Pay Me What You Owe Me: On Asking Bloggers to Shill for Your Brand for Free

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

I’ve been blogging for nearly nine years, but I rarely work with brands. It’s just something I (don’t) do. Simply put, it’s not a main function of the reason I have a blog, so it’s not something I actively cultivate within my little Internet space.

That said, I was really excited, a few months back, to hear from one of my favorite brands. I don’t want to put them on blast by name as I put them on blast by practice, but I will say that they’re stylish, on-trend, affordable, & social justice-driven, all characteristics I value in a brand, & I’ve been a customer since long before they were as popular as they are now — a hipster, if you will, but not a douchey way.

So I was super pumped when they reached out to me about participating in a summer social media campaign. “We’re handpicking a selected group of bloggers,” their contact told started — ooooh! He explained that they were looking for bloggers to create a bunch of photos featuring their newest product line, sharing how I’d wear their products for fun summer experiences (vacations, adventures, etc.) They offered to send me products to borrow for the photos.

Upon receiving their jazzy but somewhat vague initial email, I responded to tell the brand rep that I was already a huge fan of their product & might be interested in participating if he could tell me a bit more about the project. I asked him to “Tell me more about the campaign, what you’re looking for from participating bloggers, compensation, commitment, length of the campaign, etc.”

He responded with a fair amount of information about the campaign, including a paragraph explaining that this was an unpaid campaign, but that they would raise up the bloggers with the best content on their social media accounts.

There was a time when I might’ve gone for this. There was a time when I was so taken by the idea of becoming a big-time, brand-coveted blogger that I would’ve said, “Yes, Company That Can Totally Afford to Compensate Me But is Relying on My Goodwill to Save a Few Pennies! This sounds awesome! Let’s do it! I’ll spend a bunch of my free time taking pictures & promoting your product, & I won’t get anything out of it, but maybe I’ll get exposure!”

But now? No. No.

Read the rest of this piece on Medium.

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