsored posts. I’m not a healthy living blog, I’m a lifestyle blog, so anything that I use in my daily life tends to be fair game for me. But, I get where you’re coming from for sure.

      In regards to the “anonymous” comment – I get comments like this every.single.day, and I DO choose to ignore/not publish the comment because they’re normally pointless. But, based on the today’s topic, I felt the need to publish it AND respond. Was it professional? No, of course not! But, after a while, a girl’s gotta answer back to “anonymous.” It gets so obnoxious to read comments like that every day. I’m sorry if you were put off, but I’m put off by his/her comments on a daily basis.

      • Chris says

        Normally, I love your blog and your voice, but your response to anonymous was so, so disappointing to me. I understand that it must be frustrating and hurtful to get those types of comments daily, and you have a right to respond to them. But, your response made you look the immature one. If you consider your blog a small business, then your readers are your customers and how you treat them (even the rude ones) is important.

        • Colleen says

          I appreciate your feedback, Chris. I’ve debated back and forth on going back and deleting the comment, but it’s done, you know what I mean? Some people are disappointed/offended that I said “fuck” to a reader, but I use that word in 90% of my blog posts, so I’m surprised that it put people up in arms. Either way, I appreciate my readers, and normally, I allow the negative comments to be posted and I either ignore them or comment kindly, but I don’t appreciate trolls. Trust, this was not the first [nor will it be the last] comment from “Anonymous.” While I do consider this a small business, it’s not the type of business where the “customer is always right.” I’m going to stick up for myself. I try to put positive vibes out there, but for me to claim that I’m not an immature bitch at times would be totally false! I’m not a blogger who only puts my best self out there. I think the majority of my readers get that about me. Again, I appreciate your constructive feedback – it’s been noticed and noted.

  16. says

    Girl…keep doing YOU! If that means you feel like writing a sponsored post, go for it! If that means writing whatever the hell you feel like…go for it! That’s the glorious joy of having your OWN blog! : ) from one blogger to another…keep doing you!!! : )

    • Colleen says

      Thanks, Jessica!! I love writing this blog, and I love the VAST MAJORITY of the positive, funny, uplifting people I’ve met because of it. It’s such a shame that people enjoy being negative! Thanks for the positive vibes, girlfriend! :)

  17. Erin says

    I’ve never commented before and I’ve really enjoyed your blog – the sponsored posts never bothered me at all. If it’s something I’m not interested in, I’ll skim, if it’s something I might be interested, I’ll read. No biggie either way. But I did want to comment to echo the above commenter that it is really off-putting to see you curse at your readers. I don’t think they were particularly rude, it read more as constructive criticism and I don’t really see the difference in commenting anonymously or as a face-less name somewhere off in the world that you don’t know (like me!). I understand that it must be stressful to get less-than-nice comments on your personal blog every once in a while, but I never condone fighting negativity with negativity. There’s enough hate and anger out there already.

  18. Megan says

    Hmm, sponsored posts are a tough call. On the one hand, I am disappointed when I discover that any blogger’s post is sponsored because it usually means the content won’t be interesting and personal. However, I think you do a nice job of writing your sponsored posts with the same funny and warm style as usual, so I like your sponsored posts as much as the others. So don’t worry! :)

  19. Alanna says

    I actually think out of any blog I have ever read, you do the best job with sponsored posts! You actually tell real stories and include personal touches, and I don’t think you do too many either.

    I also love your comment back to Anonymous, but that’s because I am a professional that also has a crazy immature bitch side that comes out at times. AKA I AM A HUMAN.

    Hope you have a fabulous day, and treat yourself to a coffee thanks to the extra cash Anonymous sent your way in page views 😉

    • Colleen says

      You just made me cry! THANK YOU! I actually LOST SLEEP over that fucking comment from Anonymous and all the hateful comments I got over my reply because I said “fuck” to a reader. Your comment just made me so happy. Thank you for thinking I’m HUMAN and not a monster. I so appreciate you!

  20. Alison says

    Honestly, I think people are just jealous and need to get over themselves. Would these haters turn down free shit? I don’t think so! I sure as hell wouldn’t. If I hear the phrase “just keep doin’ you” again I think I will die BUT at the end of the day, just keep on keeping on. Your blog rocks. You are hilarious and I appreciate your honesty and authenticity.

  21. Rachael says

    I love your blog and think your sponsored posts often involve cute, personal anecdotes. Why do people troll the internet complaining about how you do or do not blog? Why do they do it anonymously? Listen, people, no blogger (or the world) owes you anything, so stop acting like every experience needs to be catered to your very particular preferences. No one is forcing you to read this blog. If you don’t like it, don’t read it. I don’t get why small people need to make themselves feel bigger by anonymously mudslinging. Keep up the good work, Colleen, and don’t feel bad about “unprofessionally” defending yourself to anonymous douche holes who feel like your blog should be the anonymous-douche-hole show.

  22. says

    I have mixed feelings about sponsored posts. Generally, I find them boring and somewhat disingenuous (and those posts I simply skip or skim), but I find a majority of yours to be personal, funny, interesting, and written in the same style with which you normally blog. I don’t care much for coffee creamer, so I skimmed that one, but most of your other sponsored posts I thoroughly enjoyed. And I appreciate that your sponsored content generally fits the theme of your blog. As a hobby blogger, I don’t have much sponsored content (ok, ANY, sponsored content), but because I aspire to one day earn a little income, I’d like to do some (so click away on my blog, I need some traffic, haha). I understand completely why you and other bloggers share sponsored posts; if you didn’t, you probably wouldn’t be able to put as much into your blog, which I genuinely enjoy reading. You shouldn’t have to apologize or explain yourself regarding YOUR content. Sure, you may lose a few readers along the way, but the ones who truly enjoy your blog will continue to stick around. (And, as you said, the trolls are actually helping to put money into your pocket by continuing to click and visit! Joke apparently is on them.)

    And, although you’ve explained your response to “anonymous” well, I do think that it was off-putting, particularly to somebody who may have just recently discovered your blog. Does that make you a bad person? God no. Does it make me want to stop reading your blog? Of course not. I think you generally handle critical and even negative comments very professionally, but as you say, sometimes you’ve had enough and want to stand up for yourself and make a point. I think you did just that. :-)

  23. says

    Colleen, I’ve been enjoying your blog for a while now. You’re obviously not the only blogger who writes sponsored posts and there are other bloggers out there who write WAY more of them than you. I don’t like them, do find them disingenuous (sp?) most of the time (not necessarily talking about yours) and quite frankly, boring to read. That being said, if I click on any blog post and it’s not something I’m enjoying reading – sponsored post or not – I’ll usually just skim through or just click on the next one on my reading list. Not sure what there is to get all fired up about. The Internets is a big place. Plenty of other choices if you don’t like what’s currently on your screen. :-)


  24. says

    I think it’s great that you HAVE the opportunity to work with sponsors on content you love! Sometimes I feel like I put more work into my blog than I really should! (Hi sponsors, I’d like some action over here!) So can we ever really win?

    I feel like sometimes you (meaning anyone, not you specifically lol) could write about how blue the sky was and someone would still think it was the ugliest thing ever. Haters gonna hate no matter what. Just know, I love you no matter what you dish out on this lovely blog of yours. Mmmkay?!

  25. Kaitlyn says

    Hey Colleen! I love reading your blog but rarely comment, but I felt that I wanted to comment on this post (sorry I’m a few days late!)

    I read several blogs, and to be completely honest, if/when I notice a post is sponsored, I do a quick glance to see if the product is of interest to me and if it’s not, I simply exit the page. Simple as that :). I’m not a blogger, but the way I see it is that you, as the blogger, have 100% control over what goes live on your site and the content should be based on what is interesting and useful to YOU, not specific readers. Obviously I understand that bloggers generally are writing for a specific audience, but it’s not like we as readers are paying customers who get to dictate what should or should not be posted. Anyone reading has the right and the ability to simply skip over reading a blog post if it isn’t of interest to them, right?

    Just my two cents. Keep doing what you’re doing!

    • Colleen says

      Thanks so much, Kaitlyn! That’s exactly what I do when I see a sponsored post on blogs I read. I skim it to see if it’s of interest, and if not, I’ll come back tomorrow. No harm, no foul. I appreciate your input!

  26. says

    I’ve been reading your blog for a couple of months now and I can’t say I’ve noticed an increased in sponsored posts. I think I noticed one recently – something about coffee? I read it but if it doesn’t interest me then I usually won’t leave a comment. Although your sponsored posts are normally so personable anyway! I don’t mind you making money from your blog – if I could then I would! But I’d hate to see you lose your real ness – it’s what made me start reading your blog in the first place! And I love reading your blog! You’re so quirky! :)

  27. says

    I never understand why people get all wierd about making money off a blog. I, like you, am picky with my sponsored posts and only work with brands I actually like. Why should you feel bad for getting paid to provide them marketing? I work in marketing, so to me it’s odd that people think you shouldn’t get paid! Like you said – who wants to work for free?

  28. Susan says

    I’m a bit late on joining in – I’ve been on vacation…….but are you kidding me?!?!? Wake up “anonymous” ! And while you’re at it develop a spine. We still live in a capitalistic society where we (some of us) work for a living and are rewarded for our hard work, talent and accomplishments. And you dare to condemn Colleen for making money while providing useful and entertaining content? But, Colleen, as sad and infuriating as it may be, as you continue your success, there will be more and more critics and haters such as “Anonymous”. But at the same time, the lovers and supporters will be there too and will outnumber those living in their unrealistic negative little worlds. I look forward to seeing you at the top sponsored by the largest corporations out there!

  29. Michelle H. says

    This is my first time to the blog and I read the most recent posts and came to this one and laughed out loud. Love it. Bitching about a few sponsored posts a month is like writing to CBS because they played a commercial during show you were watching. Not only that, but it seems you only say yes to products you would normally use or want to try. It’s not liking you’re talking a bunch of fake stuff out your ass for a product you hate.


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