An Open Letter to Journalists and Brands About Blogger Compensation
By: Jennine Jacob

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To Whom it May Concern:

Today WWD published “To pay or Not to Pay: A Closer Look at the Business of Blogging“, an exposé on how much some bloggers make and questioning if the fees were yielding a return on investment, stating that some bloggers have garnered over $50,000 for campaign or $20,000 for an appearance. While the numbers seem outrageous to those who would be grateful for a $50,000 annual salary, $50,000 for a campaign, is not a big budget in the advertising world. $50,000 would buy a one page spread in a magazine with a circulation of 1 million per month. Also, in magazines, there would be no data of how many people saw, where they were, what time of day and compared that with who bought, where digital campaigns can provide data to track.

The fees also do not take into account that the bloggers are probably running a business. They may have an office, with assistants, photographers or videographers all of which costs money, especially when a blogger cannot compensate their assistant with free clothes.

The fees may not also take into account if the blogger ideated the campaign. Agencies charge millions of dollars to big brands to ideate campaign strategies and execute them. If a blogger comes up with an idea for a collaboration and executes it, they should not only be compensated for the labor, but also for the value of coming up with an idea for the brand.

Most of all, the article did not take into account that someone is paying the fees. If a brand decides it’s worth $50,000 to do a collaboration with a blogger and pays it, then it’s not the bloggers fault for asking for $50,000. Especially if the blogger is able to articulate why a campaign is worth a $50,000 investment.

 

Tips for brands working with bloggers:

Be clear about your goals. Share your results with the blogger you partnered with. One of the things brands are shifty about is what their ultimate goal is when working with a blogger. “Showing your support” is not a viable business goal, and most bloggers know it. It’s easier for bloggers to help meet a brands goals when they know what they are, and may be able to offer new solutions! It’s also important to give feedback on the results. It helps the blogger understand what works for you and how to increase the ROI. Keeping track of the results helps in the negotiating process as well, to make sure you don’t overspend or over-expect.

Tips for bloggers working with brands:

Be clear about what you will do and won’t do, with everyone. If you’re good at sponsored posts, and your readers like them (and they are clearly identified) then great. If you keep your content clear of sponsored material, great too, make sure your collaborations are clear to your readers. This goes for every type of campaign.

Collect Case Studies: Every time you work with a brand, collect as much data as possible. Use metrics services like TweetReach for your Twitter campaigns. Bit.ly to track your links and click throughs, Facebook Insights, Statigram. Keep track of how many entries you get in contests, and always, always ask for testimonials from your clients. This all builds a case for your rates. Don’t expect a brand to pay $XX,000 just because you asked for it. But if you can turn $1 into $4 and show the companies you have a history of doing so, they might be more apt to pay. But most of all case studies help to justify the value to negotiate your rates and set expectations.

 Be open for negotiation: Negotiation may be a hard thing to do at first, but if you don’t practice you won’t get good at it. Build your case with strong numbers, ask for more than you are willing to settle for, but don’t settle for less than you are worth.

Tips for journalists writing about blogger income:

Bloggers are not necessarily journalists. Please interview your own ad department before scoffing at blogger’s fees. You might learn there are more similarities than differences. And if you still think blogger compensation is outrageous, then try becoming a blogger, and you might find out that not every blogger makes thousands of dollars per collaboration, and if you get to that point where you can make that amount of money, that’s great!  You might find that all the work you have done warrants every single penny.

 

Image by Mayer George Vladimirovich on Shuttershock.com

 

Comments

  1. amazing. well said. so true.

  2. meagan says:

    THANK YOU.

  3. Everyday I’m surprised that people are still having this conversation.

    If I do a job for you. I get paid.
    If I write an article because I feel like it. I don’t.

    That’s it. It’s a SUPER simple concept.

  4. Because blogging is so new, there’s a lot of undefined and under-defined roles and rules. It can be tricky to reach an agreement but I think this dialogue certainly helps. Ultimately, the relationship between brands and bloggers will evolve on a case-by-case basis. I’m happy to see the criticism is being met with a critical eye. Great post!

    • I agree that blogging’s new and the concept of blogging itself is an issue – but I just can’t comprehend why people are so surprised bloggers want to get paid.

      Celebrities are paid for endorsements, models are paid for campaigns, magazines are paid for advertising and sponsored content.

      This part is not a new concept.

      • Avatar of Jennine Jacob

        Exactly, paying for a photographer, a writer, creative director and an editorial placement all cost money in the publishing world. Blogging is no different, especially if that said blog warrants similar traffic and influence.

        However, that said, a blogger has to be careful to be able to justify rates. Just because work is being done, does not always translate into value. Which is why I believe it’s important to have an open conversation about the meaning of value. That way both sides can get a clearer picture as to what work needs to be done and how much it should cost.

        • This is very true.

          • R@!$4 says:

            Kelsi has a point there where A pays for B for public endorsement and looks ‘naturally’ day-by-day style, etc.

            Jennine tackles the grounded issue that’s resilient and sensitive at the same time.

            The reason being this issue is still around and myself, I would have to say that I’m still pondering whether bloggers would need to have the same or even higher treatment than est. journalists are because people are skeptical about ‘bloggers’.

            I am both a ‘blogger’ and a ‘journalist’. The difference is that blogging would be personal and you dont study for it, and writing in as a journalist means you study it for 3-4 years as your major.

            I am still in neutral gear of how things should shift. Should we then don’t have to go to comms school – my class use to joke that with all the deadlines and stress that builds up in class, “let’s just drop out and start blogging. we end up on front rows rather than 2nd row journalists.”

            The skeptical perspective among potential partners/readers is the part where bloggers are not ‘officially trained in’ and well, journalists are.

            Still rather hard to say that yes, blogging can be an FT job which I’ve met quite many so far than I expect and so I guess it can be now a proper job title as ‘Blogger at …’

            Two pence of thought!

  5. Cynthia says:

    The problem is this: Some bloggers blog as a hobby (and therefore don’t care if they’re paid in cash, items or not paid at all), while others consider it a side job. How do we tell the difference?

  6. Daniel Saynt says:

    Great response Jennine. Time to put it in perspective.

  7. Al says:

    Ohhh this journalist’s blogger envy, so annoying!
    First of all a suggestion to the journalist: find something else to write about, you’re boring. And really, it does look like you have a poisoned tooth… Ridiculous (aren’t you so professional??)

    And about compensation, the 5-6 figures are just for a bunch of bloggers out of thousands.
    Saying all bloggers earn like Chiara Ferragni or Rumi Neely is like saying all actors of the world (theater included) earn like Brad Pitt.

    I’ve been asked quite a few times to make illustrations for free (once even a full spread! WTF!). In the beginning I thought it would do me good to do some name spreading and exercise my skills, but then I realized that most of the times it’s a waste of energies and time that leaves you quite disappointed and down.
    Once they even said, in an illustration request, “in exchange of full recognition”. Is it a joke?? Now even having my name on my work is optional??

    Writing and doing artwork is totally underestimated by magazines and brands: it takes effort, time and talent.
    I do a veeery demanding day-job (I am a biomedical researcher and work 10 to 12 hours a day in a lab) but I can say that sometimes free-lance article writing and illustrating is just as hard.
    And it’s totally not recognized to most of the bloggers, it’s a shame.

    And not only we work for free and often even feel humiliated, we also have to take the c**p of those journalist that don’t even know what are talking about.

    OK, end of the rant.

    Thank you so much for this post IFB

    Al

    -The Red Dot-

    • Cate says:

      Well, I think your case is different actually. They were asking you for a specific quantifiable product. I assume you already have rate for your illustrations. Asking you to do them for free is offensive frankly. (As a photographer, I totally understand that whole “work for credit” thing. It’s dumb). I think for you it’s not so much that they were working with a blogger, but an illustration they discovered through her blog. (Does that make sense?) You completely deserved payment, and I’m sorry you got shafted.

    • CamMi Pham says:

      That is ridiculous. We are on the internet it doesn’t mean they can get it for free. It takes a lot of time and efforts.

  8. So very well said… working on both the blog and brand side it’s interesting seeing both sides, but the bottom line is that if you work, you should be paid. Can’t believe this conversation is still being had!

  9. Thank you for responding! Also, I think you should write a full guide for how brands should work with bloggers. AND, if brand didn’t want to work with bloggers so badly, the article on WWD wouldn’t exist. Tired of being asked to do things for free!

  10. Viki Secrets says:

    Thanks for the open letter. 100% agree!

  11. Thank you, Jennine! I was very frustrated by some of the reactions to the WWD article, and you articulated my thoughts excellently!

  12. Mariana L says:

    Thank you Jennine! Your posts are always wise and are a stellar voice of the blogging community

    • Heather says:

      Frustrated is a good way to put it. Why do people feel that without the brands we’d have nothing to talk about? Without people like me and you buying the clothes, accessories, purses and makeup they wouldn’t have a profitable business! Everyone is reliant on everyone else, just because I need clothing to have a fashion blog does not mean the manufacturers do not need people like me all over the world buying their clothes. I just happen to blog about my clothes too.

      • Denise says:

        Very well articulated, Heather! It’s an awfully self-serving, backward argument. Besides, a blog that only talks about brands doesn’t have much going for it, quality-wise. (Not that this matters much any more.)

  13. Bella Q says:

    What a great articulated post. I am a bit baffled about how nobody bats an eye at the cost of a marketing campaign yet don’t expect to fully compensate a blogger who helps with marketing. And as for journalists bitchin’ about the

  14. Rebecca says:

    I actually thought the WWD article was balanced and nuanced. While some bloggers may argue that they’re not journalists, there is a significant contingent that do. It’s a very gray area that raises significant ethical issues. In all, it becomes a matter of public trust. At what point does a blog become no different than QVC?

    Also, I think it’s good to distinguish between freelance writing and writing for your own outlet. I would expect to be paid if my work were published elsewhere since they are buying the words, but not on my own site/magazine.

    Full disclosure: I am a journalist.

    • Avatar of Jennine Jacob

      Hi there Rebecca,

      The FTC regulations mandate that all sponsored content or gifted products must be disclosed to the readers. I guess, if a blogger’s content is there to help people shop, then yes, they are really no different from QVC. Also, most all fashion publications utilize affiliate links as part of their revenue streams.

      All I’m saying is the reporter did not paint a full picture. She only discussed how much bloggers charge, not so much the nature of the publishing business, of which bloggers are a part of. Had she conducted that research she would find that much of it is indeed standard practice. After all, if Vogue.com or Refinery29 hosted a party do you think they would do it for free? Then why should an independent publisher with just as much influence do the same job for free? Trust me, I’ve hosted a lot of events, they’re labor intensive.

      • Rebecca says:

        Hi Jennine,

        Absolutely, events are labor intensive. All of the forms of work that have been mentioned in the article, your post and the comments take time and effort.

        Bloggers may be a part of today’s publishing industry, but that aspect is still nascent, evolving at a rapid clip. And fashion blogging really is its own animal. This change and the naturally attendant questions are what I think makes the article relevant. (I’d wager that even a lot of bloggers aren’t necessarily aware of the scope of blogging’s intersection with traditional publishing, by which we really mean advertising.) From my view the writer tried to address the full range: bloggers who do, bloggers who don’t, those why pay, not, and why. It didn’t strike me as terribly judge-y. After all, it ended on a very positive, pro-blogger quote.

        But your comment makes me think that perhaps the term “blogger” is what’s been outgrown–for some at least–and those who consider themselves bona fide outlets should relabel themselves “publishers” to redefine themselves as businesspeople and not simply writers (who in traditional media aren’t supposed to be engaging with advertisers).

        • Avatar of Jennine Jacob

          Oh yes, I agree with the term “blogger” changing it’s meaning. There are bloggers who do for hobby and there are ones who’ve become publishing businesses (ifb is among ironically) the advertising busIness model is one that the publishing industry has used for decades? Centuries? So while blogging is relatively new there are still a great many principles that are not as new. That said the “traditional” publishing model is going through a lot of changes. It will be interesting to see how both mediums evolve.

  15. Sydne says:

    Really great article Jennine. Every word is so true. And great advice about collecting case studies!

  16. Sydne says:

    I’d love to read more actually on collecting case studies and any tips you have for presenting them to brands.

  17. As having experience on both brand/blogger side I think there are a few things this sparks

    1) Yes, all bloggers (or any one who does work on your behalf) should be compensated

    2) Not all brands, especially fashion brands have large $50k campaign budgets. Yes, some of the big players do, but even if they do, this still is quite a bit of money to a company that needs to be well spent.

    3) ROI -or Return of Effort is what I think the WWD article is trying to reference. It’s not whether people should get paid for their services, but out of the collaborations that are taking place, how well did those collabs/campaigns bring in good results? I think that is what WWD is trying to get to, which is a question that most marketing peeps ask, “did this have an impact on my brand”? But its up to the brands to establish goals and measure.

    Great post to bring this topic up. :)

  18. jennifer fay says:

    So many of us blog because we love it, and we strive to have quality work on every post. Yes, some blog as a hobby. But many of us blog and are also hoping to someday be professional bloggers or bloggers who actually earn a living blogging. Many of us right now, even though we are trying our hardest for our blogs to get found, get popular, and maybe someday go viral, still only end up earning maybe a few dollars a month. I have my paper doll products for sale on one of my posts, but nothing has happened yet.
    It takes a lot of maintaining a blog to get it popular and to the professional bloggers that we would love to be.

  19. Thank you so much for writing this letter. You expressed everything I wanted to say. Journalists and brands seem to forget that we spend hours and hours building our blog. Every day I plan articles that aim to educate, inspire and entertain my readers. I see myself more as an educator and entertainer really, rather than a journalist. In addition to that I have to be social, build followings on twitter, facebook, pinterest, attend events etc. Add to that the endless tedious “no” replies to companies who want cheap seo benefits to profit from my hard work. As I’m still building the brand and my site, I get paid next to nothing for all this work. You can be assured that when my site’s popularity grows and I get more attention from advertisers who are not only interested in SEO benefits, I will command reasonable fees for all the work that I do and have done. But even when you achieve overnight success with a site like the manrepeller has done. She deserves those high fees too. She has what is called the x-factor in the music industry. She instantly appeals to a lot of people. Why should she not ask high fees when she has so much influence and everyone who is interested in fashion reads her articles? Also, I think that many blogs are more transparent than magazines. I never see mentions in magazines that items were gifted in their editorials about these products. If advertisers are smart, they should work with bloggers. Many of them deserve every penny they get.

  20. Tanvi says:

    Thank you for writing it. A much needed perspective.

    ∞ © tanvii.com ∞

  21. Kat says:

    Nicely said. Thanks for that.

  22. mel says:

    Thanks for sharing this – I have been on both sides too and agree with you that compensation should be balanced and appropriate for bloggers too, no matter if journalist or not.

  23. Rafans Blog says:

    Tabea tamang… Nice blog. Saya suka ini. Thanks,-

  24. Jennine,

    You have presented an informative and well written article. I’m not a fashion blogger, but a city blogger.

    Your article applies across genres of blogging and I’ve shared it on various FB pages as well as my twitter account.

    As a professional blogger myself in the city of Austin I can’t stress enough how bloggers should not undervalue their work. Numbers are cold hard facts and never lie, they are just statistics. There is value in traffic and more to the point traffic that is of interest to potential sponsors, advertisers, etc. Thank you for taking the time to write this post.

    I truly enjoyed it.

    Eric Highland
    Founder / Lead Blogger
    The Austinot (austinot.com)
    @erichighland on Twitter

  25. Iris says:

    Thanks for addressing all the points and all the angles. I think it’s presumptuous for them to assume alot of the things that were stated.

  26. kimmie says:

    This definitely needed to be said! What I’ve learned is that many still do NOT understand how much work goes into blogging, especially with fashion/beauty/lifestyle blogs. Our platform may be different from “traditional media” but many of us are a one woman/man show: coming up with unique content, marketing, advertising, PR – the list goes on. I get so tired of explaining that I’m not just playing around on the internet and staring at pretty pictures!

    I feel that everyone should be compensated for their work – the amount being negotiable and varying by brand. I read the WWD article yesterday and I hope that if people continue to have this debate, they actually talk to bloggers less about compensation (bc let’s be honest – only a select few are making 6 figures) and more about what goes into their collaborations and/or even what some of the ROIs have been.

  27. Erin says:

    Preach. Preach. Preach.

  28. Ok, mixed feelings.

    Bloggers can bring unique personal points of views and when they attain certain metrics (national media attention, humongous amount of followers, vital community, various methods here not just followers), they bring value to the brand or promotion.

    Just as in editorial and other fashion related jobs, absolutely raw talent has to begin at the beginning. Sometimes it is an unpaid intern bringing coffee and safety pins and then as a blogger it’s the equivalent of jumping up and down for attention, for access to the product, etc.

    In some strategic instances, while you have a real checklist of how to build your resume, your readership, your credibility … you may have to work for exposure. Which does not mean that you have to whatever or anything. A good arrangement is beneficial to everyone involved.

    The next arrangement after the “learning” and “making your bones” should have some compensation because you will get bitter at feeling used. It may not be the 50,000.00 or so a blogger with, gulp, a million page views a month and spreads in national media gets, but something and that’s the beginning.

    Being used is dirty, only do the things that elevate your position.

    Many professions do have unpaid internships; fashionista.com runs listings constantly, and many are companies that can well afford to pay a salary. Such a shady part of the business, and yet exemplary associations are essentially money in the bank of the future.

    There are beginning to be agencies that represent bloggers as stylists etc are done … most are looking, as this is still the wild untamed yet chic west (so to speak) for bloggers that have a portfolio and identity in hand.

    Know that sometimes very expensive dresses are given to actresses to wear on the red carpet … the actresses, gritting my teeth, are even sometimes paid. Sometimes it just works well for each.

    Never react in anger if someone does ask you to work for free. You have the right to be feel good that they wanted you and you can freely thank them for their interest and say that’s not your policy. Who knows, it may raise the game.

    Know that many designers with money in the bank try to get photographers for free, hair and make-up people, etc. Everyone can say yes or no, the resentment shouldn’t be there.

  29. This post and it’s subsequent responses are fantastic!

    In fact, I just got another, here is a 500 word post you should come up with for XYZ musician, and no I don’t have a budget……I asked to never be emailed again by that company.

    The PR reps that contact us for ‘freebies’, (ie articles about their clients widgets) and are not offering us any return on our investment are the first one to complain about getting hit up for free product….Um…REALLY?

    I have to constantly nicely remind PR reps that they collect a paycheck at the end of the week for all that they are expecting of me, I add to THEIR stats and bottom line, very rarely does featuring their product add to mine, I ask them all the time, well do you get paid in ______ fill in the blank with whatever they are asking me to write about at that moment for free.

    I had to take a long weekend this weekend and walk away from everything so I could come back with more enthusiasm, it was funny that the first thing I saw was this post re-shared by several friends on my facebook page!

    Tracy @ Ascending Butterfly
    ♥ Ƹ̵̡Ӝ̵̨̄Ʒ

    • Well, the PR thing I would say is totally different than the article. I’m also a journalist who is a blogger and when a publicist pitches me for a magazine article I’m writing, I’m not expected to be paid for it and it would be unethical for me to ask. I only write about it if it’s a fit for the publication. Likewise, of course PR reps are pitching bloggers about their clients and expecting them to get editorial coverage for free, that’s literally their JOB! And unless you are only writing about products that pay you and that’s your policy, you shouldn’t be offended by a publicist introducing you to a new client.
      I’m more than happy when PR people approach me and introduce me to clients I may not have heard of before. However, if it’s not quite a fit and it may be a stretch or a giveaway would be more of a fit, then a Media Kit/asking for payment may go their way. Otherwise, I don’t see the difference in me finding a product on my own I like and writing about it and someone pointing it out to me.

  30. Mr. Fab says:

    Thanks for writing this! I love getting ‘scoffed’ at by other media. I am also my own writer, editor, creative team, photographer and advertising sector. Any person wearing that many hats is a steal of a deal at anything less then a million! (far less then many campaign creations cost to complete!)

  31. I’m an Australian-based blogger and this is all starting to hot up here. I’ve been able to secure great engagements myself but now have an agent doing the negotiating for me.

  32. FashionCloud says:

    Jennine, Thank you for yet again a great article – and or pointing us in the direction of the WWD article.

    Indeed, people often are too quick to judge what it is exactly that bloggers do and the amount of time, effort and resources we put into an article.

    It is not just a question of plopping ourselves behind a laptop and writing a ‘story’; we have to get to the event – by our own means, take the pics – with our camera, spend time talking to the brand or organizers to know a bit more about what we are covering, then go home upload and work on the pics and write the article itself then spend time promoting our article – and at the same time the brand or event in question.

    Working with bloggers should be a transparent, open and equal partnership where both parties have something to gain and I am increasingly understanding/believing that compensation is the right way to go. As well, as good representation!

    All of this still costs them much less than any other means of communication out there.

    Great article!

    Toni

  33. Thank you for saying many of the words that go through my head on a daily basis.
    Many blogger, especially mom bloggers like me, give it all away. We tweet, Facebook, share and distribute content for a brand to make money all in return for a free t-shirt.
    WTFrench Toast?
    I position myself differently based on my experience as a journalist, I run campaigns and bring together other bloggers to work on a project.

  34. imadime71 says:

    this is such a loaded issue, and having experienced both sides, i get it. but at the end of the day, it’s something that bloggers need to look at as business people.

    for years now bloggers across industries (fashion, sports, entertainment) have been making the argument that they should be treated the same as “mainstream” journalists, and provided the same access to events and coverage that those journalists are given. but journalists don’t get paid by the people/companies/brands they’re covering…not even if they disclose it.

    and now (some) of those bloggers want to be paid.

    if you know anything about the way marketing/pr/advertising departments and budgets work, i think the question should be: who’s asking you for the coverage? if it’s the PR department, well, they don’t generally pay for coverage (that’s why it’s typically called “unpaid media”). if you want to be paid for the work you’re doing on behalf of a brand then, just as so many others in marketing/advertising do, you need to make sure that you haven’t positioned yourself as a journalist and that you’re dealing with the person who has a budget.

    i’m honestly not surprised that this conversation is still taking place because there is so much ambiguity about bloggers and everyone is free to position him or herself how they wish. as some others have mentioned, just make sure that the way you’re positioning yourself is consistent with what you’re trying to get out of your job as a blogger, be able to back up your influence with the numbers, and make sure you’re talking to the right people.

    in short…don’t be a writer, run a business!

  35. BRAVO!!! Now IFB can be known as an advocate/lobby group for bloggers. Your content is always amazing and resourceful, but by far this is one of the best posts that I have read. It’s well articulated and to the point. Again, BRAVO!!!

  36. Erin says:

    Love it, great response Jennine! I wrote a response as well on the Huffington Post: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/erin-flynn/blogging-marketing-business_b_1577139.html

    As I said there,a new outlook on the brand/blogger relationship with an emphasis on relevancy and transparency is imperative. By working together, brands and bloggers can create something more memorable for their consumers and/or readers, but this floating idea amongst the industry that bloggers, out of the joy of their hearts, can continue to provide quality content as a side job is wishful thinking. Every time a blogger works with a brand for free, they are limiting their chances to build a career fueled by their passion. It’s time that we clear the air (or the interwebs) and truly understand the difference in promotional journalism (advertorials, sponsored posts, etc.) and traditional journalism. Instead of arguing about old media vs. new media and who’s right vs. who’s wrong, the successful brands and bloggers will be those who find a way in which they can work together.

  37. @imadime71 Yes! I agree 100%. The problem is some bloggers want to be considered journalists, some are hobbyists, some run a business and it’s so muddy that this conversation keeps happening. I’m also on both sides and just like you mentioned, I would never expect compensation from a PR pro, that’s their job! And a journalist wouldn’t either. However, if you are running your blog as a business and doing collaborations that take time, brainstorming and they are using your readers, likeness etc., absolutely it should be compensated for and there’s no reason it should be so “shocking” that people can’t pay their bills with a new handbag.

  38. Having been both a journalist and a blogger I think the issue is so tired.

    The original article also failed to point out that the upper level of payments are probably for big campaigns with a lot of work involved on behalf of the blogger. A lot of time not only do they get content created for that fee but then also automatic publicity for it from the blog. I also love how the article is essentially brand or pr’s complaining that bloggers won’t promote them for nothing.

    How many magazines/print publications have we’ll only write about you if you advertise with us deals and so forth? How many journalists get sent free things, or pick up goody bags and don’t disclose particularly in the “lifestyle” category which is what most blogs would be classified as? From what I’ve seen it’s a lot. There are a few that steadfast refuse gifting though and good on them. There’s also a lot of undisclosed paid for pages that look like editorial in mags I’ve worked for.

    I think it’s up to brands (and their marketing departments) to decide how much working with a blogger is worth. Naturally the blogger should be forthcoming with information on visitor demographics in this instance.

    It’s up to bloggers to decide what they will work for and what they won’t.

    I wish brands would be pickier with the blogs they worked with (not necessarily the bigger the better, but those with a style/voice that suits) rather than a scatter-gun approach.

    At the same time I wish bloggers wouldn’t do so much for free and stop being “easy targets”. I’ve actually worked with PR’s who discuss some bloggers this way. It’s not your job to do a brand’s marketing for them. I have a rule that if they would have had to pay for this in a magazine (like a competition or sales alert), then I would like compensation too as it’s probably straight up advertising. Side note: my pet hate at the moment is when brands put bloggers in competition with each other – they’ll have you create original content for them and then put it to public vote so we’re obliged to spam our followers with “vote for me”! messages and do their publicity for them.

    The majority of bloggers aren’t journalists; they are a more like a mix of an independent-publishing houses and as much as I need a better term a celebrity (ie. basically that they may have followers and influence among a certain targeted group). And often we’re doing this all on their own!

    Who is anyone to tell me that the thousands of hours I’ve spent and decent audience I’ve built up should be given away for free?

    For both bloggers and brands: do your research, create a real relationship, know your worth and everything with be rainbows and sunshine!

  39. Very good post!
    Personally I see it like this, I write my blog because it is fun, I have my own ideas and content and do not NEED to write about any other brands or products etc. However should they wish me to feature them on my blog then of course I expect to be compensated for this. I consider my blog a hobby AND a business, I am a professional and when I work with brands I make sure they are getting a good return for their investment. Of course I didn’t sit down one day and decide I wanted £XXX I worked my way into it and did do some things for free to earn experience and build my portfolio, now I am in a position to earn high fees because I worked hard for it.

    No I don’t have a university degree in blogging but there are many other professions which don’t either, they are learnt from experience ‘on the job’. I do however put into my blogging skills I have in my ‘real’ life. I have a PhD, I have worked in advertising and social medial etc etc etc, I know what I am doing and I do it well and I can prove this with my blog portfolio. It is then up to me and the individual brands I work with to discuss aims and fees, so long as both parties are happy I dont think it is anyone elses business.

    One thing I actually find is that many bloggers are UNDER paid and can be taken advantage of, but nobody is writing newspaper features about that!

  40. Also the original article quotes “We don’t pay journalists,” de Papp said.” maybe not but the publication the journalist works for pays the journalist, bloggers have no such back up.

  41. Clear. Concise. Complete. Thank you for articulating and speaking for bloggers.

  42. C says:

    Great article, even if it is a slippery slope with no clear answer. I think it’s important to read blogs with a bit of skepticism, much like how I read magazines (or watch commercials). I don’t fault the magazine for advertisements, much like I don’t fault the television show for the commercials, but I also realize that it may influence that person’s opinion on a product if they receive it for free or are receiving compensation for it.

    At the same time–the money is there. Why not take it? If retailers and marketing firms want to give money/compensation, and they all do, I’d much rather have it go to a blogger I like than to a big conglomerate like Google (and others). A lot of bloggers DO work hard when creating posts, and if I like their work I want to reward them–hence I see no issue with them somehow being compensated.

  43. Eliza says:

    Why don’t journalist turn into bloggers? :P
    problem fixed, hahaha.

  44. Sabina says:

    Honestly I didn’t think the article in WWD was intended as a dressing down of bloggers but a reminder that some bloggers have an over-inflated sense of how much their influence and reach is worth, and need to get real. Especially if they’re quoting Man Repeller or Glamorai prices for partnerships or paid content. Or constantly grubbing for free clothes and services.

    Example: My blog is devoted to fashion illustration and I am frequently contacted by people who I’ve never heard of, who’ve never even left a comment on my blog, asking for free illustrations in exchange for links on their blogs. I would actually consider this in some cases, but most of the time it’s blogs with almost no following, so you’ve got to wonder why they think offers like this are a tempting deal for both parties.

  45. LR says:

    Love this post Jennine!

    Some people do not realize that writing/blogging is tough work and time consuming. It entails a lot of research, fact-checking, and photo/video editing. In addition, most of us work for ourselves so we are our own team. We do PR, social networking, research, html, etc. The list goes on and on. Most days, I go to sleep at 4am and my workday begins at 8am. Yes, we barely sleep! Not all bloggers are uneducated also, a lot of us have college degrees and we know our craft. It is insulting for people to think we’re not worthy of getting paid for our work or that a “freebie” will suffice.

    Nonetheless, I do agree that bloggers who don’t have the educational background or experience should not go running around saying they are journalists. I’ve also noticed many bloggers do NOT know the industry, they got their lucky break and go on TV and tell people the wrong thing to wear! That’s absurd and makes the rest of us look bad. They may fool people who don’t know about fashion, but as for the true industry professionals who know this field, they will look like a fool. Blogging is something you can do well if only you have a passion for the topic your blog is based on. Other than this, if it is not the case, their time will be short-lived. In the end, TALENT ALWAYS WINS regardless of who likes it or not.

    I wrote about this issue in 2010: http://fashaddix.com/2010/02/bloggers-vs-journalists/

  46. Anna says:

    Interesting article, there are still companies that don’t realize the value influential blogs provide…

  47. CamMi Pham says:

    “if bloggers are journalists, journalists aren’t paid for writing about a company.”

    The other article forget one point. Journalists get paid from the newspapers/magazine….Nobody pays blogger. We don’t get a paycheck at the end of the day.

  48. Anthea says:

    Great article. Tweet reach was very useful!

  49. Sonia says:

    I’m so happy I’m not alone in this blogger’s world!

  50. so helpful info, thanks.

  51. StyleDestino says:

    its a wonderful article. While I understand that in Western countries and maybe some places like HK or Singapore the bloggers have a voice and earn good money and make living out of the blogs, in India the bloggers are still not taken very seriously.

    The brands want to use the bloggers for free.

  52. Adeola Naomi says:

    The bloggers in Greece are hardly acknowledge , let alone get compensation.
    I totally agree with the article, if you believe bloggers are getting more than the deserve, then come join the squad and maybe you will see the actually work for every penny.

  53. mummylish says:

    As a relatively new blogger to the scene (6 months) I am working really hard to build my blog up to something amazing. I blog because I love to blog but also because it gives me a great deal of satisfaction. I work with companies and products that I am passionate about and are close to my heart which keeps it real for me. I have yet to be compensated for any campaigns though – but I know these things take time. Great article – thanks!

  54. Lucy says:

    I do know both sides of the coin so to speak, I know blogging takes time and thought but also if you are for example a small business who are trying to get known and are out of budget you should get bloggers support. Back in the day when blogging was just starting, most bloggers did this. That’s one of the main reasons, in my opinion, why blogging grew so fast. Before the big companies understood the power of bloggers, it was a friendly relationship and most importantly, bloggers were an engine for indie designers. At this momemtn, some fellow bloggers are not very flexible. If you are dealing with a MAJOR company, then great, charge the way marketing companies do because after all there’s a reason why the major company is contacting you in the first place but if an indie designer or designing student or small business is contacting you and is offering you a compensation in the form of a garment for example I think bloggers should be open about it and not always try to slash $300 or more dollars out of you. I mean, if models, TOP MODELS are paid by VERY successful designers with garments, bags or shoes, why bloggers sometimes feel so special and only accept cash?

  55. Sabrina says:

    This blog has great potential let alone very informational. Keep educating and doing the right thing.

  56. marla says:

    Such a fabulous post!! I believe in great monetary compensation for this new wave of advertising and marketing.

  57. Tracy Gibb says:

    This is so well-written it make one of my favorite posts that I’ve ever read about blogging. I wish I wrote this myself:) I will be linking back to this one for sure because this info needs to be spread!

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