It might seem fairly obvious that people should be paid for their work, but bloggers inboxes are filled with emails requesting us to work for free. There seems to be an assumption that bloggers are scratching their heads wishing for products to write about. That isn’t the case. Brands need to be paying bloggers for their work, and here are some of the reasons why:
Blogging is Hard Work
A typical blog post takes 5-10 hours to photograph, write, edit, SEO optimize and promote. A well written blog post is evergreen and will get perpetual web traffic.
Building Our Brand Took Us a Long Time
Successful bloggers usually spend years building their brand. It isn’t just about the time it takes them to do a project, it is also about the time it took them to get to where they are today. Since we spent years to get to where we are today, it isn’t fair to expect us to leverage our brands to help your clients without being paid.
Bloggers are Providing a Marketing Service
It falls into the same category as running an advertisement in a magazine or on television. Except unlike a magazine or television ad, a blog post can have a longer life span. I have blog posts that are two years old that are still getting a significant amount of traffic on a daily basis. Why? Because blog posts earn organic traffic by showing up in Google search results – a print ad won’t do that.
Bloggers Can’t Pay Rent with Free Product
The offers of free product are nice, but often we are being offered things that we don’t really need or want, and we certainly can’t pay our rent with a case of barbecue sauce.
“Exposure” Doesn’t Pay the Bills
I roll my eyes whenever a brand offers “exposure” in exchange for featuring their product on my website. I have fallen for that before, and often the brands don’t even follow through with their promises to share my work on their social media platforms. Even if they do, it usually doesn’t help me to build my brand.
We Take Paying Gigs Seriously
Bloggers want to form long lasting partnerships with brands and PR agencies. We often go above and beyond for our paying clients. I know that I always give a brand more than what they are paying for, because I would rather work for a handful of clients again and again, instead of working for a whole bunch of people on a one time basis. Sure, every blog post that I write is important, but I give my very best work to my paying clients. If you aren’t paying a blogger for their time, they are going to spend less time on the project and it won’t be as impactful.
Pay Us, Because We Know Someone is Getting Paid
I believe that PR agencies should be allies that help bloggers to earn fair compensation for their work. The PR agents aren’t working for free, right? It isn’t fair for someone who is being paid to turn around and ask bloggers to create content for their client for free. PR agencies need to start educating their clients on how to work with bloggers, and to build in budgets to pay bloggers for their work.
The Bottom Line
Working with bloggers is an effective marketing strategy. Bloggers have detailed analytics on their readership and are able to customize evergreen content for clients. Many of us take the photos, write the copy, manage the social media, and SEO optimize all of our work ourselves. We are doing the work of multiple people. For this reason, working with bloggers can be more cost effective than other marketing strategies.
One thing to keep in mind is that bloggers rates are based on their size of their readership and social media following. Brands need to realize that as they build their budgets.