Dear PR Person, let's team up on a campaign. We'll work so hard to get your client the exposure they want, we'll share the products to millions of people and you'll look so great. Oh but what do you mean you don't want to spend weeks of your time working for a free lipgloss? It's brand new!
Dear Car Salesman, next time you sell a car worth more than your annual salary, how about I give you a pat on the back instead of a paycheck? That time you put into the sale, you ask? Why, that was for fun... wasn't it?
Dear Food Manufacturer, after you've perfected that recipe for your product, how about we give it to the public for free, shall we? Oh the cost of ingredients, you ask? Oh they're just ingredients - perhaps someone might say it's delicious on Facebook... that should be enough.
Dear Graphic Designer, let's work on a big campaign together... billboards, flyers, logos, graphics - we'll plaster them all over the internet, all over the world but we won't put your name to it... oh and we can't pay you either. But it's exposure, right?
Dear Photographer, let's book in a three hour photoshoot. You'll contort your body into dozens of wacky positions, shoot hundreds of photos and spend hours post processing to ensure your white balance is perfect but payment? Oh, we can't afford that... we only want you to make us money, silly friend!
Dear Reader, next week we'll continue your daily working routine. You'll work really hard, tick off all of your to do list but at the end of the week, I'll just give you a big smile.... maybe I'll throw in a little sample pack of teeny tiny soaps too. What do you mean, hourly rate? What do you mean, salary? You just worked so hard because you love it don't you?
Would you like to work for free?
I don't think so. Sure, maybe you'll work for free for a day or you'll volunteer once a week - but I don't think you'd do it forever..... but apparently bloggers should.
You see, I'm a little bit fed up. We receive hundreds of emails from brands and PR companies every single week who want to "work with us" - but really all they're trying to do is use us.
Yesterday, I spent my day at a couple of blogger events and quite a few blog related meetings and I got a little bit peeved.
You see, I'm not one to get cranky, however, when I saw dozens of bloggers signing their life away to promote XYZ on 302340 posts with 204203 hashtags and then return it after a week, I realised exactly why these brands feel they have the right to walk all over me.
This was only further cemented when I spoke to the brands;
"Well we don't work on paid content, we find it's better to let multiple bloggers borrow product and then review it because it's much cheaper"
"We love working with bloggers, we save so much money every year because it's much more effective than TV or radio advertising... and it's free!"
"Oh sponsored content? We don't do that... you can sign up to loan the product though if you promote it on your blog"
"We just love your blog and we've been wanting to work with you for such a long time. What we can do is loan you this machine so you can create recipes for us but... oh... payment? No, we don't pay bloggers - we just loan products... we don't have that kind of budget"
Marketing people, PR staff, tell me; if you went to Channel Ten and told them you wanted to run a prime time ad for three weeks in exchange for a loan of a coffee machine or a few free eyeliners; what do you think they would say?
I can tell you with 100% certainty that they'd laugh in your face or tell you to get the H-E-double-hockey-sticks out of there and stop wasting their time. But apparently bloggers should work for free.
So, bloggers, I want you to think about this...
What are you worth?
Would you work a "real job" for a week for free lipgloss?
Would you let your daughter/sister/best friend spend hours and hours working on something so I could earn a bunch of money and only say "cool, thanks!" to them in return?
Would you be happy if your employer paid you in Facebook shares or Instagram follows?
I don't think you would...
Sure, not every blogger has a huge audience and not every blog has the same "value" so to speak (I say "value" because if you're writing killer posts and have 10 readers, I can guarantee I'd love your blog a whole lot more than the blogger with 10 million readers who just butt kisses brands all day long).
Promotion on blogs, just like TV networks and magazines, has a sliding scale when it comes to payment. What you might charge on your blog of 50,000 is going to be a lot different from someone with 100 readers or someone with 100,000,000 readers - but that's a whole other post for a whole other day.
Nevertheless, regardless of how many readers you have, you still need to think about what you're doing.
Free things are great, but they're not going to pay your electricity bill.
If you're doing content right, that post you put up in exchange for your free/loan whatever is going to sell product. Also known as, it's going to make that brand money.
Social marketing works when you do it right. This is why we don't work for free and why you rarely see sponsored/advertorial content on Southern In Law.
Why? Because we have sold cars, because we have seen huge results for the companies we work with, because there's close to a million of you reading this blog every single month - and because I won't spend hours of my time creating content that will sell products simply so a brand can say "woohoo good job" and rub their hands with glee at their profits whilst I sit there with my free moisturiser.
I don't shout this success this success from the rooftops or brag about it because that's not how I was raised (and I hate uppity people so I definitely don't want to be one), however, we have seen first hand that social marketing works. But that's yet another post for yet another day. More importantly, we're not blogging for the money - and we're not blogging for the fame, either.
I'm not saying that you should expect to be paid for every single post you write because if you're only writing sponsored content and only blogging for the money, you really shouldn't be blogging because you'll probably say whatever your paycheck tells you to.
If you ask me, I think a great blogger is one who does it because they love what they're blogging about.
The reason I started this blog wasn't for free things and it wasn't for recognition. I started this blog so I could share my passion and what I found was a community.
I found you, dear reader. I found people all around the world, many of whom have become some of my closest friends. We work so hard on our recipes and posts because of you.
You, dear reader, are who we care about. Brands we can take or leave, but you? You're the one who puts a smile on our face with your emails or instagram comments or who says hello to us randomly in the street. You're the one we talk about in conversation with family and friends when we're so excited that someone in Venezuala just made our banana cake recipe to share with friends (and that's a true story, hello Maria!!!) and you're the one we keep on developing recipes for.
So you know what I say to those brands trying to use us? A big fat NOPE. Because if they can't respect us and they can't respect you, they're totally not worth our time. We don't work for free and we don't put hours of unpaid time into something so a brand can walk away with a big fat profit because we'd much rather be spending our "free time" developing something we love and something that you'll love too.
If you're a blogger, I suggest you ask yourself... why are you blogging?
If you're blogging just for the free things, do us all a favour and sign up for one of those review websites instead - because chances are, your "honest reviews" are only whatever the brand tells you to say so that more product arrives on your doorstep next week.
If you're saying yes to every brand request just because you're scared to say no - ask yourself why?
If you're blogging because you're sharing your passion, shout it from the rooftop, baby! It doesn't matter how many readers you have or how many followers you've got, you're sharing the things you love and that should bring you a whole lot of joy.
If you're blogging because you've found these rainbow unicorns that totally get you when you thought no one else could, you s
end me an email because HELLOOOOO fellow unicorn keep on blogging too. Because you're awesome and community is one of the best thigns about blogging.
And that, my friends is a big fat probably-doesn't-even-make-sense rant over.
No questions, but feel free to chime in with your thoughts or to let me know you're reading.... afterall... we blog to talk to you!