Saturday 10 May 2014

Getting the Best Blog for Your Buck: You Get What You Pay For #BloggerIssues #WorthTheRead

Food for Thought: Time is Money and You Get What You Pay For. 

Sometimes the cheapest isn't the best bang blog for your buck.

Image: Creator: - Creative Commons

I love reading interesting and informative posts and articles about business, social media, marketing and networking. I also like to reflect on and share some of the ideas and posts I read. With my Food for Thought posts my goal is to share information, give you something to think about, and link a few related posts or resources I think are worth taking the time to read. 

This week's theme is about quality over quantity, and cost-benefit analysis that goes beyond the numbers.

Cost-Benefit Analysis: "is a weigh-scale approach to making business decisions, all the pluses (the benefits) are put on one side of the balance and all the minuses (the costs) are put on the other. Whichever weights the heavier wins." via The Economist

My ideal in life and for my blog is a balanced scale and a Win-Win scenario. I've been thinking a lot about what a win-win scenario for Cathy Thinking Out Loud would actually look like, and what my time is worth in terms of compensation for a post, review or social media engagement. 

There are plenty of posts about compensation and/or how to monetize your blog, but specifics about rate scales or dollar value is much harder to find. 

The answer seems to be a complicated mix of page views, perceived value, networking, and negotiating skills that determines actual compensation rates. Some bloggers say never work for free, and know your value. While others say working for less, or for free is a good way to get your name out there and your foot in the door. The result is I find myself in a constant internal struggle between being a relatively small blogger (lower numbers), and valuing the time, experience and skills I bring to my writing, and my social media engagement.

A great deal of time and thinking goes into the perspective and storyline for each post. I want to inform and entertain from a point of view that's uniquely mine, but also one my readers can relate to. I'm very conscious about writing posts that add value to those compensating me for my time, and part of that value is writing content that isn't just a cut and past of specs and information. Regardless of the topic I strive to write a story and share personal experiences. I hope those I write for see and appreciate my efforts and understand not all posts are created equal. 

Cookie cutter, unimaginative posts are a lost opportunity to truly impact a reader with a message that has staying power. 

I'm not saying those writing the posts are unimaginative, I'm saying time is money, and you get what you pay for. Personally, I think the cost/benefits columns are incomplete with this approach, and there is a bigger picture to be seen. Original creative content takes time, and therefore costs more to produce, but in the long term it makes brands stand out from their competitors, and ultimately impacts purchasing decisions, not just traffic to their site. 

Looking only at numbers rather than the quality of the numbers and engagement, or opting for the cheapest rates may not be the best bang blog for a brand or business' buck. Being compensated fairly for my work, valuing my time and acknowledging the intrinsic value I bring to the table builds positive relationships and win-win scenarios. 

Things to consider before asking me to work for free or token product compensation:

  • If you have a budget don't nickel and dime me. If you don't have the budget then you need to re-examine your marketing campaign to fit the budget you have rather focusing your cost cutting efforts on not compensating me. 
  • If you are not working for free, don't ask me to. 
  • If you are compensating other bloggers for a post, don't ask me to write for free. I'm not blind, I know when others are being compensated and I'm not. 
  • Do Not play the "it's for charity" card and try to make me feel bad for wanting to compensated for my work unless: the position you hold is strictly volunteer, and you plan on showing me the numbers for your free social media sharing, and blog posts you've written. 
  • Before you ask me to work for free or for some token compensation, first ask yourself if you would work for that compensation. If the answer is no, then it's insulting to ask me to. I value my time even if you don't.

So do I work for under minimum wage to get my name out there? I've decided that's not a win-win for me, and for that reason my answer is no. But everyone must answer that question for themselves and define what their win-win looks like. Below you'll find links to a few posts that may help and in my opinion are worth the read. 

Yep, just me Cathy thinking out loud about what I think is 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.
Image: via


  1. Thank you for this food for thought.

    Excellent info.

    It's a conundrum.

  2. The rate calculator is pretty interesting, nice to see I was on spot on how much I would charge if I took a job.

  3. Wow you were very informative, thanks for the info.

  4. Cathy, I don't do any pro bono or low paying work. As an Honours B.A. graduate and Marketing Manager for 10 years, my time deserves to be well-paid. And, as the mom to 5 young kids, I understand that my time is at a premium.

    1. Jenna It is a hard one. I too have degree and years of experience and believe my time and what I can offer has value, but at this point I simply do not get the opportunities paid or otherwise. My numbers simply can't compete. It is a bit of a catch 22. All I can say is if I had to support my family right now I could not. Hopefully that will change in time. Thanks for taking the time to read and comment. It is much appreciated!

  5. Hmm this really is food for thought. I will be checking more into the links you provided Cathy. I certainly think my time, and dare I say my talent are worth something so maybe I had better come up with a better way of determining what that is, LOL. Thank you!

  6. Know your worth, but more importantly with your blog, do what makes you happy :)

  7. This is an amazing post Cathy & I love the tone to it. Our time is valuable especially because we take the time to share REAL experiences with our readers that takes time and thought!

    PR's and Brands need to realize that it's not all about numbers and reach. We've had numerous readers buy products (from online) because we gave our honest opinions of them not because we have thousands of readers. You have to start somewhere and small is the beginning but you also have to forget about those numbers. We/I blog because I enjoy it. I couldn't care less about the products that I receive or the compensation for campaigns. It's the relationships that I'm building that count to me.

    Keep your head up and keep this post in mind when approached with an opportunity. Don't be afraid to put it on the table that your time is worth something. They'll understand or they'll move on. No harm in trying.