Fast-forward to 2016 and blogging is a colossal industry, with some bloggers making their entire livelihoods through their websites. This is a great and wonderful thing, and I'm absolutely not knocking the idea of making money from your blog. Whether you place ads, take on sponsored work or accept gifts for review, that's totally cool. If I had exciting brands offering me money to get stuff and write about it then I'd be totally on board. I'm the first to openly admit that I'm pretty jealous of any bloggers who get offers to promote products I love - and for a fee.
What I really, really, really can't stand is the number of bloggers who bitch and whinge all over social media about brands who dare to approach them without a metaphorical fistful of cash. I can't count the number of times I've seen tweets saying things like, "A brand approached me to tell me about their competition, but they aren't willing to pay. #nothanks". I even saw a girl asking how much she should demand from a PR company who sent her a press release. Then, on a blogger Facebook group, a girl asked:
Advice: me again. Sorry to pester!😁
I had an email off a company to do a post with clothing ideas from their site which enters me into a competition to win a voucher to spend on their site.
Am I right in thinking this is just a fancy way of getting backlinks?
In case you've ever wondered the same thing, brands do competitions like this for a number of reasons.
Firstly because they want a more interesting/engaging/competitive post type than a simple sponsored post. A lot of people switch off or stop reading the minute they see the words "ad" or "sponsored", and this can help to circumnavigate that.
Also, as you'll know from reading my post about hyperlinks (which is here if you need to read up), when a brand pays you to write a post, you MUST use a no-follow link. In other words, if a brand pays you to mention them, they get no SEO benefit from it. By doing it in the form of a competition like this, it allows them AND you to use regular links. Not only does this give them backlinks, but having links in your own blog to well-rated websites actually improves YOUR SEO score/DA as well, where no-follow links have no effect.
For small brands, it could be that they simply don't have the budget to pay you as well as giving you free stuff. Simple as that.
I explained this (not very well admittedly) in the comments, and the original poster was grateful for the info. However, a little while later, another girl posted this:
it's a cost effective way for them to get links basically without doing much.
Now, in case you've forgotten or you're new here, I actually work in marketing. My day job includes doing things like running competitions (though ours are aimed at customers and the general public, not bloggers). Let me burst your bubble, random Facebook girl: competitions are a LOT of work. They take time, prizes cost money and creating all of the imagery, promotion and all that jazz all takes man power. It's a pain in the butt, frankly.
I guess what this boils down to is that I'm getting really, really tired of cynical bloggers trying to wring cash out of nothing, and publicly trying to "shame" brands for having the sheer brass balls to approach them if they aren't going to stump up wads of wonga. I completely believe in people being paid for their skills and their time, but if you're so inexperienced that you think you should be getting paid to receive press releases like someone I saw on a group the other day, honey, you don't deserve to be paid to blog.
If you have your email address public on your blog for brands and PR companies to approach you, then guess what? THEY MIGHT APPROACH YOU. Stop making yourself look like a dick by tweeting every time you get an email about a campaign you're not interested in. If you're not a massive, well-known blogger then you're probably getting a generic email that's being sent out to hundreds, even thousands, of other bloggers. Your blog might be your baby, but to big PR companies you are not a special unique snowflake, so don't expect to be treated like one. I work for a multi-million pound company, and we get these "Dear blogger" emails on a daily basis. Our blog is one of the top 100 pet blogs in the world. You don't see us whingeing.
I totally support people demanding to be recognised for what they're worth, but part of that is actually knowing what you're worth. If you have a tiny DA, a very young blog and you take your photos on an old Nokia brick phone, then don't expect to be paid top dollar to feature brands. Don't be a dick about it. Keep working at it, and maybe you'll be the next Zoella. Just be mindful that brands remember, and some marketing companies work for multiple brands. The PR you slag off on Twitter and chew out over email will remember your name, so if you treat people like dirt when you're small fry, they'll do the same to you when you've made it big.