Let’s talk about perspective. There’s a lot of talk these days among bloggers about growth, sponsorships, payment, and things that we *should* be doing for the greater good; funding our blogs. Which I 100% support. However, I have to wonder if we aren’t looking at this all wrong.
New bloggers pop up daily, and our market is getting inundated. In my humble opinion, I think that while we are all hardworking entrepreneurs, we have to remember a few things. I’m not trying to be negative. I’m sure that some people will think that I am, but as much as we think we deserve, and how entitled I see people acting, I just wanted to bring some perspective back to myself and our business again.
First I’ll explain why I decided to write this post. I recently received an email from a brand I had wanted to work with. I went back and forth with them and ultimately ended with us not partnering because they said they have stopped paying for posts. Many bloggers would cheer for this, because as I told the brand, and I do agree, we need to show our value. However now, from my perspective, I didn’t get a product I wanted. And not only will I actually have to purchase it and the brand loses nothing at all. They’ll find someone else to work with in 2 seconds.
Let’s look at blogging like it is a company. We start as interns and work for free to gain experience. We start at the ground floor and work our way up. Sure, some people excel right away, they know someone, get raises, promotions, and impress the bosses, quicker than other. Most of us go along on a smooth path of incremental growth, and some don’t go anywhere at all. For the sake of this post I’m going to focus on the middle group. Why would someone who is in their first year be chosen for a promotion, when someone from the middle tier, with more experience and larger following could produce a larger return? Yes, they cost more, but you’re paying for their experience, and often times a stat that you can’t see, website visitors.
Yes, there is merit to using micro-influencers and mid-tier bloggers, why? They tend to have more engaged followings, but also they’re less expensive. From a brand’s perspective, they can give away thousands of products at minimal cost, but adding thousands of dollars to their marketing budget hits them harder, so they have to choose wisely where to spend it. Influencer marketing may be growing, but budgets are not. If a brand can’t see a direct ROI, they may believe it’s not working. I’m a social media manager, and it is my job on a daily basis to remind my clients that brand awareness is just as important as actually booking a call. However, it’s much harder to measure brand awareness than it is click on an ad. It is the constant struggle of a marketing department in a company is to prove that their efforts are working.
There’s just one thing that isn’t always taken into account when comparing rates and demanding we all be paid: Time. It’s so hard to remember, that major bloggers didn’t just wake up with 100k followers. We live in a world of instant gratification, but what we don’t see from everyone else is how long they’ve been at it, and how hard they have worked to get where they are. It’s easy for someone blogging for years to say that they should be paid for posts, but when they say it to those of us in our first year, we feel entitled to something that is unrealistic. Because the people that are being paid are those with more experience.
I’m not saying I’m happy with it, or even believe that we all need to start accepting product as payment, but I like working with brands that have the same values as I do. I enjoy creating relationships that could become lucrative in the future. Finally, I have fewer than 20k followers. I am not even in the top half of follower counts on Instagram, and have plenty of room to grow before I start demanding money. All that being said, I HAVE worked hard growing my following. I DO think I should be compensated for my influence and time, but maybe not to the degree I’ve been led to believe.
I’d love to hear your thoughts below. I understand this is a controversial topic. It has been stressing me out and I wanted to get this off my chest. Plus, what is my blog if only a place to express my thoughts?