Stop Undervaluing other Bloggers

work

It is no secret that my blog is my business. I am all for expressing ones self and I seldom comment on what someone should or should not post on their blog.  We in Canada are not required to add disclosure to our posts, but please know if it is on my blog, it is most likely paid for in some way.

I charge for ad space

I charge for advertorial posts

I accept product for review that meets my minimum value

I charge to promote giveaways that are on other sites

I charge for giveaways on my site that have no product

I charge for twitter parties, consulting and social media management 

I do this because my time is valuable. I do this because this is my job. My family needs to eat. I need to work. My bills need to be paid. We all do.  For the most part I am not alone. Many bloggers monetize and support their family on from their blog. This also allows us to devote time to unique brands and opportunities. This allows us to show our readers what a good brand is. Brands who value their customers and respect their colleagues. Social media is still young but we are growing strong and have proven ourselves along the way. We have chosen to work with brands so we have chosen to value ourselves and our time.

So why do we every day get emails and requests to post for free?

The promise of future opportunities is just that, a promise. Would you go to work day after day with the promise to maybe get something better? Maybe get a paid opportunity in the future? Why are people so shocked to see I want to be valued? Why can some not understand our worth?

I have a pretty good idea why. 

It is impossible to have business minded people take us seriously when other bloggers do not see our value. It is impossible to have brands and reps pay us for our time when so many will jump through hoops for free. When other bloggers are posting for free it hurts us all.

STOP POSTING FOR FREE!!!!

If you are posting a press release for free, no product, no compensation you are setting a standard that is making it hard for other bloggers. If you post a contest for free, promote the heck out of it and charge nothing. You are doing fellow bloggers no good. When you tweet, send a Facebook shout out or email your readers and get nothing in return, you are showing the company you do not value yourself.  Your time and your readers are worth more.

I get having a relationship with a brand. A give and take. A,  I post now and KNOW I will get taken care of later relationship. I have lots of these relationships. These relationships take time, trust and mutual understanding. Every blogger has a relationship like this. But companies many will test us. They will offer us “free content” They will say “sorry no budget” or even say “We will be sure to contact you first when a paid opportunity comes up ” NOT Good! You are not the only one on their list. As soon as they know they can have the milk for free they will. The ones who only care about the bottom line and saving a buck will not be back with good opportunities. The ones who do not value bloggers just want mass promotion, for nothing. 

Bloggers need to be united. We need to speak up and ask questions. Do you think the person emailing you works for free? Don’t be afraid to say “NO!”

If you do not monetize, ignore my post. Write about your life, your favourite trip, ice cream or what have you. But do not dabble with brands for pay unless you want o commit. Do not take money out of our pockets. Do not take food from our mouths. Once you charge for a post you need to realize your hobby is more than a hobby. When you post for free you are doing no good for other bloggers. When you undercharge you are doing nothing good for the blogmosphere. we are not traditional media, we are young compared to other forms of media. We need to teach the companies what we are worth. We need to set the standard. I realize bloggers do not often talk about money. Many will never say how much they charge for anything. I couldn’t care how much you charge. Just charge something, anything. As you grow, increase your rates. What is your time worth? 

My minimum value of product I require for a review is $50. This makes it worth my time to take the pics, test it out and write up the post. No matter how new you are, I think $50 is also the minimum you should get for any post with no product (starting off). A post that you get nothing else for just pay.

Taking nothing, $10, $20, is just too low for any post. Other bloggers are getting $150+ for the same post. After a while reps may think they can get 10 for the price of one and stop paying those with influence. They will ignore those of us with reach. The blogs who work daily behind the scenes building their audience, creating relationships and content will lose out. Quantity is not better than quality! A few good blogs posting is way more valuable than a bunch posting quickly, with no reach, no value.

directional-value

We are all worth it. Our blogs are ours to do what we want with. Just remember when you agree to post and promote for free though, you are taking money away from the bloggers who depend on their sites for their livelihood. There is nothing wrong with saying NO to a brand. If they truly do not have the budget they will come back when they do. The good ones always do. The good ones understand  They GET it. There are great brands and great reps out there. Ones who know the value of a blog. They will find you and make it worth your time. Trust me 🙂 

Lets unite and make promotions on blogs a part of the budget. 

worth

 

Do you monetize your blog? Do you have any tips for bloggers looking to start?

Comments

  1. Great post! I started off charging only $20/post. Then I found CBN and learned a whole lot.

  2. tennille says

    Thanks from a newbie. This is all great information to start me out with a strong footing!
    My recent post iPod / iPhone Free Speaker

  3. chickymara says

    So, I try to do what you say and then they just never email back. I asked about compensation for a giveaway that went on just before Fathers Day and the PR person never contacted me again with details, yet, I saw a bunch of bloggers doing the giveaway, some indicated they were doing it for free right in their posts. So, I try, and get left in the cold. What is the solution for that?
    My recent post Vinagrette Potato Salad with Fresh Chives

    • I've had that happen many times and ultimately it comes down to you. Personally my time/image is worth something and if a brand doesn't have a budget for my blog then it says they don't value it.
      My recent post Red & White Layered Smoothie Recipe

    • Walk away. eventually the rep/brand will know they need to value us and will pay. eventually those posting for free will get tired of wasting their own time

      • Want to here my two cents on all of this. My husband was one of the first people back in the 90's to start a movie website. It went huge. He was in all the mainstream media and flown to movie sets etc…all the 'glamour.' He was loaded down with free stuff and the advertising supported his family. That changed and so did the mentality about the sites as well as the technology. I know make more than HE does from my site. One of the things I stick with is the idea of quality and unique content.He worked hard getting exclusives instead of the stuff that was being sent out to every site and blasted all over the net.

        • Nuts where did the rest of my post go. What the point is is work hard to be exclusive and unique in your content….might not make us much traffic or $ but better than being part of the masses regurgitating all the same content from the same brands and pr teams. It may take longer but but being truer to you and your own brand is better in my own opinion.

  4. wow, sounds like a dog eat dog world

  5. mommyoutside says

    You makes some good points here Kim. I can't say that I completely agree but the bottom line is it's all about education. Educate bloggers, educate brands.

    I've heard this same sort of message in the photography world as well. That photographers who undercharge bring down the rest of us. I've never found it to be true. You get what you pay for and everyone has to start somewhere. Quality work shows. Knowing how to price as an artist, as a writer, can be tricky and requires experience and guidance. That's where community becomes to important. People in their field with experience need to step up and provide that guidance.

    When you first start out in any field it can take a while to find that community so sometimes you just have to wing it until you get it figured out 🙂
    My recent post Ranchified Veggie Cakes {Recipe}

  6. Fabulous Kim! I have finally found my worth and decided to stick to it. I WILL not do things for free and I have rates as well. I have learned my lesson about accepting lower offers and it never ends up good because I dread it!

    My recent post Lifescript.com Providing Answers & Depression Treatments

  7. christinemcn says

    Great post, Kim! Amazing how much we learn as the years go by. I have learned in the past few years that I shouldn't settle for less than what I deserve — it takes time out of my day, it takes work, it takes organizing, researching, writing, coming up with the creative, putting together images/photos, and most of all, it takes time away from my family. It better be worth it if I'm going to post it 🙂 I'd rather have quality content over quantity any day. 🙂
    My recent post Turón Bites ~ A Spin on a Filipino Street Food Fave

  8. Bravo! Well said!

    I recently sent rates to a rep who requested and they huffed at me. Rudely wished me “Good Luck” finding work with my rates. You know what? The past two weeks I sealed three PAID ops and the best part is each rep/brand contacted me asked me my rates and said they were fair, no problem. There IS hope if you are determined and stick to your guns!

  9. Amen!

  10. Great post Kim. When I first started blogging I was so excited to get any review that I was posting for peanuts. However, I have learned to respect the value of my time and my effort and also that if I don't value my time, no one else will. Yes, that means I have lost some potential revenue that did not meet my new fee schedule, but, that is the short term cost of banding together for the good of all. Could I use the $50 I was offered yesterday for a sponsored post, yes of course I could, but I have come to realize that my time is very valuable and I will no longer work for peanuts.
    My recent post Zaggora Hotpants ~ Harness the Heat and Burn More Calories!

  11. overall a great post to remind bloggers to value their time, and to make sure that they are not being taken advantage of my companies and networks
    My recent post Hot Toys of Summer 2013

  12. mamabear6910 says

    Great post, helpful and most of all, an honest opinion I value, from a fellow blogger. I love to hear different opinions on blogging, to help give me a better understanding and pointers on issues I may not be aware of.

  13. Great post! I agree with you and thank you for sharing there are a lot of bloggers out there who don't know what a ''standard" minimum is. It never hurts to ask for compensation especially when we work so hard for it. I always try to explain what they get for the $50 and what they can get if they are willing to spend more. Social media takes time and so do posts and if they want quality they need to pay for it.
    My recent post A Little Inspiration

  14. Koala Bear Writer says

    I like comparing blogs to magazines, because I think they are the new media (replacing newspapers and magazines). Companies pay to advertise in magazines or newspapers, so they should also pay to advertise on blogs – many of which have greater readership than some newspapers or magazines!!! Plus, it's easier to track the results of a campaign on a blog than in a newspaper/magazine, so it's more worth their while to advertise (and pay!) there! Thanks for posting.

  15. I’m a VERY small blog, and I am more than happy to work writhe companies for free product, no money. My blog, like my sewing is a hobby that I am hoping to get a tiny return on. I don’t think I’m taking Munch money from serious bloggers, since I only get about 275 views a day, and only have about 70 Facebook followers.

  16. WhispersInspire says

    This is a great post Kim, I agree that no matter what size of a blog you have, you have value. It's like a domino effect. Thanks for putting this out there!

  17. Your post is so empowering! Thank you! It’s so easy to undermine ourselves, but what we do is so important because we are doing it for ourselves and our families. Networks uniting bloggers help so much as far as educating us, getting ourselves seen, and building our own brands. But I really like how you say we have to help each other by not short cutting ourselves. That gives new perspective on why we’re doing what we’re doing and how we go about doing it. Thank you for this awesome post!!

  18. great post Kim!! I defiantly learn much form you!! thank you!
    My recent post Mommies First Box Review

  19. I couldn't have said it better myself! I've learned a ton since joining CBN. Great post Kim!

  20. Paula schuck says

    I walk away a lot lately. I know my worth. I know my blog worth. I counter or state my rates and move on. Sometimes they do reappear with budget. That’s fine. Time is valuable and marketing is a service. I am a professional and I approach my blog that way. Not everyone does. Very recently a blogger approached one of my clients I handle and coordinate blogger outreach for and she offered a post for. $45. The same client works with me, and I hire out bloggers and pay them $150-$200 per post. I had a frank talk with my client who actually said they felt the blogger lowballed the offer and they were shocked she charged under $50 a post. That’s her business I guess but I don’t find that very professional.

  21. I love it when we talk about standing together as a sisterhood (OK, there are guys somewhere in the mix, but for the most part, it's a sisterhood) – I just wish it actually happened more often. I believe that if we all decided "look, here's our bare minimum; we won't take anything less than $x for a sponsored post" that it would be very hard for brands to make their impression numbers month to month.

    That said, there's a place for "free" and a place for paid. I think you have to decide what the rules of your own blog are and be consistent with your own "line in the sand." I started my blog because I don't believe that product reviews should be paid – but those are MY rules and if YOUR rules are different, more power to you. I accept product of ANY value (because a $5 butt cream is important to one set of readers and a $1,200 BBQ is important to another set of readers) and write the review based on my experience with it. I also write reviews of products I've purchased myself. I get very frank in my reviews, and I suspect that if a brand was paying me to write it, there would be an expectation that it would be all roses and unicorns.

    I decided that for the first 9 months, I wouldn't charge for contests. It was a strategic move because I wanted to build a Facebook and Twitter following and – let's be honest – contests are a great way to do that. Once my numbers got respectable, I decided that this was one area that could generate revenue. After all – maintaining a website has both hard costs and time costs with a business model that primarily isn't income-generating has its challenges! A girl's gotta get paid somehow. So I have a minimum charge to run a basic contest and I get creative if a brand wants more than what I consider a "basic" contest.

    I also write sponsored posts, and these are never reviews so I'm comfortable making some money here, too. I had to laugh the other day when an agency offered a bunch of us $30 each to write a sponsored post. Um, no. Not even close. Not even the right number of digits. But maybe for someone $30 is the difference between being able to afford diapers or formula each week, so I think it's all about calculating what your time is worth to you. What feels like $30 to one person is very different to another.

    I am OK with advertising, but have made the decision that I'm only going to accept advertisers who will pay a monthly fee – I'm not going to any ad servers, and I'm not doing Google AdWords. Cost-per-click and the lack of complete control about what shows up on my page just isn't for me. I have yet to find an advertiser who fits well and wants to spend what I think the space is worth, though, so for now, I'm happy to have an ad-free site. It will happen – the stars will align. But it has to be right for me.

    I also think that participating in Twitter parties, posting sponsored bits on Facebook and paid videos, for example, all have their place and these are also opportunities for the sisterhood to band together and create minimums.

    I am all about transparency, though. Even though it's not a legality in Canada (yet), I think if we've been paid to write that readers appreciate knowing. I don't think, for the most part, they really care. I do think, though, that they like the transparency. This is probably driven my PR agency background – we have very strict codes of conduct in place at my office, and since I straddle an interesting line between PR and media (which, make no mistake, bloggers ARE media), I personally have to disclose everything. Even the smallest grey area has to be made completely clear on my blog because I've signed something at work that says I can be fired if I'm not transparent. And, as much as I love blogging, I also LOVE my job and would be really pissed if I got fired. 🙂

    But back to the sisterhood. We are a competitive bunch, and healthy competition is a good thing. We can work together but still have our own competitive edge. We each bring something unique to the table. We need to remember that we're the ones who get to make the rules up as we go. The closer we stand together, the better it is for us individually. I know that's easier said than done, but if everyone thought of themselves as a mentor, we'd go awfully far awfully fast.
    My recent post BlackBerry Q10: part of the TELUS #10BestofBBQ10 program

  22. I still consider myself a newbie (even though I have been telling the whole world my life for the past two years). I have paid posts and they are from paid-to-blog sites, and yes, what I get has put food in my family's mouth and bought diapers for my boys. Honestly, I am still hesitant to give a rate of $30 or $50 for my blogs that has only a page rank of 1 and when I give that rate, most would haggle. 🙁 Anyway, thanks for sharing all these points, will put all these in my mind.

  23. Great post Kim. Blogging is fun but is work. It does deserve to be compensated properly. You have me thinking and I will most likely up my rate. I strongly believe that if we all stick together it will be better for all of us!
    My recent post Bold Summer Nails with OPI Neon Revolution

  24. I have a ton of emails I get that ask if I can review or post a press release. It has to be either something that is free for others and that I like, or that offers some sort of compensation, though I don't get many paid reviews. I hate that it's all about hey do this for nothing cause I don't have the time to do it myself. Why would my time be worth nothing if you want my readers to know about it?

  25. Great rant! I'm new to the blogging for pay deal. I haven't received cash yet. But, I do blog for free products here and there. I consider that to be great pay for a new blog. I agree with you as well. Because I take time to post for companies, I'm taking time to do that. If I was to blog for free I would just be blogging about my day to day life and what I think about everything under the sun. I wouldn't bother about products at all. If a company wants me to blog about their product I deserve some kind of compensation for taking that time. I just consider product to be a fair compensation at this point in my blog's lifespan. As I get bigger and better I will of course try to reach higher as far as compensation goes. But, it is true, if we are blogging for an earning we need to stick to that.
    My recent post Purex SWEEPSTAKES!

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