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‘Work with us for free, WE are doing YOU a favour!’ // A letter to marketers

blogger working for free

I don’t know about you, but my inbox is soooo full lately.

Full of crap.

I’m getting a bit fed up of it, if I’m totally honest.

The amount of emails I’m getting on a daily basis, asking me to work for free is frustrating.

The most frustrating thing isn’t that I’m being asked to work for free, but it’s that these emails are written in a way that tries to make you believe THEY are doing ME a favour.

I get it. It’s all part of marketing. Sending out emails trying to influence others to share links and content for free.

blogger working for free

The emails usually go something like this:

Hi Corinne,

I’ve been an avid reader of your blog for years and I truly enjoy your content.

I would love to guest post on your blog, here are some ideas I have for you:

  • How to get pregnant.
  • How to make a cup of tea.
  • How to con bloggers into posting guest posts for free.

In addition, you’ll have the backing of my readers and my social reach, since I’ll promote the article as much as possible. So you’ll get free content, a boost in traffic, and some new readers as a result. What’s not to like?

Let me know what you think!

You can usually tell that they are not a regular reader of your blog due to the type of topics they are proposing they write about. Not only that, but most of us know our regular readers. We interact with them and recognise them in most cases.

Hi Corinne

We represent some big celeb on the rise.
This big celeb is all about trying to get bloggers to work for free and as such we thought a collaboration between you both would work very well.
Answer the following five questions to themselves:
Celeb is starting a new regular feature and we would love to invite you to take part.
You would need to send us the following:
  • Written answers to five questions in 30-50 words.
  • An image for each of the five answers.
  • 3 x further images of you.
Celeb will then publish the interview on his website, and post a link to his 35k+ followers on Instagram and Facebook Stories, tagging you.
All we ask in return is that you place this link on your blog and social media, tagging the celeb.
Is this something we can set up?

These types of emails are also on the rise – not just in the form of wanting to place content on my site, but to get me to join in a campaign.

Then there’s the follow ups..

Hi Corinne,
Still haven’t heard back, could you let me know if you’re interested or not.

If I haven’t replied to you, it means I am not interested. There is no need to send me further emails. If I do not reply, please do not send follow up after follow up. I recently just got this email after not replying to an email like the one above, plus a couple of follow-ups.

What I wish you would do differently. 

I understand that budgets are tight and there are marketers under pressure to get results without a budget if that is the case, please can I ask one thing?

Just. Be. Honest.

Don’t talk the collaboration up like it’ll be the best thing that’s ever happened to me. While you might act like sharing something on a Twitter page is a big deal, unless you have hundreds of thousands of followers, it’s not going to generate me that much traffic.

Don’t try to make you that your free content is precious to me when you are going to stuff it with links to your clients or own website. You are clearly promoting something.

If you are wanting to promote yourself and share some of your content, be honest about it. If you can’t pay, how can you make it worthwhile? Are you able to link to some of my posts on your blog in return?

If you’re a marketer and it’s a campaign with no budget, please be clear about that in your first email and as above, is there anything you can offer me for my time? I’d much prefer a ‘there’s no budget for this one’ vs ‘this is a great opportunity for you’.

Please don’t say things like: ‘there is no budget for this one, but there will be in the future!’. Sadly, that makes me not trust you – I’ve fallen for this a few times in the past and you know how many times I was given paid work after working for free?

ZERO.

In an ideal world, nobody would be asking bloggers to work for free and though over the past few years, brands have been putting more money into influencer marketing, there is still a long way to go. But for now, please can we just be honest with each other and stop trying to, for lack of a better term, polish a turd.

1. noun: a female blogger that writes about her own experiences, observations and opinions. 2. verb: to act like a complete idiot or to do something stupid. e.g: She did a Corinne.

4 Comments

  • Nick Mackintosh

    Hey Corinne!

    I completely agree with this entire post, my blog is only 6 months old and I’m surprised with the amount of emails I’ve received with the same “offers”.

    I think when you’re new they push even harder! Luckily I hadn’t accepted anything and will continue to refuse.

    Hopefully things will change in the future but unfortunately I’m an eternal pessimist!

  • David

    Completly agree with this post! As a relatively new blogger I haven’t had much of this kind of request but if I did I would expect to get something in return rather than doing all that work for free. We all know how long it takes to do blog posts so why people expect you to do them for nothing is unbelievable!

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