A topic that has been brought up to our attention many times lately is ‘Should bloggers work for free‘? We asked you on Instagram about your thoughts and the majority of you (bloggers or not) agreed that working for free is not acceptable and on most occasions it is an act of undervaluing your work.
The obvious answer is NO! Under no circumstances should you spare your time to produce content for someone (insert bar, restaurant. hotel, clothing brand…you name it!) who does not value your time, effort and work. Simply think – in order for them to get in touch with you it most certainly means that they like your content and they are aware of your influence, therefore, in need of your blog’s and social media platforms’ exposure.
Much as you need to pay your hairdresser and electrician, they should also offer you a payment every time they get in touch with you. Offering you a drink and a meal is not payment, it is a barter agreement in exchange of services and if the meal and drink does not cost 3* the price you charge for your services then they are taking you for a fool. Harsh but true! Likewise, if you receive an e-mail from a PR offering you ‘exposure’ by sharing your blog post to their social media platforms or gifting you something and need a ‘review’ (which totally defeats the purpose of the gift since they ask something in exchange…), just say NO and go on with your life. If they are charging the client, then they definitely have a budget for bloggers too but don’t want to share with you.
With in-da house PR people and PR agencies trying to get as much as possible out of bloggers for free, we decided to share five possibilities where working for free might be acceptable, and take a deeper look look at some examples where we accepted work here at Natbee’s without receiving any payment!
(When) SHOULD BLOGGERS WORK FOR FREE?
1/ Start-up companies owned by family/friend
If a family member has just opened an Etsy shop or your old school friend has just started-up an online business and they kindly asked you to help them with their social media then it is most certainly acceptable to devote some of your time, damn even make childcare arrangements, to help them! Consider it as a gift for their new pioneering venture and try to teach them as much as you can so that you avoid future questions. Be careful with how much of your time you devote though as there might be the ‘promise’ of lots of future work, which ultimately translates to ‘more free work’ on your way!
2/ Charity and pro-bono work
Last year, we were asked to write a recipe post about the launching of The Big Broth – with 20p on every pot sold going straight back into funding Centre Point’s work with the young homeless in London and other major UK cities, there wasn’t much to think! We agreed to do the work and spend two hours in total setting up the flatlay, taking the images, writing the blog post and sharing on social media. If it is for a good cause or a cause you are passionate about, don’t be greedy sharing your sponsorship rates, just do it!
The biggest collaborations we have ever encountered was with American Express, two years in a row. Even though the money was really good during our first collaboration, we decided to accept the offer and sign the contract on a slightly lower rate the second time because not only it was a long-term collaboration that we were trying to establish for ages but mostly because the network opportunity presented was unbeatable! If you can make new connections that will lead to more established future collaborations then accept a lower rate or do it for free because what will follow is better than the present opportunity. Diplomacy and tactics can take you way further that you think 😉
4/ You need to get out there
If you have just started your blog and your social media platforms do not have big influence then it is very wise to do work for free and put yourself out there! With so much competition, brands are spoiled for choice, so if you know that you will get more from them than they will get from you, go for it, no judgement.
5/ Is this something new?
Working for free is a never-ending story. Once you start doing it more and more people will get in touch with you as within the PR circles there is that word of mouth thing where they circulate the list with the names and URLs of bloggers that work for free…(I hope now you see why Laura is always getting in touch with you with another ‘exciting opportunity’ e-mail!). Having said that, if one of these e-mails lands in your inbox with something new that you have never tried before and you really want to try it then here is your chance. Even though most of the articles I write here are under the ‘Let’s Chat‘ subject and are related to advice and life in Edinburgh, last year, Anastasia challenged me to write a blog post about the best healthy food products which I very much enjoyed doing so as it was something completely new. During the process we tried (I kid you not!), three different peanut butters, three different porridge flavours and thirteen different plant based milks, yes you read this right, thirteen! From turmeric lattes with almond milk to hot chocolates with oat milk we tried them all and even though at the beginning I thought ‘I won’t enjoy this‘, I ended up loving the products that made it to the top of the list and became a regular customer of Rude oat milk!
So that’s all from me now. Please let me know your thoughts on the topic, what do you think, should bloggers work for free? Yes, no?
PIN and save for later!