When I made the switch from TV to PR, I learned a lot about the blogging world. One thing: Some bloggers don’t like to be called bloggers. They prefer “businesswomen.” (Yes, I insulted a blogger by calling her a blogger once.) I also learned money could be made in this field. A lot of money. (It’s also why I stepped up my blogging game.) Every time I would send something out for a client, the response would be, “Yes, I can post this, but it’ll cost you $200,” or, “My media kit is attached,” or, “Do you work for free, because I don’t.” That was when I realized if I wanted my client to make it on a blog, I had to pay for it. Well, this is not public relations. This is advertising. Public relations is earned media, like me getting a client on the Today Show or Rachael Ray Show for free. Advertising is paid media. It’s obvious in a magazine or in a commercial, but in a blog it’s a sponsored post where the blogger basically pretends to love your product, business, or brand because you are paying her to. This = gray area for both publicists and bloggers.
With that said, I think there are many bloggers who have tons of influence who should be paid. Is a blog that gets 7,000 UVM with a mediocre social media following worth paying $200 for a post? Probably not, but it depends on who the blogs audience is and what audience the client wants. While some blogs are worthy of payment, most are not. I think this is also where a lot of bad bloggers are making good bloggers look bad. Some charge just to charge because they want to make money. Or their following is fake and paid for. Well, you have to give me a reason to pay you. If 100 bloggers are asking to be paid, why should we pay YOU? Today, everyone has a blog and most would not offer any ROI by paying for a post.
Every blogger is different. Some are journalists. Some are brand ambassadors. Some do it for fun. So I shouldn’t title this “Why I stopped pitching bloggers” because some would be perfect pitches, but in my experience, most want to get paid and most clients don’t set aside an extra budget for advertising. THAT IS WHY I STOPPED PITCHING BLOGGERS. WITHOUT A BUDGET, I CAN’T PAY THEM! Fellow bloggers, would you rather me pitch you, then tell you I don’t have a budget to pay you? Probably not.
I did have a budget for bloggers once. One client wanted to be in the “mommy blogs.” Well, I pitched them and got HUNDREDS of media kits. This one charges this much, or you can be in this baby guide for this much, this includes this many social media shares, and on and on. After sorting through them all and then handing the findings over to the client, they picked ONE. Obviously, you can’t pay everyone who asks. They picked who they thought would give them their best ROI. All the other bloggers weren’t too happy with me, but what can a girl do?!
So bloggers, if you are going to be on a database like Cision or Meltwater, do not get upset when a publicists pitches you. While some may have a separate budget for advertising, after paying a monthly PR retainer of thousands, most do not. If you don’t like it, you should probably get off a database used by publicists. Keep in mind, if a publicists sends you something you like or in your niche, it could not only serve you as an idea for your next blog, but if you decide to use that pitch, not only is the PR company sharing that post, but so is the client which = more views for you. (And let’s be honest, your entire blog should not be one big advertisement either.)
Publicists, if a clients goal is to make it on blogs, explain to them eight times out of 10, it is not earned. It is paid. Some do it for free. (I have. If it’s for a good cause or fits my niche, why not?!) When I do pitch bloggers, which isn’t often (hence what is written above), I make it very clear I am pitching for editorial purposes only and do not have a budget for advertising or sponsored posts (unless I do.)
Finally, I’m ending with what a fellow PR professional posted in a PR group I’m in… which basically sums up this entire post: “Please don’t be offended and confuse PR for marketing. PR professionals get paid to garner editoral (not advertorial) placements. Blogging is an amazing way to build a business and I totally respect that some bloggers are trying to make a living, but those should be talking to marketing/ad sales if they want to be paid. If I don’t have to pay a Today show producer to consider covering something why would I pay a blogger? That being said, if the client gives me a budget to do marketing/paid sponsored posts, etc, you can bet I’m happy to pay for influential placement.”