I get it, I really do. If I were a company or PR firm, I’d do my best to get stuff for free. Who wouldn’t? But here’s the little secret: Bloggers work for free most of the time all on their own.
We start these funny little online journals and pour our hearts out to a public that isn’t always so kind. We may not be getting paid, but we are paying a price for what we do in time, energy, and sometimes even hurt feelings. Then, maybe as things move and grow, we start getting offers for reviews and other promotions. We are pretty stinking excited about that. Seriously.
But, you know, I turned them down for YEARS. Literal years. Then one day I decided “why not?” Which led to more offers and more emails bombarding me and my inbox each day. An overwhelming amount. Some days I get more than 200 new emails, nearly all of them companies and PR people wanting a little piece of me for free.
But why should they get that?
I work on my blog full time. I worked on my blog full time when I had an actual full time day job. I work on my blog full time whether I’m sick or not, or getting paid or not. And let me tell you, some months I make ZERO dollars. Some months, I’m in the negative.
At some point, we bloggers are working for free, or even in the red. We are paying hosting fees, annual fees for our domain name and who knows what other subscriptions or fees to keep our little blogs moving forward. And at some point, PR people took notice of this great movement and the power that bloggers have to appeal to their followers. But, for some reason, they decided we deserved to work for free.
Hey, if you want to promote some stuff for free, more power to ya. I still do when the cause is right. But, I can’t possibly spend the amount of time it takes to write a post and create a social media promotion campaign for free for all 200+ people a day who are emailing Seriously and wanting her voice, her audience and her endorsement for free. And why should I?
You see, that company that is sending you that gift to review? They can write that off on their taxes. The charity event they want you to promote? Those items are being donated and those businesses are getting a tax right off for donating them. Me? I’m not getting diddly squat for working for free.
Bloggers don’t get tax write offs for working for free. I don’t get a deduction because I spent 10 hours writing and promoting your event, product, or news tidbit out of the goodness of my heart.
Bloggers may make money on their blogs, but it’s rarely a ton of money. And no matter how much I make there are some things that simply can’t be recouped. I can’t find a way to earn back all that time and energy I spent working for everyone for free. And I really shouldn’t have to.
Wouldn’t you expect to get paid for something you spend more than 40 hours a week on? That costs you money to run? That companies want you to use to promote them?
So bloggers, do yourself a favor. Don’t sell yourself short. You deserve to earn something for all that hard work you are doing for those companies. Whether it’s monetary or being paid in product, some type of reciprocal relationship is a reasonable expectation and demand. You don’t get a tax deduction the same way those companies do. And you deserve to be paid for the reach, the audience and the voice they want you to put to their campaign.