I've been promising to write this post for a while - since I last wrote about the Fair Pay For Bloggers campaign in fact (that being my conclusions to the original post where I asked the question Should Brands Pay Bloggers For Product Reviews?). The debate has been raging on Twitter for a while (many tweets have been tagged with the #fairpayforbloggers hashtag), and I'm really pleased how it's got so many people thinking as well as talking. Not all reactions have been that positive, however, which just proves that the topic needed to get out into the open.
Reactions of bloggersI thought you'd like to read what opinions bloggers have had about the subject - do note that some of these posts were written before I wrote my original post in July and I've found out about them since. However, with the exception of Bangs and a Bun's post, I discovered them all via bit of research since starting the campaign. I thoroughly recommend you take the time to read each and every one (Pin now, read later?):
Bangs of Bangs and a Bun | On Fair Pay for Bloggers
"Brands, agencies – please can you recognise that we bloggers work really frikkin’ hard. Blogging (and subsequently bloggers as influencers) has come entirely too far as a medium for you to still believe we don’t warrant being reasonably compensated for our time. We’re not stupid"
John of Dad Blog UK | #fairpayforbloggers: It's About Time
"We are an influential bunch. If companies want us to promote their products to our readers, well, it must become standard practice to make it worth our while. The opinions we provide are trusted, down to earth, from the heart and take hours of effort to write and promote."
Lily of Joli House | Bloggers and Brands | Are They Serious?
"It’s kind of insulting when brands expect something for nothing. No compensation, no product to review. Just a few images to include on your blog maybe. What’s most offensive about this is that they may be under the impression that we’re lacking in ideas for content and will therefore be happy to write a free ‘advert’ for their wares"
Amber of Forever Amber | On Brands and Blogging
"Treat me with the same respect you would any other businessperson - or any other PERSON, period. My blog may not be the most influential fashion blog on the internet, but the fact that you’re asking to be featured on it tells me that you obviously feel you’ll get SOMETHING out of it. All I ask is that I get something out of it too (something that makes it worth my while, I mean.)"
Alex of Do It Anyway | Making Money From Blogging #fairpayforbloggers
"...I think this relates directly to the point Catherine made about reward for endeavour. The issue of course is whether recompense for writing a review equates to a review being “bought”, and all the negative connotations that go with that"
Charlotte of What Lottie Loves | Dear PR Company, Please Don't Take the Pi$$
"Bloggers have power and PRs and brands know this but yet it appears that some of them still wish to use our skills for free. Quite frankly I consider this an insult and slightly taking the pi$$. If you approach a blogger to work with them via their blog for a review then obviously payment comes in the form of sending them that product. As a blogger you need to place a value on your time"
Kate of WitWitWoo | Should Bloggers Work for Free?
"PRs should take time to build a relationship with bloggers, and compensate them accordingly for their time. I’m not greedy, I don’t make demands, and I’m always always polite… but I also have two mouths to feed and am a great believer in respect"
Tanya of Mummy Barrow | Ranty Friday - Approaches
"More and more I am getting sad and grumpy that agencies think they can approach bloggers and get an advert for their client on “successful blogs” (their words, not mine) basically for free. Press releases sent with “could you publish this”. Well why? Or, and here’s the killer. “We will write unique content for you and are happy to pay you $20 to host it”"
Thanks to all those bloggers who wrote their posts in direct response to mine... I'm very flattered - and thank you for the mentions.
Reactions of brandsI thought that it would make sense to actually give a positive spin on all this ranting and grumbling that we bloggers are doing (I like to call it "debate"...!) - it only makes sense that since writing my Product Gifting Policy I have had time to put it to the test and find out exactly what the reaction has been from brands and PRs with regards to my new method of working.
[I will also refer to brands and PRs as just "brands" from now on, but I mean both.]
To summarise my policy, the brands have two choices when gifting me something:
1. Gift me something and pay no fee. I choose whether or not to feature it (and in my own time).
2. Gift me something and pay a fee. I guarantee a post within an agreed time frame, include quality photos, an honest review, links of their choice and social media coverage.
I've been explaining this to brands and sending a link to my policy for nearly two months in reply to various offers I've received, which has been (on average) several times a week. So what's the reaction been? Have I put off brands from working with me? Have they thought my "demands" of being paid as well as receiving a free gift were unreasonable?
In a word, no.
This may be a surprise to some - especially those who claim that bloggers are not worthy of payment - but the majority of brands (who have had the decency to reply to my email explaining how I work) have been very accepting of my terms, in fact some have gone so far as to congratulate me for having a very clear policy in place. It seems brands appreciate knowing how you work from the outset, and that's only fair if you're going to charge for your work.
I would estimate that of the offers I have received where I have replied and offered the two choices (paid review post or take pot luck), these are the (very rough) results:
- 25% have never got back to me. They couldn't have been that serious about working with me anyway, so never mind.
- 25% have offered to send me the item without paying a fee.
- 50% - in other words HALF - have been happy to accept my terms and pay a fee to guarantee themselves a post with their choice of links and all the trimmings.
Therefore, to all those (mostly non-bloggers) who poo-pooed the idea that bloggers shouldn't charge for writing a review because we're not worthy writers like "proper" journalists - well, tell that to the brands who have been more than happy to compensate me for my time and effort I'm putting into producing great content. Sounds a little big-headed, I know [apologies], but in a way I have to have that self-belief in order to sell myself and my services and my brand.
If you're thinking about following suit and creating a similar policy where you decide to charge brands, I do feel it is necessary to offer great writing, great photography and above all, professionalism. Which I'm positive the majority of bloggers, who share the same views as those I've quoted above, always have at the forefront of their minds. We are not all a bunch of greedy 'blaggers' who go into blogging for the 'free stuff'. I hope that it's obvious to the brands who wish to collaborate with bloggers which ones do - and which ones of us wouldn't dream of it.
I feel this debate will run and run - expect more posts in the future...!
Please do share your views in the comments and on Twitter (don't forget the #fairpayforbloggers hashtag) - and do you have a policy yourself where you charge an admin fee for reviews or similar? What response have you received so far?
P.S. Here are the first two posts from this series: 1. Professional Blogging: Should Brands Pay Bloggers For Product Reviews? and 2. Follow Up Post: Should Brands Pay Bloggers For Product Reviews? My Conclusions.
Linking up to: Let It Shine, Friday's Fab Favourites