It happens every now and then; I’ll receive an email from a company asking if I’d like to review a product. Most of the time it’s been a successful interaction (see here and here) and I’ve ended up trying some cool products.
Other times… well, I’ll start this off by saying ‘always trust your gut’.
When you’re a low key blogger, like me, you tend to get a jolt of excitement when you get an email from a company. This is what real bloggers do, you think. This is an opportunity I can’t miss out on… except, you can. And you should, if you don’t think it sounds good.
I work on the principal – if I wouldn’t buy it myself I won’t review it. My blog isn’t a stage for selling products because that’s totally what I’m against- buying things just for the sake of it. I am very cautious when it comes to commerce; I only buy things I need or have wanted for a long time because I’m still trying to live/ attain a minimalist lifestyle… more on this later!
So, rather than bite people’s hands off for the ‘opportunity’ (which is what brands want you to do/ think) I’ve been relying on my gut instinct. Is this something I want? Does this sound legit?
Recently I’ve had a few brands contact me to ask me to try their ‘vegan’ products (beauty) and I’ve, after a little bit of back and forth, declined them. I knew, instantly, something was off.
One person emailed me and asked me if I’d like to review a moisturiser. I asked for some details, to which he told me to look up the product name on amazon; no link was sent to me, I had to do the hard work. I was already suspicious but I looked into it and emailed back to ask what the process would be for the review. The guy then asked me for my email address for paypal; he would send me money to buy the product and then I would leave a review… which would be fraudulent, because it would show as a verified purchase review. The company are basically buying reviews and I’ve found most people like to give good reviews for free stuff because they feel they should? So the whole thing was a stinker and I explained to the guy that I wasn’t interested because it wasn’t legit. He was fine with it; obviously plenty of other people did it?
Another request I’ve had is to blog about a brand or product , with no offer for affiliation codes or sending me a physical product to review; basically free PR. I’ve done one, out of all of them, because I enjoyed the brand content but afterwards I felt like a fool – I’d dedicated time and work into a blog post, social media posting and advertising for a brand FOR FREE… it doesn’t sound like a big deal but if they reached out to me and wanted me to work with them it means, in my opinion, they thought I had the right audience for their brand [I’m sure this isn’t 100% true, but work with me, here] but they showed no respect to me as a content creator as they failed to offer to pay me for my time.
I don’t blog to make money but the blogging platform is a media outlet and if I’m sharing media to an audience I deserve to be paid – that sounds bratty but it’s not. I’m a writer. I want to write for a living. People shouldn’t expect anyone to work [which is what a featured blog post is] for free unless it’s a decision made on both sides. I was naive enough not to ask on the last one I did but in the future I’m going to be setting prices for the work I do and if you, a fellow blogger, is ever asked to PR a brand you should, too!
The main message for this post is that it’s easy to think every opportunity is a good one – if you blog about a brand you think you’re getting something from it. Maybe you are and your audience grows because of the affiliation, however, I do think that being paid for your time is a right! Let me know what you think – are you a blogger? Do you do affiliate/sponsored posts for free?