Bloggers. We’re a curious bunch. The longer I’ve been a part of the blogging community, the more I’ve realised how influential we are. Every few months, a new trend starts circulating on the highstreet and in magazines, but us bloggers? We’ve seen it already. With all the promo, reviews, Tweets, Instagram posts and buying en masse that we do, we’re the unsung heroes of making a lot of brands what they are among wider society.
This can be a great thing, but it also creates a problem, a problem which a lot of the savvier bloggers have no issue speaking out about. I’ve lost count of the amount of Tweets and screenshots I’ve seen of emails to bloggers who are being asked to promote a product or site in return for a meagre discount code or — even more cheekily — nothing at all. Because even with all the hours we put away working for these brands, blogging is still not considered work.
This post is about my experience with a brand that is currently making the rounds in popularity on social media. I don’t intend to speak ill of the brand itself because I haven’t actually sampled their products and therefore cannot speak for the quality, but in hindsight, I am very unhappy with the way they approached me for a collaboration.
The brand is Glossier — if you’ve been on social media in the last two weeks, I’m sure you’ve heard of them. Their PR person approached me for a collaboration about two years ago, when I was still quite new to “serious” blogging. They asked me to write a post on a theme they outlined for me, to mention and link to one of the products I’d most like to try, and to conveniently leave out the part where they approached me — something along the lines of being ‘inspired’ after viewing their website. I’d never been in talks with a brand before so it was all very exciting, and I had no idea about what to expect from a brand in these situations — but even I felt uneasy about those stipulations, particularly lying about why I wrote the post.
There was no offer to compensate me for my post, monetary or otherwise, but because of my small following, I didn’t really see a problem with this. I thought promotion on my blog wouldn’t be worth even a free sample and that it’d be cheeky to even broach the subject, but looking back I see it was plain bad manners. Any brand approaching a blogger should be prepared to offer something in return for any level of work a blogger does for them, whether that’s payment, products, social media shout-outs. I didn’t even get a thank you.
It’s true that different blogs have different worth. I’d never expect to receive the same form of payment as a blogger like Zoella (to use a wild example!) simply because our reach is not the same. Numbers do matter when you’re running a technically “successful” blog. But even a blogger with one single follower is worth payment from a company who approaches them first.
Sadly, I know that I played right into Glossier’s hands by not asking for payment for my work for them. I think lot of brands seek out new bloggers with a small reach and see it as free advertising. I’m not going to tell you not to buy from Glossier — hopefully all the hype is well deserved! — but this entire experience is why I won’t be giving them my custom. I do not think they’re a company that appreciates what bloggers can do for them.
Bloggers can make or break a brand, as long as they know their worth. Make sure you ask for what you’re entitled to!