Tuesday, January 1, 2013

2013 Today's Words of #Inspiration: Do NOT work for Free!

do not work for free under the guise of good exposure

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?

˙·٠•● Ƹ̵̡Ӝ̵̨̄Ʒ ●•●•٠·˙˙·٠•● Ƹ̵̡Ӝ̵̨̄Ʒ ●•●•٠·˙˙·٠•● Ƹ̵̡Ӝ̵̨̄Ʒ ●•●•٠·˙


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!)

14 comments:

  1. Well said everyones time and hard work should be valued,but as long as people fear the truth no head way will be made. So congrats for telling it lke it is!!!
    Here's hopeing 2013 and this write up will help bloggers and all those who value thier time speak up!

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    1. @Big Happy Buddha - It's definitely necessary to remind bloggers that their efforts, talents and dedication SHOULD be valued and rewarded, and we all know it's actually starts within. When we decide what we are willing to accept, the universe will send it! :)

      Happy 2013!

      ♥ Ƹ̵̡Ӝ̵̨̄Ʒ

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  2. fantastic! Glad you followed the board and found inspiration to put it all into perspective! I'm with you all the way. And yes, this is not to be mistaken with volunteer work... which is really important to share :)

    Happy New Year!

    Bren
    B So Chic!

    ReplyDelete
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    1. @Bren Herrera - I am definitely loving Pinterest, this is the one time I actually regret not being an early adopter, but I do enjoy checking out everyone's pins, and this one definitely inspired me!

      Yes Volunteer Work is crucial to making our communities better places to be, I just want bloggers to understand that their blog is their brand, it's their business and their efforts have value. Sometimes we are so afraid to offend, or fear putting someone off that we don't make it clear that we know full well what is being asked of us is social media strategy work!

      Keep pinning awesome stuff! (You may just end up inspiring another post!) :)

      Happy 2013!

      ♥ Ƹ̵̡Ӝ̵̨̄Ʒ

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  3. Very well put and absolutely true.

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    1. @Unkown Mami - Thank You! :)

      Happy 2013!

      ♥ Ƹ̵̡Ӝ̵̨̄Ʒ

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  4. Very true. We must value our hard work.

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    1. @BellaVida Letty - Exactly! The important part is getting every blogger to understand that it's just that, WORK, and very hard work indeed!

      Happy 2013!

      ♥ Ƹ̵̡Ӝ̵̨̄Ʒ

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  5. Well said Tracy! I can't wait to see your follow up post. Seriously, there should be a whole group of bloggers uniting to address this topic through a link up or something. I think the power of seeing several bloggers' opinions on this together would show brands just how they have impacted us as a whole. They need to realize that we have ambitions and obligations as well. For many, this isn't just a hobby. It's about a focused and driven message, a business plan, a sustainable income. That needs to be acknowledged in this market.

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    1. @Chantilly Patino - I ran the Association of Internet Professionals New York City Chapter, it was an industry association whose goals was to set standards in the .com space, I think the blogging world needs an association! To set standards, regulations and empower each other beyond the once a year conference. This may be bigger than a link up, but that's definitely a good place to start.

      I actually co-hosted a Twitter Party about Bloggers and PR Firms/Brands playing nicer together, I'd like to make that an ongoing tweet chat, I'll have to tap into sponsors and additional media partners to help it not only grow, but truly be a viral resource.

      So glad to see you sound off here, I respect your writing and the dedication you show in everything you do. I'm honored that we got to meet through our shared work for Britax's Latina Advisory Board and Hispanic Social Media Outreach Ambassadorship!

      Wishing you and your beautiful family a very happy New Year!

      ♥ Ƹ̵̡Ӝ̵̨̄Ʒ

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  6. Well said. And I'd like to add that requested samples from an editor are NOT A GIFT. Samples are what we use to create original editorial content (which may or may not be compensated). Without it, we are simply providing free advertorial. I feel the same way about give-aways and contests. Would a PR firm or company ask Vogue, Allure, Elle, (etc.) to do a free give-away. No way! They purchase advertising for this.

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    1. @Countess Ab - That's exactly what I was saying, and the fact that there are brands and PR firm that still have that very mistaken mind set that we are required to craft an article about a product based on their press release which amounts to nothing more than their 'say so' truly baffles me. No samples are a bare bone minimum, they are certainly NOT a gift.

      But that's exactly where each and everyone of us as bloggers come in, when we say NO, I will NOT accept these terms, and collectively begin to get to the brass tacks of setting minimums for sponsored posts, advertorials, giveaways and social media pushes nothing will ever change.

      Thanks for sounding off!

      Happy New Year!

      ♥ Ƹ̵̡Ӝ̵̨̄Ʒ

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  7. Great post. So many times newbies fall into this because they are happy to be recognized. It's sad that PR companies take advantage of that and offer very little compensation knowing bloggers will bite.

    Thanks for posting

    Irene

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    1. @Im A Silly Mami - Exactly! And kind of thinking is just going to make it harder for all of us down the road! And I find that 2013 has started even worse still with many requests to run giveaways only and not send the review item which is in fact against FTC regulations and they know it!

      If more bloggers, not only comment here, but stumble, tweet and facebook share this post, more brands will begin to realize that we are standing united and collectively weighing in on this very important issue.

      Maybe we need to strike just like Teachers, Bus Drivers and others do, once we have our union in place of course! ;-)

      ♥ Ƹ̵̡Ӝ̵̨̄Ʒ

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