I’ve been blogging for several years now, building my brand and working with PR agencies and companies.
I love sharing my stories and the stories of other women on the website and sharing information – that’s inherently why I started amotherworld in the first place.
When I started to treat my blog like a business, things shifted. It has been a huge learning curve for me because let’s face it – social media and blogging are still fairly new industries. Although some beg to differ, there are really no true experts in these fields because frankly, the industry keeps evolving.
I wanted to monetize – I wanted to focus on the website full-time. Write more, share more stories. So I created a media kit and started charging for services.
Now the lines became blurred between earned media and paid media. My website is considered an online magazine so I shouldn’t charge, right?
Journalists don’t charge for services – true. But they DO get paid by their newspaper, magazine or television station. Who pays the blogger?
I’m an independent digital publisher – fancy for ‘I run my own website’. I have to earn my own living. Bloggers are not paid by their publication and need to generate revenue somehow to sustain their website. Bottom line – I can’t do things for FREE!
So imagine the frustration when I was asked to sit at a roundtable discussion for a very large brand/company. It wasn’t an event – it was pitched as a “roundtable discussion/conversation” where obviously I’d be encouraged to discuss and converse. It’s sharing information with the hopes that I will share that information with my fans and followers – this ultimately is helping with their marketing campaign.
I think in this case, some type of compensation isn’t too much to ask for. It takes me an hour to an hour and a half each way to get to the downtown core in traffic. Let’s not forget the time involved for my participation and “discussion” – that’s an entire morning for me.
When I responded with the question if there was a budget in place for this program, the response I received was a curt: “unfortunately we do not have budget to accommodate your request.”
Keep in mind, this is an internationally-renowned company. Like, huge. HUGE.
Later, I was asked to participate in another marketing campaign for another large brand. The agency called it a “program”. Sounded to me like they were requesting my full-on participation.
The program would involve participating in a tweet chat where I would share my thoughts on Twitter and “engage fans/followers to take part” as well. I was also asked to sign up and share the program with friends and followers. I was also asked to run a contest on my website.
No talk of compensation. Immediately I thought – seriously? You expect me to do all of this for how much? So I asked, politely, “what is the budget for my participation in this program”?
The response was yet again, disappointing: “Unfortunately we have a very limited budget for this program. We would love for you to participate but are unable to offer monetary compensation.”
Again, big brand here folks! BIG brand. NO money?
Do the PR agencies not put aside a budget for blogger outreach? When they are planning their campaign, they should be allocating funds in their budget for bloggers. Many PR firms understand this and kudos to them, but unfortunately there are still many who don’t.
Any form of promoting via social media or my blog is grounds to ask for compensation, period. I have bills to pay. Running a website such as mine is a full-time job. I can’t run a website if I make nothing from it.
Do you want to know why this is still happening? Because bloggers are still saying YES to these opportunities. Ultimately, they are doing the PR agency’s marketing FOR FREE.
So that PR rep who has successfully pitched you into promoting/sharing/writing about the brand for no compensation is getting paid to do his job, maybe even getting a bonus for the amazing results of the campaign.
What do you get? A pat on the back. I don’t know about you but that doesn’t put food on my table.