When Are You Ready for Compensation vs. Exposure?


A great discussion came out of the post, Working With Brands: Reputation, Requests, & Saying No: Laura mentioned a brand had approached her to promote a particular campaign they were working on and in exchange, if she wrote about them, they would link to her post on Facebook (where they had over 20,000 fans).


Laura said, “I checked their FB page, and it’s true that they have over 20.000 followers, and I guess that at this point of my blogging ‘career’, exposure is about the best thing I can possibly get or need. Plus agreeing to this deal might build a relationship with this brand that might give me other opportunities later on.


When it comes to exposure vs. compensation, I feel strongly that:

  • Your blog is never too small to ask for compensation, and
  • Your blog is never too big for exposure.

Of course, after both of these I would add– under the right circumstances.


No matter how large or small your site, your time, energy, and voice have value (contrary to what you may think as a new blogger!).  It's up to you, early on, to decide what your editorial guidelines are


When is Exposure worth it?

Exposure can happen in ways we tend to forget about– being included in link roundups or guest posting on another blog.  Sometimes companies will offer us exposure in exchange for some kind of service though: guest posting or curating on their site; posting about a product or campaign they have (and then sharing it via their social media platforms), or you may have the incredibly rare opportunity to be featured in press: local papers, national women's magazines, or even their international counterparts.


Though I've never done this, I think if I were approached now about exposure in lieu of compensation, I'd ask them, “Can you give me statistics?”  You have to remind yourself that approximately 20-40% of Facebook fans will see the link and an even smaller ratio will click on the link and visit your site.  Most social media platforms have analytics built in, so they should be able to tell you what percentage of their links have click throughs!


If 200 fans visit your site from their Facebook page and you're receiving 50 visitors a day, that's a great deal for you!  But if you get 50 visitors from them, and you're averaging 10,000 visitors a day, it may not an ideal exchange.


When are you ready for Compensation (over Exposure)?

For some types of exchanges, I think a blogger should always ask for compensation: banner ads, link ads, or sharing their expert services.  (The IFB Fair Compensation Manifesto is a great place to find out more of those.)


One great way to gauge whether you are ready for compensation over proposed exposure is to compare costs.  What does it cost you do to the proposed project? How long will it take you to write, edit, find (or take) images for the post?  It's hard to think of your time blogging as having a monetary value, but it does!


Now think about the value of their offer? If they are offering you a link on their Facebook wall, I would compare the value to the cost of a banner ad– it's not unusual to pay $2-3 per 1000 views.  If they've got 20,000 fans, but at most 40% will see them, that's 8,000 fans.  At $3 per 1,000 fans viewing, the value of what they are offering is $24.


Will it cost you more than $24 worth of time to do the project?  If so, maybe you should consider asking for compensation.


I once wrote for the blog of a shoe retailer; I was paid $7 in store credits for each post I wrote (typically writing 2 posts a week).  Their shoes typically retailed in the $100-200 range.  Ultimately, I realized that I was writing for them for free: I never received any money, and it would take so long to save up enough credits to buy shoes, I'd ultimately end up paying them!  Even to write a quick post about the shoes in their shop took an hour.  Was $7 an hour a rate I was willing to accept for the work I was doing?  (In the US, that's not even minimum wage!)  Needless to say, it was a relationship that didn't last too long.


This is all really the tip of the iceberg on the discussion of when a blogger should seek compensation over exposure.  For bloggers who have been around awhile, when did you start to seek compensation over exposure?  Anyone have stories to share about the process?


Image by Werner Kunz

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About The Author

Ana is a Travel Blogger and Blogging Coach at The City Sidewalks. With her expertise in online marketing, she's able to help other bloggers, creatives, and entrepreneurs grow their businesses so that they can achieve financial freedom to travel the world on their own terms.

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13 Responses

  1. MJ

    Wow what an awesome post and so wish this was around two years ago when I started blogging!

    Honestly I didn’t start really looking at the Compensation vs. Exposure concept until I actually wrote a guest blog post in which I was compensated for it. After that experience I really focused on how much time it took for me to a do a blog post and whether that compensation was just in the amount of work I was doing. A lot of it was learned the hard way (i.e writing posts for a sum of money that in the end wasn’t worth it) as well as having good experiences with companies that understood how valuable my time, my blog, and my audience was.

    If I had to do it all over, I would look at my blogging time as if it were my day job time. If I spend a lot of time on a project that would take away a considerable amount of time and editorial space from my blog then yes, I have to be compensated for it. If I have an opportunity that takes little or no time at all (such as contributing a beauty tip to an online mag that has a lot of exposure) then I take it.


    Before reading this blog, instantly I thought..I need exposure, but after reading this post, but my outlook is completely different after reading this post.

  3. Emily

    This post makes a lot of sense to me. However, I believe that even if it takes time to promote an offering brand and there’s little real gain, there’s still a gain. And if it’s something you enjoyed writing/doing, then why not? In your case, $7 an hour is still $7 more than you would have gotten: it’s at least something. Blogging should be an enjoyable thing and if you get perks (little or big) along the way, that’s great. But you shouldn’t NOT take something up just because the reward isn’t as gratifying as you would have liked. I would honestly do anything, as long as the validity of the store itself held up, regardless of how “worth it” it is. But that’s just me 🙂

    • Daniel Dunt

      I completely agree with you; I think that even if you’re grabbing an extra one or two readers, or even a couple of extra dollars/pounds, that is still more than you would have had originally. – Daniel Dunt 😀

  4. No Guilt Fashion

    This is a fabulous post. I’m realizing more and more as I’m starting to reach the level that brands are semi-interested in working with that my time is worth something to me and my family. I must benefit from the use of that time some how.

  5. Daniel Dunt

    This is a fantastic post; I have to say, I have provided posts for exposure a number of times, even if the brand or company isn’t exactly the most popular one around. I appreciate having even one or two extra readers click through as of-course that could lead to a long-time dedication; therefore if the company or label is not willing to offer compensation in the form of payment, I have to say that in my opinion exposure is more than worth it, as it is what we as bloggers need to keep our enthusiasm for blogging. To summarize, I think that you have to appreciate that if you were not blogging, you would not have people who know you in say New York, Hong Kong and across Europe, whereas with blogging you have that, which is more than a lot of other people have in there careers. – Daniel Dunt 😀

  6. melmo

    So true, I’m not willing to spent a lot of time in posting about a brand and not gaining anything from it. It doesn’t have to be a lot, but just a little something to say thank you. To show that they see a value in what I did.

  7. Laura Hueto Puig

    Wow, thanks for the mention… and of course, for the article! 🙂 This whole issue has given me a lot to think about in terms of: why do I blog? for whom? what are my goals and what do I hope to achieve for myself through my blog? Of course, I still haven’t figured out THE answers yet, but I’m starting to learn to see what works for me and my blog, what I’m comfortable with, and what I’m willing to do. It’s a work in progress (and a lot of fun too! Otherwise none of us would be doing it… :D), and I guess each of us has to learn where to draw the line. Anyway, I just wanted to say thanks for all the help! I *love* IFB! 🙂

  8. Brookelynn

    amazing! I am just starting out. Like literally this week and this is a really great thing to learn about right away as I am building my own concepts and branding my blog