I know, I know. There have been a million blogs about this same topic over and over again. The poor blogger and how she is always taken advantage of by being asked to write for free.
Or better yet, write for exposure.
But, I have a new take on it (really I do) and part of it is saying, I have no problem blogging for free.
Yes, that’s right. I WILL write for free. I write my own content, because my brain wants to do it.
I write about products I love without being paid to, because I want to.
I work with brands to bring exposure to their products and services because they asked me nicely, or because I believe in what they are doing, or maybe they have given me something AWESOME to give away to my readers. Sometimes I will do it on a whim because the topic interests me or the brands pitch was AMAZING.
I write for free to gain experience, and open myself up to new opportunities, and to build relationships.. . much like I was a volunteer in the youth of my other careers, I look at “free blogging” as a way to work into the industry.
And all of this should be ok, shouldn’t it.
But here is the thing. It won’t always work the way it should.
If I write (or work) for a brand for free, they tend to assume that my one post will be enough to create a flurry of excitement and awareness for their brand.
It doesn’t. One post will rarely do that (unless we are talking vaccinations, or holiday gift buying, or even bad haircuts) What works is when the brand AND the blogger are BOTH invested into the campaign.
The blogger shares the content, and the brand shares it back. The brand does need to “work the campaign” just as hard as the blogger to milk all the sweet marketing goodness out of it.
Otherwise, it is sent out and falls flat. No matter how great a post it is.
It is SOCIAL media, and SOCIAL marketing. We need to engage over these topics, and the blog post is only the first step.
I have worked larger campaigns for free (or for product) twice. In both cases the campaign failed. Not because the bloggers didn’t do their part, but because the brand didn’t. The brand, even though they were mentioned and linked on twitter, instagram and Facebook, did not reply or engage in the conversation.
And with no one to talk to, the conversation eventually died.
So, the next time you are asked to work for free, (or you are asking someone to) be sure to enter into the agreement investing SOMETHING. Otherwise we are talking wasted time and creativity and failed campaigns, and THIS is what turns a blogger off of shelling out the freebies.
As part of the digital marketing industry, we want to know that we do is valued and successful and sometimes the easiest way to do that is to ask for payment.
I believe there are more ways than just that, and by ensuring that what we do works . . . well, that is the first step. Recognizing the VALUE of what we have received is just as important for the blogger and the brand, and by understanding the commitment we enter into when we provide our services (again, for both parties) we will start to make the industry expectations more transparent and easier to understand.
Blogger or Brand, it is the “all hands on deck” approach to Digital Marketing that works.
I work with Service providers on packages and sales, and one comment that always seems to make an impact is that we are doing our clients a disservice by NOT charging them. We are not allowing them the chance to value the work, or their commitment to it. If you are a blogger, or a service provider, that is a key point to remember. By offering a service (or product) you are offering a solution to someones problem. Part of their experience in resolving the problem, is making a commitment to the solution.
Remember that, and value the experience, whatever side you are approaching it from.