Why Bloggers Shouldn’t Work for Free

Talking about money and salaries is a taboo subject. Everyone likes to keep their secrecy about how much they are making and that’s ok. Not all bloggers need to write a monthly post about how much they made. Some bloggers do and that’s great but not everyone is comfortable sharing that. However, we should be slightly open and admit yes, some bloggers do make money from writing sponsored posts. Why should we share this? To let other bloggers out there know that yes, it is absolutely ok to earn some cash from your blog. Also, to let companies know this as well. Why? Because it seems like a lot of brands expect bloggers to work for free. Companies reach out to us expecting promotion of their brands or products for free. Why do they expect promotion from bloggers for no payment? I’m really not sure but blogging is hard work and here is why bloggers shouldn’t work for free.

Why Bloggers Shouldn't Work for Free // The Krystal Diaries

I receive multiple emails on a daily basis from various brands and PR companies pitching ideas to me about promoting their product or company on my blog. They’ll go on and on about why their product is great, how I should include it on my blog, what topic I should focus on, what social media channels they want my blog post promoted on, and how many times they want it promoted. Some have even said they’d write the post for me. Um, excuse you?? The big problem here? Most of them expect the promotion for free. Absolutely zero payment!

Would any company ever reach out to a magazine publication to write an article for free? No, they wouldn’t. Would they tell a magazine “but we are giving you free product in exchange for the post so that should be good enough.” The worst part is some companies won’t even offer free product.

Here is my PSA to all bloggers out there – Stop working for free. You are valuable, and so is your blog. After all, these companies reach out to us because they know our readers trust our opinion. Our influence is valuable. Our time is valuable. Our effort is valuable.

Here is why bloggers are valuable. No one’s voice is like yours. Yes, there are hundreds of blogs out there focusing on the same topic, but no one’s writing style is exactly the same. Your uniqueness is what pulls your audience in. So why should you convince your loyal audience to purchase a product from a company that doesn’t value you?

It takes time to write a post. It can take anywhere from a couple of hours to a few days to weeks depending on the topic. There is lots of thinking/brainstorming that goes into writing a post. Then there is the editing and proofing. Photography takes time and effort too. Finding the right lighting, styling everything just right, and editing. A lot of work goes into that oh so perfectly written and photographed post.

Why Bloggers Shouldn't Work for Free // The Krystal Diaries

Social media posts are a lot of work too. Effort is put into curating the perfectly balanced feed. So no, you should not be promoting your well written blog post promoting a company on any social media handle multiple times a week for free. If we have to pay Facebook and Instagram to promote one of our posts, why shouldn’t a brand have to properly compensate bloggers to promote their product on our social media account?

Free product is not payment, never ever. Even if it’s a product you’ve been lusting after and actually fits into your lifestyle, getting it for free is still not payment. Your Instagram photo “maybe” being shared on their account is not payment. Free product is fun, I’ll be the first to admit that, but unless I’m reaching out to a brand requesting a product I really, really want and have been lusting after, I will not advertise on my blog for free. Products do not pay the bills.

Even if you’re a new blogger just starting out, don’t be afraid to see your worth. If a brand is reaching out to you, you deserve to be paid. If these brands did not see our marketing potential then why would they reach out to us?

Don’t be taken advantage of. Don’t let that company make you feel like you should be indebted to them for even noticing you enough to email you. See your worth and don’t be afraid to ask for what you deserve. Your blog is valuable.

If you’re a brand reading this, please realize bloggers have value, and your product should not be marketed for free. If you’re a brand that already realizes a blogger’s worth, then kudos to you and thank you! Maybe you can open the eyes of other brands out there?

If you are a blogger, how do you feel when brands reach out to you but offer no compensation?

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61 Comments

  1. Ok so I’ve been seeing this quite a bit, but most companies just have a flat-out form and it just seems like the norm? How do you approach the topic? How do I know what my value is? It’s an uncomfortable topic…thank you for your sharing!

    Posted 2.27.17 Reply
  2. Great article, very useful as someone starting out x

    Posted 2.27.17 Reply
  3. Thanks for this. As a new blogger, this was a super touchy subject for me. I felt the need to just publish content and essentially “work for free” to please companies without anything in return. I would write these long posts and promote all social media platforms! I had no idea that I’d get money or product from my posts. Where was this post in July when I first started out?! Thank you for sharing your expertise with me <3

    Posted 2.27.17 Reply
  4. Allison wrote:

    As a blogger and freelancer I’m 100% behind this, honestly I think it’s insane to ask people to work for free (or for “exposure”) I can guarantee that it does not work.
    Allison from http://www.mercuteify.com

    Posted 2.27.17 Reply
  5. I’m a new blogger working hard to develop my post base and get my first sponsored post. I’ll be doing it for cash. Thanks for the encouragement!

    Posted 2.27.17 Reply
  6. burlyandpuff wrote:

    I’m a new blogger and this was definitely a different side of somethings I’ve heard. What have you done to get brands to reach out to you? I totally agree if they’re reaching out, they should pay. But I’ve pitched a few ideas to company to get my foot in the door and I don’t expect compensation because I reached out to them and are new…

    Posted 2.27.17 Reply
  7. Penniless Prairie Girl wrote:

    Such a great post! I do struggle, however, with pricing my services.

    Posted 2.27.17 Reply
  8. Thanks for the post! I am a relatively new blogger and I have only been approached by a brand in exchange for free products, I feel since I got to choose my products and it was my first brand collaboration, it was worth it. However, I know at some point I will need to require an actual payment instead.

    Posted 2.27.17 Reply
  9. Jenny wrote:

    Yes to this! Working for free and especially without receiving product in return is so unfair.

    Posted 2.27.17 Reply
  10. Amy wrote:

    Great advice! Products certainly do not pay the bills.

    Posted 2.27.17 Reply
  11. chelseajacobs wrote:

    PREACH, girl.

    Posted 2.28.17 Reply
  12. Not offering compensation is a slap in the face, as if you don’t know your blog’s worth (which you probably do).

    xoxo
    http://befittingstyle.com/nyfw-fw17-recapvlog/

    Posted 2.28.17 Reply
  13. I love this! Something that’s been on my mind lately too. So how much would you charge to promote? Or what’s a general idea? Becuase I’m not even sure..

    Posted 2.28.17 Reply
  14. As a blogger, I totally agree with you! People think bloggers are just basic free advertisement and it drives me nuts! I spend so much time researching for my posts!

    Posted 2.28.17 Reply
  15. This is a great post. As a new blogger I’ve only felt comfortable asking for products in exchange for promotion. I hope to soon feel confident enough to ask for a financial compensation.

    Posted 2.28.17 Reply
  16. robin masshole mommy wrote:

    This is SO well said. There are so many people that do work for free and it makes it hard for the rest of us who can’t afford to and just plain shouldn’t.

    Posted 2.28.17 Reply
  17. Ava wrote:

    Thank you for the interesting information!
    I saved your post and will read it in some time again.. just now I would be happy if anyone I asked me to promote for him 😬 I started my blog two months ago and I hope there will come a time I get offers…
    Regards
    Ava
    http://www.fiftycurvyblonde.com

    Posted 2.28.17 Reply
  18. girl preach I get a lot of free products for post which overall I don’t mind my make up shopping has reduce by alot and I even got paid with a gift card on the last one but I need help paying my bills I did a few ads and they didn’t pay me no more than 30. Wondering which companies actually pay bloggers 🙁
    http://sheismelrose.net/

    Posted 2.28.17 Reply
  19. I am a very small blogger and I get asked all the time to do work for free. One company said, this is your hobby, right? I said, only if making soap is a hobby for you! They got the point.

    Posted 2.28.17 Reply
    • Krystal wrote:

      That’s so rude of them to say to you!

      Posted 2.28.17 Reply
  20. Marcie wrote:

    This is great! I had a company contact me and ask me to write about their product (which I had never used) and wanted to tell me exactly what to say. And no compensation. It bothers me.

    Posted 2.28.17 Reply
    • Krystal wrote:

      Telling a blogger exactly what to say isn’t ok.

      Posted 3.1.17 Reply
  21. Debra wrote:

    I definitely think companies shouldn’t try to get work from bloggers for free. That’s not right.

    Posted 3.1.17 Reply
    • Krystal wrote:

      No it’s not right

      Posted 3.1.17 Reply
  22. Hey Krystal!

    This is a very interesting post and also happens to bloggers here in the Philippines.

    When I was on my first two years of my blog yes I was writing for free because I was in the process of networking people (yes includes PR, brand people, etc).

    Then along the process I learn the business of blogging. I never work for free unless I say so – and that includes I believe to the brand and product and I know that my pro bono is a huge investment for my part.

    And I never write something either free or with pay for things that I never use, have conflic of interests, and for brands I dont believe it, no matter how much they are willing to pay. I learned the art of saying NO, and gained respect on that.

    Its also part of building a reputation and brand integrity.

    Every bloggers must be compensated – but bloggers must learn first how to say NO.

    Posted 3.1.17 Reply
  23. Amber wrote:

    Yes! I’ve become firmer about this. In the past I’d do tons of stuff for free and then I realized hey, my time is precious. Mind you, if a company sends a product, I will accept that as compensation most of the time. But if a company wants me to write about their product, I ask for a fee. Most of the time I’m told there isn’t money in their budget and I wish them a great day and move on.

    I occasionally will share posts about charities for free though, but I can’t do them all because as I mentioned, my time is important.

    Posted 3.1.17 Reply
  24. We put so much work and effort into our blogs that it would be a little insulting to ask us to work for free. I think this post makes a lot of sense. I hope a lot of bloggers read this especially the ones new to the industry.

    Posted 3.1.17 Reply
  25. theclutterboxblog wrote:

    Love this! I have been struggling so much with this. It’s not fun and I need to recognize that I work hard at what I do and not allow myself to be taken advantage of!

    Posted 3.1.17 Reply
  26. Nicole wrote:

    Very interesting post for a blogger who is just thinking about turning it into a possible career.

    Posted 3.1.17 Reply
  27. Great post. We don’t expect other professionals to work free. We don’t call up the newspaper and say, hey my product is great, so give me a free ad. I think the heart of the issue is value. There is a value exchange that happens whether it is free or paid. Sometimes something free can also be of high value. And sometimes compensation can be so low, that it doesn’t feel like value. I think it is important to value on a case by case basis.

    Posted 3.1.17 Reply
  28. Vicky wrote:

    Yes! I agree with everything you have said. Every time someone asks me to work for free I send them my rates and media kit. 🙂 I also mention that this is my full time job and how I help support my family.

    Posted 3.1.17 Reply
  29. When I started blogging over five years ago I had no idea that people blogged for business… I’ve learned a lot over the years and let companies know up front what my fees are.

    Posted 3.1.17 Reply
  30. Sometimes I do work for free. If I genuinely truly believe in a company or a product, I don’t mind writing a post about them and their work!

    Posted 3.1.17 Reply
  31. I’ve been concentrating more on getting proper compensation for my work. I’d love to see what other suggestions you have on how to go about doing this with confidence and tact.

    Posted 3.1.17 Reply
  32. AMEN to that! It’s so harmful to others bloggers when someone decides to work for free because exploitation of those is so easy. And why would a company pay someone when someone else is willing to do it free! I’ve been really noticing a decline in work opportunities lately exactly because of this. Today I got an e-mail from a company who wanted a 75% discount from my rate. Plus 3 times the amount of work!!! WHAT. Sigh x

    Posted 3.1.17 Reply
    • Krystal wrote:

      That’s crazy!

      Posted 3.1.17 Reply
  33. You make such great points! Blogging is not easy at all. I hope that when I actually get to the point where brands start reaching out to me, that asking for pay will not be negotiable. Bloggers are worth so much more than people realize.

    Posted 3.1.17 Reply
  34. Deimarys wrote:

    To be honest, I am guilty. but I just don’t know what amount or how to charge. Yes, I have been truly working my butt off to learn and make my blog happen. I am truly bless to say, it’s growing and yes, companies are noticing me but, how do I know what to charge or the right amount?!

    Posted 3.1.17 Reply
  35. I like that you have a positive outlook on what you do. I also appreciate that you set a standard about it. Sounds like you are doing things the right way.

    Posted 3.1.17 Reply
  36. I agree with your outlook. Blogging is a business, and brands need to see it that way. Owning and up keeping a website is a lot of work!

    Posted 3.1.17 Reply
  37. Your post is so similar to one I have written (it’s called “Please Stop Asking me to Work for Free). I always tell brands who ask me to work for free or for product that the bank doesn’t accept that as payment on my mortgage. Does their bank do so, because I’d sure like to talk to them!

    Posted 3.1.17 Reply
    • Krystal wrote:

      lol I’d like to talk to that bank too

      Posted 3.1.17 Reply
  38. Saidah wrote:

    I enjoy when brands reach out to me whether they mention compensation or not. Having them reach out to me provides me with a point of contact and makes it easier for me to pitch back. Pitching back has allowed me to get familiar with the PR firms that don’t pay, but send products and the ones that pay. I don’t believe in working for free, but I do see the value in the times when I accept product in exchange for a social share or video mention. It takes me a few minutes to snap a picture of a product and share it on social media. If the brand isn’t paying me cash, but product, a simple picture in exchange for the product I want is a fair exchange. I accept products as payment from time to time if it’s something I want, or something I can gift. I make a full time income from brand partnerships, coaching bloggers on building their brands and digital products I’ve created for my brands. Getting products in exchange for simple social shares is a way to provide valuable content for your brand and the brand you partner with. I look at it as a win-win if the product vale is worth the effort.

    Posted 3.1.17 Reply
  39. The Everyday Mom Life wrote:

    Yes to this! I’m so sick of companies thinking we can work for free. Why would we do that? It’s ridiculous. Free doesn’t buy groceries.

    Posted 3.1.17 Reply
  40. Marcy Marz wrote:

    I really appreciate this! It’s so hard to say no to free product but you’re right your brand/blog takes so much time and effort to build! You deserve payment! Thank you!

    Posted 3.1.17 Reply
  41. I’m with you, bloggers shouldn’t work for free. But too many people are calling themselves bloggers so they can get free stuff so it’s hurting all of us who get paid.

    Posted 3.1.17 Reply
  42. This is has been a huge discussion topic lately. I think if we all stick together and tell brands that we will not work for free, maybe they will get the hint and start paying. Putting in hours of work doesn’t pay for bills.

    xx,
    Amanda || http://www.fortheloveofglitter.com

    Posted 3.1.17 Reply
  43. Crissy wrote:

    Love that you shed light on this! I recently started taking my blog more seriously and I have done blog posts where I received free items (such as clothing or beauty products) which at this point I don’t mind. But sometimes I am appalled from getting emails where they ask me to produce content in exchange for them sharing it on their blog or social media! I had one jewelry company ask me to write a blog post to share their pieces but they wouldn’t even give me anything in return! I think often times, brands take advantage of bloggers because they know there are so many of us wanting an opportunity to collaborate. But like you said, we shouldn’t work for free and brands shouldn’t take advantage us if we are producing content for them! Thanks for sharing your insight!

    ~Crissy
    http://www.whimsicalfawn.com

    Posted 3.2.17 Reply
  44. I agree that if my job ever gets to be just blogging then compensation for any ads or reviews would be required. And why I would allow someone else to write my review is nuts! I would want a review to be in my genuine voice. If it couldn’t be my audience wouldn’t trust me and that is what makes my voice valuable.

    Posted 3.2.17 Reply
  45. When companies come at you with wanting you to expose them to your network for perks, it really irritates me. They don’t work for free to market themselves and neither should we!

    With Love Rochelle

    Posted 3.2.17 Reply
  46. Nobody ever appreciate free.If it’s my blog it’s my digital space .It’s definitely not free.The only thing which is free is what I write for my audience.Anything else will be business .Blog post or social media it’s a brands way of recognition. NO time spent for free work

    Posted 3.2.17 Reply
  47. I absolutely love your desire to bring awareness. When new as I am to this, sometimes we feel we should not expect compensation. And that is not true. Thank you.

    Posted 3.2.17 Reply
  48. This post is so accurate! I agree, no blogger should ever work for free, companies and different clients need to appreciate the blogger’s work, if you spend 5 minutes on something, that’s still work, that’s time your not doing something else to get money therefore they have to pay you!

    Posted 3.2.17 Reply
  49. dotonherway wrote:

    Ah story of my life. I’ve been contemplating a while but I ask other bloggers in my industry and they all work for free as well.

    Posted 3.2.17 Reply
  50. Heather wrote:

    We all start somewhere and while I’m not totally against working for free when you’re brand new or want to build a relationship with a brand, I do agree we need to stand tall together.

    Posted 3.2.17 Reply
  51. yes yes yes to all of this! A fairly new blogger over here learning the ropes as I go. The biggest thing I’ve learned is that blogging is legit and valuable work!

    Posted 3.2.17 Reply
  52. Too many bloggers work for free and make it hard on the rest of us. It’s exhausting.

    Posted 3.2.17 Reply
  53. Elizabeth wrote:

    So very true! My blog is my main source of income, and it’s so frustrating when brands think they can get coverage for free – especially if they’ve just sent £1.50 worth of product for review!

    Posted 3.2.17 Reply
  54. Neha Verma wrote:

    You are so right. I worked for free when I started my blog. I needed exposure and no one was ready to pay me for that. So I had to work for free, there was no other choice, Now that the blog has reached a level, I feel like working for free shouldn’t be an option anymore. And it hurts when people still approach for free work – its like undervaluing the brand that I have built up, giving in so much sweat and blood.

    Posted 3.4.17 Reply
  55. I agree with you. Bloggers should not work free. Even though we provide free valuable tips & tricks to readers ,Product promotions and sponsored posts should not be free.

    http://www.learn2livefully.com

    Posted 3.5.17 Reply
  56. themeldez wrote:

    This is a great read! I’m really nervous about becoming a full-time blogger because i’m not sure about the income and I don’t want to be used by companies looking for free advertisement :/

    Check out my Latina lifestyle blog and let me know your thoughts 🙂

    https://themeldez.com/

    Posted 9.9.17 Reply

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