I am writing this post for the industry, not that one more piece of content will change the world but it makes me feel better for sharing. I am writing this post for all the content creators out there as well – do not sell yourselves short and appreciate your own work.
Instagram and blogging have become full time jobs/small business ventures for many. However, it seems that the marketing and PR industries still see it as a free form of advertising, or a meal for 2 worth of ads. I believe everything in life has a price (except all these intangible things but let’s stay in the real, materialistic world for this post). I am so amazed that today, I still receive emails asking me to do/review XYZ for free. Why would I do that? I work hard on creating content, I have worked hard on building a following, I work hard on making sure what I create makes sense for my following, I invest in gear, props and so on.
Why would I create content for free, to advertise your product?
Here comes my favourite answer – because we are a start up. I am a start up too, I have bills to pay too. Then my next favourite, that comes from a lot of global/blue chip brands – we don’t have budget (this goes both ways we don’t have any budget or enough budget). Now, I work in digital as you guys may know, and part of my job is buying media. I know, how much money brands spend just for the hope that their display ad is showed to their respective target audience. Now my question is, why would I expose your content for less? Why would I dilute my feed and content to promote a product for nothing/peanuts?
Yes, I do, do, free campaigns
I am extremely picky about the brands I work with. I want to maintain the integrity of my feed and content across my platforms. I happily work with travel/experience brands or brands that offer something useful for their customers. Sometimes ,I do it free of charge. If I think the content is cool for me/my audience – like an experience that gives me something, I would have otherwise paid for (because I want to do it anyway), and content that I can produce, that will make everyone happy – I can do it for free. However, the number of emails I get from product brands who just want free advertising is crazy, offering nothing in return. With generic ‘hi there’ mass emails, and just being plain rude sometimes, would you advertise my newly launched mascara worth £24.99 – hmmm let me think… I have stopped responding to such emails.
This brings me to my second favourites – the food and beverage industry. Now, I do support a good chunk of outlets out there who are fab. However, recently, I have started getting certain invites that state: we invite you and a plus 1, for 1 x cake/food item + 1 x drink and we require a permanent post, stories and a blog post.
OK, so let me see – you are offering me £30 worth of edible merchandise, for something that will take me at least 1 day of work?
This works out below the minimum wage in London. Current minimum wage £8.21/h x 7.5h (working day) = £61.58
The way I look at it is – if you as a brand cannot commit to paying me for creating a campaign, I can only commit to experiencing what you are offering and if I like it, I can create what I see fit.
The payment process
The below is reflective of some brands, I have worked with a lot of brands who have been fab and punctual. If you ever want a list of bad payers, just let me know.
Leaving this behind us, and let’s say we found the dream brand out there who are actually willing to pay some money for creating content together. Yeiii, high five. You then go off to create said content, submit everything within the requested timelines (nothing against tight deadlines a lot of the times as I do understand brand urgency). Then the payment game starts – 30 days, 60 days, whatever days, after invoice. The invoice can only be submitted after all content has been posted. So let’s say you work on a 2 month campaign, your negotiations start in July. Your first post may as well be in September, then you need to wait to get paid x days later. I can still say fair game to this, as we all run a business. However, do you think you actually get paid on the 30th, 60th or said day?
You get paid in most cases, after endless calls, discussions, emails, escalations with multiple people and departments. I know owning a business means chasing money a lot of the time. However, with content produced on the internet, your value as a supplier, diminishes 90% the moment you press publish. Because at that moment, the brand has achieved what they have wanted to achieve, and then it does not matter. If you are a product/service provider you can terminate the provision of said product/service. However, content is content, people have seen it, engaged with it and it is gone after a few days. Meaning that even if you take it down, it would not really matter, would it?
In conclusion, I still look forward to working with a lot of brands and creating beautiful content for you guys. However, I do hope that the industry changes perception at least a little bit, if more of us talk about these things – as for real, there is no such a thing as free lunch 🙂