There’s some dirty business that’s been happening in the blogging world. And while I’m definitely not the first to bring it up, I can’t NOT talk about it any longer.
Today’s Fab You BIZ post focuses on why you should never feature a product post without getting paid.
If you’re a blogger at any stage, like me I’m sure you get tons of email pitches to feature products on your site. Oh let’s be honest, it’s more like a hundred or so of these kinds of emails that land in my inbox everyday. And while you might think, “Wow, that’s great…must be nice to have so much business just come to you!”, it’s not really what you think.
Image via DPAGES
Most pitches go something like this:
Hi (Insert Blogger’s Name),
I really like how you’ve presented your site and enjoyed reading your recent post (Insert Name of Recent Post). I think our markets align perfectly so I’d like you to feature (such and such product) which I think would benefit your readers tremendously.
Please let me know when you will feature it as we’d really like to work with you.
Usually pitch emails are much longer, but I’ve shortened this sample to spare you the pain.
When you first start blogging and you get these emails, you think, “jackpot!” Especially if the product happens to be something you’d really like to feature or from a company it would thrill you to partner with.
But after several years of blogging you realize that most of the time, the people that send these emails are just looking for free advertising.
What they don’t understand is blogging about anything is hard work. It doesn’t matter how much you as a blogger love what you do, creating a professional sponsored post in your own voice that won’t bore your readers with the sound of a used car sales pitch takes time.
I love it when companies say, “But we’ve done all the work already, all you have to do is post it.” Really? Saying that is just as bad as if I walked into a contractor’s office and said, “Look, I want you to build a house just like this”, while handing them a picture of a house image I pulled out of a magazine. “Can you build it for me for free since I brought you the picture?”
Sounds stupid doesn’t it? But that’s exactly what it’s like when PR companies ask a blogger to promote their products for free.
If you’re a blogger, you know it takes time to write a professional sponsored post. But not only that, there are all kinds of other reasons you as a blogger should get paid what you want for sponsored posts.
1. It’s your blog, period!
2. You’ve built the readership and following companies clearly want access to.
3. Your readers trust your opinion and to companies wanting to promote their products, that commodity is more precious than gold.
So…to the companies who pitch us to promote your multi-million dollar company, yet you say you don’t have the budget to pay us…get with it.
Blogging is a business just like anything else. The owner of a billboard on the side of a busy highway would laugh you off if you told them you couldn’t pay them. Same goes for us. And in some cases, our traffic might be higher than that busy highway. So, you’re missing out!
Back to those pitch emails. The number one thing I can tell you to do with them is to always respond professionally with your media kit, (how much you charge for advertising and product posts, social media shout outs, etc.) And never, ever…I repeat, NEVER, promote a product for free.
Only on rare occasions should you write about something in exchange for a product. What this means is, if the item the pitching company wants to trade you for is equal to or of greater value than what you charge for a regular sponsored post, and if writing the post would fit your target audience, by all means, accept the trade.
Also, if you really want to establish a relationship with a brand and you’re sure doing a non-compensated post will get you where you want to be, do what you have to do.
For me, compensated sponsored posts are a must. The only trades I accept are press trips where the company pays for me to travel to their destination in exchange for an honest review about the experience.
Believe it or not, there are lots of companies who try to get me to write about their products by saying they’ll send me a couple bottles of nail polish or box of greeting cards in exchange for a post.
Seriously? A $20 box of cards or nail polish worth $10, that’s insulting. C’mon PR people, be a little more respectful.
This is where you as a fellow blogger come in. Obviously PR people and pitching companies are still trying to get bloggers to agree to these insulting arrangements. And for some crazy reason, bloggers out there must be falling for it.
Why? You’re worth so much more! Offering non-compensated posts is only setting a precedent that’s hurting the entire industry.
Even if you’ve just started blogging, companies need to know that compensated sponsored posts are how it happens.
If everyone starts charging what their blog is worth, soon enough this dirty business will be no more!
Thanks for stopping by!