There’s been a lot of talk across blogs and on Twitter of late about agencies & brands, who clearly have lovely fat budgets with which to play, asking bloggers (whose blogs are usually a labour of love) to guest post for them for free in return for traffic. Not only is it unacceptable to ask bloggers to provide commercially valuable content & links for free, it’s often ill-informed. In many cases the blogger has a bigger following & higher traffic & page rank than the commercial website. Style blogger Bangs and a Bun had a rant over on her blog which chimed in so beautifully, I begged her to let me post an edited version on LLG:
Dear Large Commercial Brand/Agency
Do me a favour – don’t email asking me to blog for you in return for fresh air. Whilst you’re not the first and you surely won’t be the last to have the nerve to do so, I’ve read enough already about how it’ll be great ‘promotion’ and give me wonderful ‘exposure’.
I think I’m doing alright on the exposure front, thank you. I mean, I’m exposed enough for you to have even found me in the first place, right? At least be honest: you approached me because you like what I’ve got and you want some of it.
Nowhere but in the creative industries do people get away with this kind of bollocks. I can’t ask an accountant to do my taxes and say I won’t pay him, but the honour of him working for me will give him great exposure. Bottom line: ‘promotion’ and ‘exposure’ don’t pay the rent or buy us shoes.
You approach me because you see that my site is doing fairly well. You have placed a value on it. Don’t be surprised to discover that in return I value myself. I will reply to your email with my rate card and nothing else. When you want to treat me as you treat your other contractors, feel free to email again.
See, you have no idea what has gone into this. I have spent years getting to this point. I spent my university years doing work placements here, there & everywhere. I moved to New York when I was 22 and spent a cold winter running all over Manhattan returning clothes from magazine shoots to fashion PRs. I have done jobs that I absolutely loathed, just so I could keep a roof over my head in the hope that I could keep writing and that eventually someone would be moved by my words. I still work a 9-5 and come home and work 6-midnight on my blog. I’m exhausted, but it’s worth it.
I have MORE THAN paid my dues. And pardon me if I consider it to be a complete fucking insult to myself and bloggers, artists and creatives everywhere that you think it’s even acceptable to send emails that completely ignore the fact that we’ve spent years ‘promoting’ and ‘exposing’ ourselves, to get to the point where you try to leech off our success.
I value myself, my writing and what I’ve built here too much to let you degrade it with this foolishness. Find some money (it doesn’t have to be a lot) from that swollen budget your client approved or you know what? Don’t bother getting in touch.
With kind regards, Bangs.
Muireann Carey-Campbell is a writer and professional gypsy who has lived in some of the world’s most expensive cities, surviving on only raw meat and shoes. She now lives in the north of England and survives on hot chocolates and well, still shoes. She blogs as bangsandabun.com and Tweets here