My friend Ange wrote a post about how bloggers aren’t entitled to free things, which solidified my own feelings I had been having about the value of blogging itself. This post was primarily going to focus on that, but since it’s more of a thinking out loud kind of day, I decided to connect several points together in a rambling, yet hopefully concise, statement. That was a lot of commas. We’re off to a good start.
First I’ll address the blogging bit and move on considering not all of you are bloggers.
For a couple years I have read pleading comments and frenzied messages in Facebook groups about how “BLOGGERS SHOULDN’T WORK FOR FREE BECAUSE THAT DEVALUES THE WHOLE INDUSTRY OMG SDJFEJRHENJCF.”
First of all, this is not an industry that has been around for any serious length of time. This is why rates for sponsored posts are all across the board and sponsored social media content is even harder to pin down in terms of its value.
With any growing industry, there are growing pains. Businesses and people figure out what a product or service is worth through trial and error. As the perceived value increases, so does the cost. In what used to be a small market, bloggers are everywhere and brands are just learning the importance of utilizing influencer marketing.
When I started my blog, I didn’t get paid for anything for a long time. I didn’t even get free products for a long time. It took probably a year to a year and a half before I received anything at all to try out. And I was THRILLED. From there came smaller sponsored posts — I still remember my first one bringing in about $36. I was on top of the world.
As my audience grew and I got busier, my time became more valuable. I was able to justify asking more for sponsored content and turning down things I didn’t feel were a good fit.
This doesn’t mean that I will only accept money for sponsored content. I work with a number of small brands who don’t have a large budget and because I like the people or the mission or the product itself, I will talk about them for nothing. I’m establishing a relationship with them because I believe in what they do and want to follow along on their journey.
I don’t believe that bloggers working for free devalues the industry. Most brands know that they get what they pay for. Some small companies have a larger budget than you’d expect because they understand the value of marketing a product in this way and larger companies may have a very small budget for any number of reasons.
I understand that the goal for some people is to support themselves from their blog. I get it. That would be amazing if I could hang out and write and work on this love child of mine all day long. If that’s you, then I understand you need income and there are plenty of strategic ways to do that. Work with brands that can pay you what you want, but don’t shame smaller blogs for writing about a box of snack bars they got in the mail.
Here’s where we circle back to the point of this post. It’s your blog. It’s your social media account. If you’re not comfortable working for free, then don’t. If you’re over the moon excited that a company even has you on their radar, accept your free product and share about it to your heart’s content. If you feel you MUST get paid, but a company you love just can’t do it, decide for yourself what you’re willing to do with your time and your platform.
You do you.
Which brings me to every other avenue in life.
We spend so much time comparing that we forget we are each unique and we each bring value to the world we live in. We try to blend in and often follow blindly what we think the best things are to eat, to wear, and sadly, to think.
If everyone else is doing yoga and you hate yoga, don’t do yoga (raises hand).
If everyone is doing Whole30, but you just can’t live without delicious bread, don’t do Whole30.
If the plans are to go out on Friday night but all you want is to curl up in sweatpants on the couch, you do you.
Today, think about who you are. What you value. What makes you happy in life.
When you think more about yourself and less about yourself in relation to others, life becomes much simpler. How will you do you today?
(credit: Hello to Fit)