Usually I keep my cool and stick my beauty niche on the blog.
I have outside conversations in my blogging group, The Blog Tribe as well as conversations with other bloggers about things like this. But this time… this time.. I am truly insulted.
Not just for myself but for my entire blogging community no matter who you are. I have blogger friends that I love and respect dearly so this one kind of pulled on the strings of my heart a bit.
A PR rep wrote a post on LinkedIn titled “Why I Stopped Pitching To Bloggers“. Before I get into this let me give you a little background for those who don’t know.
Bloggers and PR reps have had this unbalanced relationship for a very long time because some PR reps don’t believe we should be paid. This is not ALL PR reps. I have dealt with some phenomnal ones who know I’m worth my time, my effort and access to my audience.
The majority? Not really. Most believe that bloggers shouldn’t be paid because when they pitch to us it’s earned media, not paid advertising. Most bloggers have learned to pitch back because most PR reps will not say they have a budget. They will try to get it for free first.
Let’s dig a bit into this article.
“With that said, I think there are many bloggers who have tons of influence who should be paid. Is a blog that gets 7,000 UVM with a mediocre social media following worth paying $200 for a post? Probably not, but it depends on who the blogs audience is and what audience the client wants. While some blogs are worthy of payment, most are not. I think this is also where a lot of bad bloggers are making good bloggers look bad. Some charge just to charge because they want to make money. Well, you have to give me a reason to pay you. Today, everyone has a blog and most would not offer any ROI by paying for a post.”
NOPE NOPE NOPE NOPE! See that’s my FIRST problem. Before you press “send” on that e-mail, you already have this arrogant air about you that we, as bloggers, owe you something and need to impress you. There are some bloggers willing to do things for free and some that are not. But guest what here’s the plot twist; it’s their choice.
Whether a blogger has 200 followers and 800 views a month or 50,000 and 1 million views a month, it’s their choice. Want to know why? Because they built that blog, they put money into it, they built that audience, they are the gatekeepers and the owners NOT YOU SNAZY ARROGANT PR REP.
High numbers don’t always equal an engaged audience and low numbers don’t always equal an audience “not worth your time”.
Most people have no idea what it takes to run a serious blog! The knowledge, the time, the writing, creating your images, making sure the post is ok before you hit publish and the list GOES ON!
It is EXTREMELY insulting for YOU to tell ME the person who’s blog YOU want access to that “I should give you a reason to pay me”. Ok if that’s how you feel i’ll tell you what.
I’m going come to your home sit on your sofa, use your dishes and eat your damn food and then turn around and tell you “You should give me a reason to leave”.
Every blogger is different. Some are journalists. Some are brand ambassadors. Some do it for fun. So I shouldn’t title this “Why I stopped pitching bloggers” because some would be perfect pitches, but in my experience, most want to get paid and most clients don’t set aside an extra budget for advertising.
LIES! It may not be all of them but if we don’t ask you , you definitely won’t tell us that there is a budget put aside for working with bloggers. You try to get it free first and THEN if there is a budget and we pitch back only THEN will you let us know.
I have a few seats ready for you if you are ready to sit down at some point.
Plot twist = They pay you thousands of dollars to try to convince me to do something for free or in exchange for a product but yet you just want us to say “oh ok I understand it’s not in your budget.”
Again… I have seats ready
So bloggers, if you are going to be on a database like Cision or Meltwater, do not get upset when a publicists pitches you. While some may have a separate budget for advertising, after paying a monthly PR retainer of thousands, most do not. If you don’t like it, you should probably get off a database used by publicists. Keep in mind, if a publicists sends you something you like or in your niche, it could not only serve you as an idea for your next blog, but if you decide to use that pitch, not only is the PR company sharing that post, but so is the client which = more views for you. (And let’s be honest, your entire blog should not be one big advertisement either.)
BYE FELCIA! Here we go with the paying us in “exposure” situation. Here is the thing, Ms. “Bloggers aren’t worth my time”. If you had the “views” and “exposure” you needed for your client, you wouldn’t be pitching me.
You wouldn’t be in my inbox trying to get on my blog
You wouldn’t be asking me to do a “few tweets or social media posts” in exchange for gum
You wouldn’t be so upset over it that you had to make a whole article about it
You honestly wouldn’t even have a job in the blogging sphere if your client had what they needed.
Oh I know it stings, it sucks and it hurts that you need bloggers and youtubers and social influencers in recent years to push your products but just as much time as it takes you to sit down and write us an email, it takes us way longer to create, edit, and blast the piece of content we just created for you free of charge.
Since you believe in working for free so much, why don’t you just go ahead and refund your client and still pitch to me. Oh that sounds crazy to you? Exactly my point.
Honestly I’m glad to see articles and debates like this popping up. It let’s me know that bloggers are getting on a unified front and that there is an understanding that we can no longer, and will no longer, be paid in “exposure”.
One commenter on the post was a PR rep who wrote this wonderful response and I love her so much for it.
Kim Helminski Keller, APR Kim Helminski Keller, APR
Writer, speaker and PR pro
This is a pretty condescending attitude toward the folks who can get your clients in front of their key publics. Yes, bloggers should be paid for their services.
I’ve worked in PR for 20+ years, and I firmly believe the most ethical thing I can do in this business is create mutually beneficial relationships. Working for free does not create mutually beneficial relationships; if a person provides you with a good or service, they deserve to be paid.
It wasn’t all that long ago that PR interns worked for free, and the courts put a stop to that practice. We wouldn’t ask a photographer to do a photo shoot for free and tell her, “If we like what we see, we might have some paid work for you later.” Why do we think doing that to a blogger is OK?
Here’s the ethical situation: We are not supposed to compromise channels of communication, but most audiences know there is a huge difference between a blog and a newspaper. A journalist employed by a media outlet gets paid by that outlet and cannot ethically accept payment for his services.
Bloggers are self-employed writers who busted their butts to build the audiences we want, and they deserve to be compensated for their service and influence (and disclose they were compensated).
We can proclaim that PR people don’t do advertising, but we need to be honest and admit that most of what we do for our clients is marketing communications. The bloggers and publics already know that.
It’s not ALL PR reps. Like I said I have worked with some phenomenal ones to this day will reach out to me for an event or something and PAYMENT IS ENCLOSED. I do some things for free for them because they respect my craft, respect my time, and understand this is my audience and my choice of what I will and won’t do for free. It’s my choice.
Please weigh in on this in the commments. I would love to hear your thoughts