Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Bloggers and Compensation: I Asked and They Blew Me Off

I'm still stewing over something so I'm hoping to write about it and move on. Back in April, I got a private message on Twitter from the marketing people behind an app I use. I had asked a question on their Facebook page, and, despite my not having my blog information on my personal Facebook page, they must have followed the internet rabbit trail back to this site. They said they would love to work with me and asked that I get in touch.


I sent an email saying I enjoy using their app and I'd be happy to work with them on sponsored content. I'm sure you can see where this is going. Crickets. I never heard from them again. Had I gone to them to ask how to get my client as one of their in-app ads, they would have responded with rates. Because they are a business. Well, guess what? So am I.



After I sent my email I jotted down some ideas to present to them beyond a general review that would have crossed all budget levels. I know this won't be the last time a company blows me off after I respond to their soft pitch with my rates, but it's still really disappointing. I used their app yesterday and today, which is probably why I'm still a little bitter. Who better to help a brand increase their social profile than its loyal users?


Now, I'm sure some of you are thinking, "maybe they don't have any money." It's possible, and it's something PR says all the time. But. I can pull up links to other posts about this app, and the links the writers used are all affiliate links. So there's money somewhere. Not responding to me at all was a bit unprofessional and it prevented us from being able to come up with an alternate form of compensation beyond a straight paycheck. While cash is king, I am open to other ideas if they make sense.


I think I've been pretty clear about how I want to work with brands. My About Me pages are the most visited on my site. But just in case, I copied the snippet below from my Policies and Procedures:


Sponsored Content: If your pitch involves 'sharing information with my readers,' be prepared to receive a response with my rates. Let's work together to create a program for your client/brand. Whether it's one post or an entire campaign across platforms (video, Pinterest, Facebook,Twitter), I want to help you create exposure for brands that fit my site.


Yes, I do make exceptions and this may have been a time I was willing to do so, but now I'll never know. Even though I used the app today, this situation has colored my opinion of them. I'm not sorry I mentioned money. They wanted me to provide a service (and use my trust capitol to provide that service); I told them the service came with a price. It's too bad, because I think we could have put together something really fun and I think it would have tied in nicely with the posts I've done before about the apps I like and the app board I have on Pinterest. I'm wondering if I should send one last email or just let it go.


Though this situation was a little discouraging, I'll be sticking to my guns when it comes to pay and sponsored content. Hopefully me maintaining my principles will attract the kinds of brands and businesses that see the value in what bloggers can provide. 


What about you: have you heard crickets when you mentioned your rates? How did you handle the situation? 

Photo credit freedigitalphotos.net

8 comments :

  1. Until quite recently I never had the intention to make any money from my blogging - and as for my personal site I probably wont - BUT - I have also embarked on learning more how to setup an internet business and I'm doing a lot of content/copywriting as a result. If/when I decide to offer out those services outside of my own sites (once I can see that they are effective), you can bet I will always ask for compensation! I say good for you for sticking to your guns. They were dumb ;-)

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  2. Good for you. I am usually really accommodating when working with a start-up that I know doesn't have any money to advertise and promote, but there comes a time when I feel that people just expect bloggers to do their work for FREE. If they put up an ad somewhere they'd be paying for it. Having a blogger write a post that will be seen by a large audience is the same thing. It's our time, effort and endless hours of building that audience that should be compensated on some level.

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    Replies
    1. As usual, it's the gray area between PR and advertising. This company wanted me to help increase the number of people who download and use their app. To me, that means I'm helping them generate revenue which is advertising.

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  3. I get "crickets" from time to time but for the most part I get a straight yes or no. Of course generally it is a NO and they offer me high-resolution images and a press kit. This is where they get back crickets from me!

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    Replies
    1. Spot on, Shelly. Hi res photos mean nothing to me or my bottom line.

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  4. I'm so glad you touched on this. before i took my hiatus, I was being approached (emailed) all types of "will you write about this, will you mention that" but never any follow up for what the "said" company would do for me besides provide me with a free product which was no guarantee that I'd like. I am feeling this post.

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  5. I've been on various sides of this: the PR side, the blogger side, etc. There's one PR firm that offers me non profit content & although they have never paid me (in 4 years now), they have sent nice gifts now and again, holiday cards and their posts usually generate the best SEO for me (because Google can see I wasn't paid for it and so I'm allowed to give them a DoFollow link, etc). So I try to be open to helping start ups & small budgets and non profits, etc. Their content can actually help my own SEO if others are running searches on them. The searches may bring new eyes to my site, etc.

    On the other hand, when someone emails me, "Hey! Can you just mention this on your blog for us and then tweet, too? Thanks!" I delete or reply, "Hi there! Well, I'm always happy to talk about cross promotion so let me know what you can offer me in return and we'll chat from there." :-) If they have offered no two-way street and clearly just want free PR/advertising, I let it go and never think of it again. I don't like being used. However, I'm always open to someone who says, "Hey! We just started our business. We can pay you a small sum or... maybe we can work out a deal? We'll promote you if you promote us. We'll work hard to promote you back, we promise!" Sometimes those deals are even better than the few bucks, I figure. And I often make a friend in the process who networks with me or refers me later on - to higher paying clients.

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