Note: Bloggers Talk. I was chatting to Veronica about some of our frustrations in relation to bloggers undervaluing themselves this week and so she has also written about this topic here. And this note is to let you know we are in kahoots, not copying one another!
The mistake people make about authenticity in blogging is that free equals authentic. Whatever I write is going to be authentic, but my time is going to be compensated.
I have spent a lot of time creating this space. Seriously. ALOT. And I have enjoyed it. That’s why I do it. Because I like it. That’s why I keep doing it. Because I like it, not because I occasionally get free stuff, or go to events or get paid. The vast majority of opportunities I have received are because of my blog, but they occur off my blog. And I’m cool with that. Because to quote someone else, I am a BLOGGER not a blogger. I take it seriously. The space I created. I don’t undermine it by whoring it out to the only bidder.
And seriously why would I promote a brand message in my house, for free? What could possibly possess me to do that? I would have to be freaking delusional. People will tell you that you might do something free to get your foot in the door or to develop a relationship. That’s bullshit. It’s opening a door to doing more stuff for free or it’s developing a relationship with someone’s foot up your ass. It is bullshit.
I’ll grant you that very occasionally there is something so awesome that I would talk about it for free. I think everyone has one or two products like that. Something that came very close to revolutionising their life. Something you want to sing from the rooftops. For me that is Hug-a-Bub. But 99.9% of products are in the love or like category not the ‘I’m so freaking grateful’ category.
So when I was having about 10 bottles of wine* with Shae, Mrs Woog, Nikki, TroppoMum and Imperfect Mum at DPCON I was talking to Woogsworld about just not. Doing stuff for free. And then just watching as the whole environment got flipped on its head.
*10 is a conservative estimate
What would happen if we all just stopped. All just stopped doing anything for free for 3 or 6 months. All of a sudden everything would change. I wouldn’t be getting my least favourite kind of emails:
1. Here’s my press release. Regurgitate it for free.
2. Please link to us for free.
3. Here’s a brand message we think your readers will LOVE
I don’t care how small, how new, how niche or how broad your blog is. There is nothing to be gained by considering yourself as free labour. You are worth more than that. Start taking yourself seriously. Honour the beautiful space you have created.
I don’t know what’s worse – the free labour or the ludicrously cheap labour that’s going around. So I’m going to tell you what I charge in the hope that people will snap out of this epedemic of undervaluing. I receive a relatively small amount of traffic. I usually have about 6,000 page views on my site and about the same on my feed. But really, advertisers are only interested in my site so that’s what rates are based on.
For sidebar advertising of 125 x 125 I charge a rate of $5 per 1,000 page views. So that usually works out at $30 per month. If the size goes up, the price goes up significantly. I’ve also heard someone say that you should multiply your monthly pageviews by 0.003 – for me that would work out at $18. But I’m happy to charge more. Sue me.
Sponsored posts and giveaways are different. Because you are investing a whole lot more time. You should be working out what your minimum per hour you are willing to accept and work from there. My minimum per hour is $50. So sponsored posts are $200 and giveaways have a minimum of about $150 in prizes. And of course that’s my baseline if my site started getting a whole lot more traffic then I would charge a whole lot more.
It’s not just about page views. I embrace that I have a small, engaged blog. I also embrace that my social media presence is more than my blog. Me and twitter? We’re seriously tight.
What I’ve learnt in negotiating with brands? When quoting my prices they never even hesitate, which says to me that I can value myself and my time and still be a good investment for them. Also? Brands have quoted me a price and I’ve asked for double and got it. So don’t be afraid to stick to your guns. And when you are committing yourself to a brand for conference sponsorship you don’t want to commit your blog for much more than a month or so.
And that’s it. My numbers and prices are out there for all to see. I feel naked now.
If you are undervaluing yourself and your blog, then you are helping to undervalue blogging as a whole. And here’s my challenge: stop doing things for free. Just stop. Not one more thing. Set some prices that don’t effectively make you someone’s bitch. And then just wait. And see how one radical act of valuing yourself could change the blogging landscape. I dare you.