Friday, May 11, 2012

Standing up for my Bloggy self (and why you should too)

I value myself as a Blogger and I value this space and what I have created. And I think, based on some numbers I can see, that other people value this place too.

I generally charge for advertising, sponsored posts, reviews and giveaways. The amount I charge varies greatly on a number of things including how nice the email you sent me was, the value of the product for review, whether you're going to give me a second one as a giveaway and whether or not you want the right to read what I say before I hit publish. I've been told by many Bloggers with similar traffic stats that I'm undercharging, so I guess I still have to work on that self valuing and self esteem a little more.

I don't charge for small businesses of the WAHM/WAHD variety. Some people probably think I should, but I normally don't. I like to think that someone would help my fledgling business out if the Blog was on the other foot. I suppose it's a lame attempt to get brownie points or karma or some shit.

This week I was asked to do a giveaway (not a review, therefore offered no product in lieu of payment) and when I told them my admin fee I received a reply:

Hi Glow,

We are happy to participate in a giveaway where the value of exposure offered is equivalent to the value of the product given. We believe that giveaways are a mutually beneficial as it drives new customers and adds value to your site as everybody loves a giveaway!

We are happy to post products to the winner but have not found it to be standard practice to pay an admin cost.


Thank you for your assistance.


Now I need to point out that this was not for some big ticket item... it was for a downloadable file that the eventual winner would have to print out themselves. So you think a permanent link to your site, a spruiking of your product, promotion through my social media channels with thousands of followers is worth nothing? Fuck off. No, really.

I keep being told "we see it as a win win scenario". The brand win and the reader wins... when do I get to win? Where is my piece of the pie? I LIKE PIE! PIE IS FUCKING AWESOME!

My fear of confrontation means I don't normally speak up so I just delete emails that ask for a serious investment of my time for nothing, and expect to be taken off their "Bloggers To Exploit" list. But I was kinda cranky this time. So I pulled on my grown up pants, embraced my awesomeness and replied:

Hey PR person from a company I won't name,

Perhaps an admin fee is not standard for start up blogs, but Where's My Glow is in it's fourth year now and pulling good traffic and trust capital thanks to consistent quality content, honest reviews, mentions in main stream media and my presence as a speaker at conferences.

I have really good traffic tracking and can tell you that giveaways don't really drive new readers to the blog (but do drive customers to the brand), therefore there is no benefit to me whatsoever to host a company for free on my website, particularly one that obviously has enough budget to hire a PR firm and is offering only a download that the winner would then have to pay to print themselves.


I'm sure you don't work for free to promote a brand, so neither do Bloggers who value themselves. Have a read of
this post at Sleepless Nights and this one at Good Googs for more information.

Thanks for your time.


Glow

OK so I kinda talked myself up a bit - I've spoken at two conferences and only had three mentions in mainstream media but IT TOTALLY COUNTS, just ask my mum!

If your only compensation to me is the fact that I get some "fabulous new content" or that having your name on my site "adds value" to the blog then you can bite me. Like a hell of a lot of other Bloggers, I've got content coming out my ears and not enough hours in the day to write it all down. I'm not so desperately scraping the bottom of the creative barrel that doing a giveaway is the only reason I'll have a new post up.

Promoting a brand for free does not pay my bills and it does not "strengthen my relationship" with PR firms. On the contrary, it undermines it and teaches them that using Bloggers as doormats is the way to go. We have to remember that if they didn't think using Bloggers was valuable then THEY WOULDN'T BE PITCHING US. They see the value... but you're the one who has to put a price on it.

If all else fails, maybe we can all just sent them this awesome infographic by Jessica Hische :
Click to Enlarge {Source}
Would you work for free?


Agree? Share this post (yeah, I went there).

72 comments:

  1. absolutely not, and nor should you so good on you for standing up for yourself!! the nerve of some people is just, wow!!

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  2. Good on you :) Love that infographic :)

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  3. Good on your Glow, what a rude email back. They clearly don't have much knowledge of bloggers and blogs if they think its a free for all.
    Go Glowless :)

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  4. The Camera ChroniclesMay 11, 2012 at 2:10 PM

    After reading Zoey's post last week or whenever it was, I decided to pull myself together too! I totally agree with you even though I'm a smaller traffic blog compared to you (going for almost 5 years nonetheless).

    I've put a price on my services. I've got my Media Kit together and sent it to 2 PR companies who approached me this week. One wanted me to write the piece but for nothing. They said they didn't have money in the budget "for this" (isn't "this" what their budget is for?)

    Anyway, the other clarified a couple of things (suspect they were also leaning towards a freebie) and are now in discussions with their client.

    As you say, I've got plenty to write about but little time to actually do it all! If I'm going to write for someone else, to benefit THEM and THEIR brand, then that's fine (provided it appeals to my readers) but I want to be paid for my time and effort. If everyone who approaches me doesn't like it, then so be it. I'm not sitting here twiddling my thumbs.

    Okay, rant over :)

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  5. Then start finding it common practice! I have freed up so much time now that I have introduced fees for anything and everything, And it means the brands who do pay, know the value xx

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  6. Go you! And that's the thing isn't it, when there is no benefit to the person doing all of the work, then what is the point?

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  7. Well done, Glow!  We SO should start a Bloggers' Union.  I no longer do free stuff.  While it might result in a short term traffic spike, it does not lead to new readership.  There must always be decent compensation, either in cash or product.

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  8. Love this post.. gives us newish bloggers a little more confidence when we say no to someone who wants us to host something for nothing.. we know it doesnt value us but scared the PR side of things may go away if we don't say yes.. now we can say no with confidence!! 

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  9. Brilliant response.  Can I cut and paste that?

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  10. Bravo!!! I'm glad you confronted them as they need to know how assertive Bloggers can be. And I'm also glad you shared this because all it helps the rest of us know that confronting PR companies like this something we'll need to be doing more often as blogging in Australia evolves.
    And no budget for an admin fee??!!! Seriously. That is an insult.

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  11. I agree.  I'm happy to promote start up businesses and facebook pages on my blog and on my Whoa Mumma facebook page.  Why not?  But if you're a big company paying some PR girl $30 an hour plus benefits to send emails, you sure as hell can pay me for the effort of promoting your product!  


    Think of your blog as a newspaper and you're the publisher.  You write your own stories, you have advertorials (like a feature story but paid for) and obvious advertising (paid for).

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  12. Jess@diaryofasahmMay 11, 2012 at 2:57 PM

    I love how concisely you have put this. giveaways don't drive traffic. In fact, I get less for a giveaway than I do for my Ramblings, but whatever.
    I'm fed up with the whole thing at the moment. If you find my mojo can you send it back?

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  13. Fussy Eater's MumMay 11, 2012 at 3:08 PM

    Good on you Glow. As a small business owner who understood your true value I was happy to pay you to promote my product and give you one to try. By doing so I not only made a friend in you but I was able to introduce my product to a lot of people I may not have otherwise have reached. That's just how business works. Your time is valuable and I want you to be able to pay your bills so you can keep on making me laugh and think and eat banana bread.

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  14. I love listening to you in your grown up pants! You're awesome. Very well said Glow, VERY well said ...

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  15. You need to pull a Bloggess and get yourself a picture of Wil Weaton collating paper or something similar to send to those who spam.

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  16. Great response!! I dont  have the problem of fending off PR companies (I'm  only new) but I can see exactly where your coming from. No one wants to work for free! 

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  17. Love, love love this... you should have a t-shirt that says PIE IS FUCKING AWESOME!

    You make me smile! x

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  18. You go girl.  I ditto everything  you said.  Who the hell do they think they are?
    Carolyn

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  19. Jodie @ Parent WellbeingMay 11, 2012 at 6:13 PM

    Word up Glow! 

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  20. you tell em.

    And yeah, I totally work for free.  That is why I refuse to on my blog.

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  21. Great post Glows ! So important for newer bloggers like myself to also know our worth and that just because we are trying to gain credibility does not mean we allow anyone to walk all over us.
    Thankyou and more power to you :)

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  22. Good on you Glow. You are fab. I have started taking the same route for the first time and you know what it feels good. We shouldn't devalue ourself or our brand x

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  23. noice! Who do they think you are? oh my lord. 

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  24. Giveaways do shit all for traffic xxx

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  25. Excellent post Glow. I have been laughed and for requesting an admin fee in the past. Honestly, if you want me to cut you a deal, throw a free mention in of your brand/product, start by building a relationship with me. One where you pay for what you ask for, because if you treat me good, you better believe I'm going to treat you good. I was completely sour on working with brands for a bit there because I was sick of only getting asked to do reviews/giveaways which really, they don't give ME much. There is a lot of time and effort put into running a giveaway and writing up a review and it's for very little benefit to myself, and so I just started ignoring any PR pitches because I was exhausted.
    It was wrong on my part, and I probably screwed up some great opportunities because of it. After a pep talk from a very dear bloggy friend I am back on track, I have a new attitude and outlook. I'm still not sure how much to charge, but I'm not going to undercut myself.
    PR companies need to stop trying to bully us. No, not all of you do it, but some of you do. If you don't like what I'm asking, then go elsewhere, but soon you will realise that what we're asking for isn't much at all.

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  26. fabulous,  well done!

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  27. I've got no problems with negotiating a price, but I will bet huge sums of money that the PR company is charging the brand a BOMB to represent them.

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  28. I'm all for negotiation and finding something where everybody wins at least a little bit. But you're spot on that "this" is what the budget is for!!! And it's SOOOO much cheaper than mainstream media AND proven to be more effective!

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  29. Will you review some bandaids for me?

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  30. Like you, I don't just align with any brand, but try to find something that I can actually tie in and write about genuinely. If I'm putting in that much effort then I'd at least like SOMETHING.

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  31. YES! A union where there is a guide to how much people should charge based on stats, engagement levels etc.

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  32. I've done giveaways in exchange for a shed load of hot cross buns when I was a newbie - and I stand by that. I got something I wanted and so did they.
    A lot will take you off their list when you say no... but you don't want to be on that list anyway.

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  33. I think I'll just send PRs to this post from now on.

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  34. For the honour of it? BAHAHAHAHAHA. I'm struggling to find the middle ground - I'm not a newbie but I'm not a pro blogger. I have enough traffic and reader engagement that there is worth here... figuring out how much is hard. Stuck in the middle!

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  35. Same, Jess. Particularly when the company stipulates that you have to do x, y, z, trot around on a pony and THEN leave a comment to enter. I think I've got 3 entries on my current giveaway - people aren't interested unless it's HUGE.

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  36. You get it, FEM. But you're a lot smarter and much more savvy than a lot of people. Plus you have an emu. That counts for lots.

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  37. It was kinda fun to be assertive - not much call for it these days unless it involves guiding a toddler.

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  38. Bahaha yes! I'll just direct them all here from now on :)

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  39. We each have to set our own price and I don't think my price is unreasonable at all.

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  40. YESSSSSSSSSSSSSSS!!!! SO MUCH YESSSSSSS!

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  41. Thanks, Carolyn! Now I have a Spice Girls song in my head. "I saida whooooooooooooo do you think you are?"

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  42. Thanks so much Sabeen! It's so hard to stand up, especially when it's all new. I've been walked over a lot and it got me nowhere.

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  43. I'm so glad, Bianca! I fear I'll sound like a commercial, but you're worth it! x

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  44. Perhaps they think they are your lord?

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  45. Giveaways reduce my traffic without fail. Except for the time I gave away a drawing of a pony.

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  46. I get laughed at ALL. THE. TIME. since I started telling companies I had a fee. And the "cash for comment" argument gets thrown in my face and rather than waste my breath I just thank them for their time and move on.

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  47. They'll get it one day. I'll be here when they're ready.

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  48. I am new to blogging and charging for it, and recently wrote my media kit with no real  idea of what I'm doing. I have included an admin fee.....  a very, very modest admin fee - but what I'm reading in your post has now put doubt in my mind. I want to stand up for my blog and it's value, but if people aren't happy to pay YOU for a review, then how am I ever going to get paid? Or even a response from PR reps...  My husband keeps telling me I should spruik for free because I'm new... I am getting so confused by it all!
     

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  49. It is really hard to figure out where to position ourselves, Kylie. For the record, I don't always charge my admin fee if the value of the product I get to keep is equivalent to what I'd charge (and that's change over the life of the blog). Sometimes, I even include the value of the product for me AND the giveaway product, if the PR or company have been amazing to deal with and it's obvious that it will lead to a good relationship. I only ever choose to work with companies that fit well with the "theme" here, and that I can actually get excited about.
    Happy to chat to you about it further if you like. Email me :)

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  50. Oh My Lord I LOVE that graphic! Rules to blog by for sure!  

    I'm really starting to see that bloggers banding together can ensure we all dont get our precious time and online real estate taken for granted. Veronica and Zoey gave me the confidence to be more bold and I am glad for it.  And I am glad you pulled on those cranky pants and stood your ground!

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  51. They wouldn't ask us to spruik their wares if they didn't think there was a benefit to them... it's like they say, if there is no payment, you're the product.

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  52. Thanks for your reply. I'm sure I'll find my way eventually, and I really appreciate the offer to chat, I will remember that. Right now I don't think I have a coherent thought to chat about! I'm hoping that Nuffnang Blogopolis will bring some clarity...

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  53. Wow!! I loved that post.
    I hope you feel positive having gone through that experience, because as a reader, it was worth it, just to get such an honest heartfelt post to read!
    Stick to your gut, and don't give in.

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  54. Thanks, Mrs T, it felt bloody good to write it, actually! One of those posts that just flow out soooo quickly you can barely type fast enough :)

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  55. Cheers, Bree! Pie is awesome, everyone needs a slice x

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