I don’t know if this counts as Blogging 101, as this is probably more of an opinion and discussion post, but it is about blogging, so at least we’ve got that going for us.
This post is something that I’ve been thinking about for a while now; every week or so, I’ll get an email from a company wanting to “work with me”.
Essentially, what this means to me is:
“Can you spend your time writing an interesting blog post around our product/service please?“
So you want me to work for you – because, my dear friends, blogging is work. Creating blog posts – aka content marketing – is what I do all day at work. 9-5 work that I get paid a regular salary for. Not that I mind that at all – I love blogging and if I can help out a small business while I do it, sure thing! So what’s my point?
Blogging. Is. Real. Work. And, if that isn’t enough of an incentive, the organic backlink that my blog has just sent to your site is definitely a nice boost for you, isn’t it?
Now, if this company is sending me a product to review or compensating me for my time in some way, that’s not an issue. I’m working for you and you’re rewarding me for it. Seems fair.
However, what you more commonly see are things like:
“I think your audience would love to see our service ______” or “We’ll pick our 5 favourites (out of the 300 bloggers writing posts for us) and share them on social media!”
Yeah . . . no.
You want me to spend ages writing a post for you, doing work to help you promote your brand . . . for the possibility of a social media shoutout? Even if you were to shout me out on social media . . . what exactly do I gain? Maybe a follower or two?
Once again . . .
Enter the eye roll gif.
Now, let it be said, I understand where these marketers are coming from; I really do. Small bloggers, micro-influencers, are a great way to get your brand name out there and start working those backlinks. We aren’t as expensive as big-time influencers either – and for a small start-up on a strict budget, it can seem like a great way to market.
As a marketer myself, I understand the allure – and I even understand their logic. We do the same thing for our content at work; find people in the niche, find people already creating/sharing content like ours and reach out to them.
However – and this is what I really want to emphasize in this post – there is always a mutually beneficial situation.
Whether that’s payment, both parties creating content for each other, a free product to review etc . . . there’s always some sort of incentive. We aren’t just walking around asking for freebies.
Now, the reason that this annoys me so much is that it sometimes seems exploitative. I see so many small or start-up bloggers that get really excited and think that these are great opportunities and that the mere fact a company has reached out to them is simply amazing and . . .
You’re worth more. I promise.
I’m not saying that bloggers are entitled to free items and loads of money; not at all. What I’m saying is that if a company approaches you and asks for your service, you are entitled to be compensated.
It doesn’t matter how large your audience is – your time is worthwhile. Even if it’s just a discount code for your readers and an affiliate link you can earn from, you’re always worth something. (And the organic growth that businesses receive from the backlinks by all you bloggers? Definitely worth something.)
Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m by no means saying never accept these types of collaboration posts. I’m not saying hurl back abusive emails screaming “I’m worth more than this!” or demanding money.
If you are a new blogger, these types of post can be good experience – and great examples of your work with sponsors to show potential paying brands. Hell, you might even just quite like the company and think “yeah, my readers would like to hear about them”.
What I’m saying is that you shouldn’t feel pressured to do these; you shouldn’t feel obligated. It’s perfectly fine for you to think “wait . . . what do I get out of this?” and turn them down.
At the end of the day, companies are reaching 0ut because they know that they can get something out of you – and if you reached out the them asking for a freebie you know they’d be the first to say “no way”.
Anyways, that’s my view on writing sponsored posts. What do you think? Let me know down below – I think this would make a really interesting conversation topic!
All the love,