The relationship between bloggers and companies is a tricky one. While there’s nothing better than working with a brand on an amazing collaboration, I can’t be alone in also being tired of endless ‘we’ve not got a budget, but we’ll share your post on our social media’ and ‘the post will get you an entry into a free prize draw’ emails, and that’s before you even go through the demand for follow links and non-disclosure, or even the funny ones where they’ve spelt your name wrong and have clearly never read your blog before ever. All fun and games.
I 100% believe in fair treatment for bloggers, but I know different people have different beliefs when it comes to how bloggers should be treated for our work, but here’s my take on how I approach PR work.
Sponsored posts and guest content
If I’m publishing a post that contains sections that I did not write myself, I expect some sort of payment, and I will ALWAYS disclose that it is sponsored and/or guest content. Its not fair for companies to expect me to compromise my integrity as a writer, and I don’t believe that a little disclosure note at the bottom of the post is going to make any difference to the message conveyed in the post.
I don’t have any problem with people publishing these posts – I mean, a girl’s gotta get paid! – but I’ll also never take one that isn’t relevant to my audience!
Free products for review
9 times out of 10, if I’m being sent a free product to review, I’m not gonna be asking for any other form of payment. I know I’m still fairly small in the grand scheme of blogging, so I’d never expect anything on top of the gifted products and I’d certainly never ask for it unless I believed that I was putting in considerably more work than I normally would.
Again, I won’t accept products that I don’t think fit my content – in the past I’ve been offered children’s books etc which I’ve politely declined. I also won’t accept products that I’ve done too many times – no more matcha green tea for me!
I know this one is controversial with some people, but I really don’t see these as being an issue! Quite frankly, if a blogger posts a link to a product that they love, and 50 people buy it as a result, damn right they should be entitled to a bit of cash! For a blogger, they can be a huge source of income, and it makes me happy to see companies appreciating how much of an influence we can be, and I’ve used them myself with great results.
Free work for little/no payout
When I first started out as a blogger, I did take a few of these projects, but now they’re a no-no for me. My time is worth more than the chance of exposure via social media or a possibility of a prize draw. I do have some exceptions however..
If its a charity collaboration, I would never dream of asking for any payout. I’ve worked with awareness and fundraising projects before, and those are worth the time I put into them as I always love helping a good cause.
Small businesses are another exception. As a small business owner myself, I know that having budget available for advertising isn’t always an option, and I know that they are always so much more grateful for the exposure you’re giving them. I always try to promote smaller businesses as much as I can!
I think my biggest pet peeve on the subject is seeing PR companies and brands try to walk all over bloggers, thinking that its free and easy advertising and exposure, especially when I know how much time bloggers take preparing, writing, photographing and editing posts, and that’s before you think about the time spent promoting each post. There is nothing more off-putting than a company that doesn’t show respect for the people they want to do their work for them.
What are your thoughts on the subject?