I think it's pretty common knowledge that ads suck.
I think the success of advertising gives low quality people and products the opportunity to thrive because they have more resources. I think having the ability to show up wherever you want takes the focus away from what you're putting out there. I think it puts all the focus on how many people you're reaching. People who actually need a product like yours are stuck with a half-rate option because you have a better opportunity to reach people, even if your product sucks.
Maybe I'm bitter. Maybe I'm just saying all of this because I don't reach a ton of people. But even if I did, I think I'd want to continue my organic growth and make my money through giving you guys quality material and recommendations rather than throwing mindless ads in your face.
WHY I DON'T BELIEVE IN TRADITIONAL ADVERTISING
Let me start by saying, over the years I've dabbled in it. I've tried ads. I've tried paying a website to boost my content. I don't hate the idea of sponsored (very heavily vetted sponsored) posts and I'm not totally against paying someone to tell people about your service or product. I think that is one way we can all support each other.
What I don't believe in are the mindless ads. The little boxes on people's sites that promote something "semi-relevant" to their readers for a quick buck. The pop-ups that interrupt your train of thought while your trying to show genuine support and interest in something someone is sharing. The blogs that are created for the purpose of making money by getting people to buy low quality stuff they don't need. It gets my blood boiling to see people who don't care about their effect on others as long as they're gaining something.
I don't believe in it because I think it's counter productive.
It makes people skeptical of quality products that are honestly promoted (financially backed or not) by people who truly believe in it and use it.
It promotes things that could be a waste of money or harmful to people who try it. All for the sake of a short term gain for people who could've spent two extra seconds to actually research and put in effort for what they earn.
It means money over quality. Businesses that already have lots of money can creep into each of our lives and continue to grow and be rewarded for low quality content, services, products, etc.
It means lower quality content taking up space and saturating a market for people who really do believe in contributing value to the world.
It's not evil. It's not the demise of us all. All I'm here to say is, we could do better. We deserve better.
THE FUTURE OF ADVERTISING - WHAT WE SHOULD DO INSTEAD
Obviously we can't just sit in our corners of the world or the internet and expect to grow all by ourselves. It takes more than just making something to really help it grow. You need to put time and effort into what you're doing. Make it quality. Make it beneficial. Make it worth our time and yours and then support other people trying to do the same. As a creator, you want to keep the ethical side of everything in your mind. It's the best way we can ensure we're doing our part to actually make the world better.
But what about consumers? What can we do to help?
Follow creators you love on social media and stay engaged. You'd be surprised how much just one like on a post can help someone grow. You may not have the money to buy everything they put out there, but you can still help by staying active on their social media. After all, every like you give could help them to reach someone who does have the money to help support them.
Share the things you love. With Instagram stories, it's really easy to share things without dirtying up the feed. Even things that may not go with your color scheme can be shared. Articles, accounts, products, and services can all be shared to your followers and you can't begin to imagine how encouraging it is for the creator to see that.
When you do need something, shop small or look for quality affiliates. It's so easy to hop on a well known site or run over to a chain and grab what you need. It's easy, reliable, and sometimes more financially viable. I get it. It's been a struggle for me to wait and find just the right product when it's something I want right now. Still, when I do wait and save to get something from a smaller shop who has taken the time to find quality materials/ingredients and has added their personal touch or from a blogger who has found a product they love and scored a quality affiliate link, it really makes all the difference. Not just for me, but also for them.
We're living in a fast paced, zero white space world where trends and ads are constantly thrown at us. I think we're on the verge of some awesome changes, but the only way to propel those changes is to take part. Think twice before you put an ad on your page, double check all the sources when buying something you need, and help promote people who really are making a difference
We're all responsible for what the world has become, but we can also be a part of making it better. Even if it's just a like on someone's instagram post.
Photo by Nicole Honeywill