A free handbag is nice and all that... but that ain't going to pay the billsSo you've amassed a bunch of followers on Instagram, racking up the page views, affiliate payments are starting to come in, and you have several brand collaborations under your belt. But of course, you want more from your blog. There comes a time when you realise "I should be getting paid for this hard work," on top of being gifted products or asked to review restaurants and services. You have an audience and a loyal following, so why should you not get paid for your access to them? I believe that bloggers should be paid for their time and dedication, and by asking for payment, even if the brand doesn't have the budget, it creates an awareness that brands can't get something for nothing from everyone. You wouldn't ask a builder to fix your door in return for a handbag, so why ask a blogger to shoot it, write about it, and post it on their website? Yes, I really like that handbag and everything, but unfortunately that's not going to pay my bills. And then, when they offer to put your photo on their Instagram for ~exposure~ ? It's like, I've got exposure coming out of every orifice, but I don't think my landlord will buy that when they notice I haven't paid my rent for several weeks.
How Do I Ask Them To Pay Me
There are a billion blog posts out there titled "how to make money from your blog!" that just go on to list things such as affiliates, and paid brand collaborations. Yeah yeah, I know that already. But none of them actually say how to ask a brand to pay you when they approach you with a collaboration. When I got to a certain point where it felt right to charge, I just simply didn't know what was correct protocol in wording when asking to be paid. After testing the waters a little bit, speaking to girls I know on the other side of the emails who work with bloggers, I found the best way to ask when a brand gets in touch with you proposing a collaboration is to simply ask them if they have any budget at all for payment. I pay my photographer, so that's already a very good way to justify your need for payment on top of everything else, because if I don't get paid by them, I may have a nice pair of shoes but I'm out of pocket.
So when emailing, I often reply by saying the standard thanks for getting in touch and saying such nice things about my blog/Instagram (as they usually do) blah blah blah followed with "Do you have any budget for payment on top of gifting at all? As I no longer work in a product in lieu of fee basis for promotion on my site and social channels"
Simple as that. Keep it friendly, chatty, but professional.
What To Expect When Asking Brands For Payment
- Expect to show them your statistics. If you're asking for money, you're going to probably have to prove to some people why they should pay you X amount, so have an up-to-date media pack on your stats to send over (you can see how to make an easy one over here)
- Be prepared for them to say no and be shocked at your prices. It happens. The problem is, so many bloggers are still doing free promotion on their sites that it undercuts value. If someone can get something for free, why wouldn't they?
- Paid work, quite naturally, like a real actual job, often requires a lot more work. So expect to sign contracts, be given a brief, deadlines, and for the brand to ask you to reshoot images if they aren't quite right.
- You won't always get paid immediately after. One PR company that acted as the middle man between myself and the brand took around six months to pay me. There was complete radio silence from them until I kicked off on Twitter naming and shaming them and the tweet garnered a lot of traction with other bloggers retweeting it. Not entirely professional, but neither were they, and I needed money!
The Benefits of Working In Paid Collaborations (aside from the $$$)
- Collaborations tend to be more tailored for you, with a specific campaign idea or theme. Because you're being paid, the brand obviously wants the most creative, engaging content they can get from you, and the best way of getting that is by working closely. It's not about throwing a product at you and hoping for the best, it's about creating mutually beneficial content.
- You'll find yourself making stronger relationships with PR's and brands, which will lead to more paid work. It's just like freelancing, if you do a great job and they get on with you, they'll ask you back for more.
The Final Need-to-KnowI don't have dollar signs permanently shining like beacons from my eyeballs, and neither should you. When a brand contacts you, weigh it all up: I have, and I will, work with a select few independent, new, start-up labels and brands if I really love their designs, the concept, or the project they propose, and I think that everyone should at some point. Everyone, like you once upon a time, starts from scratch, so we all need a helping hand!
Read more blogging tips here!