Blog Talk: Why Bloggers Can’t Work for Free

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I’m so sad that I even have the need to write this post. If you’re a blogger, you probably have the same frustrations I have: people ask you day in and day out to work for free. And yes, creating a sponsored post in exchange for a dress or a $10 gift card to your store counts as working for free.

I think what people don’t realize is that bloggers put hours and hours into each blog post. We pay photographers to take the photos, we pay social media assistants to help amplify the posts, and we work hard to integrate sponsorships into our usual content in a way that is authentic and natural. Why should I, or any other blogger, do all of that for someone when they refuse to place any value on it and pay for it? There’s absolutely nothing in it for us. In fact, it costs us money…and time. After all, if you’re a brand reaching out to me, there’s a reason for that, right?

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And then there comes the big reason we can’t work for free. Not only is it insulting and degrading when someone asks you to work for free, but there’s also the fact that we actually need this money to survive. My blog is my full-time job. Besides my design income, it’s the only way I can pay my bills. Believe me, I wish I could give Comcast a pair of jeans in exchange for a month of internet, but it doesn’t work that way.

As bloggers, we have value not only in our social influence & SEO impact, but also in our creativity. A sponsored post is a service a brand pays for. It’s the time spent on creating the content, a unique voice and perspective, the professional photos that are shared, and the placement on a valuable space on the internet. So if you’re a blogger, be sure to charge what you’re worth; and if you’re a brand, be sure to give bloggers the respect our craft deserves!

Have you experienced this on either side? What are your thoughts on the issue?

Photo by Johnny Cheng.

Read more in the Blog Talk series here.