In honour of my recent blog anniversary, I recently shared 12 lessons that I learned in my first year in the blogging industry. My second lesson is one which I feel needs some elaboration:
‘Know Your Worth’
A bloggers worth, notably the brand collaboration terms they’ll accept, is something which is frequently discussed and criticised. Although I have nothing against the right to differences in opinion, there have been some very accusatory tweets flying around which seems to me a little unfair. What I fail to understand is why some people seem to think that the blogging industry should be exempt from the way in which we view business. Every day, services are offered and deals are struck between billions of people. There is supply and demand; each side; the business and the customer, is aware of the conditions of the trade and is free to accept or reject them.
I’ll be clear from the off that these are my opinions and I don’t wish to offend anyone with them. I’m also discussing blogging as an industry rather than blogging as a hobby. When I speak about worth I’m referring to how businesses view us bloggers as individuals who can offer them a service for a price.
Blogging is Just Business
I think it’s fair to say that as a rule, we typically get what we pay for. In general, those just starting out in their profession offer their services for less. Depending on our needs and budgets we are free to pay the asking price of the best of the best or to compromise. Either way, payment usually aligns pretty fairly with the services that we receive. If they don’t, then we learn a lesson and find other services in the future.
The opinion which has most shocked me is this: ‘bloggers should always charge because by not doing so they’re driving down prices for others’. I’ve seen this opinion many times albeit versed in different ways. Every time, it baffles me. As a blogger, I’m familiar with being approached by brands who want to send something in return for a feature. I’m also familiar with initial excitement as a new blogger and annoyance later on when I know a brand is asking too much of me. Like any business, big or small, I know the kind of deal I’m comfortable with. I also know when someone is trying to take advantage. Let me tell you why the logic of driving down value fails. NOT ALL BLOGGERS ARE THE SAME. Beautyblender sending me as a ‘micro-influencer’ free products won’t stop them from paying big baller influencers a hell of a lot of money to promote them too. Bloggers vary so much and offer completely different benefits to brands and their payments reflect this.
Don’t Compare Your Chapter 1 to Someone Else’s Chapter 20
There are collaboration terms which I would have accepted at the beginning which I wouldn’t accept now. There are terms which I accept now that I may not accept in the future. Similarly to roles in most industries; as a bloggers experience, quality of work, reach and engagement grows, their worth to a brand goes up. There’s nothing wrong with accepting a deal that someone else wouldn’t. You’re going to be in a completely different ballpark to others and there’s nothing wrong with that!
Occasionally I use the Tribe app to find sponsored opportunities for my Instagram. They feature a handy little guide which outlines how much to charge depending on your following. Although I and many others would argue that engagement is equally as important as follower count, you see my point: brands are about the numbers.
Do it For You
It’s worth noting that I don’t think that the worth of a blog and it’s content is only monetary. A bloggers worth is made up of a combination of many things including the standard of their content, their reach, engagement and their readers themselves. If I had to choose between monetising my blog and people actually enjoying my content then I’d choose the latter without hesitation.
Ultimately you are the most important consideration, the brand that you’ve created, it’s ethics and what it stands for. Unfortunately, you can’t and you won’t be everybody’s cup of tea and that applies to both brands and readers. Knowing your worth means also being true to your brand and working with companies on products you genuinely love. If you do this then you’re on the right road to success and your worth is as high as it can be in terms of integrity.