Imagine taking your car to a mechanic for a service and asking them to do it for free just so you can be sure they do a ‘proper job’ of it. Or what about asking your accountant to prepare your tax return ‘just for love’ to ensure they get you the best possible return back this year.
Of course it does.
And yet day after day bloggers receive dozens of pitches and queries in their inbox asking the exact same thing.
Please review my product, research what I’m about, spend hours tapping out, editing and promoting a creative post about me and my product (and be sure to include links back to my website) – oh and just so I know you’re going to be 100% honest about it, I’d like you to do all that for free.
Oh by the way, as an added bonus you’ll get to keep my product that you (whilst you may have genuinely enjoyed using/consuming at the time) can add to the perpetual pile of useless shit you’ve reviewed over the years that you no longer use and can’t exchange for things that you really need like groceries or a nice pair of nickers!!
I used to be empathetic to the concern that brands and PRs had about blogger authenticity if they were doing paid reviews but now I just think it’s a cop-out.
If being paid for a service means that it won’t be conducted authentically then why are plain-old general members of the public paid on average between $50 to $150 for market research to provide their ‘honest opinion’ on various brands, services and topics?
With that in mind, knocking on a blogger’s inbox door and asking them to not only review but then promote that brand/product through their own personal audience whom they’ve painstakingly nurtured and do it all for nothing all seems a little…..well……tight-arseish!
Considering those brands, products and PR companies are being paid for their time, services and products (and most if not all of them have an allocated advertising budget) then why shouldn’t a blogger be appropriately compensated for providing them a service?
Bloggers invest huge amounts of time, effort and emotion into their blog. Researching, writing, editing and promoting every single post. Maintaining their blog, communicating with and engaging their readers. They often pain over Twitter ‘unfollows’ and Facebook ‘unlikes’, wondering what they could have done to prevent it.
Bloggers have that uncanny ability to use social media to connect and network with others. They have that ability to interact in a way that ensures that their blog voice has maximum reach. They have an invaluable resource of eyes and ears of every single one of their readers who often hang off their every word.
Bloggers aren’t just writers, they are social media moguls. Experts in their fields with an often extensive and captive audience at their fingertips.
Funnily enough, many brands and PRs are cleverly aware of the power of the blogger voice which is why our inboxes are clogged with pitches. It is actually the blogger herself (or himself) that often doesn’t yet understand the value of her ‘wares’.
And it’s not just all about high volume traffic and having thousands of followers (although that helps). Yes traffic stats and follower numbers are all important to determine a blogger’s ‘reach’; how many people that will actually hear a blogger’s written voice. But don’t disregard the smaller bloggers who have high reader interaction and engagement. This too wields a certain level of power because this determines how many people will actually listen to them.
Another analogy – if after reading our advertisement a person knocks on our front door and asks us to rent a room, expects us to cook and clean for them all whilst maintaining the upkeep and usual day-to-day running of our household would we expect payment from them?
Isn’t doing a review similar? Swap the house for the blog and the ‘spare-room boarder’ for the brand….…….you get the picture.
I don’t think doing a few sponsored posts or reviews here and there is going to maintain a blogger in any level of caviar and champagne lifestyle, but it’s certainly nice to receive some remuneration for a task that one has been specifically commissioned to complete.
As far as I’m concerned unless you’re a new or emerging business, a charity, a WAHM (or something similar) this whole ‘honesty only comes for free’ argument doesn’t wash anymore.
What do you think? Does a paid blogger product review lack integrity? Do you think some PRs and brands undervalue bloggers?