The Value of Words

A rather taboo subject that always crops up on the regular #bbloggers chat on Twitter, is the matter of Sponsored Posts and payment for blog content. It’s one of those great mysteries that no one wants to divulge any information about, but still want to know all the answers to. You know me though, I’m open and honest and if I can help anyone out with anything I will (to a point that is, don’t expect to throw me 50quid to do in your mother in law or anything). This lunch time I had a mini #bbloggers chat of my own to see what other people thought about pricing YOUR words.

As usual people weren’t openly prepared to reveal how much they take for posts, but it was good to find out how people thought about these things. My initial question was how people felt about this; do they think it’s fair that a blogger with more followers got paid more, or do they think the payment should be based on content alone. It was a mixed reaction. I personally understand that I, who has around 550 posts on my blog (not taking into account non GFC members who follow it, my readership from accumulative platforms reaches around 2000 if you add them up) would receive less than a blogger who has 1000+ visible followers on their blog (that’s GFC followers that are usually added as a widget in the side bar in case you’re a non blogger reading this) I think it’s quite fair as a blog with many followers has: a) worked up their follower count by writing great content usually over a longer period of time and b) in theory hits a large number of readers and making the audience for the brand bigger. This is one argument for this system but then what if the blogger with 500 followers writes a post of better content than the one with 1000? How do brands see that? Maybe they would up the price of the 500-ers payment next time or even drop the price for the 1000 one. Who knows. Then there’s taking into account how much the blogger will distribute the post themselves be it on Twitter, Facebook or another medium etc etc. It’s a rather grey area really! A great point someone made on Twitter was ”an advert on channel 5 at 10am would cost considerably less than ITV at 9pm. Same advert different audience” which justifies that logic no end. I recently got an e-mail from a national digital design publication about contributing to their blog on a regular basis, the payment was £25 per post of 200 words plus 12pence for each word over this count. I think that would be pretty fair really, as you’re working in partnership and kind of doing each other a favour as you’re being published on their blog. I’ve taken this as a bench mark really and I think a regular sponsored post (eg, weekly) could be charged at £20-£30 a post. I would take my own personal conditions into account with this though. I wouldn’t write a post of more than 200-400 words and I wouldn’t spend more than an hour doing it. £20 to £25 an hour is my own personal price for my own work, this is something I considered long and hard as part of my degree when pricing my own jewellery work. If I was to be paid more I would take a lot more timing perfecting the post and adding more words to make sure I and the brand got their moneys worth. This is just in regards to regular posts by the way. I know a lot of bloggers have received in the region of £100-£200 for a ‘one off’ post about a brand, this is very rare but it does happen, bloggers that get these opportunities are usually ones with a niche or ones with a very large readership. I would also add that yes, £20 for a post does seem relatively small doesn’t it? But sometimes when being sent products for a review they would equal a far smaller amount but as bloggers we are always happy to do a write up. I also feel personally that a brand should pay more if they want their write up on  your  blog, you know the copy and paste ones of their words. I think in my own mind, even though you’re not writing anything, it must be far more valuable for them to do this type of post. But once again, this is probably down to personal preference and opinion!
There are so many factors to take into account when pricing and writing sponsored posts and it’s a fine balance between selling yourself short and basically selling a brands product. Yes bloggers do act as great advertisements for brands but it’s not good to be taken advantage of. Also a lot of people ask how to find sponsored post opportunities and I must say a lot of it is down to luck, or sometimes very good connections. I’ve been lucky enough to be approached and also seek out some of my own via blogging friends. It’s all about networking I guess, developing good relations with both brands and fellow bloggers. I would say that blog writing is very much different than journalistic or professional content writing in many ways and I would expect as a freelance writer to earn a lot more, especially if it’s for larger publications. However, my blog doesn’t cost me anything to run apart from time and that is what the brands will be paying me for alongside my awesome content. I don’t know if this post answers any questions but hopefully it will act as some kind of bench mark for a few people new to the world of sponsored posts. How do you feel about sponsored posts and what price and how would you value your blog work? I think it’s a great boost for your pride when you send a brand a published post and they give you positive feedback and paid you for the pleasure. If you have any hints, tips, suggestions or just plain comments please add below!

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    • September 2, 2012 / 7:03 pm

      what is cute about this post? Anyway, I've only done 2 or 3 sponsored posts, through eBuzzin and through being contacted by email by companies. I refuse to post paragraphs which they have written. But I will happily write something myself if it is relevant to my blog for a fee

  1. August 22, 2012 / 10:02 am

    A very interesting post and something that always does the rounds in the bloggersphere. Sponsored posts, just to clarify, are usually just a way of brands guaranteeing content on a blog without the hoo-hah of sending a sample/info/press release and hoping that someone will write about them. When there's a big campaign or launch some brands think it's an easier approach to guarantee coverage on certain blogs so they know they'll reach their target market – Boots do this a lot with their brands.

    I don't ever have a problem with taking sponsored content on my blog, as 99% of the time I'd write about it anyway but am just getting paid. Furthermore, I've worked hard to build up an audience so feel it's only right that if a brand wants a piece of that pie, they have to pay for it.

    Sponsored posts are just like advertorials in magazines that you see week in week out, and as long as they fit the theme of your blog and you can write in your own style I don't see them as negative in any way. I do object to bloggers that just bung up any content whatsoever and have 3 sponsored posts a week – to me that's not interesting to read and just becomes spammy.

    I'm part of the Galaxy Essential Upgrades campaign and I am paid to write for them, but this is because they use my content on their site/facebook page/ASOS hub, as well as having sign off about what I write about. My natural style or interests are never compromised, but at the same time I get exposure and a little bit of cash for something I enjoy.

    On the matter of cost of posts, I think anyone writing for £25 is selling themselves short! I agree that cost should reflect your audience, experience and 'blog value' (whatever that means) and I'd never charge anywhere near the amount of someone like BBB, LLG or Fleur, but I would charge more than maybe newer bloggers. I think it's about putting a value on yourself, your blog and your time you're happy with and working from there.

  2. August 22, 2012 / 8:29 am

    I find the sort of "debate" about paid for posts really interesting – especially as it does seem to be such a taboo subject.

    I work in advertising at a magazine so regularly work with brands & clients of all sizes. In my job, at least, it is ALWAYS about audience size – they want to reach as many people as possible, for as little money as possible.

    I am really pro-advertising (because it is my job), and figure if you have a nice platform & handle it well, then why not? I'd prefer a sponsored post written in the blogger's own voice, than pop up display ads, or a garish ad skin! I also wish people would stop being so apologetic about them! Everyone's always saying – it's your blog, do what you want – and that should apply to this too. You aren't a sellout for adding commercial elements into your blog x

  3. The only time I've accepted payment was for adding a link to a post about Ricky Gervais that linked to streaming the show I was discussing through LoveFilm. Naturally, clicking the link was optional to my readers, and was not in the way of enjoying the post for what it was. I think this sort of things is OK, but when the content belongs to the company, like most of you, I draw the line

  4. August 22, 2012 / 7:23 am

    Quality post, Miss Lowe! I would like to add my cent to it as well. When I get offered a sponsored post opportunity, I always try to find how it would benefit people that read my blog, how it would benefit me (apart from the cash, doh) and how to make it fit in with my blog. If I can't do these things, I won't do the blog post. See, e.g. I get offered to write about a clothing website. Unless I can create a worthy post – something that interestes me, hopefully will interest my readers and provides inspiration, interesting products, etc, that post wouldn't fit in with my blog. I don't accept pre-written posts, I find it just too cheeky from companies to think they can literally take over my little blog, tut tut! x

  5. August 22, 2012 / 12:01 am

    This is really interesting!

    I'm in two minds about sponsored posts. I've seen a few bloggers do sponsored posts that clearly don't fit into the theme or style of their blog, and this is something I'd never do. I've had a few offers of sponsored posts and turned them down, as I'm not willing to put a post that isn't relevant to me and my readers on my blog just to make a quick buck. But I would consider sponsored posts that are relevant and interesting. The Galaxy Essential Upgrades series that a few bloggers have done is a nice touch, as it's pretty much the blogger's original content, sponsored by Galaxy.


  6. August 21, 2012 / 10:58 pm

    I've only ever done sponsored reviews so far, where I have been sent products to write about but no additional payment. I have always written completely honest posts and will continue to.

    I have also been approached by companies wanting sponsored posts where the content would be entirely theirs and they were just paying me to copy and paste some html in. On these occasions I will always refuse. My blog will always reflect my own views and personally I hate reading other bloggers' sponsored posts when you can tell they've not contributed their own thoughts and opinions.

    I've absolutely nothing against sponsored posts in the blogging community if they are interesting, original and as well as being informative about the product/brand. We all work very hard on our blogs, it's nice to get a little reward every now and then.

  7. August 21, 2012 / 10:35 pm

    Hey hun! You make some really good points! Check out my blog if you fancy something fresh and quirky, Carley @ xx

  8. August 21, 2012 / 10:24 pm

    Fiiinally, someone has given some useful information about blogging! O wise Terri, tell me more about the unspoken sides of blogging. I love how you are honest and informative xxx

  9. August 21, 2012 / 7:54 pm

    Thanks Terri for writing about this topic. At some point or other most of us get approached and it's nice to know how to handle the matter, should you wish to take up the offer. I was wondering you see a sponsored post as one you write yourself but what about when the brand wants to write a piece for you? I've been approached a few times about this. It's not something I want to take part in but I am curious whether people charge for it.

  10. August 21, 2012 / 7:22 pm

    I don't do 'em, and intend not to, but I remember reading that Jane from Sea of Shoes earned about $50,000 for one post. But I might just be making that up.

    I think newer, less blog-savvy brands would concentrate on followers – but brands who are more canny will be more concerned with SEO. Yeah, other bloggers are going to buy a £6 ring if they see it on someone else's blog. But it's non-blogging customers they're targeting; they basically want their link pushing up the Google ranks so their target market will find THEM when they Google their products.

    I don't think bloggers who are always c/o, c/o, c/o every post realise they are simply acting as brands' SEO vessels.