You may or may not have seen the post today by Liz Gumbinner of Mom-101 regarding mom bloggers working for free. If you haven’t already read it, I’d encourage you to do so. Liz makes some fantastic points about an emerging theme in the parenting blogger community: marketers don’t respect us enough to pay us for our time.
Recently influential bloggers such as Liz have become increasingly annoyed by advertising and PR firms asking bloggers to participate in programs – asking for placement of promotional banners, email blasts, social media promotion and the like – without compensation. I may get some blowback from other agency people for this, but I’ll go ahead and say it: Liz is right.
If we are asking bloggers to spend their precious time and energy promoting our clients, why shouldn’t they get paid (with full disclosure)? And by “get paid”, I don’t mean that we provide giveaways for their readers, or links to their blogs, or free products, or other things that are used in place of compensation. Don’t get me wrong – those things are great ways to build relationships with bloggers and their readership. But bloggers (and I include myself in this) are right to be insulted if this is all we offer them for weeks, months, or in some cases years worth of speaking up on behalf of our clients.
I am not so naïve as to think that there aren’t bloggers out there who would agree to this kind of exchange. But taking advantage of an already overworked blogger in the name of more publicity for our clients is a predatory practice that must end. At Edelman we make it a point to always pay our bloggers when participation in a program comes with specific requirements, and that’s one of the reasons I’m proud to be a part of this team. Of course we also have programs that involve open opportunities that give bloggers the option to participate in a variety of ways (or not at all), and those don’t involve compensation. But requirements for participation are where dollar signs need to be present.
One important caveat to make: I’m not talking about “paid for” posts. We never pay for product reviews or any posts about our clients, and in the instances we’ve been asked for money to review a product, we’ve declined. As Liz points out, editorial content is a different beast altogether.
What do you think? Are bloggers being taken advantage of by agencies? Or are they responsible for demanding compensation for their time? Let’s start a conversation about how to make this process better for everyone. Read the comments and add your own thoughts.
Image credit: thevamoose
Image credit: thevamoose