Photos: Claire Pepper

This summer That’s Not My Age will be 10-years-old. When I first started blogging it was a Side Hustle. I worked three-days a week as a university lecturer and two-days as a freelance journalist for a couple of popular websites. That’s Not My Age fitted around everything else. Times changed and social media went mental. I continued to lecture until last summer when I made the conscious decision – after a couple of exhausting years – to go freelance again and focus on the launch of my second book Know Your Style and also on developing That’s Not My Age.

Having come from a background in women’s magazines, I have always treated this site professionally. As a journalist, I take time researching, writing and editing features, and as I often say to Mr That’s Not My Age: there’s no such thing as a quick blog post! With my experience, I also know the way the publishing industry operates and so wanted to take this opportunity to talk a bit about the business model here, to clear up any confusion.

When you buy a print magazine or newspaper, it’s the advertising that pays. Not only for the paper and the printing process but also for the salaries of journalists, as well as other staff and contributors such as photographers, independent experts and so on. When I run a sponsored post on That’s Not My Age, the same business model applies. The fee allows me to pay for the desk space I rent, add extra security to my site so that (whisper it) I’m protected from another sodding malware attack, buy a new laptop, travel to interview women for TNMA features, pay photographers and hire studios for photoshoots – like This IS My Style and more recently Know Your Seasonal Style – hire an assistant to help me do all of these things and not have a complete meltdown. The one-day-a-week assistant is something I decided on recently when I was spending far too much time on admin and behind-the scenes stuff and not enough on the creative side of things. And it’s working brilliantly (thank you, Helen). All of these things are the day-to-day expenses of an online editor – and that’s without factoring in a salary for myself.

Spot the sculptural earring

We are living through what amounts to an industrial revolution. I continue to freelance but the rates have not increased in approx. 15 years. Journalism has never been a lucrative industry, but I have reached a point in my career where I will not work for free – or what amounts to below minimum wage. (I could tell you a tale or two about freelance offers I have received recently from some very large publications that I am sure would shock you). So I have reduced the amount of freelance work I do. Several of my journalist friends are currently re-training – one is studying bookkeeping and the other has a degree in economics and plans to become a mortgage advisor. I have decided to put my efforts into That’s Not My Age, but to do so, I need to earn a living. To keep the site going, pay my bills and eat, I have to use affiliate links and accept sponsored posts from time to time.

M&S jeans in Harper’s Bazaar April issue

Please believe me when I say I am very discerning when it comes to sponsorship (and in general about what I feature on That’s Not My Age) and only accept about 10 per cent of the stuff that comes my way. Some of it is weird shit or not relevant or not a product/service I would endorse. Because you are discerning too – that’s why you’re here. Thank you to all the readers who recognized this and commented on a recent sponsored post. I don’t run banner ads or annoying pop-ups, my content is free and there is no obligation to buy. That’s Not My Age is very close to my heart. I love the opportunities it has given me and the network of like-minded women that has built up over the last decade – both on and offline, I love that you take time to write the most amazing comments and the talk-amongst-yourselves conversation that ensues. I am determined to continue working on That’s Not My Age – it’s my job – but to do this I do need some sort of financial return.

One thing I have been considering is putting ‘sponsored’ in brackets in the headline of the relevant post, that way readers will immediately be alerted and if necessary click onto another That’s Not My Age feature, instead. Much like when reading a magazine and you come to an advert you’re not particularly interested in and turn the page. Or is there a better way to flag this up? Your thoughts, please…

 

Brogues are always in vogue

 

 

Style note: This was going to be the second in my Know Your Seasonal Style series – a fitted, linen all-in-one for those who haven’t already embraced Jumpuit JOY. It’s one of the Vicky McClure forever pieces from Finery designed to celebrate the I Love Linen campaign. Earrings are Dinosaur Designs and pink suede brogues are Grenson.

 

97 thoughts on “When blogging becomes a business – accepting sponsorship but not selling out

  1. I enjoy your blog immensely and look forward to it several times each week! I don’t mind sponsored posts, either, because you have already sifted through the stuff out there and only put forward a few things you honestly love. I find that really helpful, TBH. For example, I feel like M&S carries some nice things but can’t seem to find them in the stores due to the way they are set up, and/ or they often don’t have my size. Not to mention the fact that the nearest shop is some distance from my home and I don’t get there as often as I might like, So when you posted about the navy cashmere poloneck and raspberry pink crew neck, I just went online and snapped them up. Efficiency at its best IMO, and if it keeps you in the business of running this lovely blog then it is a win-win! p.s. Can’t wait for the AW Grenson collection to come out later this year, I’ve found a new shoe brand to buy thanks to your good self.

    1. I think it is fine to have sponsors as long as you acknowledge the posting as such. Gotta earn a living! Now about jumpsuits! Does it bother you that you basically have to undress to use the bathroom???

    2. Alyson I think sponsored posts are absolutely fine as long as you say at the start that’s what they are.

      Caroline I totally agree, I find it difficult to sort through the huge range at M&S online and their model shots are pretty awful. My local store carries limited stock so viewing the pieces that Alyson selects is invaluable.

      Keep up the great work

  2. Congrats on the Anniversary, Alyson! Here’s to the next ten- and can I have the earrings when you’re done with them..?

  3. Alyson, I think you are very brave to go down this road and I wish you every success. I have every confidence that the quality of your site won’t falter one jot, and believe me, your faithful followers will stay faithful followers! Go girl!

  4. You gotta do what you gotta do! I’m self-employed, I love my work (I teach qigong – something like tai chi) and often only have enough students to cover the classroom rental. Workshops and contract paid work help, but I’ll never make a living from it. However I have some lovely students, many of whom have seen their health improve, so that’s the reward!

    I love your style. I’ve revamped my wardrobe, bought some of the clothes you wear/promote (I love this jumpsuit and these shoes) generally feel more confident. Rural life can restrict some style options though!

    PS Polo shirts suit me, especially those that have collars capable of standing up! Boden used to make lovely ones, with deep plackets, so if you could recommend any, Alyson, that would be fab! Going to try Brora this summer…

  5. If it keeps you and your blog vibrant and happy I’m all in favour of sponsored posts.
    I sometimes get ideas by reading magazines or blogs , I never buy what I see but more weave ideas into updating my existing wardrobe.
    I’m a longtime fan and wearer of jumpsuits and dungarees , as I know you are Alyson.I did like the days when they were a more unusual choice rather than the mainstream fashion item they are this year . The joy is that require no special styling and can be worn with any sort of footwear .
    I saw this one in JL and didn’t like it , it looks tons better here!

  6. The jumpsuit is fab but not really designed for mere mortals like myself who at 5’5″ would be drowned by it!! As for the sponsored posts, you’ve gotta do what you’ve gotta do and so I support you 100%. Keep up the good work.

  7. I would agree to pay a monthly fee to see and hear , more of your talent. Special sites for those *member* you’d be like a personel stylist…we pay for the privilege in boutiques and famous brand stores with a price? Everyone has to eat breakfast…
    Print magazines are more pictues than stories of interest.

  8. I’ve been reading TNMA for years now. It inspired me to write a blog myself. Because it and you gave me hope that blogging is not just blather. Your posts aren’t just outfits, but well researched, interesting content, and opinion. I still like some blogs that offer mostly outfits, but I don’t actually “read” them, I just look at the pictures. Ha.
    I was interested to read the pathway you’ve taken with your blog. I agree with Catherine’s comment. I think of the fashion you offer here as “curated” by a trusted professional. Doesn’t matter to be if your posts are sponsored or not. Btw… I’m still loving and wearing that M&S suede Twiggy moto jacket that I won here. So a good read and a free jacket. Win, win for me:)

  9. I love the jumpsuit, looks comfortable and polished, always my goal with anything I wear.

    I’ve long appreciated the professionalism with which you approach your blog. Always clean, correct writing style and grammar, thoughtful sentence structure, and a clearly communicated message. You are a pleasure to read for the above reasons, not just because I enjoy the topics and content. And I do!

    I appreciate having the “sponsored” notice in the blog post title, for what it’s worth.

    Long may this blog continue and flourish!

  10. I don’t mind the sponsorships because who knows where any blogger gets their ideas – are they influenced (but not paid) by someone or something else? We’ll never know. It’s obvious your blog is based on your own opinions and style sense, and everyone needs to pay their bills.

    I live in Canada so could never (or not without stiff taxes and duties) make use of the sponsored links. Having said that, I will open the links to have a look at prices – this gives me an idea if the item is in my financial ballpark. To be honest, I would have to be sitting here in cashmere-lined ermine pyjamas to afford many of your choices; I find they are ‘inspirational’. So I really appreciated your recent arrangement with M&S – a brand that is within reach and recognizable to everyone.

  11. Totally agree with the above comments, Alyson. If we follow your blog, it’s because we have faith in your writing, your style, your ethics. ….. otherwise we would go somewhere else. So a post sponsored by you means that we trust you, your style, your ethics etc. ..
    I am always glad when you do a sponsored post on Marks and Spencer because, although they have their failings, they are still, well, Marks and Spencer, and the high street would be the poorer without them.
    Btw, love that jumpsuit too.
    Anyway, keep up the good work and, as always, looking forward to all your posts.

  12. Congratulations on 10 years Alyson and here’s to the next 10. Always love what you write and promote knowing fully that it IS true to your style (and that you certainly wouldn’t recommend anything that wasn’t). Wonderful to see how your blog has grown over the last 10 years too and very happy that I was one of your first readers…. – you are truly an inspiration. X

  13. Congratulations on the 10 year mark Alyson. This is a great site and I think we’re all old enough to understand business models and their necessity. I do like sponsored posts being tagged – it doesn’t mean I won’t read them but it does bracket them off from editorial. The jumpsuit looks great on you; look forward to ten years more.

  14. I think it is apparent here that all your faithful and grateful followers have immense trust in your integrity and totally understand the predicament that you are in. I love your blog and turn to it as often as possible – I actually do think most of us would pay to be ‘members’. So, yes -sponsored posts are essential but know categorically that you would not post things that you did not have faith in yourself. Ten years’ is cause for celebration. Everything evolves and so accept sponsorship you absolutely must – we all have mortgages to pay and food to buy! So Cheers! Alyson to another ten plus years. ps the jumpsuit is gorgeous.

  15. Congratulations on the first 10 years. I think that flagging up in the title that a post is sponsored is a very useful idea. What I can’t bear is reading a blogger’s post and feeling this isn’t quite their usual taste or style, only to get to the end of the piece to discover in the tags that it’s sponsored/ not pure editorial. I feel so cheated! Whereas if you flag the sponsorship up at the top of the post and if you genuinely only feature pieces that would have caught your eye anyway – what’s the problem?

  16. It doesn’t bother me a bit if you add (sponsored) to your article titles or leave it off, I approach all successful blogs knowing some content will be sponsored. I found your blog when I hit my mid forties and felt blah, I recall looking up “how to look stylish in middle age” and your blog popped up. I came for the fashion and have stayed for the writing, especially about women in arts and business. That said, as someone living in the US and working in the public sector in the arts, I’m unable to obtain or afford a number of the wonderful items you showcase (hello pink brogues, sigh…), so my only suggestion or request would be to feature more moderately priced and more widely available items now and then, that would be lovely. Cheers!

  17. Thank you for the thoughtful post, Alyson. I am happy to support the bloggers I follow by buying their books (I have both of yours), clicking relevant links, and so on. So many industries and models for making a living have been turned upside down in the past decade or two. I am glad that you have figured something out that works for you.

    And, on another note, that outfit is perfection, from head to toe! Great photo too!

  18. Alyson, I’ve only been reading your blog for the past year, but am so happy to have found it! If you need to run sponsored posts to keep it going, then I am very happy to support the decision. After all, the alternative of losing your words of wisdom and wonderful photos, would be far too depressing. More power to you!

    I love the linen jumpsuit on you and will definitely be looking out for it. I would never have considered it without you bringing it to my attention on this blog.

    Happy 10 years and here’s to the next 10!!

    CJ

  19. Online is the way we are today. I salute you for the pioneer you are as you discover how to make this work for you. Your blog is immediate and personal in a way that print can never be. I am a publishing veteran myself and would see the complaints, “I like your magazine, but there are too many ads.” We were also beholden to flog the advertisers’ wares without alerting readers to that effect. You have earned our trust and reinforced that with this post. Good luck as you go forward!

  20. First, the outfit is marvelous on you. I found my way to TNMA through other blogs when looking for guidance in dressing my over 50 (now over 60) body without losing my sense of self. Though I live in the states, you’ve introduced me to sources I would never have found on my own. I’ve never been naive about sponsored posts and have no objection to someone being paid for their work. It’s always surprised me that people would think you’d be dishonest or “sell” things you don’t believe in (or that any blogger would). Congratulations on your new upgrade. I look forward to every thoughtful post.

  21. A Woman’s Gotta Eat! I am a new-ish blogger and have not ‘monetised’ it (yet) but I also freelance full-time job (PR) – which pays the bills. I completely agree with the points you make and would have no problem reading sponsored posts on your site as I know they would be written with integrity. Love what you do. Jill

  22. Freelance rates in so many creative professions have plummeted, so no objection at all to signposted sponsorship to keep you afloat. Your prose is a delight to read, your content varied but always interesting and I’ve been reading you long enough now to feel confident that you’re not going to do a piece extolling the virtues of some bit of rubbish just because it’s a sponsored post!

  23. Happy anniversary, lucky us, the long time readers. The reason everyone loves your blog boils down to your ability to do your job well, so it should be well rewarded. As Caroline said at the top, you highlight the good stuff, and anything that takes the faff out of shopping is a win win for all. May your blog continue to grow from strength to strength.

  24. Well said…… really interesting to read about the detail behind the scenes. Never really considered the complexities of the Blogger. Also, am loving the jumpsuit……my only concern is ‘the going to the loo’ issue…..very complicated I’m sure!

  25. It’s really good that you are open about your sponsorship deals. And congratulations on them. I don’t think you need to highlight them in each post. We are intelligent, discerning women – if we don’t like what we read I’m sure we will let you know xxx

  26. Don’t care what you do as long you are clear about it. So we KNOW. And you are. Thoroughly enjoy ( and benefit ) from TNMA.
    Hurrah! for 10 years. Long may it continue. x

  27. Another long-term reader here, who has no difficulty with the concept of sponsored articles. I too worked in (financial) magazines in ancient days, so understand the economics of publishing. At one stage, I produced advertorials which were used to test market new topics and demonstrate reader interest (or lack thereof) so the ad sales team could work efficiently. More recently, I was a freelance copywriter in business-to-business marketing and investor relations, which paid well until the Internet took off. Ever since, there has been a mindset that content should be free, by right, and that anyone can write copy so why pay for it! Freelance rates are lower now than 20 years ago.

    You are a professional and deserve your reward. Take the corporate £££ but reserve space for the items you love and topics that are off-centre and more left of field. Thus far, the twin strands have been complementary as they are united by your personal editorial focus of style at any age. If marking sponsored posts helps sustain you and your business, power on!

  28. As everyone here has said, I look forward to reading your blogs, opinions and items.
    I’m happy with sponsored articles as you have filtered and chosen the items. Trust your taste and if there is an article/item I feel is not for me, well, I am a grown up, I click and move on and I just look forward to the next article. Good luck Alyson.
    Loving the pink brogues!

  29. I’ve been reading your blog for years and look forward to new posts. I have no problem at all with your sponsored posts as I completely trust your judgement regarding what to feature etc (and completely agree that you are entitled to a salary and to be paid fairly for what you do). And as someone said earlier on, I especially like your M&S posts because, while they do have issues, they are part of our DNA and there is good stuff in there amongst all the horrors – it just needs someone like you to find it! Good luck with everything Alyson!

  30. Thanks Alyson for your blog which I always find really inspiring. I’ve got no problems with sponsored articles at all. You should be able to use your professional judgement and I value that too. Love the Finery jumpsuit which I bought a fortnight ago and have been in two minds about whether it’s me (all my family keep saying ‘yes’) so you wearing it has given me the boost I need. I knew if I did send it back it would always be one of those garments I was always wistful about.

  31. RE sponsored posts…i accept that they are the price of my reading blogs for free. that being said, i appreciate bloggers who call out the sponsorship in the blog heading, it clearly defines what i’m about to read/see, and seems more honest and forthright.

  32. Thank you for taking the time to clarify your point of view for us. I actually like sponsored posts when you (or another blogger) introduce us to brands that are new to me, unique, under the radar, etc. You have such good taste that I know they will be apropos and pertinent. And, I LOVE the jumpsuit and brogues. Fabulous look!

  33. To have got to ten years is a remarkable achievement and shows that you’ve worked so hard for that level of constancy and commitment from your readers. In those ten years the model around what we read, who we trust, where valued information comes from has shifted completely and absolutely and you’ve been a significant part of that shift. You must continue to accept sponsorship and we, your loyal and affectionate readers will respect that you’re choosing carefully and well to bring us things that you believe that we’ll want to know about. Very best of luck with the next ten years of TNMA.

  34. Very nice post – clear, thoughtful, beautifully articulated. What I come to TNMA for, actually. Well done as always, Alyson, and thank you.

  35. I am totally fine with your sponsored posts. You clearly are a thoughtful woman. I trust your judgment. The headline seems like the logical spot to note when a post is sponsored.

  36. My thoughts: I look at bloggers posts and think about them a bit like going shopping. As I’ve got older, I’ve increasingly come to hate going actual shop shopping, and embraced firstly mail order catalogs (remember those?!) and now internet shopping. If I need something for the house my go-to is always first John Lewis because they’ve done the research. Bloggers are my clothes version of John Lewis, bloggers do the research work and sift through the rubbish for me. I always assumed bloggers get paid one way or another, so no problem with sponsored posts or “gifted items”. I think we are more internet savvy these days, and we can judge whether something is nice, really nice, or just nicely photoed because someone got paid to look fabulous in them.
    I LOVE the linen jumpsuit, and the pink Grenson brogues. I spent my pregnancy some ?32 years ago feeling sick for 9 months and wearing a purple jumpsuit – doesn’t bear thinking about now. I looked like a large blueberry!!

  37. Thank you for your honesty, and for the astonishing generosity and quality of TNMA over the years. I’m delighted to be influenced by you, and your curated choice of sponsors.

  38. Completely agree with all the above. And the M&S point is well made – I buy quite a lot from them but many people say they can’t find anything decent and you do have to look hard sometimes to sort the wheat from the chaff. So your sponsored post is very useful in highlighting some of the ‘finds’. I have faith in your integrity, it’s been demonstrated many times, so I know you won’t feature something that isn’t compatible with your standards.
    I also have both your books, partly because I knew I’d enjoy them but also to show support.
    Finally, yes your outfit looks totally fab. I do hear what shorter ladies say (I’m not one myself) and think it would be nice to do a feature on what suits those of a more petite stature.
    Thank you!

  39. I hope you are cheered by the totally positive responses here, Alyson, which I heartily endorse. It’s clear you put a vast amount of work into every post and you deserve to be rewarded. I’m sure we all feel we’ve known you long enough to recognise that honesty and integrity are major features of TNMA and that will continue when you accept sponsorship. You have built up huge reserves of trust, well deserved. Go, go, go!
    And that pic is fabulous!

  40. It’s kind of a bummer that people who operate blogs have to apologize for having sponsored posts when no “traditional” business ever seems compelled to do. It’s a microcosm of the same concept that the creative brain and role has become commoditized by industry. We read your blog because you have an “eye”, a certain taste-level and a perspective that most of us don’t have but are grateful to be able to experience through the lens with which you provide. When you choose a partnership to promote something we know you have a considered opinion that we trust…and that we want to know about! You deserve to make a decent living from your chosen work and also to be compensated accordingly as someone who has risen to a certain level among a sea of online publications. Keep up the great work!

  41. Hello, another one happy to read a sponsored article from time to time. Absolutely nothing against them and you always keep your content close to your core business anyway so it feels relevant to me. I do like them to be labelled – I think the transparency is important, does set you aside from the salespeople on Insta.
    Always love your outfits – wish they worked on me!

  42. This jumpsuit looks fantastic on you! I love the fabric and the color looks beautiful with your hair. I really like that it has a waistband. Better on you that one without.
    I read several style blogs for women our age, and this one is by far the most informative and professional one I read.

  43. Side hustle…. love it!!
    Congratulations Alison – I loved meeting you in New York last year on a visit from the UK, and love reading all your blogs.

  44. I’m new to NTMG and love it! I like the references and nudges to what’s new and how to dress. I trust your judgement about what you sponsor and as long as I’m aware of this that’s fine by me. I don’t ads cluttering the copy. I guess in the new media age it’s very difficult to make enough money to survive. Paid subscription is always an option. I like the model used by Look Fabulous Forever which sells products and gives free advice. I hope you can continue to produce your blog and make a living!

  45. I like to read any kind of post that is written having women my (our) age in mind . How else would you know about a new product or service if not through advertisement…And like you say there is no obligation to buy, you won’t be sending a weekly “reminder” asking your audience to buy a certain thing, you will just basically inform…isn’t that what you do in all your posts ? Like nike says. JUST DO IT Alysson
    Greetings from Monterrey, MX.

  46. Hi Alyson, congratulations on your anniversary! As a former producer for commercial advertising I totally get sponsored content. But let’s talk about the linen jumpsuit: onesies (as I call them) never appealed to me even though I am 5’9″ and slim. The idea of getting half undressed to go to the loo overrode any thought of wearing one. But this! This fabulous outfit may change my mind. You look amazing in it with your coloring and the very interesting earrings and of course, pink brogues. I have pink work boots that I would wear. Your writing is refreshing and fun, your choice in style allowing and smart. Thanks for being out there.

  47. Hi!
    I love your blog. It is one of the first blogs I started to follow for the over fifty crowd. I started a fashion blog about a year ago and have the same concerns about affiliate links and sponsors. I have to say I love the way your blog looks, with none of those annoying pop-ups and running adds. Your pages always look so clean and professional. I would not put up a notice at the beginning of your editorial that it is sponsored or affiliate linked. I would definitely mention it at the end or in your write up. But I find if it is in the beginning, my instinct is to pass the page. Not that I don’t want to help bloggers make a living, it just that so many of them only seem to blog about what they get paid for and not what they love. I wish you luck in whichever way you decide to go.

  48. I wouldn’t change a thing. I enjoy reading your blog and find the sponsorship elements do not detract one bit. (In fact, like other readers, I find some sponsorship links useful.)

    Best regards,
    Alison Fulton (via the US but originally from the UK)

  49. Congratulations on 10 years. And don’t worry about sponsored posts – saves me so much time so thank you. I’m not one for physically browsing around the shops so I’m pleased when someone whose style I like (that’s you) points out what’s available and where.

  50. Alyson, you don’t have to explain, we’re with you!
    Like that jumpsuit! And will raid my earring drawer because I have some structured darlings like yours. Somewhere…

    Sheila W

  51. Congratulations on 10 amazing years. Only found out about this blog a few yrs ago but enjoy it immensely.
    Maybe this is odd, but I actually like ads. ( NOT pop ups). Well done beautiful ads have been a source of inspiration for my craft ( hairdresser) as well as inspiration for personal art projects. Since you are the approval source, I can’t imagin anything you chose being tasteless or offensive.
    Keep doing what you do!

  52. I trust your judgement on items you’ve chosen to showcase! I just wish we had M&S in Canada! Keep at it Alyson!
    Cheers, Doreen
    Vancouver Island
    Canada

  53. I love your blog (and your latest book) – you’re my favorite fashion source! And gosh, yes, you should be fairly compensated for creating this product.
    I am certain your blog will continue to reflect your clean and classic taste even when monetized. Best wishes!

  54. Quite happy with your sponsored posts, like others above I trust your edit and always find your writing interesting. Love Dinosaur Designs, the earings are great, a fabulous Australian business.

  55. Your sponsored posts need to be transparent but otherwise I don’t have an issue with articles that are free and feature women who are both younger and older than me. We don’t have to like everything, sponsored or not! I enjoy having a critical eye that your blog has cultivated in me. It will take another ten years to convert me to a jumpsuit though. Keep up the good work.

  56. I love reading your blog and have discovered all sorts of new creative people and ideas about fashion which I adore. I’m a writer and completely understand the need to make a living out of what you do so well. Keep on keeping on, Alyson!

  57. What an honest and thought piece – as an ex freelancer I’m indeed shocked at writers rates (hardly any different from when I was writing in the 1990s). I believe in paying for quality – Hense I subscribe to various papers and journals. There is always the option of paying a subscription to your blog ? Though I don’t mind the sponsorship – agree with the comment on M&S – good to have things curated.

  58. A sub-heading to tell us what’s sponsored is fine. For me, the most important things on a site are relevant, concise content, editorial integrity and discernment, clear lay-outs, correct grammar (thank you, Alyson!), and no pop-ups! I lose patience with sites that contain waffle between a procession of similar photographs (usually recipe sites, I find) and I really notice that yours is professional and holding to magazine standards. (I’m an ex-journo myself; I can imagine only too well the stories you allude to!)

  59. I just recently discovered your blog and today i am wearing an outfit inspired by one of your post. Through you i have discovered other women who has navigated the tricky line of age and fashion and life. Will continue reading you though. Thank you. ❤️

  60. This is by far the sincerest post I have ever read on sponsored content and blogger collaborations. Congratulations on your 10th anniversary and keep up the inspiring work

  61. Congratulations on such a big milestone Alyson! I want to echo what the other ladies have said so eloquently. I’m a huge fan of you and your blog and have absolutely no problem with sponsored posts. I trust your judgement and edit completely. Oh and I need that jumpsuit in my life!

  62. Congrats on 10 years – no easy feat in the online world. I don’t mind the sponsored content as part of what you do is write about stuff…it’s clearly marked and saves us all time.

  63. I agree with so many of your readers that your posts are top notch and I fully understand that that doesn’t happen without a lot of work behind the scenes. I have no problem with sponsored posts because I trust that you will be discerning and only promote the best. I have quit reading some blogs that seem to be nothing more than advertisements, but I don’t expect that to happen to TNMA. I do like the idea of tagging the sponsored posts somehow though.

  64. Thanks for your transparency, I think having a caption somewhere that indicated a post is sponsored would be a good way to do it. Also more related ads in the right column doesn’t distract too much and adds value with more offerings on the page. That’s my thought to get more adverts related to your content-things you expect people would love to check out. I just would vote for no flashing or videos, since moving graphics quite bother me unless it’s a video I choose to watch.

  65. Well done for reaching the ten year mark. I love your blog and avidly read what you have to say and therefore trust your judgment when it comes to sponsorship. I am happy that you have chosen a readily accessible store. Here’s to the next ten years!

  66. Many congratulations on your 10 year blog anniversary. I enjoy your blog and have done so for many years .I particularly enjoy your writing style and the reading about other women ageing with style. I have both your books too for the same reason.
    I have no problem with sponsored posts , we all need some income, but do always like it to be mentioned. As I am in Australia the products you feature are not on my radar so will just skim these posts.
    Keep up the good work.

  67. I notice my post wasn’t used. Hope I haven’t offended in any way. I love your blog and wish you every success. I love Finery clothes and M&S when they get the style right! My comment about LLF was as example of combining a blog with selling a tangible product helps pay for the blog etc. Jennie x ps I don’t have a website – do I need one?

    1. Hi Jennie, I was out at a book signing event yesterday (away from my laptop) which is why some of the comments have only just appeared. Very best, Alyson

  68. So many positive posts it’s hard to reach the comment space.
    First many congratulations on reaching your 10th anniversary of TNMA. Keep up the good work Alyson.
    I’ve already expressed my opinions about sponsorship issue in a previous discussion. Like Maudie I appreciate the reality of your needing to strike a balance which I feel you do. A wide variety of topics always and your flexibility in asking your readers for feedback and then integrating it into your posts is to be congratulated also. I wouldn’t put the time into reading this site regularly nor to spending time replying and commenting if I didn’t find the whole thing useful and interesting to learn the perspectives of others.
    Do what seems appropriate to earn a decent living and be able to pay for assistance with the photo shoots. I always enjoy seeing these portraits with beautiful lighting, even natural light, and setting. Your hair and makeup are always just right and not overdone. You look comfortable and as the French say : “bien dans sa peau” literally comfortable in your own skin/space. And today’s portrait feels just like that: the whitewashed walls, perfect white pipes, white or ecru linen jumpsuit which fits you so well. And charming pink suede lace ups. I would wear none of it myself given my size, not tall and with big feet, but can still enjoy seeing you dressed like this.
    With all good wishes from Mrs Tonia
    Former architectural and art journalist in print and online in its early days.

  69. Hi Alyson, Congratulations on your anniversary – an amazing milestone in a harsh world. I also have a blog and have not moved to sponsored content yet.
    As long as it’s clear that you are receiving compensation for the content, it’s fair – no one should work for free. I am always a bit sceptical of skin care recommendations – other than commenting on the texture and feel of the product, I don’t think it’s possible to confirm the manufacturer’s claimed benefits for the products. But for any other kind of product, I value and trust the views of someone experienced like you. I think that more than sponsored products, it is “tested & recommended” products since you would not post about a product you have not tested and approved. I think in this day and age, everyone will understand that you are working with the manufacturer and therefore receive compensation for the review. Just a thought.

  70. Forgot to mention suggestions for polo shirts. The ones I have are by Fred Perry women’s range and Lacoste. In both cases discounted at Bicester Village, Bicester, Oxfordshire.
    They come in good colours and wash and wear extremely well. Fred Perry shop has special ranges of those made for Japan etc. Men’s and women’s. Are they used to. Haven’t bought any for a while. Never in the dryer though to keep from shrinking.

  71. Of course I support your decision 100%, having written a blog that was first unmonetized, then monetized, now unmonetized again. I stopped the sponsored posts and affiliate links not because I didn’t enjoy them, or readers objected, but because they were SO MUCH WORK! So not only do I support your decision, when I see someone like you doing this well i.e. calling out that you use affiliate links – I used to do it at the bottom of the page) and noting which posts have been sponsored (I used to write a little sub-title in italics at the top of each sponsored post), I am glad because it means they can and will continue. I also like to see the ways that sponsored posts can encourage a blogger to try something just a little out of the ordinary. Not unnatural, but maybe not something they would have thought to choose without the brand suggesting it.

    In any case, you’re a total pro, so don’t need my amateur counsel. As they say on Twitter, TL:DR Thumbs up;).

  72. I love your blog and I love to read all these beautifully encouraging comments. As you cover many topics related to the “old age”, I just wanted to suggest that you could also consider (and I know that you are already doing this) writing on the losses that many of us inevitably face as we get older, like death in the family, economic difficulties, depression, and health issues. Just an idea for I trust your integrity and sensitivity.

  73. Of course you must do sponsored posts, I’m sure no-one expects you to provide us with all this wonderful content for free. Congratulations on 10 years!

  74. I thought this was a really useful post. I really like posts from bloggers who ‘shop their own wardrobe’, or specialise in secondhand finds, and often avoid sponsored content.

    Yet, I am a total women’s magazine fiend though (although I do struggle with being sold to so much, in these forums). I thought your blog pointed out something I had forgotten – how these magazines ar paid for by advertising. Why am I happy buy a magazine crammed full of ads but avoid sponsored content that keeps my favourite bloggers going? Let’s assume you’re not all privately wealthy!

    Made me think…. I am new to your blog but enjoying.

  75. I read many fashion magazines French and English and have no problem with the pages of glossy advertising for clothing and cosmetics. If one doesn’t want to look at them they can be skipped. I look at them for photographic ideas etc. One understands the business model in this case.
    No problem for me that you promote occasionally certain brands such as M & S or face creams. It doesn’t make me rush to buy these things. If it enables a discussion of how to dress well, age well and confront issues of a social material and health nature that come with being older well and good. If this allows the beautiful photography and portraits of you modelling certain outfits so be it. Keep up the good work Alyson. And congratulations.

  76. I have absolutely no problem with sponsored posts and would still read them as I trust your judgement to select the brands carefully, write about things you believe we will be interested in, and to write your own take on their products. Do put [sponsored] in the headline, though. I think you could even do more – you have to earn a living to keep a blog such as this going,. I would like to see more shoots, and those need resource. I would even consider paying £1 a month donation. If a few hundred people did that, it would be something. Also, you probably are already, but get in with the influencer agencies such as Weareisma. And of course retailers are all looking at ways to incorporate experience into bricks-and-mortar shopping – I see you being involved in those (shopper evenings, styling sessions, etc) for the brands wanting to target our age group.

  77. not a problem, i follow a home wares blog that does the same thing. i think you are very discerning in your choices.

  78. I think most people understand that to run a quality blog you need to earn money to at least keep things ticking along, and keep body and soul together. Your honesty about this is key. I think your idea of just a note at the top of an article saying it’s an collaboration or AD is sufficient. I’m looking forward to more quality blog posts…love your jumpsuit

  79. Happy Decade! Wow – that’s a real achievement. I know from personal and professional experience how difficult building a blog is. As other readers have said, publishing sponsored posts is about trust. You’ve created an online space where readers trust your opinion and your offering, so they’ll stay loyal. And you’re explaining why you’re doing it; it’s not about accepting easy money (ha-ha, as if!). As long as you don’t start selling menopause magnets… 😉 Well done you! xx

  80. Matter of fact. Real. Honest.
    These are why I read you.
    Just “sponsored” somewhere is adequate. We get it.

  81. Saying “Sponsored” at the top is relevant. You could go further by stating “Sponsored – Night Moisturizer” or “Sponsored – Dark Denim Jeans.” Another thought, “Sponsored – M & S Dark Denim Jeans.” I like Isabelle Fish’s “Tested & Recommended” statement somewhere in the sponsored ad. With more detail, I can make a decision to read further or skip.

  82. May I say that you look better in that jumpsuit than Vicky McClure on Finery’s website! It really suits you!

  83. I have no problem with sponsored posts, as long as they’re labeled as such. Also, would love to see more clothes available in the U.S. I, too, love Eileen Fisher and have even bought them in the U. K. But would love to see more brands available here! Keep up your good work for us of a certain age!

  84. I know this is late, but I usually only check in with your blog once every week or two. I have no problem with sponsored posts as long as they are clearly labelled (either in the headline or elsewhere) and as long as the overall balance of the blog is not heavily towards sponsored posts. It is because I respect your judgement in your ‘independent’ posts that I can also trust that what you say in sponsored posts is an extension of your overall worldview of fashion, rather than your endorsement of something purely because of the sponsorship. At the moment, I’d say the balance is fine, and I enjoy the sponsored posts as much as any others.

    I have been reading the blog for a few years. I have followed the evolution of your career, which has wound up being quite instructive for me. A couple of years or so ago, I took redundancy from a full time (very, very full time) job. At present I am doing a mixture of casual employment and contract work as a self-employed person, and I’m making baby steps towards establishing a consulting business. That includes doing blog posts and social media as part of my professional life. My field is very different to yours, but yes, blog posts take time and effort if they are being done professionally (at a minimum, a post I write commenting on current developments in my field takes slightly more than a half-day of work, and I’m not including photos or other graphics, plus additional time promoting it on social media). I have had to say to people, usually gently but sometimes bluntly, that I cannot do things for free and my time deserves to be paid. Therefore, I am very supportive of everything you say in this post.

    And Happy Blogiversary!

  85. No issues at all with the sponsorships. Love the blog and appreciate your being able to bring it to us!

  86. Thanks for responding to our comments from an earlier post. Much appreciated. I became curious as to when bloggers indicate that some articles are sponsored and where — Sali Hughes, for example, who I believe lets the reader know from the get-go, rather than at the end of an article. This approach seems more transparent, and it doesn’t stop me from clicking on the link. In any case, now that I am more aware of sponsorship, I feel less “tricked”. And I have bought items you highlight, all of which have been welcome additions to my life — for example, the kaftans you recommended.

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