I recently wrote a post about why bloggers shouldn’t work for free. It bothers me no end that new bloggers are being convinced to do this almost daily.
I thought that post would be the end of it, but then I realised that being asked to work for free is only the tail end of it.
What about those opportunities that come along that do pay, but don’t pay anywhere near enough to make it worth a blogger’s time and effort to do it? The ones that are actually insulting.
The fact these offers still keep floating around means that people must be doing it.
And it bothers me that bloggers are undervaluing themselves so much. Every single day.
You know what makes me want to scream?
The amount of times I see newer bloggers saying “A brand has contacted me but my stats are too low/my DA is too low to ask for money for sponsored posts”.
Just no. It isn’t. Really.
Why The PR Has Contacted You
There are two scenarios here for why you have been contacted, both of which are good reasons to not undervalue yourself and your blog.
1 The Mass Email
The brand has sent out a mass email to every blogger the PR spots, often hundreds of bloggers. If this is the case, then you should definitely go in high.
If every blogger they contact comes back willing to work for free or for pennies, that means that hundreds of bloggers are all going to be talking about that topic. People who read blogs regularly will soon see a pattern emerging and they’ll stop reading those posts after the first couple.
You want to be extremely well compensated for running a post you know is going to lower your stats (or just say no).
2 Your Readers Are Their Target Audience
The brand’s PR has actually done proper research and recognises your blog is a good place to reach their target market. They recognise your value – how bad is it that you don’t too? In this case, the brand wants to work with you. They want to tap into your audience. That means they see your blog’s worth.
You don’t need to worry that your stats or DA or lower than other people’s. If the PR has researched you properly, they already know your stats and DA and they still want to work with you.
Why You Are Valuable to Brands
Take a look at any big website. You will see adverts. On a website that gets hundreds of thousands of hits a day, they have a reasonable click through rate, but the conversion rate is often low.
Now think about blogs. The clickable ads will again get a reasonable click through if the blogger knows their readers habits well enough to know what will appeal to them. But again, the conversion rate is often low.
So brands look for the next step. The step where you, someone your readers like and trust, talks about their brand or product in a favourable light.
Think about your own habits. Are you more likely to buy something because there’s a clickable ad in amongst ten others on a faceless site, or are you more likely to buy something because someone you like says hey, this is great, try it?
And that right there is why your blog is advertising gold. That right there is why you should never underestimate your worth to a brand.
If a PR person doesn’t see your worth, they’re either bad at their jobs, or they hope that they can convince you that you’re too new to be of value to them. What bullshit – if you had no value to them, then they wouldn’t be contacting you.
Why You Should Value Yourself Enough to Say No
Firstly, you should value yourself because you matter. Your opinion matters. And your blog is the place to share that.
As L’Oréal say “because I’m worth it”.
Here are a few other reasons to say no:
To Keep Yourself Open to Better Opportunities
I’ve heard people saying that they’re worried if they don’t do X, Y or Z, they’ll never get more opportunities. You’re much more likely to get better opportunities if you blog isn’t full of sponsored posts. You should always have good, informative content that isn’t sponsored and keeps your readers coming back. Brands may worry this isn’t the case if every other post is a sponsored post, and if you’re working for pennies, you’re going to need a high volume of sponsored posts just to make any real money.
Your Blog Deserves Better
For most of us, our blogs are our babies and they deserve better than someone who thinks they aren’t worth much. Ask yourself what advice you would give a blogging buddy with the same offer. Would you tell them they deserve more? If you would, give yourself a break and see that you too deserve more.
You’re Setting Yourself Up to Be Undervalued Long-Term
One that really annoys me is when PRs want you to work for next to nothing and then promise you regular work. If the first post is lower value, and then you will be paid more, it might be worth it (make sure you have this promise confirmed in writing before you agree to it).
If they aren’t putting the rate up after the first post, that doesn’t mean the steady income is worth it, it just means you’re being undervalued long term instead of as a one off, which surely is worse.
It’s so important that bloggers recognise their worth. The PR people are certainly being paid for their efforts, and they wouldn’t accept pennies for their work, so why the hell should you?
If something isn’t worth your time (and the access to your audience) and the brand refuse to pay you a fair price, then just say no.
What do you think? Do we undervalue our worth as bloggers too much? Let me know in the comments 🙂