Tuesday, January 1, 2013
As most of you know I went kicking and screaming into Pinterest. Not because I'm afraid of being an early adopter, in fact many who know me come to me with questions on new software, apps, tech and the like because I am an early adopter. I was afraid of pinterest, because I knew invariably I would spend a ton of time there. And lo and behold, when I joined that exactly what happened. To me it's like facebook with the commentary turned off, so it allows you to focus on what is worth the proverbial 'thousand words' the pictures!
When I got the email notification from Pinterest that fellow Blogger Bren from B So Chic! was following me on Pinterest, I immediately followed her back, and went to check out her boards, I saw the graphic above and I just had to share it because it sums up how most bloggers feel in a nutshell.
When a blogger solicits a brand, we better have a value proposition in place, very few bloggers are being 'gifted' a thing. We are expected to not only leverage our Social Media Influence, we are expected to be a Marketing and Public Relations Power House, and a photographer, editor and powerful story teller, and a myriad of other requirements sometimes before a brand will even consider working with us.
But brands however seem to feel it's OK to come us with no value proposition in place. A review item, (no matter how high it's approximate retail value may be), isn't even close to compensating that reviewer for their time.
We can't pay our landlords or bills with the knowledge of your brand or client's (in the case of a PR firm) sales, discounts or events. We can't pay our bills with your good intentions. We can't pay our bills with tweets, instagram, pins or likes. We can only do that with payment.
A magazine editor draws a salary and gets benefits (and those vary by publisher, I worked for a number of publications before I flew the coup). They are also oftentimes 'assigned' a product. Bloggers are not. We can't pay our bills with your widgets no matter how shiny or sparkly they may be. And conversely, when we solicit a brand, more often than not it's a product we already know well so we are already consumers of that brand.
So when you get a Media Kit in response to your solicitation to me or any blogger, don't be offended. Welcome to reality. Welcome to the new digital age.
Bloggers, If you don't value your time or work, neither will anyone else. So when you are asked for what amounts to free social media consulting and PR services, put a price on it! Wipe that digital dust off your Media Kit and send it back when you receive a solicitation. And not just for the obviously bad pitches as a way to make them go away, but for the good ones too, even if you like a product it doesn't mean your time shouldn't be valued.
We read enough pitches to know when a brand is seriously looking to build a long term, mutually beneficial relationship or just use you for a one shot mouthpiece with no regards to your time, efforts, energies and talents.
I held on to this graphic and this post since last year as I saw it during the Holiday Season, and my editiorial calendar had already closed, but this post was sitting in drafts just waiting for 2013 to begin. So Bren, thank you, what may have been a simple Pinterest 'pin' for you one day, definitely inspired me to sound off on blogging on the whole.
They say the relationship between PR firms/Brands and Bloggers could always stand room for improvement, but a great start is by respecting one another's time. And YES, that very much goes both ways.
Please don't mis-interpret the title of this post, I am NOT discussing Volunteer work, you should definitely find ways to give back, and using your platforms for social good is a wonderful thing too, but let's face it, there are but so many hours in any given, day, week, month or year, and not all of them can be given away for free. I actually think the topic has merit across the board and is not specific to only blogging, consultants go through this each and every single day, freelancers and at some point down the line, every single job hunter. How many Marketing job interviews don't come with the 'write out a presentation or brief about specific ways you'd improve our Marketing Strategy' and then you are not selected, but your ideas get used anyway. Putting a price on your skills reduces the burnout and feeling of being used. Like Beyonce sings the famous 'If you like it, then you should have a put a ring on it!', you too need to put a price on it so others know how to value it! And remember, just like the cost of living goes up from year to year, your prices can and should too, so revamp your Media Kits!
I'm also toying with a full post on the differences between soliciting someone and trying to bully them, but for now I leave you all with my usual questions to spark some additional thoughts and great conversation on a topic which I'm sure many of you will have very strong opinions on!
Today's Thought/Challenge: What do YOU think butterfly? Do you think the 'business of blogging' will soon change as more bloggers put a price tag on their services? Bloggers what has been your biggest PR or Brand Fail? Why?
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FTC Disclosure: You can best believe that this is NOT a sponsored post! All opinions expressed herein are 100% my own! (Although I'm sure you can find a few hundred thousand bloggers out there who share these sentiments!)