Thoughts on Blogging For Exposure



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Brands have realized the power of blogging and while this can lead to amazing opportunities, sometimes bloggers are taken advantage of. When is collaborating in exchange for “exposure” beneficial, and when should you run the other way?

The bottom line is knowing who will benefit from your work – and how they will benefit. Sadly, there are some shady media agencies out there who offer bloggers exposure in exchange for content generation. The problem with this is that the media agency is charging their client for the bloggers’ content, without compensating the bloggers. Decide if you are comfortable with someone else cashing in on your work. Always pay attention to the signature line of emails, and use this information to determine if you are being contacted by a brand directly, or if you are being contacted by a media agency.

The other thing to keep in mind is if you will actually get exposure from the opportunity. A media agency recently contacted me asking me to blog about restaurants on a real estate website. The site itself wasn’t very complete, and it’s content wasn’t relevant to my food blog. Blogging on a real estate blog wouldn’t be good exposure for a food blogger, because no one goes to real estate websites to read about food and I doubt that the website gets much traffic. I turned the opportunity down because it wasn’t a good fit for me, and because a media agency was involved and would have charged the real estate company for my work without compensating me.

Deciding whether to collaborate with a company in exchange for exposure can be tricky. If you are having trouble reading the situation, ask questions. Ask if someone will be receiving monetary compensation for your work. Ask for stats on the website’s traffic to determine if the collaboration would give you an amount of exposure you would be happy with.

There are lots of opportunities for bloggers out there, some are great and some are frankly a waste of time; determine what will benefit you. When a brand or company reaches out to you, they have already decided that you can do something for them. Take the time to investigate the situation and determine what is in it for you. Ask questions. You are the only person who has your best interests at heart. Writing is work, and our content is valuable. Determine how you want to be compensated, and don’t be afraid of being picky.

Do you have any advice to add?
How to you determine if you want to work with a brand?
Let us know in the comments.

By Kit Graham

  • Such a great article! This has been so frustrating and tricky over the past few months. Hopefully, moving forward, I will have a better sense of a brand’s intent.


    Living’s as Easy as 312

    • It is really hard to figure out a brands intent. Ask lots of questions first. Thanks for reading!

  • Beth Pearlman

    Very helpful! I did something once for an awesome brand of furniture. I was contacted by their agency and since I truly liked the brand I did it. I was not “up” on things and basically did it for free for the “exposure” but now I am well aware to ask for compensation. Thanks for the article.

    • Sometimes you can genuinely get exposure from opportunities, but if you are putting lots of time and effort in, it never hurts to ask for compensation!

      • Lauren F

        Hi Kit – what are your thoughts on how long one should blog, make mentions/reviews of businesses, and build up credibility before asking for compensation? I feature businesses in every post but am just getting started, so I haven’t reached out to any of them.

      • Hi Lauren! It is hard to say. It is part building credibility, and part growing a following. Brands want to work with bloggers who are both credible, and have a large following. Maybe once you have gotten to the point where you social media reach and blog following extends to 1,000 people or so.

  • I recently did a post for a jewelry company because I liked their product and their mission. However, I realized after the fact that the company asked a very large number of bloggers to write posts and then the company chose their favorites to promote. Meaning, even though I put a lot of work into my post I didn’t end up with any exposure on their end and only spent my time doing free advertising for the company. That was the last straw for me. From now on I’m either asking for compensation, either monetary or in-kind, or turning down the pitch.

    • I had a similar situation happen. I was asked to write about wedding planning advice, so I wrote a 500 word post – not knowing they would just lift one sentence from it and add it to a post featuring dozens of people. I was so annoyed!

    • I am a brand new blogger and am trying to learn all of this rapidly. I had similar experiences and now lesson learned, won’t do things for anyone unless I personally want to share what I discovered or am recognized in some way. I am really big on supporting other business or bloggers if I can but sadly, have been burned by people who just want to take without supporting back. Hard to say. But, lesson learned. Thanks for all the comments on this site. I appreciate the education very much.

  • I’ve been blogging for a long time (six years on, two years managing Chicago Running Bloggers). I don’t make much off my blog, but my goal isn’t to make a living off of it, just to connect with other people and share my experiences. And I’ve been around long enough that I consider my readers to be valuable, I don’t want to “sell them out” to some random company. So I’m extremely picky about the content I will put out there under MY name on the blogs that I pay for. Additionally, I’m busy. We all are. So my time is valuable. I don’t blog for “exposure.” I’d rather have a handful of engaged readers (that I consider friends) than thousands of “meh” readers who don’t care about me or what I’m doing. If I’m receiving payment (in-kind or monetary) and it’s a product I like or want to try, I’m willing to work something out that fits for my blog(s). Random, out-of-place content just reeks of “I did this for the money/free stuff” and that’s just not very genuine in my opinion.

    • Thanks for your thoughtful comment! I agree – I don’t want to sell my readers out either.

  • Kimberly Gomez

    Great information Kit. The best thing I learned from BlogHer13 is not to give yourself away for free. Your knowledge is valuable and you should be compensated as such. I made a couple of big changes in my business life because of that revelation and haven’t looked back since.

    • Thanks Kimberly! Writing is work, and most brands have the ability to compensate us for it. I would love to hear more about your point of view.

  • Katie @ Live Half Full

    I was on the fence about sponsored posts for awhile and then finally decided on a rule that if I would promote the product without pay and/or free product, then I will share with my readers. Most of the pitches I get I turn down, and if I receive a product and do not genuinely like it I write them a note and let them down gently and do not write about their products. Recently I decided to take matters into my own hands and have started choosing the brands I work with that are a good fit for me by pitching them. That way I can be picky and only work with companies that I genuinely believe in and support. Also, then I set the precedent and can be upfront. This has helped me pick companies that align with my “brand” and hopefully keep things authentic.