Why you should get paid for your blog posts.

There are many out there who believe that being paid to write posts or getting free products will result in your opinion being swayed by the money or the gift in question. Or that your blog will lose it’s personal touch and become more of an online magazine.
 
Let’s be honest here for a minute – everyone likes getting paid and everyone likes getting free things. It does not have to mean that your content suffers. 
 
I have seen time and time again, across multiple blogs, on Twitter and on other platforms, bloggers declaring that they would never accept payment for a post, or ask for free things as they want to keep their blog a hobby and do not want their content to suffer or be diluted by adverts masked as blog posts. This opinion is fine is perfectly fine as everyone has different reasons for blogging. 
 
Of course, as soon as you start to exchange money or products – there is a certain amount of responsibility that comes along with it:
  • You need to be professional while communicating with PRs and brands. 
  • You need to keep to timescales. 
  • You need to keep them updated on the delivery/post progress. 
  • You need to follow through. 

Some people simply do not want that kind of responsibility, and it can be stressful trying to plan when you are going to post certain things. 

 
Just because you have been given something, either money or an item, does not mean you have to post a positive review. Throughout my blog, you can see examples of when I have:
  • Given a great review for free, because I loved the website or brand and wanted to share it. Example.
  • Given great reviews of a product I’ve been given for free, because I found the items worked well. Example.
  • Reviewed a product I liked, just because. Example
  • Given bad reviews to products I’ve been given as I don’t recommend them. Example.
  • Given a mixed reviews of my experience with a website after getting free items. Example.
  • Joined in collaborative posts with no payment or incentive, because I thought it was good content for my blog. Example.
The question is:

Should you get paid when you are asked to write a post about a product or website?

 
I’ve recently been approached by some PRs, either through answering #PRrequest tags on Twitter, or them e-mailing me and have been asked to write a post about a new collection or write about a certain theme as part of a project that a website is doing. When I e-mailed back asking their budget, the reply is the same.
 
We do not have any budget for blog advertising. We have never had to pay any charges for bloggers to feature our news stories in the past.
 
I’ve noticed that it is often sold to bloggers as a great opportunity for us to feature their products on our blogs, but just think about it: It is us that do the research, us that spend time writing the posts, us that take the photos, edit the photos and do the finishing touches to then publish it to an audience that we have worked so hard in building, to then use our influence and the trust we have built to drive traffic and potential sales to their websites. For free.
 
How do you feel now?
 
Manipulated? Taken advantage of?  Used? 
 
I find most companies that are not willing to pay or gift bloggers physical items to review are those bigger brands. Blogger opportunities are often masked as a competition where you have to make a wish list or post a certain theme and then will be entered into a prize draw to win something, or be judged. These are not blogger opportunities. These are competitions. These are a way to get you to entice your readers to buy products. I have no issue with companies doing these types of competitions, the thing I have an issue with us companies masking them as a unique blogger opportunity! 
 

Why you should get paid for your blog posts:

  • You are spending your time promoting something. How valuable is your time?
  • Do not underestimate the time it takes to research, write, edit and proofread a post.
  • You are sending your traffic to a website or promoting a product.
  • You are using the trust you have built up with your audience to influence their decisions.
  • Most of these companies will spend a lot on magazine, TV, newspapers and other advertising, why should blogs be any different.
  • The person you are communicating with is probably getting paid to get you to promote something, why shouldn’t you?

When you should consider not being paid for your blog posts:

  • If you are new to blogging, or do not have much experience in working with companies. Accepting posts like this for no payment is a way to build up both contacts and build a portfolio for you to show your experience in the future.
  • If you are struggling to find content for your blog, but want to be more active.
  • If it is a product or brand you truly love and endorse, or find the pitch enjoyable and just a bit of fun.
  • If it is something that will be of benefit to your readers.
  • If it is something that will help promote a charity or good cause.
  • If you are getting an item to review for free.
  • If you you get other benefits, such as your post featured on the companies website that would bring you traffic.
  • A new brand that you feel could benefit from or want to promote.
  • A new small or local brand/site you feel you want to promote.

How to bring up the money question:

 
There are several ways in which I’ve asked for payment, it can seem awkward and you might often feel uncomfortable about asking for payment. The key is to get the conversation out of the way from the start. I often get e-mails telling me all about a product or website attaching images and giving me a full history of the thing they want me to promote. Some of the ways I have brought this up have been saying things like:
  • Can I ask what your budget is for this?
  • I usually charge x amount for this type of post. 
  • Can I ask what the incentive is for me or my readers if I was to promote this on my website?

What to charge:

 
If you are asked what you charge, you will probably be pretty clueless regarding what this amount will be. You can either start small and then up your price with future projects, or start high but state you are willing to negotiate. My first sponsored post, I charged $10 and I had around 600 followers on Google Friend Connect and 400 on blogging. I know of bloggers that would think $10 be too low, but go with what feels right for you as you can always adjust this in the future.
 

The Bottom Line:

Do not be afraid to ask, everyone I have asked for payment, but been told that there is no budget, have always still wanted to go ahead and work with me if I was willing to. So if cutting ties is a fear – don’t let it be. Your time is worth something, you have every right to ask to be compensated for your time and effort. There are circumstances where you may want to promote something for free, but in general, it should be a collaboration which is beneficial to both parties.


Other blogging tips that may help you:

 

 

30 comments

  1. Alice in vintageland says:

    I totally agree with everything you just said, it`s just normal to be paid for your work and time and I also have a problem with companies that make a campaign a unique blogger opportunity, I don`t understand that marketing technique at all and I’m glad i`m not the only one!
    Pop Culture&Fashion Magic

  2. Mars says:

    Great post Corinne, very well written and thoughtfully put!

    I generally don’t accept stuff purely because I like not being tied down to deadlines & obligations, although I usually post weekly I like it as a choice, as I blog jewellery and there are a lot of new collection release dates that fall around similar times plus the ones that “pop up” unexpectedly it would be exhausting trying to keep up, did I mention I’m lazy too ;)

    Having said that I have written about all of these for free as my hobby, as and when I choose, and I do have something coming up that is the opposite of what I’ve just said.

    I totally agree with all the points you’ve made though and think you give good advice! I think if the blogger is honest and up front then paid/stuff for free posts make no difference if you trust their opinion/integrity and they write good content.

    Mars
    Curling Stones for Lego People

  3. Lilli says:

    You find me perfectly agreed with you Corinne. Have got some mails like those and of course with no budget, for me is just a way to use bloggers, usually I neither reply. But your post has been very useful for me cause I always have troubles to ask, like is something wrong lol! Kisses xo

  4. Jackie Harrison says:

    Great post when I started blogging and was approached from the first company to do business, I ask right away the incentive the blogger receive. They sing the song and dance my respond without blogger you cannot get advertisement for free in the real world you will have to paid double the amount to get your company advertise now knowing this information let’s talk numbers. My first post I charge $50 dollars.
    http://tifi11.blogspot.com

  5. Melissa Sydie says:

    This is such a great and informative post, Corrine! Definitely something to mull over! :) Love your blog, as always :)

    M xx
    loislennon.blogspot.com

  6. Mª Pilar Domínguez says:

    I agree with you, Corinne. You ´ve been totally honest and some people aren´t when they deny having being “paid” or “gifted” by some brands.They pretend to be ” out of this” concept. I just made a collaboration for Firmoo Glasses and I was very happy with my gift. Now I am more prudent to accept new collaborations but this is because it takes away my time for the things I really want to show in my blog. But I am not a hypocrite and I would like to receive interesting gifts from important brands. Kisses:)

  7. Marta says:

    Hello from Spain: your reflection is very interesting. I understand my blog as a hobby. I do not want it to become a job. It’s fun. Keep in touch

  8. Kelly Michelle says:

    Fantastic post, it’s the one topic that bloggers don’t understand and there needs to be more guidance especially on how to deal with PR firms. x

  9. Kim Alston says:

    Excellent post Corrinne! Bloggers talents and time are very valuable. I charged $25 for my very first sponsored post. Then I went up to $50. I’m doing more product reviews now, so money is not in the equation much anymore. The company I work with (ex: Aveeno) supplies the product to me and I do a review.
    http://www.averysweetblog.com/

  10. Laura says:

    this has absolutely nothing to do with this post, but there’s a tag for you on my blog, if you fancy doing it! :-) but yeh, no-one should expect a blogger to review/promote their products if there’s nothing in return. nobody else is expected to work for free, so obviously a blogger shouldn’t either! xx

  11. London Loafers says:

    Corrine my dear YOU SPEAK THE TRUTH! Your post had me nodding my head vigorously from start to finish! And it sounds kinda mean but I usually don’t bother with these “competitions” and “no budget” crap. The only times where I do agree to posting for free is if it’s for a charitable cause, like my most recent Warby parker article. But on the whole, you’re absolutely right.

    Hayfa
    http://www.londonloafers.com

  12. Mingaile Tarpy says:

    I have never been offered to enter a competition, but I have received plenty of gifts. I have not written anything about a lot of them, but I might at some point. I have not taken any money so far, but I have quoted more than I probably should have done. I don’t like writing sponsored posts, so I would only write for a descent reward. I didn’t care about their opportunity. The best bit is when you receive some crap and they ask you to publish it with a link to their site. I just makes me laugh, do they really think I am going to publish this s***!? I wouldn’t publish even if they paid for this!!!! :) Good points, Corrine!
    http://www.minsbeautyequipment.com

  13. garaytreasures says:

    I am beyond THRILLED that you posted this. I wrote my first review (to be posted next Wednesday) for free/competition and your blog opened my eyes to the value of in the future setting my foot down and asking for benefits. Thank you for your tips. May I use this post in my future “bloggers who have inspired me” series? Just let me know either way. Rachel xo

  14. Elegance and Mommyhood says:

    A very well-written, thoughtful, informative, educative post – like usually with yours. Our time and passion for blogging should be compensated in the right way. Time is money. I will take all this advise to heart. You are always such an excellent writer, Corinne.

    If you have time, I’d also love to see what you think of my 30 for 30 challenge I am doing this month, remixing my closet. Thanks so much, I value your opinions.

    Enjoy the weekend, Ada. =)

  15. Rea Alducente says:

    Thank you for sharing these Corinne! It’s definitely helpful. When I was first contacted for a collaboration, I didn’t know what to do and had no idea how to do it.

  16. Louise Smith says:

    I think this is so true. I went through a stage of receiving a fair amount of products to review and we moved house at the same time so I got ridiculously behind. Nowadays I keep a diary and I choose a day when the product arrives to then post about it. This is usually around 3-4 weeks after so I have plenty of time to try it out. I then let the PR person know its arrived, my first impressions and tell them when they can expect my review. Of course, I sometimes need to switch posts round and often forget to inform them of this but I’m sure I’ll become as organised as I want to at some point ;)

    Great post

    Louise x

    Confessions of a Secret Shopper | An Undomestic Goddess

  17. Lulu Abruzzo says:

    Brilliant post Corinne. Some companies take the piss quite frankly. I have been emailed continuously by one company asking for three months free advertising on my sidebar. Erm, no. I have had hundreds of emails asking me to write guest posts about products, or websites that have little, or no benefit to my blog, or I. I have had emails from companies, or other bloggers wanting to write guest posts, again with no benefit for me. I get fed up with it. Do they think we are desperate? They want to take advantage. Now I’ve ended my Abruzzo blog, I hope it will stop soon! xx

    http://www.lululovesfilms.wordpress.com

  18. Anthea Lau says:

    absolutely agree with you on this subject. i personally believe that you should get monetary compensation for the work and effort that you put out there, not to mention that brands are leveraging your social power and tap into your audience – why shouldn’t you get paid for that?

    Again, brilliant in bringing up this issue. x

    Check out my latest posts on the Blog and Happy Easter! :)
    AL xx
    RASSP | Coachella Style Inspo
    RASSP | Contemporary Easter Recipe

  19. sgrmse. says:

    you are a flippin’ LEGEND for writing this post, corinne! just when i thought it wasn’t quite possible to love you any more than i already do.. you go and prove me wrong (‘:

    <3

  20. Phoebe Dixon says:

    Speaking as a blogger and working in blogger outreach, I think it’s completely case dependant. When working out what to charge I wouldn’t go by your followers as most companies don’t use these as a way of measuring your value to their brand. I would always approach companies with a rate, but understand that the often work with countless bloggers and especially if it’s through an agency, the budget is usually a lot lower, if it’s anything, than working with a brand directly.

    I definitely think bloggers are worth paying though, they have become so influential! It’s just when I see the same content pop up on countless blogs, paid or not – it turns my off.

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