So, the premise as to why I’m writing this post is actually pretty surprising to me! I do not consider myself a super successful blogger by any means, and I am always learning new ways to monetize and how to better my content! There honestly is so much to learn, let me just tell ya. Researching for this post was just a tad bit overwhelming. Try searching “getting paid as a small blogger” on Pinterest… you will get thousands of results!
But, starting about two months ago almost every week I would receive a few messages from other small bloggers asking my advice on sponsored posts, and how I started working with brands. I quickly realized that most small bloggers accept free product as compensation because they frankly don’t believe their numbers are big enough or warrant a payday. I was messaging back so many awesome girls, and basically telling them all my advice and tips on working with brands and how I contacted them, and basically how I asked for a payment. It felt awesome to help other amazing bloggers, and help them realize their work deserved a monetary value. Hashtag community over competition all the way.
Basically chatting and helping all the amazing blogger babes made me realize that there was a real need for an instruction type of post like this one! So, here we are today!
As a small blogger you feel like your numbers aren’t big enough to deserve compensation… point blank. I can’t say I’ve been there, because I really haven’t. Just being honest. From the beginning I knew my content and influence deserved some type of monetary value… the value just changed as I was growing. But with that being said, I do understand where you might be coming from!
As a blogger, you put hours upon hours producing content, and that right there deserves compensation. Do you spend all your free time thinking about different ways to better your brand and what you would love to accomplish? If you said yes, then that too means you deserve compensation. You have influence. Whether that be 1,000 followers on Instagram or a few subscribers on your email list. When you post something and someone reacts to it, that’s called influence. Do you have women messaging you telling you how much they loved your nail polish color that they went out to Target the next day to buy it? That’s called influence ladies, and that’s exactly what brands want and NEED!
They want someone that when they put their product in front of readers that those readers will take a minute and know the product is amazing because it’s coming from a blogger they love. Your readers know to trust you and listen to your opinions. Think about your favorite blogger right now. If she posted an Instagram story telling you about her new favorite shoes she just bought, and how comfortable they were you take her opinion seriously, and trust it. Right? Although you might have a fraction of her followers you do still have followers that trust your opinion and value it.
That right there deserves compensation.
When I say compensation I’m talking a dollar figure, not a bag that retails for $100. Nope, that’s not fair compensation. Not even close, and let me tell you why.
Do you pay your electric bills with sunglasses? What about do you put tassel earrings into your car so that you can drive? Yeah, I didn’t think so.
Why do brands try to make us WORK for FREE?
Because you don’t know your worth from the beginning. From the beginning of that pitch email you send to a brand contact, you have to know that your time and brand is worth something more than free product. Probably 9/10 times the initial email back from the contact is them expressing interest in working with me, and then going onto how they would love to send over a free bag in exchange for a full blog post. This is the tricky part, and where most of you guys either 1. get discouraged and don’t respond or 2. respond and accept only the free product. This is the negotiation stage that a lot of you struggle with, and I understand! At the beginning, it can be uncomfortable but after a few attempts, you will get the hang of it! Do your best to respond in a professional and eager way outlining what you offer, and why you deserve compensation! Do your best to stand out, and include aspects of both your brand and yourself that might differ from the other bloggers that work with. You want to give the brand an idea of what they would be getting by working with you!
Once I send over my rates, what if they come back and say they don’t have a budget?
For the most part, every brand has a marketing budget. I can’t speak for every single brand, but in my opinion, they want to start the conversation by seeing what they can get for free. It’s not fun, but it happens.
So you sent over your rates, and now you get the dreaded “Currently we don’t have a marketing budget, but would love to send over our product for free in exchange for a blog post” email. Don’t get discouraged and don’t accept only the free product! Kick those bad habits now girlfriend.
Here are 2 ways I usually respond when a brand contact gives the “no budget” email.
Email response 1
Hi Contact name,
When the marketing budget allows for it, I would love to pick back up with collaboration requests for a mutually beneficial project!
With every blog post, or social media post I always promise professional photographs that can be shared on your Instagram account, as well as a unique take on your product shared with my readers.
Change around the wording to fit the brand, and the post you want to produce *
Email response 2
Hi Contact name,
I would love the opportunity to work together. Based on this email it appears that you are working on the basis that this would be in exchange for product only. However, and correct me If I am wrong, I have an understanding that there is a marketing budget for your campaigns and I was wondering what the criteria are that would be needed in order to produce a collaboration that results in payment.
I am genuinely interested in the product/piece/boutique and have seen amazing results/ ways to style from other bloggers. I would love to get to share this brand with my readers, and create a relationship with ____!
Looking forward to chatting further!
If you are doing your part and showing the brand you value your time and brand they will agree to payment. It may not always be your set rate, but figure out what you are comfortable with and go from there!
I only have 1,000 followers on Instagram, shouldn’t I just accept free product until I have more followers?
Nope! You deserve to get paid still! The only difference in followers will be how much brands will agree to pay you. Not whether or not they should pay you at all. Stand your ground, and know your worth!
I have actually had a talk with a brand contact about this – and she shared that most brands like working with smaller accounts because they have a closer relationship with their followers. Think about how many times you comment on a larger account and know you will probably never get a reply from them.
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If a reader has a question about sizing on a certain sponsored post, or maybe a certain question about how the product works brands want to know that if they ask said blogger they will reply to their follower/reader!
Think about it like this – Say I post a photo on Instagram about a teeth whitening system, and I have a follower comment saying they were interested in using said system but wanted to know if it hurt my teeth at all while using it. The brand would want to know that I have a relationship with my followers where I will comment back and answer all their questions. By having a relationship with my followers I turn those followers into customers for the brand!
Not at all saying that larger accounts don’t have a relationship with their followers! I know a ton of larger bloggers who take the time to reply to every comment – but not all of them do!
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If you have any other questions or want to know my advice on a certain pitch please feel free to send me an email (firstname.lastname@example.org) I hope this post helped you, in any way possible! I would LOVE to know what questions, concerns or problems you have when it comes to pitching, blogging or getting paid as a blogger in the comments below!
And, if you learned anything from this post I would so appreciate you sharing this post!