Why You Should Be Paying Bloggers
This is a topic that I struggled back and forth with for a long time. As a creative marketing agency that represents both brands and bloggers, I would always say that I understood both sides, in brands not having a budget, and bloggers wanting payment for their work. It honestly took some long, hard conversations with some amazing people in this industry for me to recognize that as an agency focused on ethics, we need to stand up for the fair payment of all. Which is why you may have noticed a few months ago we published our Ethics Statement stating that we would only take on clients who have set aside a budget for the fair payment of bloggers, and this is why:
1. By asking a blogger to share your products with their audience, you are asking for them to advertise your brand.
Would you ask Facebook or Pinterest to give you free advertising? Would the local newspaper allow you to run your ad without sponsorship? Collaborating with a blogger whose audience aligns with your target audience is the same concept as running an ad in an online magazine, newspaper, or social media site, and should also charge accordingly.
2. Most bloggers (if their following is not purchased) have worked long and hard to cultivate a community invested in their content.
Picture this. You’re a brand who has been around for a few years. You’ve worked long and hard to build a community genuinely interested in your brand. So much so that they’ve subscribed to your e-mail list, one that is now very long. This list is your main way of communicating with your audience and you hold it very dear to your business. Now imagine someone just asked you to have that e-mail list for free so that they too can reach your audience that you’ve worked long and hard to build. Would you be comfortable with that? Those relationships were cultivated through much invested time and content, and should be fairly compensated for such an ask.
3. Bloggers work a lot harder than you think, and sometimes have to account for overhead.
Bloggers who create quality content often invest in things like a professional photographer, high-end editing softwares, and more. Not only do they have to cover the costs for themselves, but high volume bloggers such as Natalie Kay from Sustainably Chic can track a 70-hour work week, creating content for brands.
4. You would pay a marketing employee or freelancer to create content for you, right?
Asking a blogger to create blog posts, social media posts, shoot your product professionally, and more is the same ask as hiring a freelancer or marketing team member to create that content on a daily basis. They invest the same hours and creativity into making content and should be fairly compensated as such.
5. Bloggers are in high demand.
Whether you’re pitching a micro blogger, or one that’s cultivated a community of over 300K followers, influencer marketing is extremely popular right now, meaning that a bloggers time is extremely valuable. Especially during holiday season, bloggers can receive hundreds of pitches a week and as entrepreneurs must prioritize the collaborations that will support their business and livelihood.
6. The ethical industry believes in fair payment for all laborers.
I feel like this speaks for itself, but any type of labor deserves fair payment for their time, creativity, and value.
So what do you do if you’re a brand who really doesn’t have a large budget to work with bloggers?
This is a fair question and one that we get often. You don’t have to go into influencer collaborations with a thousand dollar budget, but go into it knowing fair expectations for both parties. Set a certain amount of money that you would be willing to spend, along with a certain amount of product that you’re able to gift, and then create a list of 4 or 5 strong bloggers who seem like a good fit for your brand and budget (you would be surprised how engaged micro bloggers audiences are). From there, submit a fair pitch that can then be built upon, such as, “I don’t have a huge budget, but I’d love to sponsor you for $200 plus product in exchange for an Instagram Post and Instagram story.” This sets clear expectations for both parties, and shows the blogger that you value their time and work, and know they should be paid. Going into a collaboration offering sponsorship sets the tone for negotiation so that both parties can come to a fair agreement, and create great work together.
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