Hi guys, today’s post was totally unplanned. I’ve been seeing some stuff online this week about blogging and money. That’s nothing new, but it’s stirred up some thoughts I’ve been having for a while and decided it was time to share them. Before we begin, this isn’t the ‘are ads bad?’ debate. I’m going to assume that everyone reading this accepts that people deserve to be paid for their work. This post is more about the process of money changing hands and the struggle of knowing how much you’re really worth. This could turn into a rant, who knows?
‘Know Your Worth’
I’m sure if you’re a blogger, or follow a large number of bloggers on social media, you’ll be very familiar with the phrase ‘know your worth’. We’ve all been told we shouldn’t work for nothing, or that we shouldn’t sell ourselves short.
Just this week, I saw a tweet that really rubbed me the wrong way. Basically, a blogger was complaining that a PR had the audacity to suggest that she work on a gifting basis. Quite frankly, I think that’s a little rude. If you don’t want to work for just a product, that’s fine. But you’re not entitled to that product to begin with. I know the phrase ‘no budget’ is frustrating, but some companies really don’t have the budget.
You can’t tweet about wanting to support small, independent companies, then complain that they can’t pay you. Their profit margins are small and gifting products does still take a chunk out of their bottom line, albeit a smaller one.
So, you ‘know your worth’ and you don’t work for nothing. Cool. But how do you know your worth? This industry is so hush hush about money. Even when we do talk about it, we rarely mention actual numbers. Erm, exactly like I’m not talking specifics here. Everyone starts with a following and earnings, of 0. So how do you calculate your worth as those numbers increase?
I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately. Last week, I was speaking to a PR about a potential collaboration and she asked for my rates. As I was looking over the document before I sent them over, checking stats were up to date etc, I realised that I have no idea where those figures came from. I basically plucked them from thin air. I’ve been paid much more than that number, and I’ve also accepted much less. In reality, the number is about half way between the most I’ve ever been paid and the least I’ve ever accepted, so it’s not totally random.
But is it right?
You don’t really know how that number sits in comparison with others. Are you asking for more or less than other bloggers at a similar level to you? Now, of course, you could ask. And that’s fine. I’m absolutely certain I could DM a few people and throw some figures around and ask if they sound about right, but no one ever likes to initiate a conversation about money. And as this is a newer industry, and the media loves to throw around random, ludicrous figures when it comes to what people earn, there’s no easily accessible average, industry standard.
In my experience, most of the time the PR or company you’re working with have a figure in mind before you begin. I’m very rarely the first person to state a specific figure. Usually, they say an amount and I either accept or a negotiation starts. I think it’s easier to figure out what you’re happy with when they mention cash first. You can use your own logic to figure out whether your numbers are theirs are ever going to align and you know if that number on your document is a million miles from theirs. It just feels less risky.
When finding your figure, you can always look at those things online. You’ve probably seen them, they give a follower number or a view count and next to it, it will state a figure. But it’s not that simple. You may have those followers, but not those views. Fewer views and followers, but more engagement. The scenarios go on. It’s really not as black and white as x deserves y or z.
To know your worth, you have to be realistic. If you’re a newer, small blogger, you have to accept that you could get paid less than someone else. I’m not saying you’re worthless, but you are worth less. It’s not that your quality of work is lower, but at the end of the day, it’s a form of advertising. And if your reach is a lot less than the next person’s, you can’t expect the same £££ as someone else. You may be worth £50, £500, £5,000 or £50,000. Someone else may be worth more or less to the same brand.
My personal dos and don’t’s:
Be flexible. The terms and prices you accept for one brand aren’t the same for all of them.
Be taken advantage of. While I think it’s okay to accept products on a gifting basis if it’s something you really want to try, don’t accept deals that want you to pay. I see a lot of bloggers being asked to pay postage or review this product and we’ll give you 50% off??? No. Last time I checked, TV companies weren’t paying brands to feature their products in their own primetime slot.
Be grateful. No matter how many followers you have, the brand has still chosen to have you promote their products. They could have chosen anyone.
Be entitled. You do not deserve the entire world for free just because you have a strong platform. This is very similar to the last point. But a lot of people seem to let it go their head when they get used to getting certain things, so it’s worth reiterating.
And most importantly,
Be real. If you hate something, I promise your readers aren’t stupid. We’ve all seen videos where you can tell the person doesn’t actually use the product. Your blog is no different. Regular readers will be familiar with the way you speak, and how you react when you love something. It’s not worth lying about something.
What are your thoughts on this? Are your dos and don’ts similar to mine? And to close, I’d just like to put it out there that if you’re one of those people who are struggling to settle on a number and have any questions, my inbox is open. What do you guys think of this post? It very nearly got ditched and swapped for a recipe…
Until next time,
Tweed Dress: Zara Kids. A perk of being small. If anyone else is vertically challenged and interested, for reference I usually wear a UK4 and I’m 153cm. This is an age 11-12.