Yep. You read that right. This post is all about why I won’t do $hit for free (and I reached out to other bloggers to ask their opinions). I get asked every single day to review products or services for free. (“Just do me a favor….”) I get countless emails to promote products for nothing. Or what the company likes to call “exposure.” So, I thought I’d just write a post to clear up any confusion (which probably won’t be read by any of the companies that think my platform is perfect for their male enhancement product. Yes, that’s happened.) I absolutely love how my friend Ange handles this question. It’s perfect and I need to adopt her matter-of-fact tone.
Are you working for free? No? Why not? There’s your answer silly little email sender trying to get one over on the rest of us.- Ange, Hairspray & High Heels
She’s right. The guy asking for free crap is probably getting a salary, unless he’s a struggling business owner. So, why would he even consider asking for free promotion? Because it’s worth a try and there are bloggers out there that will do free stuff all day long to build an audience, but there are bloggers out there that won’t. Here’s why.
Let me start by saying this: I run a company. This blog is part of my business. It is not a hobby. How do I make money ? I don’t do $hit for free. That’s how
I very politely explained that to a half dozen people last week via email after each one asked me to promote their product. I have a standard, canned answer I send back when I get a generic email. It says, “Thanks for thinking of me. I don’t do free reviews.” Now, you would think that some of them would expect that’s coming since it’s stated in my policies and at least have a nominal fee ready to offer. Guess what? Eight out of ten times, I never hear back. One guy will usually thank me for being honest and then ask what I charge. The other will tell me I suck for not helping a start-up that doesn’t have a lot of money. Dude. I’m a start up that doesn’t have a lot of money. Touche.
I don’t work for free because I consider my blog to not only be about things I enjoy but it’s also my job. I’m trying to provide a living for the Hubs and I and I can’t do that if I do everything for free. Most people wouldn’t expect to go out and spend most of their day doing something that’s a job and not get paid for it.– Cassie, Southeast by Midwest
When I explain that my blog is a job and I don’t write for free, it can piss people off. Last week, one guy was so offended that he went back through all my posts for the past year and pointed out all the times I wrote “for free.” He gave me a laundry list of posts- from personal ones to round-ups to yes, a couple of posts for friends- where I didn’t have a disclosure stating I was paid. I very politely explained that I can pick and choose if I want to promote a friend’s business for free because it’s my blog and if it makes business sense for both of us, I’m happy to post. I also pointed out that there is payment in “trade” and if that makes sense, then I do that as well. Then I pointed out that he and I are “very clearly not friends so I would not be posting for him EVER.” Bye Felicia.
So, why won’t I post for free? Lots of reasons. Here’s my short list. I’ve included the opinions of my blogging friends as well. Maybe we’ll get our point across.
I write and create content for a living. You know – the stuff you read online or watch on TV? I shouldn’t have to justify my time but I do. I get why it’s hard to understand but the next time someone has an “ask” of you – whether it’s time or money – maybe you stop for a second and evaluate how much your time is really worth? Because you are worth ALL that and more.- Claire, A Little Claireification
This website ain’t free– I pay for it- hosting fees, design, support all come out of my pocket. I’m also smart enough to know that I need to use email marketing, have business cards and send an occasional snail mail piece to promote as well. Those cost money too. Giveaways? Money for Amazon or Starbucks cards doesn’t just fall out of the sky.
This is my piece of internet real estate. Just like any other kind of real estate, it does not come free. I have hosting fees. Domain fees. Management fees. Lots of fees. It’s my business. You want a spot on it, you have to pay for it. I come with a readership and a large social media following that I work my butt off to build. They are here because of me and my influence. Respect my time, my effort and my lack of sleep for continuous content creation. I do not work for free- Taylor, Pink Heels Pink Truck
Time is money- Blogging takes a lot of time. It takes time to pitch companies, plan, write posts and come up with images. I make no apologies when I write a post for a brand and get paid a few hundred bucks. My time is worth money just like yours. Do you show up to work for free? Didn’t think so.
I don’t work for free because I value my time. It takes time to put together a post. To make something, the photography, the writing, the promoting, that is all time away from my husband and kids. I’m passionate about what I do and the work I put into it! I don’t work for free because this is my job and this is how I help bring in extra income for my growing family!- Cassie, Live.Laugh. LOve
My friends trust me– When I started writing, my only audience was my friends and they read because I was honest. If I start posting all kinds of reviews and other crap and there’s nothing in it for me financially, they’re gonna challenge me. I never worked for free before this gig, why would I start now?
Social media followers aren’t free– It takes a lot of hard work and dedication to build an audience. It’s also a lot of work to keep them engaged. Most of the companies that want me to post for free, don’t have those numbers (and to be honest, mine aren’t that big) so they see an opportunity in mine. Want my influence? Pay me.
I’m a college student, people expect us to do everything for free, but when I run the website, break it and FIX it myself, create content every (almost) day, spend hours taking pictures, and paying for my website, you bet that I’m going to be paid. It’s a business. Bring money in, put money out.- Laura, The Laura Way
I gotta promote all this stuff- Guess what? If I don’t promote posts all over God’s green earth, no one reads them. That takes time (which is money) and dedication. It also takes a large tribe of people that want to help out.
My blog is my job, and like all jobs, I expect to get paid. I work hard to produce content that is beautiful and engaging and worth sharing, and when someone wants to me to use their product and promote it within my work, it only makes sense that I charge for the services rendered. Beautiful photography takes time. Writing engaging content takes time. I’m worth the money. We all are.- Karly, A Simple Pantry
And, my final reason?
Blogging takes time away from my consulting business where I can actually bill clients and make a good living. Posting for you for free takes a few hundred dollars out of my pocket. That makes no economic sense. Unless there’s an opportunity for a partnership later or I am in love with your product and your story and think my readers will be too, I’m not posting. I’ll get paid to blog for a client.
See the common theme? This blogging thing takes time, money, talent and commitment. That doesn’t come for free. And, when you want to make a full-time go of it, it’s a job- not a hobby. Just ask one blogger who left a full-time gig to pursue her passion. Think she’ll review your product for free?
I recently left a nice many zeros salary to pursue my passion of marketing product writing and caring for my family abandoned for my extensive traveling) Working for free is a non-option because I was passionate and driven with my job but chose to leave it to discover another side of me as a woman that is just as valuable as the one getting all those zeros before.– Taty, Coolmoms Cooltips
Um, no so why insult her? Actually, why insult all of us? If you blog, do you do $hit for free? Why?