Let’s Talk About Paying Bloggers


Let’s imagine you’re a brand or PR rep and you’ve got a great product that you want to get into the hands of some bloggers. You know that if they can experience it they will love it and write about. You don’t want to pay them because the product speaks for itself.

Sound familiar?

should bloggers get paid

If you were the only company thinking this you’d be onto something, but unfortunately for you, you’re not. Bloggers are getting pitches left, right and centre from people who have had the exact same thought about their product. As a result, bloggers increasingly feel by taking time out to experience your product and writing intelligently and passionately about it, it’s reasonable to talk about compensation.

But.

How do you compensate bloggers for their time while maintaining the impartiality and credibility of the recommendation? And, does paying a blogger dilute the power of their comments?

There are two main viewpoints:

The first comes mainly from the PR corner and suggests that compensation = advertorial. The dominant sentiment is that PR doesn’t pay for comment. Bloggers are not journalists but they are new media and PR (for the most part) is having a hard time finding ways to negotiate this space. As always, there are great PR companies who really do a great job in this space – you know who you are.

The second comes mainly from bloggers but also increasingly from marketing departments and digital agencies and picks up on the new media angle. It says that compensation is for someone’s time not their opinion, and in the case of a brand partnership/ambassador program compensation is an appropriate response to someone who pro-actively aligns their reputation (and significant time) with them.

What do I think?

I think that when a brand strategically engages a blogger to act as a promotional partner they should be compensated.

I am not talking here about the more tactical “review and giveaway” campaigns (though I am not excluding those entirely either) but about strategic campaigns between a blogger and brand where the blogger genuinely endorses the brand and by working with them aligns their personal credibility and provides substantial access to their readership & community.

Not only do bloggers lend a brand their integrity via such an arrangement but they lend their knowledge and expertise of social media. This is knowledge that rightly deserves compensation.

And therein is the dirty word: deserves.

I don’t like the word “deserve”. We (bloggers) do not deserve to work with brands, we do not deserve to be sent free stuff, we do not deserve anything.

A brand that is clever might recognise the opportunities that a blogger offers and may choose to approach a blogger for a partnership of some sort. Should they do this and such an offer be accepted then the word “deserve” comes into play; but it’s not something that a blogger can claim simply because they are a blogger. We should view as a cautionary tale the path Mommy Bloggers in America have taken regarding this and the poor reputation they are gaining by being liberal with the dreaded “d” word. I believe that when we talk in terms such as “deserving” we do ourselves an injustice.

A better word is simply compensation.*

When one individual or business provides a service to another it involves compensation. When the service provider is a blogger the situation ought to be no different. When a blogger has information that a brand needs, or offers an endorsement that is valuable, compensation should not be a matter of “if” but of “what.” Compensation does not need to take the form of cold hard cash, though I don’t believe there’s anything wrong with that. Brand Partnerships could take myriad of forms, as could compensation; the key is to come to an agreement that both parties are happy with.

What do you think?

*Edit: there has been some discussion in the comments about whether compensation is the right word and I’d love to hear what you think about this as the words we use to describe and even begin to define what bloggers do have to offer brands are very important. In the context here I am using the word compensation to describe “something given as payment” – I realise the word has limitations and can appear to undermine the value that a blogger has to offer, please understand that is not my intention. 

56 Comments

  1. Great points for bloggers and for brands here.

    It is a tricky business but I do agree, that blogging itself does not mean you deserve anything. A blog is just a blog after all. It can come and go and be gone in an instant and a post can be risky, one post for a brand that they have no control over.

    My only suggestion here is that we use the real word. Not compensation, but remuneration. What you get when you are paid for your professional work.

    Being picky I know. Sorry.

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    • When I read this comment my first thought was “Yes! That’s the word”. I went to the post and started editing it and saying why and then realised – no that’s not quite what I want to say. While remuneration is one way of approaching it there are other equally valid ways of working with bloggers that are broader than that, and while I am somewhat uncomfortable with sentiment of compensation that can suggest it’s not real work that has real value, I also don’t want to limit a brand partnership to a fee paying arrangement. Of course I do think it’s real work and is of real value and by using the word compensation I mean “something given as payment”. Perhaps I am not being bold enough here but I do think there are other ways to do this that would be of value to a blogger, perhaps even greater value than a straight fee, especially for those blogging firstly as a hobby and secondly for monetisation purposes.

      hmmm…so much to say about this! I’m glad this is just the beginning of the conversation 🙂

      Looking forward to hearing more of your thoughts Claire, I have great respect for your opinion. x

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      • Ok, that works, if you are back to a blogger being compensated by product or services or offers of giveaways etc,

        I was focussing on strictly receiving payment in return for doing a blog post.

        If you are approached to promote / discuss / review a brand and they are paying you to do so, you are being remunerated for your skills and talent. You have obligations – not to give positive comment, but to fulfil your obligations with them.

        Failing to complete the task would mean not getting paid, or remunerated.

        As I first mentioned though, it is just being picky with words.

        After being in legal for so long, compensation to me, is given to those that have been wronged in some way. I know it is not the full meaning of the word, but more and more in our conversations compensation is what people are paid as an apology, to compensate for their loss, to assist them with hardship that was not of their own making.

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        • It’s a good point about the word compensation. I think the way bloggers and brands can work together for paid campaigns goes beyond the sponsored post and payment for such work might come in other ways – not as a way for a brand to shirk their obligation to pay but to allow for personalizing the approach in a way that works best for both parties. That’s the idea anyway!

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    • Thanks Donna, I agree. Perhaps it’s using the word “deserve” alongside it that can taint it? As Claire has commented, it’s a simple as being paid for your professional work and as complicated and determining the appropriate context for it to take place.

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  2. Hi Louisa

    I love that we’re talking more and more about this.

    Could you enlighten me about the Mommy Blogger experience in the US, in regard to this topic?

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    • Hi Lina, this post gives you insight into one aspect of the “grabby” culture that has emerged among some (many?) but not all Mommy Bloggers in Amercia. Whether it is actually that prevalent is hard to tell but it’s definitely something the community has become known for – which is really such a shame. This culture manifests itself in other ways too, but the BlogHer post is something I’ve seen said most years after the conference. As we have been hearing the conferences offers such great content for bloggers it’s really disappointing when those messages get lost among the ‘grabby’ side of things.

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      • Thanks for that, Louisa. I read it. Very interesting. I’m glad that we can learn from the US experience and others. Thank you. You satisfactorily enlightened me! 🙂

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  3. YES! I’m quite vocal on this point – there seems to be this stigma out there that if you pay a blogger it’s like ‘cash for comment’. But the time we invest in our writing is substantial, and if a brand is asking for that time to be used promoting them, then what’s wrong with expecting some compensation?

    Having said that… I’m not precious about this stuff and I take it on a case by case basis. There are many things I’ll do for free, whether that be for a charity or a small business, or something I feel readers will really love or that I get a real enjoyment from. There are also experiences and other forms of compensation, as you’ve mentioned, and they’re great alternatives too.

    Loving the blog, Louisa, and the conversations being created here. These are important issues for bloggers and brands to think and talk about.

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    • Thanks Megan, I’m having a little laugh and I know you’ll know why. I too am loving the conversation here and think it’s great that we can have these conversations like adults and hopefully all learn something along the way 🙂

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  4. I feature a lot of products on my site (but no where near as many as sent to me) – they are included in editorials that I create as part of my editorial plan. My readership is valuable to brands.

    I have done advertorials (sponsored posts) and will continue to do so. The difference with a sponsored post on my site is that that brand will have exclusivity on that post. It’s very rare that I’ll only feature one brand on a non-sponsored post.

    As we are a new media – and I have a readership that exceeds some magazines and newspapers, we are all part of the education process going forward in forging our ways with brands, marketing managers and PRs.

    As a blogger, when it comes down to it, if you get PRed and don’t want to write about it – then don’t. If you think the pitch is more advertorial, then raise the suggestion of a sponsored post and be prepared to walk away if they say no.

    Going forward the smart digital media agencies will be working with us – new media – in integrated advertorial and banner campaigns. It’s up to you whether you want to be a part of that.

    Value your blog, your space and your readers – and make your decisions based on great content.

    That’s the key to successful blogging, remunerated or not.

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    • Thanks for sharing your experience and thoughts Nikki. I agree that we are in a phase of educating one another about how to make this space work and it’s encouraging to see more and more agencies and marketing departments open to trying new things and looking to make a meaningful connection with bloggers.

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  5. I have a question. If a blogger is paid to review a product, would that blogger feel obliged to write a positive review even if they didn’t like the product? Or from a PR/brand point of view, if there is a chance that a blogger would write something negative why would they compensate them?

    Or if a blogger is compensated for working side by side with a brand but then the brand does something that the blogger perhaps doesn’t agree with, would the blogger feel compelled because of their relationship with the brand, not to blog or speak up about it?

    My point, I guess is, if compensation is involved, will it always mean that a positive slant has be used in writing or would a brand be happy to compensate a blogger but possibly receive negative feedback on a public blog?

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    • Would it not be up to the blogger to decide?
      Personally, I would never give positive feedback on a product/service I didn’t believe in and I would make that very clear from the start.
      If that meant losing out on an opportunity then so be it. I don’t think it’s fair to either the blogger or the product itself to provide an unfair or dishonest opinion for the sake of compensation.

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    • Some bloggers might feel this and some companies who pay might expect this. Bloggers need to make their own minds up about this and always disclose if payment has been made. It’s in situations like these where the integrity of the blogger really matters – your readers know you and so they will likely be able to notice if you suddenly start writing reviews in a very different manner to the rest of your blog. Your integrity is also at stake when writing reviews and so writing a false review for payment has a short term benefit *getting paid* it has a long term risk of losing readers.

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  6. I’ve always thought that the term compensation insinuates something akin to reimbursement for going out of your way to do something. It fails to imply the value you are providing in doing so. For example your reputation, your readership/reach. If you expect payment than I say call it a fee. If accepting something else perhaps the general term sponsorship would suffice? Interesting topic. Thanks for raising it.

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    • Thanks Laney, I’ve now got a post forming called “Remuneration, Compensation or Sponsorship??” after tonight! Haha! I commented below in response to Claire’s suggestion that we use the word “remuneration” rather than compensation that while I am a little uncomfortable with the implications of the word compensation – as you have said, it doesn’t convey value very well – I also don’t want to limit the way these partnerships could look to a fee paying service. By compensation I mean “something given as payment” be in straight remuneration or something else that fits well for both the blogger and brand. Definitely thinking more about the language we use to discuss and even start to define these terms!

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  7. Hi Louisa,

    Australia is different to the US would you agree? I look at some of the US sites and they just look soooo busy with all the ads on them. And if I was a brand I wouldn’t go near bloggers like because my ad would get lost in the noise.

    Um….I also think a blogger here wouldn’t be able to become a “professional reviewer/giveaway, sponsored post” kind of blogger because most of us just wouldn’t go for it. That’s not content we would want to read about day in day out. How would we ever get to connect with the blogger?

    Also, what I want to ask you Louisa is I am my own brand. Mum’s Word is a brand. And I decide to collaborate, with a commercial brand. Now I want to know that if the commercial brand I’m working with has their name dragged through mud for whatever reason (misleading facts for example, unethical practices etc) I can remove myself from that commercial brand o protect the Mum’s Word brand.

    Commercial companies often pull sponsorship in a heartbeat if a sportsperson they sponsor does something that is contrary to the philosophy of the commercial company. Remember when Stephanie Rice sent that tweet about the rugby team and called them ‘faggot’s? The next day sponsors dropped her in a heartbeat to protect their brand.

    I hope all of this made sense.

    Bloggers don’t have PR depts or publicists to help put out a positive message, so I think bloggers really need to think about who they align themselves with.

    Love & stuff
    Mrs M

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    • I think that there are a lot of people looking at the US as an example of how to negotiation this space and in my opinion that’s a mistake. As you have mentioned there’s a lot of clutter on US blogs and not a great amount of really clever content and strategic pairings. I think the UK has been more successful at this however they have a lot of angst in the “community” as do the US. For me the priority is contributing to the Australian community as openly and positively as possible – none of us want to go back to high school and we all have a role to play in maintaining a helpful and positive online space.

      As for the brand thing – yes of course you can remove yourself however there may be implications for you depending on how you handle that and the kind of personal endorsement you have previously provided. The benefit of blogging is that your readers know you and you can talk openly with them through the process should something like this happen. You are 100% right, bloggers really do need to think carefully about who they align themselves with – no one can get it right all the time but it’s worth thinking about.

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  8. I think there are a lot of bloggers who behave quite righteously about what they deserve. I think it really boils down to what you are willing to do, and if it’s a ‘deserving’ product or piece of content, the blogger will do it gratis. If the the blogger is ‘deserving’ of compensation it will be offered.

    It also works the other way – giving a glowing report of a product does not equal relationship with a brand either. Nor does a once off meeting. Relationships are by really taking time to understand the brand, their objectives, and how best to communicate this to your readers in a genuine and free-flowing conversation.

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    • That’s really interesting Liss. I’m not convinced that if a campaign warrants compensation it is always offered, there’s still a strong degree of resistance in the camps that (many of) the campaigns are coming from. And I must admit the word “deserves” really grates for me. Given that we are still at the start of this in Australia and even globally the conversation refers to it as a new space (especially for doing it well!) I feel that there are other ways we can talk about payment and monetisation that better convey the value of working with bloggers for brands. I totally agree that a relationship is something bigger than a one-off and have been encouraged to see a number of brands start investing in long-term conversations rather than one offs – I certainly hope to see more of this in future.

      Do you find there is a difference between the PR and digital agencies when it comes to payment?

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    • Oh and yes there are many great bloggers who approach this with professionalism and sensitivity and are doing a great job of it too!

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      • I think where you are in a consultative role rather than editorial role you should agree in advance for a fee. I am in the editorial (unpaid) and advertorial (unpaid) camp when it comes to blog content. If you were to be paid for editorial I would expect it to be on a commercial site, not on a blog.

        Media agencies fall into to sponsored post camp for me, sponsorship/ambassadorships/commercial partnerships are another story completely.

        I don’t understand what the issue is with people admitting their post is sponsored? Or that somehow getting paid for their post should only be an indication of time? I think just call it what it is, a sponsored post – let the reader decide if it’s swayed the piece or not.

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        • Yes definitely and there’s a difference between being paid for the work you do on your blog and the work you do as a consultant because of your blog and the way you approach both those things are entirely separate.

          I agree about the sponsored post, I don’t see the issue.

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        • Well actually, of course I see the issue – I just think there are ways to manage it so that’s it’s not an issue. I also think your point about letting the reader decide is a very good one.

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  9. That is a great discussion…and it “is” in the words, yes. Deserve…I am not sure I am at all comfortable with the use of that word in most contexts..”She deserved to be…because”
    Now, moving along.

    It is a fact that I have left the paid workforce. I worked full time for around 33 years then part-time for then next 7. In that time, I never thought I “deserved” my teachers’ salary, but I sure felt as though I had EARNED it.

    Guessing that those who read and comment here, would agree. I know I put myself through University (3 times, actually as well as teacher training) and worked very hard to achieve some positions in school administration, e.g. Deputy, then Principal. Did I “deserve” those promotions after the hard slog, sleepless nights, snatched days to find family life….Um. NO. I “earned” the promotions, and I was paid for the work I did.

    How do you measure work?
    How do you measure the value of a blogger, and the blog he/she writes?
    This is always a stumbling block for me, new (10 months ago) to blogging, bloggers and blogs.

    This is why I could never “sell” I suppose, me or my work….UNTIL, now…..yes,
    I have been inspired, delighted, and downright amazed at the WORK I see put into blogs and blogging via the Australian Blogs I follow. Phew!

    And a large bit of me was reticent to even put my hand up to join BrandMeetsBlog,
    My world is not that of many bloggers, my kids have grown, I cannot cook and write about it, I am crafty in my own way, but I sensed that my blogs were not marketable.

    See, who knew? I would start using words like “marketable”..well I am, blogging and knowing that I firstly have to know what I am blogging about and what my blog is for…has been processed. Thanks to a mini Blog Boost, and a visit to Blogopolis.

    Back to the question, I am often side-tracked. Blogs are work. Blogs are made by people who work for their now blog, and for others to read and share. If mostly men (oops here I go getting ready for this) were bloggers, guess what? No argument.

    “Pay me, I am good for your brand…look here at how many people have taken your company up on that offer I blogged about here. I will invoice you for my time (hourly rate is…) and settlement is by Direct Debit in 7 days…” There is no apology.

    It is a fact. Not an emotive statement.

    BrandsNEEDBlogs…… BlogsNEEDBrands….

    P.S. I deliberately have not read anyone else’s reply. Thought I’d just put my bit in. If I have offended the sensibilities of long-time bloggers, it has not been by any intent or malice. My response, was entirely based on this post by Louisa.

    Denyse

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    • Thanks Denyse, great to read your thoughts. I’m not sure everyone would agree than Blogs need Brands however many are obviously open to finding arrangements that work well for them. Great to read how this works for someone in a different blogging niche 🙂

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      • Thanks Louisa,
        I hoped at the very least to be ‘heard’.
        More than anything, though, I do believe “blogs” and “bloggers” may be transitioning into a world of the brand…and by that I mean, the Blog itself is its own brand..I guess my bold statement was more about The Person, who Blogs…could be a brand, or a profession,…semantics, eh!
        Denyse

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        • Sorry, me again.
          Got distracted when my granddaughter arrived for a day here..
          My point is about bloggers having choices…and that brands are, perhaps, to be more aware of the differing purposes of a BLOG. So many people blog to share, others so much more…through the the blogs which are on-line blog-azines…I “could” go on…leaving now to be Grandma…D

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          • Great points Denyse! Hope you enjoyed your day being grandma this week 🙂

  10. As a newbie to the blogging world I find this post really helpful. I have not been approach by any brands or anything yet but was worried that I might jump at the first offer, even though it might not suit me or my blog. I love reading posts like this because it gives me the confidence to say no if I don’t want to do something and to know what I should expect or want from the relationship. If/when I get offers I will look closely at what they want me to do and decide how much time it is going to take & it the compensation worth it or should I just say no. Thanks Louisa.

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    • Thanks so much for this feedback, it’s really great to know that these posts are actually contributing something useful and practical to bloggers. x

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  11. I am only really just starting to think about these things and it seems there is much to think about. Personally I’m becoming much more considerate about which PR pitches I engage with and looking more at the ethics behind things. But this is new to me. I LOVE running review and giveaways. In fact I’ve been hiding behind them for the past few weeks as my life is a tad crazy and personal posts have dried up. (Which has been very good for my stats – but probably not for my community!!) It’s a difficult one. It would be nice and ‘pure’if our lives didn’t revolve around money – but let’s face it they do. I need to form an opinion on sponsored posts and reading all of this is very helpful. Keep it up ladies 🙂

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    • Thanks Caz, great to hear your thoughts & it makes sense to me that you (we) need to think about which PR campaigns and brands we align ourselves with. The more that PR and brands can take steps to approach bloggers who they feel with be a great fit the better for everyone! Looking forward to hear your thinking about the place of sponsored posts on your blog too!

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  12. Wow what a fab post -nothing new though, you always write so eloquently and I get what you are saying. I have really had to get my head around all this Pr stuff. I started blogging just to get to get some writing out there and was testing the waters before commiting to my book.
    I never in my mind, knew anything about PR and how they work with bloggers or adverstising, reveiws or giveways.
    I had to take a step back and retgink where I was going with all this and I came to my own personal conclusion and this is what suits me. Firstly the families I work with come first, so I give 100% to the consulting side. I never thought I would be contacted by PR or companies wanting their products reviewed, yet I’m being approached.
    I decided I wanted to give back to my readers and followers, so now if I genuinely like the product and think it will be of some benefit to my readers – I write a brief post about it and give it away.
    It is a different for me, because Blogging is a side part of what I do, although I’d love to blog all day, my actual business would not survive.
    For a sponsored post I have to be sure I do find the product useful before I consider payment for it.
    Bloggers are being listened to because we are honest and real.
    I trust bloggers reviews, more than an ad on TV or a magazine.

    Well that’s my ramblings, bloggers rock
    Nx

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    • Thanks Nathalie, I loved reading your thoughts as your blog is in a different space to the usual “Mummy blog” being that it’s an extension of your business rather than being the other way round. Your integrity is really encouraging and a great example to others who find themselves having to think through similar issues. love it. Thanks for sharing x

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  13. Louisa, thanks for starting this conversation!
    I think remuneration for bloggers is next (once we start to get more confident about expecting such)… and it is empowering men and women to start small businesses in their field of expertise, with minimal start up costs and so. much. potential. for great things.
    Bring it on!!

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    • Thanks Laura, yes I agree. Remunerating bloggers is already happening but like you I can see this growing and being an appropriate acknowledgement of the work being completed by bloggers for brands. It’s excellent that for those who work in the home there is increasingly a valid way for them to use their skills to generate an income.

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  14. I like Denyse’s comment. It’s about “earning” what you are paid for. I have not done many sponsored posts yet, but they do take work, a lot more work than most of my posts. I would not have written them if I was not paid to do so. Still, I offered my honest opinion and the products were aligned with my own values.

    I have to be honest that I am still surprised when I get a PR email in my inbox. It seems really bizarre to me, that they should bother with me, that they would even want to give me free stuff. I never saw myself as working in the media. But as Nikki points out, we are self-published media. If someone wants us to get a specific message out on our space then it’s up to us to negotiate how that will happen.

    My other perspective on this is that I would like my blog to provide me with the kind of lifestyle that I want. This does not necessarily mean money. If relevant brands wanted to work with me to provide me with the kinds of experiences I want in exchange for space on my blog then I would be happy with that. I would blog about hotels for free accommodation. I would blog about airlines for free flights. But I would be careful who I would work with, based on the brand’s reputation.

    I already blog for chocolate and attending social events. I wish I knew how to approach Qantas…. Any ideas, Louisa?

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    • Thanks Dorothy. I think your comment about lifestyle is a good one – good luck with Qantas! 🙂

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  15. I don’t deserve anything as a blogger, it’s a blog, nothing more. I don’t have the readership of a magazine and therefore don’t expect to be charging an arm and leg for advertorial content. However I do have a medium sized blog that is somewhat attractive to advertisers… if only they knew it, right?

    I have it stated in my media kit that I am now charging an administration fee for my time and payment of it does not influence content. When companies say they do not want to pay it then that’s the end of the story.

    Having said that I have a fee structure that encompasses all different types of companies that contact me ranging from free for NFP, to small fees for WAHM, to slightly more for large companies.

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    • Thanks Glow, absolutely! The value of a blog that has an engaged audience is much more significant that it’s often recognized for – now. Give it time though and I hope (and expect, really) that this will change. I think it’s great (and appropriate) to have different rates for different organizations too. I am also hating that the auto correct keeps changing my “s” to “z” – I am not American! *sigh*

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    • I also have an admin fee which seems to sort the wheat from the chaff x

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  16. Great post. I think that these things are very healthy for the blogging community to be discussing. For me I agree I am not a big fan of the ‘deserve’ word but I do think that as ‘self-publishers’ we should value our digital assets, our brand, our readership and our time and therefore be compensated for the time that we may spend if we choice to partner with a brand. Like you said it is compensation for time … not a positive review.

    Thank you for sharing the post about ‘swag’ and some Mummy bloggers in the US. Very interesting. I’m glad that we can learn from the US experience and others.

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    • HI Bronwyn, I really like the way you have expressed this – it’s very professional and clear and that’s exactly the way we can talk about ourselves. Being professional is always going to be more powerful that crying “but I deserve it!” Thanks so much for taking the time to read and comment.

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  17. Again, another interesting post that attempts to see the issue from both sides. Coming from a journalism background, I have my own feelings about what is happening here with blogs and brands. I used to be paid a wage for the hours in the day I spent writing – whether that be editorial or advertorial. And that wage never swayed my opinion or the facts with which I worked. I guess I see sponsored posts and things of that nature in the same way. Like Glowless, I recommend being paid an administration fee for my time in promoting your product, should that be what I do. But I can also see that brands aren’t keen to be seen “paying” for a favourable review, or even being put in that category. I would never work that way, and I am willing to bet the bloggers I know feel similarly. But if it takes me an hour of my time to feature your product or business on my blog, then I can’t be giving that precous time away for free, every time. I’m not getting a cut of your profits and my readers are wondering why I’m trying to sell them something.

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  18. There are currently 47 comments on here and I haven’t had time to read them all so apologies if I repeat any previous sentiments.

    Here are some quick thoughts based on my experiences dealing with print media (very different to online, I know, but some transferable principles).

    In print media, there are numerous roles involved in getting a magazine/newspaper etc into the hands of the public. There’s the Editor, who is usually happy to consider a product / service for inclusion / review; the Publisher, who has to fund the development, printing & distribution of the magazine/newspaper; and the Sales Manager, who takes care of generating that funding. While editors often include plenty of unpaid content (relevant to audiences of course) there usually comes a point when the publisher pushes back on the editor saying, “Okay, someone needs to pay for the paper that editorial is being printed on”. That pushback then transfers to the brand / vendor, typically this was in the form of paid advertising requests from the Sales Manager. Eventually, editorial content dries up if advertising isn’t there to support it (regardless of how sporadic it was).

    I know the issue of advertising is a whole different ball game (and I believe you’ve covered it elsewhere on this and other blogs) but it’s something to keep considering.

    Bloggers wear many hats so perhaps guidance around distinguishing internally when it’s appropriate to put on your Editor hat vs your Publisher hat is needed (not an easy task).

    A method that might be worth discussing is having bloggers consider “testing the water” with one or two unpaid posts for a brand. If the posts prove successful for the brand then great, the brand’s PR firm / department should talk to their Marketing department about supporting the blog with advertising. If they’re not successful, then that’s when compensation (yep, compensation) comes into play. If the posts weren’t successful (for whatever reason) then the blogger’s image / rep / credibility may have been damaged. (Got to be careful here though as that can go both ways).

    Is that the answer? Who knows? I don’t know.

    There’s no easy solution for the problem (in my opnion that’s why Brand Meets Blog exists – to bring the parties together and work out the solution) but perhaps advertising as a method of support still needs to be explored further.

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  19. When I worked in magazines, and we paid subjects to telling their story, we referred to it as compensation for their time and trouble. I believe if a company wants a blogger to write/post/promote something for them, it is nice of them to offer some kind of compensation – whether that be products to review and/or giveaway, payment for a sponsored post, taking out an ad or whatever. But it’s all such a new area and is changing all the time. I really don’t know what the answer is!

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  20. I would like to see the word “token” used instead of compensation.
    We receive a token product to sample or a token amount for providing our honest feedback and
    our time to write it up and promote it.

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    • Why token Barb? I’d suggest that bloggers, on many occasion, should receive more than a token but a form of genuine compensation – either cash payment, or extensive product to acknowledge the time and information that they are sharing and using to promote a brand. What do you think about that?

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  21. Glowless I would like to see your fee structure to help me build one of my own if you wouldn’t mind? diabeticsnacker(at)gmail.com I’m always on the lookout for more pr opps,blog campaigns,sponsored posts but I never know what to say when they come out and make me name a price for them. I have no idea what to say then.

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  22. Honestly? I believe Pr and beauty brands should approach blogs that present themselves nicely and receive good web hits and then compensate them for their efforts when a product has been reviewed or an article has been written.

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  23. Loved the comments here and the article. I do a lot for free, especially for the community, however I also get paid for some ‘sponsored posts’. I only accept the sponsored post if I can fit it in with the ‘feel’ of my blog and I have no problem charging for this because it takes time, and when I’m working on a sponsored post, I am not working on one of my client’s accounts as a social media marketer so it’s costing ME money.

    Like most bloggers here, I receive many press releases every day so I am never short of content. I also receive plenty of ‘gifted’ products to review, and each time I receive some sort of ‘payment’ I always mention it in my disclaimer; that way I’m up front with my readers.

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  24. What about the PR companies who want you to post about their products without compensation or samples? I’ve worked with a company recently for 4 different brands and products and they were wonderful. Then I get PR agents who offer nothing. I think people forget that blogging can be a source of income for your family. Compensation and sponsorship seem to be what’s used the most.

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