A necessary evil.
That spins the world.
This is one of those harder-to-write posts. The sort which makes you ponder a little. Question what you’re doing, but more importantly, why you’re doing it. We all blog for different reasons. I mean, creating a blog is easy enough, it’s a clear understanding of why we blog that sustains the momentum and allows us to do this, not only consistently, but also continuously.
M I N E ?
Personally, I’m no longer certain if my original catalyst still stands. I began writing because I felt stifled by the industry within which my full-time job exists. Have I ever told you what I do for a living in the offline world? I take care of all communications and branding activities for a Managed Security Services Provider (aka an internet security firm). The blog is my outlet for self-
expression preservation. As yours is for you, I reckon.
At the end of the day, no matter our personal agendas, we blog to gain recognition. To be noticed. Be it by our peers or brands or readers. By anyone in a position to offer either an opportunity or support. And, for most of us, the ultimate goal is clearly to earn an income from blogging. Which brings us to the next question.
HOW MUCH ARE WE WORTH?
Not surprisingly, there aren’t any industry standards by which we can make reference to. But having said that, before determining the how much, shouldn’t we first define when to charge and, by the same token, when not to?
The lines are blurry, I concur, and aren’t always the same for each blogger. In my case, I look at it this way. If something is already on my editorial calendar and I’ve planned to share information pertaining thereto, then I’m not about to charge for it. If, however, I’ve been tasked to write about a specific item, on behalf of a brand, within an agreed-upon timeframe, then yes, I charge.
You also need to determine the nature of work you’re willing to undertake. I’m personally not a fan of affiliate links nor of giveaways. For the most part. Meaning it’d take a really attractive prize to entice me into running a contest. Then there are appearances (or event hosting), styling gigs, pure content writing (my fave) which may (or may not) involve the use of email lists, creative marketing campaigns deployed exclusively across social media platforms, and, of course, the ubiquitous Sponsored Post under which fall Guest Posts, Product Posts, Profile Interviews, that sort of thing. All of which
should must be charged.
There’s also the occasional bit for charity which I never take money for. I firmly believe that altruism is sexy. Ahem. Oh, and when I mean charge, I don’t mean $25 for a sponsored post.
Yes, it’d be lovely if there were clearly defined guidelines on how much bloggers should be charging but since there aren’t, let’s approach it in several different ways. First, look around the industry and research market rates in similar fields such as copywriting or digital brand strategy or email marketing. Next, explore the web in search of media kits for publications (and even bloggers, some advertise their rates openly) to have an understanding of how much they charge. This will give you a sense of what the market is open to.
Next, you need to honestly evaluate your strengths and quantify them. Mine lies in conceptualising strategies, themes, and writing, so I charge the most for those. To this, I add time for researching, taking photos, communicating with the brand, that sort of thing. Next comes the statistics – pageviews, ranking, followers.
Undoubtedly, anything involving the asking of money is a delicate process. A fragile balance between receiving fair compensation for your talent and your time, and what the industry believes to be standard practice. Granted, the two rarely ever meet right smack in the middle but asking for more is always best since you’re at liberty to lower your fee. Asking for far too little not only leaves you with zero room for negotiation, but it also creates the impression that (1) your work is sub par; (2) you’re clearly under-valuing your abilities so why should the brand treat you differently; and (3) you run the risk of appearing unprofessional.
I REPEAT, HOW MUCH ARE WE WORTH?
Remember the phrase, “If you pay peanuts, you get monkeys”?
Too true, my friend, too true.
I’ve put together an equation, I suppose you could call it a formula, to help me calculate how much of a fee to charge when I work with brands. Interested to see how it works? And if you’ve got one of your own, would you care to share?
p/s photos by Sofia Touassa
I link up here.