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