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Why Bloggers Shouldn’t Work For Free

This is something I have been wanting to pin down since so long. No hard feelings. This is my opinion and what I think. Just sharing my thoughts on why bloggers shouldnt work for free.

Disclaimer: *This is going to be long you guys*

Our mailboxes are often filled with many such emails;

Dear Zahra, 

We love your amazing content on your creative website, Lastwordstory. We would love to offer you an amazing partnership and an opportunity to share our great product with your readers. This will give you a chance to get featured on our website and will help you get an exposure and life-changing experience. 

or our WhatsApp being flooded with messages like,  Hello hope you are doing well.”Please post this on your esteemed blog and in return you are gonna get a freebie or a giveaway” 

Life changing experience? Exposure? Giveaways? Freebies? huh, Wowza.

loggers Shouldnt Work For Free

Can you tell me how are all those free products sent to me or other bloggers is a life-changing? or is giving us any exposure?

not even exaggerating but it’s fairly representative of the daily emails I and many others in the same field get from publicity representatives seeking “partnerships” with bloggers.

I’m a blogger and I sit around refreshing my email just hoping a PR rep will reach out to me,  offer me a so-called life-changing product I don’t really want or need so I can spend between two and four hours writing about it and subsequently, promoting it via a web domain that I actually pay for. Out of the kindness of my generous little heart. NOT REALLY.

Tbh Blogging nowadays has changed advertising and marketing. I’m not saying advertising agencies or PR agencies are not in the game anymore but the advance of blogging and social media influence is a game-changer believe it or not. Companies of all sizes, from the multimillion-dollar level to the just-starting-out mom and pop shops are looking to bloggers to promote their products. And why not?  There’s no harm in it. Bloggers have massive followings. Beside following, people believe in them, their word has a power to convince, if not millions but yes a few and that MATTERS. They’re quite active on social media and they usually have a great deal of influence within their online communities.

Think about it for a little while. I have almost 12,000 people following Lastwordstory. I’m online connecting and engaging with people. If I post a picture of me wearing a really cool top, people will see it. They’ll “like” it. Comment on it. Maybe even share it. And maybe that brand shares it too. Will an image of me wearing a really cool top make you want to run out and buy that for you?  That’s pretty much the idea. No?

So yea, I’m not there to post or promote anyone because I’m too kind. I’m for hire. I admit that. I don’t work for FREE. Nothing in the world is free. Or if I would not like anything, I wouldn’t say yes just because I’m getting it for free from you.

Here are a few reasons I don’t do blog posts for free and why bloggers shouldn’t work for free either.

  • Our Time Has value: Time is money. If you are investing your time in something or in someone’s business, you need a return. Tbh, I don’t care how small your blog following is, your time is worth something. Even if you have the smallest of audiences, you are influencing them in any way. An advertiser or a PR person reaching out to you should compensate you to get the brand in front of it. Because if you wouldn’t be influencing enough, those small number of people wouldn’t be following you or actually listening to what you have to put forward. You take out 3 to 4 hours to write a blog post, take good images, post everything on social media, sharing it everyone etc. Why on the earth do you think you’d or you can do it for FREE? or why would any brand even think that in the first place? (that’s kinda rude) And NO I honestly don’t consider that free product sent to me by any brand or a PR company, a compensation. I’m not going to put in hours of work promoting something so someone else can make money. And no bloggers should do that either.
  • Exposure or Freebies Won’t Pay Our Bills: I have to pay bills just like you do. If I ask you to work for me and in return, I will give you a coffee daily or maybe a dress, would you work for me? NO. If the PR company you are working for don’t pay you, would you stay longer with them because of exposure? NO. As a blogger or content creator, you know that free product or promotion isn’t going to keep your lights on or pay your rent or pay for your car fuel. The people who work at these companies don’t get paid for free promotion or product so why should WE? Right? Stand up for yourself and other bloggers by acknowledging your worth from the get-go. If you’re a blogger, know your talents are valuable. And tbh I think When you accept posts for free promotion, you’re not only hurting yourself but you’re also hurting other real hard working bloggers. These companies will continue to devalue the worth of influencers if you continue to accept free promotion or product as payment. Trust me.
  • Your Influence is Real & Valuable: Here is my request or just a small message to all bloggers, Influencers, content creators out there, Please Stop working for free. You are valuable, and so is your blog. After all, these companies reach out to us because they know our readers trust our opinion. Our influence is valuable. Our time is valuable. Our effort is valuable. No one’s voice is like yours. Yes, there are hundreds of blogs out there focusing on the same topic, but no one’s writing style is exactly the same. Your uniqueness is what pulls your audience in. Everyone is different and everyone has a different convincing style or power. So why should you convince your loyal audience to purchase a product from a company that doesn’t value you?
  • Brands or Companies Don’t Have Budget To Pay Bloggers: BULLSHIT. LEGIT BULLSHIT. All these and PR companies DO have a budget even if they say they don’t. You guys happen to experience more often just like I do all the time, the PR person will reply with some version of “we don’t have a budget to pay you but….” They may urge a blogger to take the opportunity because “their audience will appreciate it” not yours or some such hooey. And usually, they may play to your sympathies and tell you they’re new in the market limited funds and need your support. They may offer to promote your blog on their social channels or send you something outdated or very cheap as payment. TBH that’s a crap and big time trap!

A few days back I came across a person saying, blogging is a hobby and no one gets paid for it. If I’m not earning money, blogging is a hobby and there’s nothing wrong with that. BUT. If blogging were a hobby, I’d probably not choose to spend my hobby hours photographing a lipstick or a designer dress that only elite can mostly afford and trying to convince people on the internet about its long-lasting power or one being looking good in it just like that one model looks in that image.

Anyways, the bottom line is that if I’m going to be working for a brand or a company, whether it’s by providing content for their website, for their social media, or writing about them on my personal blog, there has to be something in it for ME! Not a freebies plis! *wink*

If you’re a brand or company take notice, please realize bloggers have value, put their efforts and time, and your product should not be marketed for free. If you’re a brand that already realizes a blogger’s worth and paying them for their efforts, then kudos to you and thank you so much.  Maybe you can open the eyes of many others out there?

And let me be very transparent here If not today someday all the bloggers being used in the name of exposure and freebies will understand the whole game and those using them might fail at faking it anymore. So yea Think about everything before reaching out to bloggers or influencers! 🙂

Thanks for stopping by and reading it. Feel free to share your thoughts with me!

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  • Inaara
    June 12, 2018

    You’re so right!

  • Fahad
    June 12, 2018

    There was a really good quote for this in a movie “if you’re good at something, never do it for free” . But that being said I wanted to ask you opinion regarding pro bono PR stuff for humanitarian causes, yay or nay? And would you do it despite it not being part of blogs element/usual content?