Time and time again I see bloggers undervaluing their worth, and quite honestly – it makes me mad. Whilst I understand that everyone blog’s for their own reasons and everyone is free to make their own decisions, it’s important to note that as a collective, if you undervalue your worth, then you undervalue the worth of your peers.
Independent Fashion Bloggers has a fantastic movement called The IFB Manifesto – which effectively amounts to stating – if you want us to work, pay us. It’s a good read and a good ethos to blog by.
Since launching our Partnership Programs (a series of affiliate programming, ambassadorships and ad deals) the one question I’ve been asked more times than I can count is: “What do I charge?”. The following is a guide (and please note the word guide) to valuing your work as a blogger.
Now don’t get me wrong, a free dress, a nice purse, a tube of mascara can all go a long way to making me happy, and as my best friend puts it – “well who needs to get paid – that’s what I spend my wages on anyway” – but the fact of the matter is, mascara does not pay your rent, or your credit card bills, or your student loans. Regardless, if I’m offered something free to try/wear/use then I generally accept graciously.
When accepting product I do so under the condition that I’m not obliged to write about said product. In my opinion, this is the only way to ethically accept product. If I like the product, I will, of course, write about it. If I don’t? Then I use my “positivity clause” – wherein, if I have nothing nice to say – I don’t say anything, I don’t see the point in wasting my time and editorial space on that kind of negativity (besides, what would I tweet about?!)
The free product realm enters a confusing space when it comes with requirements. The second there’s a requirement the free product becomes something that isn’t a gift, it becomes compensation for work, and until I can pay my bills in mascara that’s not the kind of compensation I work for.
Sponsored Posts and Advertorials:
Generally if you’re creating any kind of post that has requirements from the brand you’re working with, then that’s sponsored content (and should be clearly labeled as such). Pricing sponsored content is a sticky area and is often dependent on what is asked of you. A good place to start is a basic CPM rate – CPM means “Cost per Mille” – or cost per 1000 views. A good CPM is on average around $10. So if you’re getting 10,000 pageviews a month, a good base rate cost for you would be $100.
Past that you can look at the content you’re being asked to create, perhaps add in a cost per image, or even a cost per word. Being flexible is often key, perhaps you really love the brand or you think there’s a bigger partnership down the road. So perhaps with your 100,000 pageviews – you don’t want to charge $1000 right away. It is down to personal choice and what you’re willing to work with. But sponsored content should always be rewarded, and not with a free pair of a jeans.
The CPM model works well here too and your price can be variable according to the sizing and placement of the ads. Advertising is something I see undervalued a lot in the blogosphere (to the point where I removed all banner ads from my site) again it’s about finding a point you’re comfortable with and finding brands you’re comfortable working with. Perhaps you want to market your advertising to independent businesses such as Etsy sellers – who would maybe be priced out by your CPM model that a big e-tailer could easily afford. There are variables to keep in mind when pricing advertising – but be sure you know what they are.
A common request of bloggers is to guest post, and it’s often something that’s offered to us as though it’s a privilege. “Come, create content for us, do our job for us, because you’re soo lucky!” Guest posting for a friend or for a blog that get’s substantially more hits than you do can be excellent way to promote your brand but what if you’re posting for a brand? The reason they’ve asked you is not likely to be from the kindness of their heart to help promote you – it’s to use your influence and skill to promote them.
Look a the content you’re being asked to produce and decide is this an hourly rate project (image heavy, graphics etc) or if this a per word rate and have those rates ready in your head. Find a per hour and per word rate you’re comfortable with (I’d recommend a bottom and and a top – my minimum per word rate is 30¢, my minimum hourly rate is $25)
Paid Appearances and Other Projects:
This is the most subjective of all blogger positions, as it’s the hardest to quantify. As with every position find something you’re comfortable with and go after it. If you’re not comfortable hosting an event for a new wardrobe – say so. If you’re not comfortable doing that styling challenge for a gift card – say so.
Finding a minimum “get out of bed for rate” or developing an hourly wage for this kind of project is worth doing if you’re serious about making money this way. Sometimes the opportunity is worth doing for no money, sometimes it’s not. But only you can find that level of comfort, and if you can’t and you feel like you’re being taking for a ride constantly – then perhaps it’s time to find a manager who can make those decisions for you.