There is a movement about how to monetize individual blogger and online personality influence. Influencers considering monetization of their online trust should also weigh how such strategies can lessen trust within a community, and hurt search rank.
Influence online is often a result of becoming an integral part of a community and providing good information. When you add affiliate links, sponsorship, consultancies, clients, advertisements, products and other forms of monetization to the mix, a transition occurs. In the paid, earned, and owned model of media, you are moving from earned (natural word of mouth) to owned or paid media. Both of those types of media are less trustworthy to communities.
Part of building trust is putting your customer ahead of profits and operating honestly. It’s no coincidence that one of the biggest causes of trust deterioration in the financial sector is conflict of interest and scandals.
No one wants to begrudge monetization. Creating and building a significant online presence takes a strong and sustained consistent effort over months and years. Peer trust requires consistency. Why shouldn’t one benefit from it?
Certainly, done in a strategic way, such as books on a topical area, paid speaking gigs and the like, business strategies can actually enhance a strategy. But others add a factor of distrust.
When I read a consultant’s blog about xxx professional service area that the author is promoting a business. And I take that into context. So do most readers.
People take these motives into consideration when they read my blog posts and books on marketing. I’ve been told so by more discerning customers.
That’s why I am very careful about how many asks I make of readers, the content I share, the lack of paid advertisements here, etc. For example, I almost never take pitched blog ideas, and don’t offer affiliate links. The trade off isn’t worth it, in my opinion, especially considering that I consult, sell books, and raise money for causes here.
The suggestion that one should monetize influence may not be constructed correctly. Rather, a personality should weigh whether that monetization strategy is worth the negative impact.
What do you think?