I’ve observed an interesting phenomenon in recent times.
In the past 3-4 months, I’ve been approached by 3 potential start ups, to pick my brains regarding their potential businesses (beauty related). One audaciously wanted me to not only meet them to share my ideas and contacts, but to invest my time (not sure about money, we never got that far) fully in their business in return for….. nothing. I’m serious. I asked. There was a lot of beating around the bush but essentially the take away was, nothing.
Another wanted basically to conduct market research in exchange for a drink and the privilege to be “the first” to know about the new product/project/business (Its not a new concept, don’t kid yourself; and it’s not exclusive when up to 10 other people I know got the same email later). Yet another wanted to collate information and essentially also, do market research with a 20 question questionnaire that I know was shot out to all my blogging friends and maybe everyone else.
On separate occasions, I received an email with an offer to “review” a product but I also had to Tweet it twenty billion times and “Like” on Facebook and post to their Facebook page a trillion times a day and basically spam the living daylights out of everyone that mattered…. in exchange for something ridiculous like a deodorant. Or I have to “promote” an event none of you may be able (or interested) to attend before the event and after the event and for that I get “free entry” and a “door gift”. Wow. We’re not talking about a trip to Greece here, folks. We’re talking a can of deodorant and some random party.
What I was upset with was with the presumption that as a blogger, I’d be free at any time of the day to meet/discuss and give free access to my head/ ideas/ contacts, spend all my time on Twitter and Facebook, deluge readers and followers with crap like “OMG! My underarms have never felt drier in this weather than with XX Deodorant!” fifty billion times a day; or that I’d be falling over myself to attend an event 3 days away “for free” and that I’d promote the hell out of it and make all of you pay RMXX to attend too; and that I’d do it all for well, nothing! Generous me! I’m “just a blogger after all”.
Frankly, I feel taken advantage of and quite quite unrespected. Well bloggers, what say you. Do you sell yourself short as a blogger? Do you feel that you’re “doing your bit” in “giving your help” when approached and it makes you feel important? Bear in mind these are companies who are planning to make money out of what is essentially YOUR ideas and effort. Don’t sell yourself short!
I’m not saying here that we should all be mercenary penny pinching people asking for payment for everything we are asked to do. I don’t ask for payment to write a product review (that is so not on, on so many levels!) and I’ve given up doing advertorials because they take too much time for too little remuneration (I also wasn’t up to sticking tubes of moisturizer down my non existent cleavage, doing 20 kawaii poses with the product and arguing over why I had to talk about what’s not good). I don’t charge a fee to promote something if its something I already like. If I don’t like it, I won’t say anything about it so paying me doesn’t make it better (unless we are talking good 5 figure money). In fact, barring the ads I run in the sidebars through networks, I don’t charge anyone anything. Silly me evidently, because I know of bloggers raking in the money for doing everything I’m already doing for nothing. I don’t think it right or wrong of them to accept the cash. I know I’m the silly one. Its just how we operate i.e. differently.
But there are limits and there are times when our skills are worth a fee and this is when we are being asked to be consultants or go on an advertising blitz, something over and above a simple blog post. Many of us work full time and have full lives, and we blog part time. Some of us are more active than others. Its a question of our time management and our work flexibility. Our time and ideas have to be worth something right? If we are full time bloggers, we’d definitely want paying else where would our monthly income come from?!
In most cases, I’d say that bloggers are among the most generous of people I know. For some of us, we don’t depend on the generosity (or not) of the various companies and brands out there. If we really want something, we go out and buy it or pay for our food, our hotel stay, our holiday… and we share our experiences for free. Gratis. Nothing.
Not only that, we pay for our domain name, our hosting fees, our camera equipment… Tine has a good idea of how much a dedicated blogger will spend on our blogs, and that’s not even taking into account the time and effort we put in, the leave we take from work to attend an event we are interested in, the other parts of life we may otherwise sacrifice, because we enjoy what we do.
So really, if a company wants to conduct market research, or use my reach and contacts, or embark on an advertising blitz through me, they better jolly well make it worth my time. Or they can just pay a market research company or PR/Advertising company or a consultant to do it for them. If not, suck it up, launch the product/project/service and then engage with the blogging community who may be happy to then tell you where you went wrong (or right). As it stands, they are so far off the wrong-o-meter I can’t even begin to describe it.
I am prepared to help out a friend or someone I know and have some sort of relationship with. I am however, not as accommodating towards a stranger who just wants to “pick my brains” for free and to then use that free information to make money or leverage on my generosity, time and readership for their own gains. I’m sorry, it just doesn’t work that way.
Bloggers are sometimes seen as freebie-grabbing, money-grubbing entities but in this one instance, I believe we are fully entitled to be. We have something you want (information and a strong readership base) so do the respectable thing and offer to pay for the ‘expert’ advice and consultation, the way you’d pay your lawyer or doctor or accountant or PR agency.
There are times when we should draw the line and I’m not going to sell myself short anymore. I urge you, fellow bloggers, to do the same. Big or small, we are all worth something, and at the very least, we are worth some respect.
Bloggers, what do you think. Do you sometimes feel like we’re getting the short end of the stick here? That the perception is that we are prepared to jump through flaming hoops for a drink, dinner and being made to feel important or for a free ticket to a random party?
Simple Blogging Tips are some simple tips I have for fellow bloggers, based on my own experiences. I’m no ‘guru’ but I hope they will help you. You may read up on previous Simple Blogging Tips here.