This may be the first time I’ve ever written a post for other bloggers. I almost never talk about the business side of blogging because I don’t feel it’s my place. I’m certainly not the one to preach on the how-to of blogging, nor do I feel there is one process or a single correct journey for everyone. At this point, the market of blogging is so saturated, it’s pretty hard to make a living as a blogger. This is why you actually do need a serious backbone.
You are one in 25 million. Unfortunately, not in the way your mom told you as a kid to make you feel better for being weird...but meaning, there are a million others to choose form. This makes it easy to feel that you have no agency or power as a blogger. YOU ARE WRONG. Only you have your ideas, your thoughts, and your dreams. Only you can bring what you have to the table. Any brand worth working with will appreciate that.
Do your research and discover what bloggers of similar sizes are being paid, then add a bit on top of that. Yes, add to it because hopefully a brand will work with you to make that extra bit for your hard work. But, more importantly, it gives you a starting point for negotiation that will probably fall within your normal pay rate. Don’t accept less that what you deserve and never over promise.
It’s easy to feel like the small fish in a big pond, but don’t make elaborate promises or compromise your integrity. I say no to brands all the time. I have said no to brands with massive followings who promise to repost my content because I know their product is poorly made. I personally never want to encourage people to buy something I don’t feel will be a good use of their money. I feel this way especially with beauty products, as I’ve tried creams that have irritated my skin or chapstick that has made my lips sting. WHY WOULD I TELL PEOPLE TO PURCHASE THAT?
Unless it’s a brand I know and love, I have a clear rule…”I will try the product and we can talk about pay per post if I like the product.” I NEVER give any guarantees and that can put brands off, but I would rather discourage brands from working with me than be caught in a situation where I’ve accepted money for a product I don’t believe in. You have to be strong about it.
Unfortunately, there are many brands and PR companies that will not respect your boundaries. You have to say clearly, if I enjoy the product, I am happy to post but I can not guarantee a post. Even then, you will get email after email asking you to post and unfortunately, sometimes you have to cut ties. I know it sounds counterproductive but you can’t be bullied in this industry. You have to be your own agent/manager. You have to stop treating it like a hobby and treat it like a full time grind (even if you have a 9-5).
Standing out of the crowd includes standing up for yourself. There will be times you hold an unpopular opinion or some random troll has decided that you are the victim they feel like picking on today. You have to be able to own yourself and who you are. You have to stand behind yourself and “your brand.” It will always pay off both mentally and financially to be true to yourself.