Saturday 19 April 2014

It's My Job! If you won't work for free don't ask me to! #Blogging #BloggerIssues #WorthTheRead

I feel like a Blogger Sandwich:
Stuck Between Two Sets of Assumptions About Fair Compensation.

(And by assumptions I really mean judgy, entitled and misinformed by choice. STOP! Before you get offended I concede, not everyone makes these assumptions, but a surprisingly large number do.)

I love reading interesting and informative posts and articles about business, social media, marketing and blogging. My Worth the Read posts are my way of sharing my take on a given topic, with a few related links I think are worth taking the time to read, and ponder. 

Myth Busters ...
For this post let's pretend we're on the show Myth Busters and attempt to bust the myth on one hand that bloggers just sit around waiting for tons of free stuff to be delivered to their door, and on the other hand some (not all) brands and PR firms believing blogger content isn't worthy of the same compensation as other work and forms of brand engagement and promotion. Time after time we are asked to use our voice, reach and blog to create content for free, or in exchange for products which total value equates to compensation far below minimum wage. As my friend Paula from Thrifty Mommas Tips says "On What Planet is Toothpaste Compensation for Work?"

Blogs, Blogging, Bloggers and the topic of fair compensation ...
It's a Saturday and I'm working. Yes writing blog posts is work, and hard work. I have yet to complete a post in under an hour, and most take several hours to write. If there is an event to attend, research, food preparation, crafts, photographs, templates and or instructions to accompany the post, then it can take many hours. The majority of Bloggers I know put a great deal of time into planning well written, interesting and informative posts for their readers. They often bring to their blog years of relevant education and work experience, not to mention continually striving to improve their skills and craft. 

Things I do when I'm not sitting around waiting for free stuff ... 
Let me assure you I know of no blogger who just sits there waiting for things to drop into their lap, mailbox, or inbox. I challenge those who judge, assume, are misinformed to walk a mile in my shoes, but be warned, you're gonna need comfy ones! And just an FYI, there are actual out of pocket expenses related to blogging. Certainly for the first several years it's a full time job hunting down contacts, opportunities and growing your reach enough to even be considered for sponsored content. That means engaging and pitching ideas, or the digital equivalent of cold calling. It's time consuming and takes it's toll on your ego and self confidence. Add time required for blog administration and up keep, emails, invoicing, and social media sharing so people know you exist. Blogging isn't a matter of if you write it they will come, there is no field of dreams here. Juggling those responsibilities and the time required to create blog posts is a constant challenge. Even if opportunities and brands are coming to you, many are offer "toothpaste" or no compensation at all, spun to read as a favour for providing brand specific sales pitch information they're sure my readers want to know about. 

What and Why I Write...
As bloggers, we all must make decisions about what to write, which paid opportunities are a good fit for our blog, and what is fair compensation for the content we create. The majority of my post are not paid or sponsored. There are a number of reasons why I might write a post: to inform, to entertainment, support a person, place or thing, or share an experience, and sometimes if it's a good fit for money. Occasionally I'll write a non-compensated post about a personal experience (both good and bad) with a product or a brand, for which I'm under no obligation to include specific content or messaging. That is a very different thing than being asked to create content around a specific campaign or message, and that type of post I will not write for free. Even if paid minimum wage for my work, most of my posts, would require compensation of at least $100.00 to cover my time investment. This amount doesn't take into account intangibles, or out of pocket expenses associated with the post or blogging. Brands and even larger charities have far deeper pockets than I. They have a marketing and campaign budgets. If they can afford to pay a marketing team or PR firm they can afford to compensate me for my work. 

"Bottom" line - it's free my ass!
So four things: 1) I will not work for free unless the brand, marketing team, and/or PR firm are also working for free. So safe to say unlikely I'll be working for free any time soon. 2) I support brands by buying their products, which I think is a big deal. If they want more than that they'll need to support me by buying my product ... as in my blog and content I create. 3) You get what you pay for. You get far better blog for your buck if you offer fair compensation and relationship building. 4) It's my job people! I'm always confused when people judge assume bloggers get tons of "free" stuff. We're required to claim both the value of product or payment as taxable income. Yep, even the toothpaste has to be claimed as income, so not free, and as far as I know toothpaste still is not an accepted form of currency in which to pay one's mortgage or orthodontist bills. 

"Look I got another "freebie" pay cheque!" ... said by no one ever! 
Just in case further clarification is needed; No one considers a pay cheque a "freebie", and neither should a Blogger's income, regardless of the form in which it's paid. Opportunities for paid work don't magically appear, they are the end result of hard work, and relationship building. Like those seeking potential employment in other fields, bloggers must present their resume or Media Kit with relevant education, experience, skills, and reach, to potential clients. Their blog is a portfolio of their work. 

Blogging is not contesting ...
Although both require time and effort, one is about odds and chance, and the other is a job with deadlines, and commitments, and leaves very little to chance if one hopes to have a successful business, and a blog people want to read. 

Worth the Read ...
On that note below are a few posts I think make this point and are worth the read. Although not necessarily directed at an average reader, they do give some excellent insight into what a Blogger does, for what, why they're being compensated and some of the challenges encountered all in a day of blogging. Hopefully these posts will have you looking at the job of blogging, and bloggers differently, and with new insight and understanding.

Yep, just me Cathy thinking out loud about Friday Feature: Worth the Read.

Note: I have not been compensated in any way for this post. All opinions are my own, and the purpose of this post is merely to share with my readers information and posts I find interesting.


  1. Very well said! I agree with the time it takes to write review posts... truly "paid" posts would be close to $100 per post. I hate the "freebie" thing as well... there are no "freebies' when you're writing a review. It's hard work.

    I'll make sure to check out those other posts.

    Wishing you a wonderful Easter.

    1. Thanks for reading and commenting. Nothing in life is free! and it takes time and skill to write a good review. Hope your had a great Easter Jennifer, and a good weekend.

  2. Happy Easter Cathy! Contesting is not the same for sure. There are no jobs in which you show up at work for the chance to win a day's wages. I work with a lot of great brands so when one comes at me offering toothpaste I think wow that's not okay.

    1. Paula I am speechless every time I hear about such things, both in regard to brands and others who do not blog. I am sure they would be insulted if I told them their paycheque was a freebie and questioned whether they deserved it. LOL. Slowly we educate, that is one (of many) things bloggers are great at!

  3. Thank you so much for writing this post! People don't realize how much work this is, and yes I love that I can do it in my pajamas taking breaks to feed kids and read stories or cuddle with my two year old, but many days its a challenge! Our time is precious! Thank you for this and for that, I'm sharing your post!!

    1. Thanks for reading and sharing Heather! We bloggers are great at sharing and educating, and I figure if we just keep sharing and educating, people will realize for many it is a job, and for everyone it takes skill dedication and time to write blog posts.