I had to get this post written asap as I have so many things floating around my mind right now that I know I'll forget if I don't get typing fast! Recently there has been some grumbling and unease amongst the blogging community due to some brands and PR's (most are amazing by the way!) wanting something for nothing and this hasn't been a one off case as far as I can see either, this has been a constant stream of people wanting bloggers to do a whole lot of work for the great sum of absolutely nothing.
I cannot even begin to tell you the amount of emails I have received offering me the 'fantastic opportunity' of writing a whole blog post devoted to a brand or a product, including links and the good ole high-res images that everyone is so willing to share in return for the line "our social team will be sharing their favourites on our social media"... so, you mean to tell me that you want me to do hours of work in return for my post maybe being shared on your social media channels... you're having a laugh, right? Sadly, these sorts of emails usually come addressed to a "hello there" - a moniker which my parents thankfully did not give me. The fact that these emails are unpersonalised further adds insult to injury as it seems these people would like anyone to promote them, they did not choose to email me just because they liked my blog. Unfortunately these people are not joking with their emails, they actually do expect bloggers to work for them for absolutely nothing in return and I for one am sick to my back teeth about it.
Why is it that people who have an artistic nature or occupation that involves some type of artistic skill such as painting, writing or photography, etc., seem to get taken advantage of constantly of by those who see their talents as nothing more than a hobby? Of course, for some people it is just a hobby and they may be happy enough to give the odd freebie to family and friends, but, to be downright taken advantage by those you don't personally know, who just want to use your skills in order to promote themselves or a brand they represent so that they look good and you get no recognition at all, well that is just not on. Imagine me going to my local doctor and telling him I can't pay him for my visit to him but I'll give him a big thumbs up around the town, or going to do the weekly shop and telling the till staff that I'd like my shopping for free but will promote how great the food is on my Facebook page... I think you can imagine the response I'd receive. So why is the case different for bloggers?
When I began blogging I had absolutely no problem at all with writing about and promoting businesses just because I simply liked their products or because I had got chatting to their owners over Twitter and wanted to share their businesses with my readers. I still share products and places I love that I have paid for out of my own money to this day, simply because I want people to know about them, but someone asking me to work for them all at my own expense is a completely different story altogether.
Some bloggers, like myself, unfortunately have to rely on our blogs for a living. Some do reviews in exchange for products because they need them and can simply not afford them themselves, some do reviews because they simply love the sound of the products and really want to try them out, others accept sponsored posts because they rely on the income to feed their families, pay rent and bills, others accept sponsored posts as a means of gathering some pocket money along side their everyday jobs so that they can have some perks in life... whatever reason a blogger is accepting reviews and sponsored posts for, you can be guaranteed that they do a bloody good job on them and put in a ton of work to give the brand and products the best exposure that they possibly can. How people think it's okay to ask people to do this for free is beyond me, they obviously don't know just how much work is involved in a putting together blog post or it's promotion on social media. In my own experience, a post can take hours depending on how much imagery is involved. I first have to write a post, take pictures, edit them, add them to my blog (which can take an age these days, thanks Blogger!) and add links to all my social media, this is all very time consuming and as you can tell is probably worth a darn sight more than a social media share... maybe.
Thankfully bloggers are now realising their self worth and are making a stand against all those who are in search of a freebie. Today my emotions on this came to a head when I received a reply back from someone confirming that they were indeed after free publicity on my blog which I have worked oh so very hard on these past two years. I found it a real slap in the face that my blog is good enough to represent them but not good enough to get paid for it by way of monetary compensation or by product. My blog is not just an advertising tool, it is a document of my thoughts, feelings and adventures with my son and I'm not going to have it or my skills taken advantage of anymore. My reply to this individual was still polite as I am professional at all times when it comes to my blog, but I think I got my point and frustration across quite well
"Hello Freebie Seeker (I did not call them this by the way, this is simply for anonymity purposes),
I hope you're well. I'm afraid I cannot work for free. My blog posts and their promotion on my own social media of over 30,000 take a lot of work, time and effort . I'm afraid social media promotion on it's own is not enough of an incentive, nor should it be for any blogger, writer or any other occupation of an artistic nature. I hope you can understand but thank you for getting in touch.
If every blogger used this reply, well then maybe this culture of people looking for something for nothing will disappear and bloggers will be rewarded with what they deserve for all their hard work.
After all, social media shares don't pay the bills or feed our families. I can't pay my landlord in Facebook likes and my son would waste away to nothing on a diet of Twitter retweets. Thanks but no thanks.