I want to preface this by saying if you are a regular reader, you know I try very hard to keep controversy and negativity off my blog. This is my sanctuary. And if you are not in the industry, you may not understand this post and it probably doesn’t apply to you. It is also no secret that I do this as my job (but also my passion!) so it stands to reason, I make some money off of it and one of the main ways is through sponsored content with brands I feel are worthy of being on here and that I can stand behind. I don’t take all sponsorship opportunities as some are just not a fit and integrity to my blog and readers is extremely important to me. However, having said all of this, there are just some things I need to get off my chest, so feel free to skip over this post if it doesn’t interest you. No hard feelings 😉
How to Pay Your Bills with Exposure
The title of this is a complete joke. If you are a blogger or freelance writer, you are probably laughing right now because it is all too real for you. This is one of the only industries that people can tell you day in and day out that they don’t want you to be paid for your work and that exposure is enough.
Let’s go back to reality. ‘Exposure’ will not pay my bills. I can’t call up the electric company or my landlord and ask them how much exposure I need in order to make my payment. I need money to do it. I can’t just do companies favors in the hopes of it leading somewhere because in my experience, it doesn’t. The one and only time I got something out of simply writing a post for nothing was when I wrote a post for a charity that was close to my heart and the same PR company asked me to do a PAID post a couple weeks later to which I fell in love with the company and they sent me on a trip to California. When I started blogging, I did lots of “for exposure” posts thinking they actually would get me somewhere. Here’s a little secret: they didn’t. I started getting my stuff out there through writing quality content and working diligently to promote it.
Now, I am not seeing the kinds of numbers that some of my colleagues see when it comes to traffic and pay, however, I know that I will get there someday through my own work and not some promise of exposure for free advertising from some disingenuous company that just wants me to work for free for them because they don’t value me, my job or my time.
The problem, dear PR, with promising exposure to a blogger is, often, that blogger can offer YOU more exposure than you can them. By saying, “Hey we will tweet the best posts”, you are essentially saying, “Do this work for me for free and I might tweet to my 200 fans later if I get around to it”. Does your boss pay you in tweets? Would you accept that?
Professional bloggers do it because they love it and (ding ding ding) it pays their bills. We are not simply bored stay at home moms with nothing better to do then make a centerpiece for our table for you using your brand’s products because we are desperate for attention you will give us. We are recipe creators, authors, professional writers, and webmasters and we spend a lot of time, our own money and effort into creating the exact site you are begging to be on. Please know that when I ask for compensation, I am not doing it because I think I can scam you out of a few dollars. I am doing it because I will be providing a service for you and I expect you to pay for that service.
Don’t try to get sneaky about it either. Those of us who have been doing this for years are telling newer bloggers not to fall for your tricks. We also can smell a sneaky PR from a mile away. Don’t tell us to “do you a favor”, or “we were just hoping we could see you show us your creativity”. Do you go to Starbucks and ask them to just do you a favor and make you a cup of Joe because you might take a shot of it if it looks nice and post it on Instagram?
We have spent YEARS building a fan-base. That comes at a price for both of us. Doing so has cost us (more than likely) time with friends and family, sleep and money to do so. In order to get in on it, you will need to pay. It’s that simple.
Don’t tell me my prices are too high. The truth is, my prices are very reasonable for a permanent placing online that will be shared, pinned and repinned for years to come.
I hate when you say, “You don’t have the budget to pay for this post”. In my opinion, if you don’t have the budget to pay for advertising, you don’t have the budget to run an effective business. Don’t think of bloggers are the “cheap way”, either. It’s insulting and downright rude.
All we want as bloggers is to be paid for the absolute hard work that we do. My day does not stop with writing one post. I am often online from the time I wake up until I go to bed, working. Please value us. Trust me, the best thing you can do is value the bloggers you collaborate with. I am willing to go the extra mile (or 10) for companies that show me I am worth it.