Working professionally as a blogger and social media influencer and strategist for over 5 years, there is something that really gets under my skin. I see it less myself because I nipped it in the bud. However, in blogging forums, I see many new bloggers posting they’ve been asked to promote a service or app without any mention of compensation. Even over the internet, I can see the quivering lip of the new blogger, as she meekly asks, if this is okay. Some will try to justify they have no right to ask for compensation because they are just too new.
It isn’t just bloggers, it’s the photographer who is asked to photograph a friend’s daughter’s Sweet 16. You notice I didn’t say “hired” because, it should be an honor. The professional magician who is asked to just do a little strolling magic at his neighbors wedding, after all he’s going to be there and it comes so easy to him. The graphic artist who should be turning cartwheels over her friend’s suggestion to design a new website, logo and marketing materials for her new business. It goes on, but if you ever want to be treated as a professional, you need to act like one.
Stop thinking that your work has no value and your time is not precious. As a newbie it’s hard for some to stand up and say something. Most feel maybe they should take it, it could be a portfolio builder, they don’t feel worthy to say anything else.
I tell new bloggers never be afraid, respond to the email with confidence. Write back, that the app or service sounds like it would be a great match for your readers and social media followers. Then ask them what the compensation is for promotion on your blog and social media channels? Be assertive and stand your ground. I guarantee Gloria from XYZMedia is getting paid to find people to promote this, why shouldn’t you?
I also prepare them, how to respond if they receive a reply from Gloria saying that the client has a small budget and they could use the piece to get their audience excited. They may also go on to say that while they are not able to provide any type of compensation this time, they do work with other clients and there is a chance of other partnerships down the road.
Now, they say that for a reason, they want the newbie to think if she throws this away, she will never hear from them with any other opportunities. It usually works like a charm, and the agent gets the client free promotion and the blogger gets put on the “Will Blog For Free” List. Their name will never make it to big budget clients because accepting it showed the media agent they’re not professional. If they want to be taken seriously they need to write back that they know they could create buzz for the app or service but that they don’t work for free and turn the tables and ask if they do? Ask if the are being paid for the work they’re doing now or are they volunteering their time at XYZMedia?
I’m not saying you should not volunteer for worthwhile things, but make sure you are not taken advantage of. The perception many have of bloggers is that what we do is so easy, or of such little value, we should be glad to have some content to post. They are really doing us the favor.
It is the exact opposite, bloggers are powerful influencers brands can plug-in with to have their product or service promoted to the blog’s loyal target market. The bloggers have the power to amplify stories, experiences, services, images and ideas through their posts and create a social media storm of tweets, pins, posts, likes and shares on every major social media channel.
Start valuing your work and the next time you get an email from Larry, Felicia, Susan or Gloria, acting like you should be tickled they picked you to promote their client for free, just ask what the compensation is. Go on, you can do it. Be proud of your work. When you feel the butterflies, just ask yourself if the client they are pitching you is paying them for their services. You know the answer is yes, so why would you let them take advantage of you?
Have you ever dealt with someone asking you to do your craft for free like they were doing you a favor? How did you respond? Please share your stories, I would love to hear them.