I Won’t Work for Free (and neither should you)

by Simone Grant

This here is my “consulting,” blog which means it’s supposed to be dedicated to issues related to social media marketing. Not blogging.

But sometimes those things overlap.

So this post is going to be different.  More about the blogging end of things.

As a blogger, I get something like 20 new pitches a week in my inbox. Some are from professional PR people and some are from small business owners/writers trying to get the word out about their new product. Almost all want 1 of 2 things from me:

  1. For me to write about and review their product/book/website on my site
  2. For me to write about their product/book/website on my site and to host a giveaway for my readers (and, in many cases, they’d like me to be responsible for the shipping and handling incurred by said giveaway).

Now, as a social media pro who works with authors and PR agencies I sometimes (frequently) approach bloggers to do giveaways and reviews.  That’s a fact and I won’t deny it.  But in all of those cases, I’m approaching bloggers (usually book bloggers) who’ve expressed a prior interested in said product/theme and I’m offering them a free something. Book, t-shirt, invitation to an event. Something that I believe they’d like. It’s not cash payment. And hey, cash is better, I know that. But I’m offering people something for their time.  And if they say no,  they say no.

I’m not filling up people’s inboxes with completely out-of-left field pitches asking them to write about television shows, websites, etc. for NOTHING in return. Which brings me to back to my role as a blogger. I used to answer just about every single pitch with a polite response explaining that I could not work for free. And that if they were interested in sponsoring a post or buying ad space on my site, I’d be very happy to discuss ad rates.

I no longer bother to do this is most cases, as the majority of people either didn’t write back or responded rudely. Very rudely. You see, other bloggers were writing about these casting calls, mobile apps and feature films for free and so I was supposed to just get with the program.  That it was, I believe one PR person told me, “prestigious for my blog to be associated with their production.”

I replied, “I don’t work for free.”

I write what I want to write.  And sometimes that’s about products and events. Things I genuinely like.  And sometimes people hire me, as a blogger, to write about them.  That’s cool, too.  But I won’t give my blog space over to some product I don’t care about just because a PR person sent me an email and asked me to.  My time and my readers’ time, is more valuable than that. And now, because this has been a long, long-winded post, I’m going to be even LESS professional than I’ve been thus far and link to a relevant post by one of my favorite bloggers on this very same subject, “Because some things are worth more than a box of cereal,” by The Bloggess.