For me, blogging has always been an art form. I started out just typing away my feelings, but eventually, my writing and photography skills grew into so much more.
Knowing your worth as a blogger doesn’t come easily. You have to realize that every blogger has a vision that is valuable. I’m going to share with you an experience that I know you can relate to.
Starting Out as a Blogger
When I first started blogging, I didn’t really know what I was doing. Back then, blogging was just starting to pick up in the marketing world, and you could count the “famous bloggers” on two hands. Now, it’s a huge opportunity for creators and brands to work and evolve together – that is, if they don’t end up taking advantage of each other first.
I’m not out to start any drama, but I won’t shy away from what I know is the truth about blogging – people blog just for free products; brands bank on bloggers who don’t charge for services. See, this is called taking advantage, and there’s no growth in that. If you’re wanting to grow, then you’ve got to enhance your skills and charge for them. Brands, you get what you pay for.
Typical Beginner Blogger vs. Brand Exchange
Here, I’m going to let you in on a conversation I had with a brand called “Smile Brilliant.” If you have a fairly young blog, you may have exchanged messages with them already, since I know they search out creators who do work for free.
How do I know? When I was running my beauty blog, I did a campaign with them – for free. This time, they approached me for The Crimson Cardigan (probably not knowing I’ve worked with them already), but I was ready – ready to not be taken advantage of again. I know better now, because I learned that when someone asks you to do work for them, they should pay you.
The introduction of Abby into my inbox:
Abby’s reply to my inquiry:
Me, addressing my concerns with the campaign and introducing my fees:
Abby’s response to my concerns and my fees:
My response to her:
Her quick end to the conversation:
Free Blogging Must End
Why do brands think they can get away with stuff like this? Why do they think saying things like “We are a small company, so we can’t pay you for your work.” Okay, well, if you’re working for free as you market this product to me, then maybe I’d consider it. However, I doubt that Abby (or whoever) is working for free. It’s ridiculous to do so.
Brands get away with it, because there are bloggers out there who don’t charge for services. Besides the ones who do it just for the free stuff, some bloggers either don’t realize that they can charge or don’t know how to set their fees. Either way, unless it stops, there will always be people doing free work. So, if you’re looking to make your blog something serious, it’s possible. It just starts with you putting your foot down and refusing to do work for free. Here are some of my tips for working with brands, for real.
Knowing Your Worth as a Blogger
No one can tell you what your worth is. Only you will know that answer. If you know that you provide high quality work and that your voice should be heard, don’t be afraid to say so. Tell that marketer that if they really want to work with you, then they can find it in their budget to do so.
Businesses have budgets, and they would rather spend it on something else, especially when they think they can get the work done for free. Don’t let them. Be part of the change that lets businesses know that bloggers are serious, career-minded individuals. They’ve gotta pay up if they want your influence.
You can do it. Kick ass with your content!
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