I’ve been blogging for a long time now and slowly, with the rise of mummyblogging in Australia, I’ve found myself on the lists that PR companies seem to share around. This means that I get offered some things that are interesting, a bunch of stuff that is totally unsuitable and have my inbox regularly filled with press releases that appear to want me to regurgitate them here for my readers.
But here’s the thing:
This space is not free.
Sure, it’s only pixels on a computer screen and so therefore, if I decide that I love your charity/business/company and want to promote you for nothing, then I can.
This space was built on trust capital. My trust capital, to be precise. My readers visit because I give them something that they’re looking for. Maybe that’s escapism, or an amusing story, or a diatribe about facebook. For whatever reason, visitors trust that the posts I put up here will contain good value.
I’ve noticed recently a decline in high-value items for review. I’m not bemoaning this, I’m just stating it as fact. Instead of items that I will actually use, I’m being offered $15 kids shoes that I could buy myself, or cereal, or small value items that can be sent out cheaply and easily.
It’s a natural evolution of things really; it’s easier to send 50 bloggers a small item than it is to send 5 bloggers a decent trial selection of product. Mass marketing at its finest.
It’s nice to receive a few products in the mail that my children will eat or drink, something that I may decide to buy myself later on down the track.
But I can’t seem to bring myself to write 200 words about a product that costs less than $10. In fact, the latest thing that arrived in the mail had a dollar value total of $6 and I was left wondering: Is this what I’ve sold my soul for?
Sure, the product is great. The company is fantastic and one I’ve supported in the past. But I can’t get past being expected to promote something through my social media channels that I could have bought for the cost of a cup of coffee.
I offer a sponsored post option here on Sleepless Nights. It’s in my media kit and while some businesses are hesitant to pay real money (but it’s so expensive, can’t we just have an in-post link that stays on your blog forever and ever for $40?), others have seen the value of dealing with engaged readers and have paid up promptly. It’s this that makes me so hesitant to sell my space for peanuts.
And, I don’t think you should be devaluing yourself like that either. Giving away a $5 gift voucher, or writing about a food item that is worth less than a sandwich at the local bakery, it’s a bit ridiculous. You are worth more than a $10 product, and so is your trust capital.
Sure, it’s your blog and you can do whatever you like with it.
But if you sell your soul for peanuts to begin with, don’t expect businesses to start paying you anything more later on down the track.
The ever lovely Zoey and I were discussing this earlier in the week and she’s got things to say about not selling your space for nothing too. You can read about her thoughts here.