I decided to write this post today for a few reasons. I have heard the topic ‘knowing your worth’ being spoken about on a few different podcast I’ve been loving recently, the main one being ‘Keeping it Candid’. The second major thing that triggered me to be sat here typing away, is the content of the emails that keep landing in my inbox recently.
As I’m sure a lot of the people reading this already know, bloggers get paid through a number of different sources. From affiliate links to hosting ads, there is a long list of ways in which people are able to blog full-time and still pay their bills. Another key thing to note is that bloggers and social media influencers sometimes get sent freebies known as gifting. This can be anything from a brands’ new launch of lipsticks to a handbag from a new designer wanting to get their stuff seen. Bloggers and social media influencers can be used as a form of advertisement, and in that is where the money lies.
More and more these days people aren’t listening to what the model with the perfect skin on the make up advert in the break of Derry Girls is saying. They want opinions from people they feel they can trust, people who can say what they want, people more relatable to them and so people open up their laptops and go on their favourite blogs or YouTube channels. Many brands have caught on to the fact that social media is such a growing platform when it comes to advertisement and are choosing to reach out to influencers in the hope of collaborations. These tend to work out beneficially for both parties, the brands’ products get shared and reviews broadcasted and the influencers gets payment so they can make a living doing what they love.
Well that is all well and good, but I see it as a scale, at one end you have the posts you do off your own back. Like this one for example, no one is paying me to write it, there is no sponsored content in the photos. This is just bitter, old me having a grumble at my laptop and sharing it with the world along side some pretty pictures from a recent shoot I did in Edinburgh. I’m not getting paid and nothing is getting advertised. Then there is the other end of the scale, like my Reeves post. I got given a brief and asked if I wanted to work with them, which I did because I had an idea of what I could write about, so I took some photos using their products, I wrote a blog post and I got paid. Their products got seen by my readers and I had money in the bank. Everyone was happy, the end. However what about the middle of the scale? The middle of this scale is if there is payment in the form of gifting. Gifting itself is great, it’s where a brand likes your content and want to send you stuff in the hope that you’ll share it with your readers, no money exchanges hands and in my opinion there should be no expectations as to if or when you show their products across your platforms.
I can’t stress enough how okay I am with this. It’s so lovely receiving free products and I feel so so lucky that I’m fortunate enough to be in a position where things are sent to me free of charge. The issue I want to dress comes when a brand email asking if you’ll write a blog post, share an Instagram post and a story all in return for products. You are providing a service for that company, helping their products be seen by a wider audience and possibly bringing in new customers and sales to them, do you really want to be doing this for free? If they were advertising their products in a magazine, do you think they would be paying for that two page spread with a lipstick and a new mascara? HELL NO! Not only are they paying the magazine hundreds of thousands of pounds for a spread, they’re also paying a photographer, a model, a make up artist and a stylist, the list goes on. So why do brands think it’s okay to get free work out of influencers that are no doubt putting hours into getting the right images, writing a witty, well thought out post, and that’s not to mention all the time they have spent previously building their following so they have a platform to shout about your new products from. It can be so hard saying no to freebies (everyone loves free stuff) and I’m not saying you have to say no all the time. But it all comes down to knowing your worth. If a brand is asking you for your time and your resources in order to drive more sales to their site, they should be paying you.
This also lends itself to asking for more money for a project, perhaps the brand has told you they do have a budget but it’s not as much as you might have hopped. With this you have to be realistic but also know your worth. I know it’s not realistic to ask for £3000 for a blog post with my size of following but I do know my worth and I know that with the amount of hours I put into each blog post on average, something like a couple of hundred is acceptable to ask for. The worse that can happen is they say they don’t have that much and you either politely decline the collab or you can revisit what you’re offering them and maybe instead of a blog post and an Instagram you just do the Instagram if that’s what their budget will cover. No one else knows how much time you take producing your content and the chances are if they’ve contacted you, it’s because they like your work so they should be able to appreciate your process.
As my wise mother like to say ‘a new face cream is lovely, but it’s not going to pay the electricity bill’. Next time a brand contacts you and wants to work with you, don’t be scared of sticking to your guns and knowing your worth. I hope this has helped if it’s something you too have been struggling with. I’d love to know your opinions on payments and gifting when it comes to brand collaborations. Leave them in the comments below, thanks for reading.