When Should You Start Charging For Blog and Social Media Collaborations?

2016 has been a big year in blogging for many reasons. Whilst I’d started to earn money from my blog posts at the end of 2015 (albeit only a little bit) as well as a little through affiliates, it was the turn of the new year where I said nope! to working with brands for free. It’s a movement that has echoed through many more bloggers, and as I’ve become closer friends with some amazing girls in this industry, there’s become increased transparency in our conversations of who’s charging what for what so we all know we’re not being cheated and underselling (or overselling!) ourselves. Plus, the fact that stricter regulations have been somewhat enforced with #ad and #spon in Instagram posts, it’s become clearer who’s making money from what, making it easier for you to weigh up exactly what you should get paid for.

But one of the questions I get asked over and over again is when should you start charging for blog and social media posts? At what point do you know when to start charging? It’s a very good – and usually difficult – question to answer because everybody’s journey is different and so is everyone’s opinion. I met girls who had been blogging for way less than I had but were charging for their blog posts long before me – even if it was just £20 payment here or there on top of whatever they had been gifted to help create their post. Savvy. I used to find the “when do you start charging” question such a tricky one to answer because I think everyone wants a numerical goal point – say, a certain number of followers or a timeframe like “I’ve been doing this for two years therefore I deserve paying!”. And whilst I used 2016 as the dawning of a new era of PAY ME PLZ, it was less about dates, numbers or timeframes, and more about realising my worth. 
The power of influencer marketing has gained even more momentum putting those on top of their social media game in stronger positions than ever before. And with publications’ circulations dropping and social media users rising, methods of advertising are becoming less conventional and companies seek to utilise influencers with strong, loyal followings.

For every branded blog post we do, we are effectively creating advertorials for brands on our own personal platforms by taking photographs, editing, writing, scheduling, and finally sending it out neatly packaged with some social media marketing. Would a publication do this for free? Well, for a gifted £35 dress or £50 pair of shoes? I don’t think so – so neither should we. At the end of the day, some new clothes might be nice but that won’t pay my bills, and I hardly think my landlady will take too kindly to me paying my rent in the form of a handbag stuffed full of jewellery and affordable shoes.

So the turning point on when I thought that I should start charging for my work was when it felt like I was doing the brand a favour, rather than it feeling like a mutually beneficial collaboration. When it starts to feel like you’re putting yourself out of your way, taking time out, using resources, and using your own money for no real gain other than to promote a brand rather than further your own profression, then that’s when you need to start asking for payment on future collaborations. As soon as you know that your time in work and access to your audience is worth more than the cost of whatever they are gifting you for the post, then ask for payment.

Brands may offer ‘exposure’, reminding you that working together is a “great opportunity to start a relationship that may lead to future paid collaborations!” (UGH), but quite frankly, I don’t care how many Instagram followers an account has, a regram has never been worth the time in effort that shooting, editing, writing, and scheduling the social media promo as the few followers I procured.

Of course, then come the task of asking brands to pay you! But luckily, this is a topic which I neatly covered right here. But once you’ve got that sorted, you’ll be way on your way. In a developing industry shrouded in mystery on who gets paid what and no standardised salaries, it can be hard to work it out. But trust me, it has nothing to do with numbers but more of a gut instinct that you’re putting yourself out there.

On another note, check out my latest haul video and list of all the best Christmas sales below!

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  1. This post is right in time for me. I have come to realizr so.e people just take you for granted because they know your wotk is good but points out the low number of followers and make you do free work. I personally think if one blogger gets paid for the same work that another one has to do for free then its unfair. Of course brands have return to investment and stuff but I believe when any brands apptoach you its because of the quality of your work. It is a pain when they deny payments because blogging is a lot of hardwork.

  2. Fab post – I literallly have so many people trying to shamelessly take advantage – it's so embarrassing on their brands behalf! 2016 has definitely been the same for me – time to get picky and realise what me and my time are worth! This was such a good reminder! X


  3. Very useful post! And I like the point you made that you should start charging if you feel you are doing the brand a favor. One of my 2017 blog goals is to monetize my blog so this is pretty helpful.

  4. This is such a good post, so many people earn money from blogging but aren't so open to talking about it (which I totally understand!) But posts like this are very helpful x

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