This is the question that foxes most bloggers and influencers: How much should I charge for sponsored posts?
I’ve been wanting to write this post for ages (I’ll warn you now, it’s pretty long and detailed). Truthfully, however, I wish I didn’t have to write it. Google “what to charge brands for sponsored content” and you’ll find plenty of posts about the subject, but when it comes to the actual nitty-gritty question of BUT EXACTLY WHAT IN POUNDS AND PENCE SHOULD I BE CHARGING?! they seem to shy away from the answer.
Fear not – I will answer that question. If you’re in the UK, and you want to know how much you should be charging, I will tell you. There are a thousand variables, but I will try and cover as many of them as I can. What I want to do is to give you a starting point, some actual calculations on which to base your fees, and where to go from there. I’ll also talk about how to negotiate, what tricks you can use to demand higher fees / save you more time / make you look really professional.
I’ll also include what to charge for other types of campaigns or content, like guest appearances, modelling jobs, meet-and-greets, or video/filming days.
Please note that this is aimed at the UK market – I know that other markets out there are very different. From what I’ve heard the US market is VERY tough, and they don’t pay one-off fees for sponsored content as much as the UK does, preferring to concentrate on affiliate marketing. But it will, I hope, give you an idea on how/where to start, or how/where to improve your negotiations.
Secondly, this post is also not aimed at anyone who is looking to make a quick buck, or to get more free stuff, or to make as much money as they can in return for as little work as possible. If you’re not prepared to work hard at this game, to give brands everything they want AND MORE, then this isn’t the post for you. This post is aimed at those who take pride in their work and who also want to (and do!) produce incredible content, BUT who also want to be paid fairly for it.
And lastly, this post is not aimed at anyone who has ever bought followers or engagement or done the awful follow-unfollow thing (in other words, used a bot to do this for you). Nor is it aimed at anyone who has manipulated their blog stats in some way (it IS possible to artificially manipulate your blog stats, and brands should be aware of this). Anyone who has done any of those things is basically committing fraud, and they’re asking for money for something that they didn’t earn honestly.
They’re also potentially taking campaigns away from bloggers who are honest and have a 100% organically-earned following, but who maybe don’t have quite as many page views or follower numbers and are passed over in favour of the dishonest ones.
This information is for the benefit of honest, hard-working bloggers and influencers only. But this is just my opinion and others may think differently about what you should be charging. I do stand by what I’ve written here, however, because the advice I’m about to give has worked for me (I now earn a decent salary as a result of following it), and it’s worked for others when I’ve shared the information with them. I’m now sharing the information – based on my experience – with you here.
So – how did I get to the stage of knowing what to charge brands for sponsored content and campaigns?
The secret to knowing what you’re worth
Fortunately for me, my eyes were opened to ‘real’ fees when I got myself an agent about four years ago. When you have someone believe in you and – even better – negotiate on your behalf – it becomes SO much easier. You effectively don’t have to do ANYTHING – someone else is there, having the big fat balls to say “This person is worth X to you”. There’s no embarrassment, there’s no bigging yourself up, there’s no worrying about what their reaction will be. Someone else will bear the brunt if the brand replies with “THEY WANT HOW MUCH MONEY?!!”
What I’d like is for this post to give you the confidence boost that I received when I first got an agent. You become less apologetic and stand your ground when they come to you and say, Would you accept X from this brand, they want you to do x, y and z – you become more confident in yourself because they back you up when you say No, negotiate harder! Someone holding your hand while doing this makes the WORLD of difference. You soon get to know your worth.
I no longer have an agent (I parted from my last one on good terms), but part of the reason why I haven’t yet looked into getting another is that I’d gained plenty of experience of negotiating much, much higher fees via someone else and knew what brands were willing to pay.
However, I’m not saying this (or even writing this blog post) in order to make all bloggers and influencers greedy and simply Demand All The Cash. From the stories I’ve heard from others about what people have charged brands for a whole lotta work, we really need to do SOMETHING to make women in this industry sit up and realise that they’re worth more than what they’re currently being paid. Too many women are asking for PITIFULLY low fees for what they’re doing for brands.
I’ve talked about how discussing your fees with others benefits your career (and the whole industry in the long run). I’ve written before about whether men would work for free if they ruled the blogosphere. Everyone charging prices that are too low means that brands will continue to use bloggers as a cheap form of marketing.
Ladies, we are better than this. YOU are better than this. Even if this is something you do part-time or to earn a little extra pocket money, do not be apologetic about the value you have to a brand. Know that you are worth SO much more than the price of a cheap pair of shoes for hours and hours of hard work and your precious time. Or worse, the actual pair of shoes themselves – and no cash.
Brands have to pay their accountants, their web designers, their sales team, their utility suppliers, their PR agency, even their window cleaners. None of them will be paid in shoes or gift vouchers. They all know their market rate – why shouldn’t you?
How to know if you’re charging too little (or too much)
When trying to work out what fees to charge – when you have absolutely no clue whatsoever – think to yourself, “How many hours would this take me to photograph/prep/write/edit/promote afterwards?” Then think about your hourly wage in your current (or most recent) job. How does it compare? Be honest about exactly how many hours you put into the work you’re about to do (or have done) for a brand.
Once you’ve got that figure, immediately add 20% – because you’ll be charged tax when you file your tax return. Then think about the worth that YOUR brand and YOUR image have to the brand – they’re receiving PR from someone with an established following, so that’s worth a separate fee in itself.
Can you see how all these factors you need to consider all add up? Then there are all the variables, like whether you’ve won a major blog award(s). Or whether you’ve been featured a lot in the press or on high-profile sites in your niche’s industry. It isn’t just about page views and follower numbers.
Many bloggers tell me that they just don’t know if what they’re charging is too little – and that they’re afraid to quote too much. There is a VERY easy way to know whether your fees are too low:
Ask yourself, How often do brands try and negotiate a lower price after I have quoted them? If the answer is never, you’re charging too little.
The perfect amount to charge is one that brands try and reduce sometimes. It is ALSO one that is sometimes accepted without negotiation. If NO ONE EVER accepts your fees, then you’re charging too much, and you know you need to reduce them.
You need the Goldilocks of pricing structures. Not too high, and not too low. You need to charge what you’re worth, not what you hope they might accept because you don’t want to offend them. This thing of “offending” those asking for our fees has to stop – they’re in the business of hiring people to work for them. If someone asks you for your fees, you cannot “offend” them by telling them exactly what they’ve asked for.[tweetshare tweet=”BLOGGERS: The easy way to know whether you’re undercharging? Ask, How often do brands try & negotiate a lower price when I send a quote? If the answer is ‘Never’, your fees are too low.”]
Unfortunately in most cases, I find that bloggers are charging far too little because no brand has ever, ever tried to knock them down in price. And that’s because they know they’re getting a bargain.
Who wants to be a bargain? Which would you rather be: a factory outlet handbag, where people don’t even need to look at your price because they know they can afford you – or do you want to be a Chanel handbag, where people save up to buy you because you are the ULTIMATE handbag, the one that they HAVE to have because you’re, well, Chanel?
Anyway – here are the prices. The nitty-gritty that I promised… here we go.
How much to charge for a sponsored Instagram post (including stories)
I read not long ago that the going rate for 20,000 followers was £500, so that’s 2.5 pence per follower. I have always quoted in line with this rate, and brands either happily accept this or ask if they can pay a bit less. Sometimes they simply say no – and that’s fine. They just need to come back to me if/when they can afford to pay my rates. I know that I’m charging what I’m worth because some can afford me and some can’t.
I think that the lowest fee that ANYONE should charge for an Instagram post is around £125. Even if you have fewer than 5,000 followers, if a brand has approached you to promote something of theirs on your Instagram feed then you already have a certain worth to them. The ball is in YOUR court. Start at £125, and charge higher as your follower numbers rise over 5,000.
So as a rough guide for number of followers against fees to charge:
Up to 5,000 followers – £125 (remember, nothing less than £125!)
10,000 followers – £250
15,000 followers – £375
20,000 followers – £500
25,000 followers – £625
30,000 followers – £750
40,000 followers – £1,000
50,000 followers – £1,250, etc.
The sum is: Followers x 0.025 = fee in £££
(I will admit that I think the amount you can charge will slow – in terms of the calculation above – once you get to 50k. But I’d like to think that if you have 50k or above then you should know what you’re doing by now…!)
If you do the sums and you get an awkward number, like £387, look at your engagement rate on socialblade.com. (You should track what this is anyway.) 3% is good, anything above that is VERY good, and anything below that needs improvement. So if you have a very high engagement rate then round your figure up, and point out that you have a high rate in your negotiations.
As far as stories go, ask for 20-25% of the rate of your Instagram post for a stories SET, i.e. 2-3 single stories. A set “tells a story” much better, and it means you can include 1. one without a link for people to comment on, 2. one for a swipe-up link to your blog post (if relevant), and 3. one with a swipe-up link to the brand’s website.
So I have 20,000 followers and charge £500 for an Instagram post. I charge £100 for a stories set, maybe £150 if they’re asking for a lot of hashtags and tagging.
Of all the people that I’ve ever told about this pricing structure, few have ever come back and said that no one is willing to pay them those fees. Good brands will pay you these fees. Good brands with less budget will come back to you at a later date after finding more budget.
How much to charge for a sponsored blog post
The important thing to remember with blog post prices is to make sure you have a tier system in place. DO NOT ASK FOR ONE FLAT FEE when you don’t know what the deliverables are. If you’re just asked for a quote for “a sponsored blog post”, without them listing any deliverables (how many photos? How many words? How many links of their choice? Do they expect social support in that price?), then you ideally need to give them at least two (but ideally three) options: a standard, a middling and a top rate.
A standard price could be blog post only, no social support, one link of their choice.
A middling price could be a blog post with some social support (e.g. a tweet or a story linking to the post) – or it could be a guaranteed ‘inclusion’ (e.g. a photo of and paragraph about the product and link of their choice) in a post shared with other brands.
A top price should be your all-singing, all dancing “feature post”. The blog post will focus solely on the brand and/or their product(s). The fee will include social support in the form of 1-2 tweets, an Instagram post and stories with swipe-up links.
But what to actually charge?
Blog post fees are trickier than Instagram as blog stats aren’t as easy to see. However, it’s easy to buy (and therefore fake) numbers on Instagram so it’s swings and roundabouts.
Start with this: I don’t think ANY blogger should ever charge less than £150 for a blog post. This should be your starting price, always. Unless they are asking purely for a link insertion (and really, do you WANT to do that?), then £150 is a good place to start for any blogger no matter how long they’ve been blogging, or how low their page views are.
If you’ve been asked by a brand to write something and promote their product, they already want you to work for them… you don’t have to start selling your blog to them. Don’t downplay yourself.
But what to charge otherwise? Be warned – there are A LOT of variables. For example:
- Page views
- Unique visitors
- Engagement – number of comments
- A high DA (Domain Authority) – check your DA here. Over 30 is good, over 40 is very good, over 50 is flippin’ amazing
- Number of years you’ve been blogging
- Your status in the community, e.g. awards won, times you’ve been featured in the press, how “in demand” you are with brands
- The actual quality of your photography and writing
The basics to start with are your (unique) page views. Make sure you have Google Analytics installed so you can track them. Taking an average from the last 12 months (December and the summer holidays are always quiet), go by this calculation as a starting rate:
2 pence per page view.
Yes – almost the same as Instagram, BUT! per page view rather than per follower. So as a rough guide for monthly page views against fees to charge for a blog post:
Up to 5,000 monthly page views – £150 (remember, nothing less than £150!)
10,000 monthly page views – £200
20,000 monthly page views – £400
30,000 monthly page views – £600
40,000 monthly page views – £800
50,000 monthly page views – £1,000
60,000 monthly page views – £1,200
70,000 monthly page views – £1,400
80,000 monthly page views – £1,600
90,000 monthly page views – £1,800
100,000 monthly page views – £2,000
The sum is: Monthly page views x 0.02 = fee in £££
This at least gives you a base rate. The variables are what could make your fee go up. Charge more for high engagement. Charge more for a high DA. Charge more for a high status in the blogosphere. Charge more if you’ve worked with some major brands. Heck, charge more because people have said many times you should write a book because your writing is so damn good.
For example, I charge a fair bit more than just my page views x 2 pence because I’ve won several major blogging awards, I’m mentioned a lot on “blogger top 10” lists, and I’ve worked with brands like Avon, L’Oreal, Specsavers, Estée Lauder, JD Williams and Next. I’m in a TV advert at the moment. I’m lucky enough to receive a lot of offers of work, so that makes me in demand – I can pick and choose who I want to work with, so increased demand means increased fees.
Once you have your base rate for a blog post, work out what you can offer as your two/three-tiered pricing system. If your blog stats are low but your Instagram numbers are high, go up the scale if you’re offering Instagram coverage as well. If you have a crazy-high engagement rate on Instagram – or high numbers of comments on your blog posts! – then you can charge more. If you have a high DA of 40 or higher, charge more.
The final fees you quote can only be worked out by yourself – I can’t list all the variables here. But I’m always happy to help if any of you wanted to run your proposed numbers past me: I’m @notlamb on Insta and my email is notdressedaslamb[at]gmail.com. Think of ALL the things that you have going for you, and factor those into your rates.
Above all else, HAVE CONFIDENCE IN YOURSELF. If you can’t sell yourself and sing your own praises, who’s going to do it on your behalf?
How much to charge for a day’s modelling, video filming, meet and greet, styling session, etc.
This one is easier to calculate, because none of what you’ve been asked to do is based on follower numbers or page views – you just have one flat rate.
If five influencers are asked along to do some filming for a brand, then, in theory, all five should receive the same fee. However, it doesn’t quite work like that due to the varying demand for the talent (getting a pub singer to sing at your wedding is going to cost a lot less than getting Beyoncé to do it, for example). This is where your status in the blogosphere and how in demand you are affects what you charge.
Every blogger and influencer should have a day rate that they ask for. If you’re required to e.g. model for a brand or film a video (their production, not you filming at home) – and nothing else – then you should have a flat fee that you charge for simply showing up, doing your thing, and going home again.
Have a half day rate and a full day rate (half day should be about 70% of the full day rate, never exactly half). Make sure travel and any necessary accommodation expenses are excluded from the figure you quote, so always say, “My rate is £XX, not including travel expenses.”
A day’s work for something like this, where you’re not required to do anything other than what’s required on the day, in my opinion should start at no less than £250 for a half day, and £400 for a full day. (A half day is something like 2-3 hours’ work, a full day is a 9-5 equivalent.) This is no matter how long you’ve been blogging, or how low your follower count or page views are – if they’ve asked you to work for them, you are automatically in demand so don’t play down the power of this.
If your status in the blogging community has some welly to it, increase your rates. For a brand to have a particular personality that they know will attract people to their campaign BECAUSE of that personality’s involvement, then that demands a higher fee.
If they then want you to cover it on social, you charge separately for that. If they want you to write a blog post about it, you charge separately for that. If the job requires you to prepare something in advance, e.g. a styling session that you’re presenting, then you charge extra. Treat the preparatory work as another day that you charge for.
As you now know what you charge for all the different things that you may be asked for, you can list your rates for each deliverable. Add it up as a total. And then read the section under ‘how to present your fees and the trick to always include’ below.
Exceptions: guest speaking opportunities
There are always exceptions, and this is one: if you have been invited to be a guest speaker at an event, you may often find that there is no budget to pay you. Always ask the question “May I ask if there’s any budget to pay the speakers?” – if the answer is no, ask that they can confirm that no one is being paid to speak. Guest speaking can be a wonderful opportunity that does actually benefit you in many ways.
In the past I’ve been asked to speak on a panel at a “disruption” conference in Cambridge, and I’ve spoken at a European retail conference in Amsterdam. Neither event was paid. However, I was assured that none of the speakers were being paid, and I did have all my travel expenses, accommodation and meals paid for. Without doing those events I wouldn’t have had the practice of speaking in public, and it has helped me with video filming (for which I HAVE been paid).
You need to sum up whether it’s a worthwhile opportunity in terms of what you get out of it, and whether the company/brand/business is making money off of your appearance and input. If they ARE making money out of you (for example you host a styling session at a store where you’re effectively selling the brand’s clothes to a willing audience and helping them put outfits together that they then buy), then you SHOULD be paid for that.
Speaking at a conference is different, and you should take the opportunity – unpaid – if you feel it will further your career and CV.
How to ‘present’ your fees – and the tricks to always include
When I quote a brand, in order to calculate my fee I always ask exactly what they require of me. I quote on an ad hoc basis, which is why I never list my fees on my media kit.
Once they’ve given you an idea of whether they want a blog post mention, a feature blog post, or an Instagram post (or all of those things), then you can list them with a price against each. Add up the total price.
AND THIS IS THE TRICK: Always give a discount off the total price.
So if you add up the fees and it comes to £475, say you’ll “do it as a package” for £395. (Use the retail trick of taking £5 off the nearest £100 to make it appear A LOT less.) A good rule of thumb is to take off 10-20%, depending on how the figure looks afterwards. People LOVE a discount – and, I hate to say it, but women especially love a discount. I’ll admit that I’m no exception.
If they’ve asked for two posts, one now and one next season, give them a good 20% discount as it’s guaranteed income for you in the near future. Give them the total, take off 20%, and split the price in half so that “each post will cost only £XX”.
And finally – always quote HIGHER than what you would actually accept in the end. If they wish to negotiate you down, then you can happily do that because they’re still paying you ABOVE the lowest figure you’d accept. If you start low you’ve got nowhere to go. Increase the prices at the beginning, and then reduce the total price once it’s totted up.
After a while of all these tricks should come automatically to you. Never just quote one flat fee and leave it at that. Allow for negotiation in both fees AND deliverables (see next section).[tweetshare tweet=”BLOGGERS: Always quote HIGHER than what you’d accept for a sponsored post. If a brand offers less, it’s OK if they’re paying above the lowest you’d accept. Start low, you’ve nowhere to go.”]
How to negotiate if they try to reduce your fees
Think about the impression you’d give if you were to accept £50 for a sponsored post, plus Instagram, plus whatever else they’re asking you to do. There’s a reason why I think that NO ONE should ever accept less than £125-£150 for sponsored content:
Charge (or accept) too little, and you run the risk of giving the impression that the content you produce is of low quality. They say in retail it can be detrimental to cut prices – some brands are expected to be higher, so if Chanel wasn’t selling very well and they had a ‘mega sale’ and slashed their prices by half, it would do more harm than good for their brand because everyone EXPECTS their prices to be higher. It’s a luxury brand, and “50% off everything!” doesn’t reflect that image.
The sooner you prove yourself to be a quality blogger by charging more – and insisting that those are your prices – the sooner you’ll get a reputation for being one. The price you are worth is the top price that someone is willing to pay you. As mentioned before, if no one is willing to pay you the prices you quote, then you’re charging too much. But if ONE brand comes along and says Yes to your fees, you’ve hit the jackpot. THAT’S what you’re worth, right there.
Something I used to do when approached about a sponsored post was to always ask first how much they’re willing to pay – don’t do this. Work out your fees and stick to them. Always bear in mind, however, that if your fees are always accepted without hesitation, then you’re not charging enough. What have you got to lose by doubling your prices when you’re approached by someone you’ve never worked with before?
Within a year of having an agent represent me, my fees literally increased 10 times. Only one brand – one that I’d worked with independently before having an agent – questioned why my fees were increasing (we did do it gradually, they weren’t increased by 10 in one hit)! I’d won at the UK Blog Awards, I’d been working with a lot of well-known brands, my following had increased significantly… they accepted this. I’m still working with that brand today and they pay my top rates.
So don’t think that you can’t increase the rates you charge a brand you’re already working with – YOU CAN.
You often get brands who say they can only pay X amount. You have to decide whether it’s worth your time and effort. If it’s a good brand and you can write a really interesting post that’s good for your blogging “CV” then I would say do it – it’s good to have it as an example of what you can produce to show to other brands in the future.
Here are a few bargaining tools that I often use when brands ask if they can pay less:
- Offer more for the fee you’ve quoted. It’s worth trying to stick to your guns (your original quote) first. Offer something that demands little extra work of you but that is of value to them, like adding an Instagram story (set) with a swipe-up link to their website if they’ve only asked for a static post in your feed. OR adding an album to an Instagram post so that you can include a few images, like close-ups of the product. OR scheduling a series of tweets to your blog post over the course of a couple of weeks. OR guaranteeing a link back to the blog post in two or three of your blog posts in the future (agree on a rough date, and stick to it, if you offer this).
- Ask for 30 days guaranteed payment, without chasing. If the fee isn’t paid by the 31st day, then the full fee that you originally quoted will be automatically due. Make sure this is written clearly into your contract*. A good way to guarantee prompt payment, even if it is is a bit less… I’ve used this trick a few times, it works.
- Take something out of the deliverables. Did they want Instagram and stories? Take out the stories. Offer a post shared with other brands (who also may be willing to pay you). Simply say, “I’d be happy to accept £XX for this post – for that fee I can offer a guaranteed blog post mention with a link of your choice, and a static Instagram post.” List what you CAN do for the fee they’ve offered, not what you can’t.
- Say that you’ll publish without sending for approval first to save you time and admin. Sometimes they ask for this, sometimes they don’t – generally I find that the client wants to approve your content more often than not these days (it tends only to NOT happen when it’s a smaller brand and you’re dealing with them direct, rather than through a PR agency). Sending content for approval means you have to finish it at least several working days in advance, so that doubles your workload for that time period. Time is money!
- Reduce any exclusivity period. Check contracts carefully – you often find that brands will say you cannot work with any competitors for a set period of time (anything from a week to a few months). If they won’t pay your full fees, say that you can only give them X weeks exclusivity, allowing you to take on work from other brands sooner.
- Reduce the length of their usage rights. Similar to exclusivity periods, brands will write into a contract that they have the right to use your images/content on their social feeds, website, newsletters, etc. for a set period. Firstly, it should always be a set period – NEVER accept the description “perpetually”, which means forever. (I usually offer six months as standard when quoting my fees.) If they’ve reduced your fee, say that you’ll accept it if they reduce the usage rights period from 6 to 3 months or from 12 to 6 months, for example.
*A blog post about what to put into contracts – and what to look out for in ones written by brands – is in the pipeline. In the meantime, if you need a template, drop me an email. DO NOT EVER enter into a collaboration without a contract.
A final word about the content you produce
This part is just as important as all the advice I’ve given about fees:
There’s no point putting up your fees if you don’t produce excellent quality content on a beautifully designed, easy to read/navigate blog.
There’s no point putting up your fees if you don’t deal with your contact in a professional and courteous manner.
There’s no point putting up your fees if you keep accepting irrelevant shit [irrelevant to your niche/readership] from any old brand without thinking about your integrity.
There’s no point putting up your fees if you don’t read the brief properly and deliver everything that’s required of you.
There’s no point putting up your fees if you don’t deliver on time.
There’s no point putting up your fees if you can’t produce amazing photography and well-written, interesting, error-free prose that your readers will love reading.
There’s no point putting up your fees if you can’t be bothered to produce detailed stats and reports afterwards.
There’s no point putting up your fees if you won’t go the extra mile to make yourself stand out – post extra stories on Instagram, send a thank you card in the post, link back to your sponsored content or tag the brand time and time again in the future.
If you want to earn more money, then you’ve got to put in the hard graft and hone your craft. Invest in a DSLR and tripod. Learn how to take great photos. Improve your writing with free tools like Grammarly and Hemingway. Keep up to date with your industry and learn how to improve.
Put your fees up, yes, but only if you produce shit-hot content that’s worth the money the brand is investing in you.
As the fabulous Sarah of yesandyes.org said in her recent email to her subscribers:
“If you want to build a thriving freelance business…
STOP: missing deadlines, working for free, being afraid of networking, downplaying your talent.
START: researching new platforms/software/trends in your field, reaching out to people you want to work with, doing self-directed work, following up with leads, maintaining a blog/social media/internet presence…”
Has this helped you at all with working out what fees to charge? (I hope it has!) Tell me in the comments…
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Extremely helpful post Catherine, thank you so much. It’s the only thing I could find online with clear numbers and rationale. It’s helping me figure out how to respond to my first invitation to do a sponsored post. May I ask if you have a recommendation on what software or template to use to create an invoice? Haven’t had to do that yet! Thanks again!
Vicki I’m so glad it’s helped you – and good luck with that first quote! I actually just use Google spreadsheets to create invoices, so like Excel but it means I can access it anywhere (being on my Google Drive). I’m sure there are templates out there to make it much easier, I looked and in fact Google Drive does have an invoice template when you go to create a new spreadsheet: it’s very very similar to the one I created myself x
Catherine, this post is GOLD! I’ve been in this blogging game since 2011, and can’t tell you how long I’ve been looking for something like this. I did sponsored content for a few years, before stopping completely because of how difficult it was to actually ask for (and get!) what I’m worth. The requests still come in and I just turn them down because I can’t be bothered lol.
However, a certain brand that’s very relevant to my niche has reached out and I started considering starting up with sponsored content again. After reading your post, I just sent out an email to that brand, using your brilliant tiered pricing plan as a guide, and it’s the most money I’ve ever asked for! If they agree, then great, because I’ll know that I’m getting what my time and value is worth. And if they negotiate, then also great, because I’ve added some wiggle room to my prices. And if they flat out decline, then no hard feelings and we can go our separate ways (although I’ll keep in mind that if no one ever accepts then maybe the prices are a bit high).
All that to say – you have been a Godsend, thank you for the time and effort it took to put all this information out there.
Sarah I am SO pleased to hear that! Thank you for leaving such a great comment, I really hope it works for you… but if it doesn’t on this occasion, at least you’ll be armed with more information and the confidence to get what you’re worth next time. Let us know how you get on…!! Catherine x
Very useful information. Best I have found on the internet.
Can I ask two questions?
Is it only one time payment or we should charge something monthly as well?
And if the post is for a limited period of time, one year for example, or forever?
Hi Martin… I was a little wary thinking that your comment – judging by the wording – was spam(?)… apologies if that’s not the case! I’ll assume it wasn’t and answer as best I can:
I’m not really sure what you mean, the two questions didn’t quite make sense to me I’m afraid (sorry)! I don’t know what you mean by charging something monthly, I can’t think what you’d charge for on a monthly basis so I guess the easy answer is no, all work requires one-off payments (exactly the same as any other freelancer, from window cleaners to cake makers).
And the second question… is there a word or two missing at the end, I can’t make sense of it? You said “and if the post is for a limited time” but reading it again did you mean “And is the post…”? If it’s the latter, then that would make sense to me: I tend to keep posts on for perpetuity as I want to make use of the SEO that would likely result from a post on my blog so that it would drive traffic my way if someone is searching for that subject. However, it’s best to have that added into a contract. Some brands will add that you have to keep your post up for a minimum of X months – if they want an exceptionally long term, however, then you charge more. The danger is that if something were to happen with their company and you do not want to be associated with them anymore (some sort of scandal or bad practice for example), then you have the right to remove the post from your blog. If you’re unsure then just add in a clause to your contracts as standard for the time period that you’re happy with – if they want longer, you charge extra.
Hope that makes sense (and apologies for thinking that you might be spam if you ARE genuine… I’m sure you can understand I get a ton of spam comments)!! C x
Thank you very much for your answers. It is not spam, just English is not my first language, the posts I am writing are in Spanish.
Ahhhh please accept my huge apologies Martin… it didn’t come across that English wasn’t your first language at all (also Martin is a typical British name 😉 ) – many native English speakers don’t write as well as you so it’s no way to tell! Glad the answers helped 🙂
This was really helpful! Also one question, is it safe to post the sponsored post, without receiving payment first? Or I’d that how companies work? Do I post it then receive payment? Thanks!
Glad you found it helpful Reece! It is normal practice to publish the post/content then send an invoice for payment, same as plumbers, designers or any other freelancers do work for you, then send an invoice. As I mentioned in the post don’t ever enter into a collaboration without a contract – in there it should be written about how long they have before making payment (standard is 30 days)… it’s a legal contract that binds them into paying you. Hope that answers your question! C x
Thank you so much for that awesome post! It really helped me a lot with all the very detailed information on the topic!
It’s my pleasure, John 🙂
Thank you very much for your great articles. I am so happy to have discovered you today, your posts are extremely helpful as I navigate these new waters. xx
Deborah hello – and welcome! So glad to know you’re finding them helpful… it’s lovely to e-meet you 🙂 Thank you xoxo
This is a super-helpful post! Thank you for sharing your insight and knowledge. It’s so useful to relative newbies like me!
Jennie I’m really glad – I just wish I could get this information to everyone… it helps us ALL in the long run! Thanks for the comment x 😀
Definitely! I’ve worked as a wedding photographer where everyone and their dog seemed to be in a race to the bottom in terms of what they charge. It’s hard enough making a living in a creative industry as it is, without us all under-cutting one another.
Anyway, just wanted to drop by and say great post, thank you! xx
Very informative and helpful! Thank you!
My pleasure, Chioma – hope it helps 🙂
This is fantastic and has just proved to be very useful for me as I embark on accepting such webmaster offers, rather than rejecting them as I have been. You are right that we should value our work and it is something that people have been ushering me to do for about 2 1/2 years, but I couldn’t bring myself to set a price, didn’t know what or how to put a price on sponsored content for companies that request it.
Your guid here makes it a lot easier to work out and navigate so hopefully I can start to earn my group some pennies to pay for its upkeep because as many will agree websites cost money, so does running a laptop, even the electric usage, not just the personal time that we put into the posts that we create. We often forget about running costs!
Thank you Catherine for enlightening me on this subject, wishing you wellness ~ Carole
Carole I’m so glad it’s helped you! You’re right about the running costs, even if you don’t want to make a blog your career it all costs money. Good luck going forward x
Excellent advice! Thanks for the tips, I found this really helpful x
My pleasure, Kate! x
Thank you so much, great advice. And I’m not even a blogger… I just find this helpful for everyone who is self employed and have to learn to price the services.
Wanda thank you – I’m so pleased you think it’s helpful… I wanted it to be something that ANYONE who’s self-employed could relate to. I think due to social media lots of professionals – not just bloggers – are being asked to work with brands, and hopefully this will help them determine rates and not undercharge…!
wonderful post, thanks for being so open and honest. It is true everyone talks money but no-one actually talks rates. So very very sorry about your news. I will miss that sweet pup in your pictures.
Thanks Linda – amazing how no one does, do they? In all my Googling I didn’t find ONE blog post that actually gave any hard numbers at all… they just all chicken out with “these are the factors to take into account when determining your rates”. I don’t know how that helps anyone?!!
And thank you (about Riley)… we’re having a tough time at the moment but know it’ll get easier eventually. xxxxx
These are great tips! Thank you for sharing. =)
I hope you are having a great week so far!
Amber thank you, hope it helps you! x
Who else felt the blogosphere shake as Catherine laid it all out there regarding fees and getting PAID for your work – (what a concept!) AND Emily Jane Johnston over at Fashion Fois Gras gave a step-by-step how-to of how she takes all her gorgeous self-portraits, all in the same week?!?!? For anyone wanting to either take the plunge or up their game, these ladies just wrote the book for you! I especially liked what you said, Catherine, about putting in the time and work to craft great-looking AND well-written content, especially if you want to be compensated for that work. You do SO much for allowing this form of journalism to get the respect it deserves.
Your huge fan,
Mary Katherine you’re such a star, thank you so much!! I definitely believe that you have to work your guts out to earn the right to up your prices… no point thinking you can just put them up and not put in the effort (gives us all a bad name otherwise)! x
What a fabulous post! I wish it had been around in 2012 when I was trying to monetise my now-retired blog. It was a different landscape back then, wasn’t it?! I had no idea what to charge and was constantly told “no other bloggers we’ve worked with have asked for a fee” or there was no budget to pay me but they could give me free stuff (on the plus side, I didn’t have to buy running shoes for nearly three years). And my blog wasn’t a small fry either, I too had won a blogging award and was usually getting between 30 and 40,000 page views a month. Reading your advice and suggested charges, I am really horrified by how little I charged compared to what I was actually worth. I might as well have charged them nothing (haha!).
I think the biggest problem was that nobody else was talking about it. A post like this one would have gone a long way at that time – because I felt like I was the only one floundering around with no clue. Now, I would do things very differently, but back then I took feeling undervalued very personally and as a result I probably didn’t handle things in the most constructive ways, on reflection. But who knows, maybe the bridges I burned helped light the way for other bloggers to get paid what they’re worth! It does seem to be a very different story these days, thank goodness. But as you quite rightly point out, there is still the need to justify our worth to people – but as a freelancer still, I am more skilled at that these days! If I ever get a tattoo it will probably be “know your worth” on one arm and “hold your nerve” on the other! 🙂
As always, I value your insights and your generosity in sharing them Catherine xx
Oh gosh things were COMPLETELY different back in 2012, Philippa – I can remember reading the first time a blogger saying she was giving up her job and going full time with blogging… I remember thinking, So HOW do you make any money?!!!!!!
I too charged horrifically low fees back in the day, I was lucky enough to get an agent early who made the WORLD of difference to what I could charge. Good to hear that you’re still a freelancer and – by the sounds of it – commanding what you’re worth!! Thank you for the lovely comment, I wish this post had been around when I was starting out, too…! x
What a wonderful and informative post. So very interesting. Thanks for sharing this. Hope you are having a wonderful Sunday.
So glad you thought so, Patrick – thank you!
Catherine, I can’t tell you how grateful I am to you for writing this post. I’ve been writing my blog for fifteen years. My love of writing and photography has kept it going, but time and time again I feel utterly depressed over the fact that I feel I have failed badly at it and am just wasting my time. However, it turns out my numbers aren’t nearly as dire as I thought they were! I’d more-or-less given up trying to make a go of it, but in fact, I could actually start charging for blog posts!
I know it shouldn’t be about the money, but this has cheered me up no end, and has given me a boost of confidence to keep at it. Thank you so much – I look forward to the day my blog is successful enough for all the other fabulous information you’ve shared here to be relevent to me!! I’m sure you’ve helped out so many people for writing this post; thank you!
Helen thank you – it was my pleasure to write it… I can’t believe that no one has really (and I mean REALLY) written it before! Good to hear that you’re doing better than you think you are, and remember: If you’re approached then you already have worth. And if someone wants you to work for them, you should start charging… it’s as simple as that. Good luck! x
I agree with Ashley, you are hereby elected Minister of Blogging!! Your advice from photography and rates has been invaluable to me over the years.
I wish women would stop apologising for wanting and needing money. Every brand and PR should read this post and feel *ashamed* at asking people to work for free for them. Every BLOGGER should read this and understand that they have value and they deserve to be paid for quality content. Good photography, good writing, good information and an interesting point of view don’t just happen randomly. It is created and it HAS VALUE. If a brand wants to be aligned with you, they have to pay for that opportunity. Thank you for being so specific about money; I hope people realise their value after reading it. Brava brava brava.
Oh gosh YES to the women apologising thing, Lisa!! As you know it infuriates me no end to see women undervaluing themselves. I hope many women realise their value after reading this too. Thank you!!!!
What a fabulous post Catherine – as all yours are. I will be reading and re-reading this as it’s so informative. It actually makes me more excited to work harder on my blogging and learn more. I’m sure I’ll be contacting you for more help too! Thank you, thank you. Jacqui Mummabstylish.
Jacqui thank you – and yes, please do drop me a message or an email if you’ve got any questions! Good luck with it going forward! x
Thanks for such an informative post. I hope to start getting some sponsored posts and this is super helpful. Xo
It’s my pleasure, Amy – hope it helps you!! x
Catherine, I cannot even tell you how much I appreciate this information! What a thorough post, too. I was just telling my husband this week that I was going to reach out to you for some assistance, too! But you have already answered most of the questions I had. However, I am still missing something on my blog and I am not sure where I am going wrong. I checked out those sites you suggested for blog rankings, etc. and my stuff is all poo poo! Lol. I may be emailing you soon for some tips on how to improve that! Thanks so much for all you do in the world of blogging and supporting others!
Hehe I tend to be very thorough with the ‘answering questions within the body of the post’ thing, Shelbee…!! 😉
If it’s the DA you were checking, don’t worry (I looked yours up) – I’m sure many brands don’t check it. But what you have going for you is very high engagement, so remember to highlight the positives and not dwell on the not-so-positives! You also have a very regular posting schedule so all that posting with all that engagement works well in your favour.
Thank you, sweetheart, I’m so glad you found the post helpful! x
I suppose I am not the only one saving this blogpost to look at again and again on my blogging journey. Thank you so much Catherine. You are always so generous in sharing tips with others, something I highly value and appreciate. Thanks a lot! Love, Lieske
It’s my absolute pleasure, Lieske – I plan to keep it updated as and when things change, so hopefully it’s always relevant! x
This is such great information, Catherine! I’ve been getting emails about free stuff or discounts but really wonder if that’s the way to go. Your words of wisdom about knowing what you want and valuing yourself are SO helpful. And you’re right–I’ve read other posts but NO ONE has actually spelled out what to charge. Thanks, once again, for sharing your knowledge and insight.
You’re most welcome, Darlene, and thank you for the kind words! The discounts I’d steer COMPLETELY clear of (I assume you mean they offer you a discount to buy their stuff so you then feature it? That’s wrong on SO many levels!!!!) – and free stuff is only “free” if you accept it under no obligation. Remember, if they don’t pay you, they have no right to make any demands of you. It’s yours to do with as you want! See my product gifting policy here: https://www.notdressedaslamb.com/product-gifting-policy – make sure you have one of your own, and only accept gifts if they agree to those terms.
Otherwise I hope the info is here ready and waiting for you for when you ARE contacted about providing a quote… good luck! x
Thank you!! I pinned this as it’s important!
Pleasure, Chocoviv! x
Catherine, as always, thank you for being so frank and ACTUALLY disclosing actual numbers. We all need to be more transparent, because it will help all of us earn more! I am bookmarking this post for future reference!
Cheryl Shops | http://www.cherylshops.net
Thanks Cheryl – it was really frustrating me that no one put any damn figures down in their posts about the subject… they just chickened out of providing anything of worth to people – we want to see NUMBERS!!!
And you’re right – it WILL help us all to earn more. If everyone stopped undercharging, then brands would have to stop underpaying. It’s simple but so many bloggers don’t see it!!
I’m so glad you wrote this post Catherine. I’m going to share the shit out of it!
If it wasn’t for you I never would’ve known my worth as a blogger and for that reason I always feel a sense of duty to other bloggers. A “pay it forward” if you like, to those I see under cutting their brilliant work. It’s a tough one to gauge even in 2019 but we must stop thinking of blogging as a hobby when we work at it like a job. Too often, as Women we feel guilty or shy about asking to be paid. Add to that an over supply of gratitude and you’re giving brands free advertising. Content is valuable and so is engagement, just because you love it doesn’t mean you should give it away for free.
I’ve been reading a lot about micro influencers lately and the value of small communities. I can see how much real action a brand will get from that investment as opposed to say, paying a KK type.
Make no mistake these brands definitely have budget, it’s just a matter of how they choose to distribute it. The point is if they think they can get you to do all the work for free, that’s what they’ll propose.
Please DO share the shit out of it, MT!! 😉
I agree about women feeling too shy or guilty to ask for payment. As well as the over gratitude thing – it’s so easy to fall for though as we’re a materialistic lot by nature, and brands luring us with the offer of “ooooh, free stuff” is too easy for them and we need to stop falling for it!
Hopefully there will be a mini-revolution… I’m sure you’ll be there to lead the way with me!! 😀
This is so so helpful Catherine! Thanks for such an in-depth post. There is a lot of new information for me here since I haven’t started doing sponsored posts yet.
I’m really glad to have helped, Suchot! Good luck for when the time comes… you’ll be so prepared!! x
Wow! I need f to save this post so I can look back at it when I’m, my blog of course, is growing. And I can charge more now! Ha ha, so I can shop more now!! Oeh bad thing. Happy weekend andthanks for this very informative post!
Pleasure, Nancy – love how you’re already spending the money you haven’t yet earned, lol!! 😉
This is brilliant Catherine. So useful and there in black and white. I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve asked your advice about these matters and you’re always spot on! Thank you again for being a brilliant, honest and true friend xxxx
Thank you Liz my lovely – it’s been a pleasure to help you raise your rates and get what you deserve!! You’re proof that it CAN be done! x
Thank you SO much for writing this post! It’s honestly the most helpful thing that I’ve read in a really long time and I’ve saved it to my bookmarks so I can refer back to it in the future.
Thank you again!
Naomi that’s such a lovely comment, thank you so much! Good luck, hope it helps you raise your rates to lofty heights 😉 xx
Hi Catherine, I’m not even a blogger but I just had to write and tell you how fabulous this post is! Well done!
Oh gosh THANK YOU Patricia, that means a lot – usually I have to put up with a lot of vitriol from non-bloggers when it comes to these sorts of posts as they think we SHOULDN’T be paid at all…!
What they don’t see is that bloggers are freelancers and self-employed women, so in a way it benefits ALL women who work for themselves, whether they’re bloggers, photographers, bakers, graphic designers or plumbers. It’s all about knowing your worth and charging accordingly. I hate to see women being apologetic about their skills and being taken advantage of: NO ONE should work for free, no matter what their profession! Thank you!!!
It is always super useful when bloggers talk about this because so few of them do! You’re doing a great job and how cool you’ve got an agent.
Thanks Ivana! I haven’t had an agent for a couple of years, but it’s next on my list of things to do… getting the right one is VERY important though! x
Catherine if ever there was an election for minister of Blogging I would vote for you every time!
Thank you so much for this amaaaazing post. I can see so much thought and hard work went I to it !
Mwah mwah darling girl
Oh Ashley thank you, lol!! 😉 It did take a long time to write, but no one has ever tackled this head-on (not that I’ve ever seen) x
What an absolutely brilliant and useful post Catherine! I’ve really struggled with setting fees so this has given me the confidence to stick to my guns. I had an email from a shoe brand recently who wanted a sponsored post (no details on exactly what they wanted) but I told them my fee is £100. They emailed back saying “Thanks but your rate is far too high”. Now I’m thinking it wasn’t high enough! Thanks so much for sharing all this knowledge…I’m bookmarking it!
Emma thank you I hope it helpws you! When brands tells you your fee is too high (when it absolutely is NOT), it’s not that you’re overcharging, it’s that everyone else is UNDERcharging. I’ve often told a brand that…!
And yes, hike up those fees! You were nominated for a UK Blog Award, you’ve done modelling for brands, get that on your media kit and in your bio and correspondence!!
This is brilliant! A post I know I will come back to time and time again xx
Excellent post, saved to Pinterest!
Great Gail – thank you!
Thank you Laurie, and yes I hope you will! Get to know your worth and charge accordingly…!
You have always been so helpful to me when I’ve mailed you with my various queries and this is a great post .
Thankyou for sharing it’s so appreciated.
I think you should send it onto PR companies!!
Thank you hon – and yes I’m glad to have helped you in the past! Hope you can now see how much you’re worth to brands, and when to tell them to get lost… 😉 #GoTracey
This is one of the many things that I love about you Catherine…your willingness to share all that you know and have learned during the course of your blogging career. When I was working on setting up my fee structure I referred to many of the posts you’ve written in the past. Actually this morning right before I read your post, I received an email from a rather well-known shoe brand. They had emailed me previously offering product for an Instagram post. I responded with my fee as well as my gifting policy. Their response was “We’re currently working on a trade basis campaign gifting 1 items per post, but I’d be more than happy to adjust your order to 2 items as you request a rate.” There was no mention of my policy for posting gifted items (no requirements from the brand, posting at my discretion, etc). I think I’m going to respond and ask what their expectations are because I’m curious as to their response…
Debbie that’s so kind of you… thank you! It frustrates me that no one shares this information… time it was out in the open!
That’s bloody cheeky about the two shoes – how will two pairs be any different to one?! Unless you were homeless and only owned one pair of shoes it’s hardly going to compensate you for your time and effort?!!
Wow. What a helpful and detailed post, Catherine. Thanks so much. You are so generous with your time in writing these posts. I don’t do sponsored posts at the moment, but I am (after 5 years of blogging) finally dipping my toe into the affiliate link method. I’m saving this post to come back to later if I decide to ramp things up.
The main thing is that it’s here as and when a brand approaches you out of the blue to work for them, Sue… it’s an awful feeling when you’re asked for a quote and have NO idea what to charge! Thank you so much xx