Working for free in blogging or as blogger is a little controversial. There has been lots of publicity surrounding bloggers asking for freebies, and vice a versa. I for one have been known to moan a little when a company lands in my inbox asking the world and just offering me and my site a lil exposure. I strongly believe, unless I land a link to my site on theirs, it’s of no value or interest in me. We’ll come onto that later.
But what about those opportunities that offer you free gifts, products and merchandise in exchange for a review or feature upon your social media and website? What about those? Are they worth it? Are they effecting your value as a blogger?
It’s something of a hazy area for bloggers, and one that can be often preached from bloggers as something we SHOULD NOT DO.
The amount of times I have seen fellow bloggers thrusting the idea that we as bloggers should not except unpaid opportunities. That we should not accept a product as a payment. That we should ask for budget even when there is a freebie involved. It can be pretty darn confusing on what is for the best, right?
Exactly. And yet some of those blogger preaching just that, accept many free posts, and more when it suits them. Because they know how much value that collaboration, that content, that name, can have on their site and credibility of being a blogger!
So here I am, no professional in this area what so ever, just offering some advice, and things to consider, before you turn down that Free collab.
What exactly are the pros of hosting free content?
It is a huge deal when a company drops you a email requesting an opportunity to work with you.
Think about it, they’ve nosed around your site, read your content and concluded you are what they are looking for. Their product, whatever it may be, can be featured and ultimately sold to their target audience through your site. WOW! But it can be a lil soul destroying when there isn’t a six figure payout attached. But, they are willing to gift you free products.
Not too shabby.
They offer to feature your content on their social media sites too, which is great exposure for you and your site. The name itself looks fantastic as someone to have worked with. And a post that has some sort of PR or collaboration attached to it is great content for your followers. They can read a honest review of products or a brand that they may not have come across before, or invested in themselves.
Overall, working with a brand on this basis gives you flexibility on how you feature the product, and opportunity to give your honest review. It also offers you another string in your bow of brands you have worked with, whether it be on a paid capacity or not.
If you’re starting out working with brands altogether, or new to blogging overall, working with brands in a free capacity greats awareness for your blog, and yourself as a blogger. Through google searches of that select brand, you should pop up on searches which is invaluable for your traffic and a SEO.
These are all things to consider and digest when you are approached in a free capacity.
Is it a brand you are happy to work with?
You have to ask yourself whether you are happy to work with such brand.
Does it strike a cord with yourself as a brand you would invest it, even if they hadn’t have approached you? Do you like the look of the products? Is it something you feel your followers would enjoy reading and learning about? Are you generally interested in it?
Asking yourself this question will ensure every decision you make around collaborations will be the right on for you and your blog.
Does it fit into you genre?
This is a little like the above. There is nothing worse that seeing influencers and bloggers incorporate content that just doesn’t fit in their genre and looks out of place amongst their other content! It can be really rather obvious when they have opted with the money or freebie when this happens. And you don’t want that to happen with you.
Whether it be a freebie post, or a paid one, its always important if your readers and followers would expect to find this content topic on your site. If not, it’s not worth taking up the opportunity. Be honest with the brand associated and they will both understand and respectable of your decision.
When are they taking the piss?
And this happens more than you would think. Here’s a couple of things to mull over when being offered a opportunity or two.
Are you having to part with money? Are you being asked to pay for delivery? Are they offering the product with a discount?
This spells piss take!
I never part with money on any collaboration, especially if I have been approached. No matter the cost, you have been asked by the company to promote and review their products / service. If they value your opinion, views and your readership, you should not be expected to pay for anything.
What to say when you’re approached…
Politness is key here. It can seem cheeky and pretty insulting paying for something. But you never know when that oppertunity may change.
If you would like to work with the brand, but would need to negotiate, try and offer a alternative. Be sure to highlight how this will benefit them, as well as yourself.
If you’re not feeling the fit, or it’s not viable for you currently say so. Be honest and open. Brands should respect your honesty. If there is a problem on their part, it will only cement you made the right decision.
Like I previously mentioned, be polite and professional. It will only put you in good stead when negotiating or approaching them n the future.
Should I ask for budget?
Honestly, it’s up to you. I myself make a judgement on the company, the product and what the proposal included. I weigh up the value in the collaboration to me and my brand and reach a conclusion.
It’s not as black and white as always asking or not. Asking *can* change the companies mind in working with you. But, as always if you don’t ask, you don’t get!!
Never be scared of asking. The worst that can happen is they say no, but understand that you do work on a paid for basis.
You should never be ashamed of working for free in the blogging world. Being approached by a company on any basis is a massive achievement that you should be proud of!
It can always be confusing as to whether working for free is a good choice or not. Ultimately, it is a decision only you can make. Do not believe every blogger around you is working on a paid for basis. Lots of collaboration’s you read day in day out will be on a gifting basis. And lots of big companies will claim there is no budget for bloggers.
Be brave in your approach but remain professional. See the positives of working for free. And the future potential those big name brands will look on blogging stats and media packs!!
Do you work for free as a blogger?
How do you approach free work as a blogger?
Do you have any questions I haven’t answered?
Start some natter in the comment section below!