Should Bloggers Get Paid?

Before I start let me state this: the fact that I’m bringing this topic to my ‘fashion and style blog, my creative space, my evolving craft, my dream CAREER’ platform is just…well, let’s just go with: I’m really passionate about this topic. Here it is:

Should influencers/bloggers be creating content and marketing on behalf of your brand for free?

HECK NO.

So why are we doing it? I say ‘we’ because I, just as much as the blogger next to me, are SO guilty of this. I think it’s absolutely beautiful that we get to be creative and make content for our platforms, for our readers, for brands, for companies, and actually enjoy doing it…because it is our passion. I just see something missing. Step back and think about this: if you had a ‘corporate’ job would you get to the office every day and forget to clock in? Probably not and if you are like me, who sometimes does forget to clock in, I’m 100% sure before your shift is done you tell someone ‘hey can you clock me in please?!’

I’ve read so many articles and listened to fellow bloggers on both sides of this spectrum. That you should do it free if the brand is small, that you should wait until you’re ‘big’ and that you should do it for ‘exposure’…I know. I fall into that mentality too but really what a minuscule way of thinking about your craft? Fellow blogger (and Kat, you too girl) do NOT work for free, even if all you charge is $5. I’ll get to the $5 in a second but, fellow blogger, creating content is your craft; it’s your passion…why not value that? I’m telling you from my personal experience because I’m keeping it real…I’m that ‘fellow blogger’ so I’m honestly preaching to myself (but hopefully you too). I’m so sick and tired of getting this e-mail:

Dear themodelsmarket,

We found you on instagram and think you are perfect for this campaign. We’d like to send you XXXXXX in exchange for a social media share. We really do not have the budget for influencers at the moment, so if you are interested please send us your address.

Thanks,
so and so.

*side note: I literally got an e-mail today saying ‘we have a sponsored opportunity for you…but also we don’t have budget!’ WHAT DOES THAT EVEN MEAN? Please come back to me when you are clear on what you have planned and need for this project. I’ll tell you right now if I love the brand anyway, pay is negotiable but respect and value are not. I will deliver a great campaign but I need your help for that.*

 

OK. Let me tell you what’s wrong with that e-mail. EVERYTHING. Let me ask you this…if when you pitch a brand people advice you to refer to their marketing contact by name and let it show that you have done a little research…why can’t bloggers get that same respect? These companies need YOU not the other way around, so please at least look at the bio one step above my email to read my name. (My name is also in my e-mail..so like…kat@themodelsmarket.com) I’m Kat, not ‘themodelsmarket’. Second, what’s up with this ‘we don’t have a budget’ lie? What kind of business are you running that you think you could ever market your business on TV or Radio or Newspaper or anywhere…for zero dollars?

I feel myself getting a bit heated and now I’m thinking ‘should I even post this on the internet?’ but guys, really, until WE decide to stand up and say ‘no, this is what my content is worth and this is how much I need to give your brand ‘access’ to my loyal readers who I’ve spent 1-3 years building a relationship first. I literally value everyone who believes in this blog, I know your names, I see who leaves comments, and messages me, and I think about you!!! SO if you believe in me and take time out of your day to see what I create with you in mind…why wouldn’t I value and treat this as my career? If I don’t believe in myself enough to say ‘my time and effort is worth XXX’ then how can I expect you to believe in what I’m doing? If you are a brand reading this please don’t take offense to this, I hope you are able to see how passionate I really am for my platform. Your girl will deliver!

Speaking of brands, I’m being so transparent by saying this but…I’ve been ignored by about 3-4 brands AFTER they reach out and say how perfect I am for their project, we begin to talk and when compensation is brought up, then all of a sudden there’s no more communication. What just happened? This is my desired job, my craft, what I spend days and nights trying to perfect. You just wanted me to take my fiancé/photographer away from his (actual money making) job to pick a location, shoot these photos, choose the best ones, edit them, strategically post them with YOUR company and MY readers in mind…for free? That alone took about 4-5 hours. If you guys didn’t know (though I’m sure you do!) my blog would be nothing without Nick (and Anthony too – he makes tons of those amazing videos you guys love). Nick is literally my right hand, my partner…we’re a team. So, I’m not sure how you expect me to pay my bills (and my photographer) with your product?

Every time I see #ad or #sponsored on my newsfeed I applaud that blogger. ESPECIALLY if I’m able to connect with what they’re saying before I even realize it’s sponsored. Like you go glen coco! High-five for knowing your worth and letting brands and companies know that ‘yes I love this product, your brand, the vision, the project, but I love my craft more, and this deserves compensation’. Also, I just remembered I didn’t talk about the $5 charge…simple. Don’t be known as “that blogger who does it for free…charge something”. Those words, though simple, are not mine, (It kind of ticks me off when I see someone spit some fire about something and not say it was someone else’s fire…like is that considered verbal plagiarism?) ANYWAY I heard a photographer (I want to say it was between Gabe and Christine) say that AND I agree. I agree because it’s hard to leave that ‘well she always does it for free’ image, TRUST ME. Just don’t belittle yourself like that…like I’ve done in the past. Nothing will change until we change how we view our platform and our craft. Not too many people know how much hard work goes into blogging. So for those of us that do know, you know it’s passion driven not money driven…but when you are trying so hard to make your passion a reality; and you need to be paid in order to continue growing your brand; that free hat (purse, shirt, shoes, hair product, whatever) doesn’t seem so “this is literally my favorite thing ever guys, omg” anymore.

To brands: please understand that while this world of “influencer marketing” is still finding its place to earn respect as a job…it’s here and I’m sure it’s here to stay. If you want us to ‘work’ and ‘create’ for you then please treat it as work. Since you know, it is. We pay to run our sites, we pay for camera equipment, (and if we use our phones sometimes…well heck, we pay a phone bill too!) and we make sure we’re posting and doing these things to represent your company and our personal brand as authentic as possible.

To bloggers: understand (as much as I’m trying to) that if this is the world we want to be respected in, then we have to respect our work. I’m not saying to do every single post sponsored, but when you are working with a brand, do yourself a favor, make sure its MUTUALLY benefitting. In whatever way that makes sense for you. I know I’m 2,000 words in so I’m DONE haha.

Check out these resources that have helped me with creating a brand pitch and figuring out how much to charge for creating content:

How to Work With Brands as A Blogger
How to Pitch To a Company Even If You Don’t Have Huge Blog Stats
How to Write a Pitch E-mail
To Pay or Not to Pay Bloggers
Social Blue Book

 

If you have been internally fighting with this topic, please please share this! We should all be here to push each other up, If I succeed, so do you. There is room for all of us to carry out our calling on this earth! Feel free to message me, text me, whatever. I’d love to chat more and help one another.

 

 

P.S. – today is my dads birthday! HEY DAD! I love you!

 

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13 Comments

  1. Kierra
    July 12, 2017 / 6:04 PM

    More than well said. This was so spot on! Loved it and sharing it over and over again.

    themodcollective.net

  2. July 12, 2017 / 6:44 PM

    I love that you’re so open about your experience and share some of the articles that you found helpful. Keep being open and transparent – you insight is amazing! xo

  3. July 12, 2017 / 9:09 PM

    Really enjoyed this read! Great post ☺️

  4. July 12, 2017 / 10:33 PM

    this. is so. real. LOVE

  5. July 13, 2017 / 12:21 AM

    Gurrrllll.. you took the words out of my mouth! I literally had a brand want me to write a post for them and share pictures and once I told them my price, they’re like how about don’t share it on all your social media channels we just want a post.. I’m like ehhh no! Haha Jesus, it’s rough out here but it’s worth it!

  6. July 13, 2017 / 1:21 AM

    Excellent post! I have gotten emails from brands, then when you bring up the fee they ignore you. I’m so glad you spoke out. I’ve also heard they don’t have the budget lol! They try to run over us, pee’s me off. Thanks for sharing love reading it 🙂

  7. July 13, 2017 / 3:26 PM

    Yesss!!! You better preach girl!!! I love this post so much!

  8. July 13, 2017 / 9:43 PM

    Ahhhhmazing post! This is so inspiring, specially for bloggers like myself who are still new to the game. Thanks for the resources too!

  9. July 13, 2017 / 11:26 PM

    🙌🏾🙌🏾🙌🏾 amazing! This blog is definitely on point with everything I want to explain to people who ask how exactly are you supposed to get paid from blogging. Thanks for putting together the words to my thoughts. Awesome read

  10. July 22, 2017 / 10:07 PM

    Oh how I can relate to this! I love the companies that go dead silent…I give you courteous to respond, you can also be courteous and respond!

    Time is money girl and you are so right. Loved it

    Andrea

  11. July 24, 2017 / 10:32 AM

    I agree with everything you’ve said! I honestly cannot understand the “we have no budget” lie that brands expect us to believe! They don’t realize that we talk to each other and find out that most of the time they’re paying another blogger their full rate…
    I only take free product if I absolutely love it and they’re not asking me for anything!

  12. August 17, 2017 / 2:46 PM

    Could not agree with this more! Brands need to realise that if we are willing to work with them, then we do expect some kind of compensation. Sometimes, I’m happy with a gifted product if it’s something that I know will be useful even after the blog post or if I really, really love the brand. It’s awful seeing these small brands not understanding things from the other perspective and even worse when it’s a big brand expecting free work from us! And it’s so funny when you never hear back from a brand after the C word mention (compensation 😅).

    On a happier note, happy belated birthday to your dad!

    And I’m going to check out those guides you have linked as they sound super helpful! Thank you <3

    http://milenawears.com

    x

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