Blogging Tips: why you should not take unpaid collaborations
I am going to just jump right in because this has been coming up a lot and I want to share my thoughts on it. So here we go: Most of my points are about larger brands
STOP TAKING FREE PRODUCT AND UNPAID COLLABORATIONS from big brands & in general.
Because your time is worth something. Brands used to spend tens of thousands of dollars on advertising costs, hiring production teams & models etc, but now they are reaching out to influencers and paying next to nothing and getting away with it.
I GET IT! We get so excited when a brand reaches out for a collaboration that we just accept the terms without even thinking about what we’re being given and how it’s benefiting us. I am guilty of this!
Yes, some brands just do not pay (eye roll) and PR companies do not pay unless you’re at 100,000k+ followers.
But think about what you’re spending:
-gas to get to the shooting location
-advertising to your audience
-hair & make up
Brands want all of this for “free” in exchange for product that costs them next to nothing to mass produce. Were talking a couple dollars. Again, if they were to hire a company to put on the entire production that you are doing all by yourself - they’d be spending thousands of dollars. Period.
I am all about supporting local brands / boutiques & know they may not have a large budget, but ALWAYS ASK for something in return. It could be:
-a post on their social media channels that you are tagged in
-a story takeover for them giving you more exposure
-anything that will HELP YOU
You really have to consider all things here:
-Most brands have a budget, but they want to see if you’ll take free product first.
-ALWAYS PITCH THEM. The worst thing they can say is no.
-If unpaid, decide if it’s something that’s really important to you. I have a list of brands I absolutely love and would create content for free in the beginning just to build that relationship. If the brand is not on your list, walk away (I know its hard but just do it because it will be so much for beneficial in the long run).
-Once a brand works with you on an unpaid basis, they are more likely to never pay you for your work. That puts in you a position of either a.) never receiving compensation or b.) cutting ties with the brand.
**I have an amazing coach who has taught me so many things in the first month of working with her. One of the things that has really stuck with me. She has turned down brands because they wont pay her rate, and they end up coming back around and wanting to work with her and paying her rates or even more if her rates have increased because now she has the leverage. That is so powerful to me and I hope it inspires you too! I used to take the unpaid collaborations but she has shown me my value and now I barely do anything unpaid. If brands want to work badly enough with you, they will pay. And if they don’t, then it’s probably not the best fit at the time and leads to future opportunity with them.**
Also, when you take product for free, it hurts everyone else in the industry and gives brands the illusion that they can do this. It’s not fair to you and to everyone else. We are responsible for setting the standards.
Personal Experience: I never thought I would turn down a collaboration from Forever 21. I always thought it would be so cool to work with a huge brand like that but for what they were asking, I was not gonna provide that for free. A lot of brands say they do not have a budget for micro influencers and that may be true, but brands need to start creating budgets for it because our time is just as valuable as any influencer out there. And even though it does suck to give that up - I know bigger and better things are out their for me. You have to be willing to play the long game with this. That’s when you will see the results you want!
Lastly, BE AWARE OF SCAMS!:
-If they ask you to spend any money at all, NO
-If they offer you a personal lifetime discount & a discount for your followers, NO
-If they just want you to pay for shipping, NO
-If they comment on your photo “Hey Allysa, We came across your profile and would love to work with you. Send us a DM”. NO
-DO NOT CLICK ON LINKS AND USE YOUR IG LOG IN. Brands never ask you to do this. You will get hacked. And it’s hard af to get your account back.
These are not real collaborations. Brands will actually send you a DM or most likely an email. They just want to scam you out of as much money as they can! You should never have to pay anything to be part of a collaboration.
If you’re curious about how much to charge, Social Blue Book & Fohr.co are great resources. You can also talk to fellow bloggers in your same niche / follower count and ask what they are charging! There is no standard in this industry so it’s up to us to make sure we get what we deserve.
If you take anything away from this blog post, KNOW YOUR VALUE & WORTH. You deserve to be paid for your work! Even if it’s $10. And if it’s not monetary compensation, ask for something else! Never do work for free.
If you have any other questions, leave them in the comments and I’ll update this post to hopefully answer them.