Okay, so one topic that is on my mind this week is whether it’s acceptable to be charging for sponsored content when you are an influencer. Here’s the thing, so many brands seem to believe that gifting suffices – well I’m here to express my thoughts and opinion that the majority of the time, it really isn’t. More to the point, it’s the fact that companies make the assumption that gifting is enough (I mean…) which automatically makes you, as an influencer, feel awkward and guilty to be asking for budget in addition to the items they are sending you. Without cursing too much, this really fucks me off. At the end of the day, being a full-time influencer is the same as any other job – nobody expects people to work in an office all day for free do they, so why is being a blogger an exception? I think the majority of people perhaps have a misconception about the job role, and believe that it requires little to no work – this couldn’t be further from the truth and I’m sure that any influencers reading this, will be saying amen as they are reading.
To non-social savvy people, they will just see on our Instagram/blogs for their creative images, ‘free’ clothes and outfits that we have put together and randomly happened to stumble in front of a backdrop and shoot – no hun. What they won’t know is how much time, thought and effort has gone into this content. Not only have we been in an email two days prior with the brand who’s clothing we are wearing, making selections on what to wear, agreeing on content, researching where to shoot, finding somebody to take the pictures BUT, you then have to find out what times are best to upload your content and spend time engaging with your followers afterwards. For brands that want quality in their content, the majority of influencers that have a following over 20K who are well engaged are going to want some sort of payment in addition to receiving the gift, at the end of the day, they have bills to pay.
This brings me again to ask, is asking to be paid for collaborations acceptable and more importantly, why do brands make us feel uncomfortable asking for money when we are in return doing a job? I understand that many brands, before paying an influencer, will be assessing the return on investment and will hence, see paying a blogger as a risk, however, different opinions aside, it’s the attitude of some of these brands and how they convey this to us. From personal experience, there is nothing worse than a brand a) telling you, you don’t ‘deserve’ the amount that you have quoted or b) offering you a ridiculously small amount. For those of you that follow me on Instagram you may have been victim to my ranting Instagram story that entailed a company offering me 15 euros for an Instagram post as apparently, this was all my content was ‘worth’. In retrospect, I should have been the bigger person and never replied to the email, but, this time I couldn’t resist. Rates are simply a reflection of the following, engagement rate, reach and all of the work needed to successfully carry out the campaign/collaboration.
I know it’s become quite a controversial topic and one that people are taking about at the moment and this is what blogging is all about – not only pretty pictures and new outfits, but being able to discuss things and offer our position on them. The ideal outcome in these posts are to bring awareness to certain topics, and if any brands are reading this, it’s so important that you approach influencers not only in a respectful way, but upon initial introduction, never begin an email by assessing somebody’s worth. Regardless of what you think, make it known that you really appreciate their content and all of the work that goes into this. I’m not saying that rates sent to brands are always non-negoiatble – dependant on what budget they have, what they have in mind, and how much the influencer likes them, often rates can be amended so everybody is happy. However, by going in with such a bad attitude, the majority of influencers won’t want to work with you and will most likely confide in other influencers – word spreads like wild fire in this industry and sometimes people forget the power of gossip. I must also point out, that brands are well within their right to question budget if an influencer has spent one minute taking an image of very low quality, but, if an influencer creates strong content that is well engaged, why shouldn’t they be paid for it? After all, it’s marketing – they wouldn’t get TV ads and magazine ads for free.
On a side note, sometimes influencers will collaborate with brands without budget. I know that I personally work with a selection of brands that can’t pay and the reason for this is because I genuinely adore the brand, have a really good relationship with the people behind it, and haven’t ever received emails that contradict or question my rates or why I’m charging the amount I do – it’s amazing what sort of reaction you will get if you don’t go in offending somebody’s work and criticising their worth. Manners go a long way, and we should all appreciate each others positions. I know that this post has been centred around me ranting, but I thought it was time I wrote something surrounding influencers and payments. I know, after talking to lots of people in the industry, that I’m not the only one that feels like this and believes that it needs to change. Anyway, rant officially over – this moaner is over and out.