Saturday, 18 July 2015

Why bloggers aren't 'entitled' to anything.

Blogger Entitlement
This is a long one and it's a rant. If you have one of those giant Sports Direct mugs, I'd advise a brew of that size, you'll probably need it.

Working in PR and often working with bloggers has thrown everything into a sharp reality for me. I see the world of blogging from both angles.

But what I’m really seeing right now is the reputation that bloggers are getting for ‘blagging’ and you know what? I’m not surprised. When brands are contacted by bloggers with a one-liner emails asking about opportunities or if they get tweeted with expectations that of course they'd want to work with them, is it any wonder that we all get a bad rep?

Essentially, some bloggers are treating brands like Tinder. Swipe left to every brand and just hope for a match. There's no making them feel special,they just go for everything they can possibly get.
  
What I’m really wanting to get across in this post is that brands have expectations. 

The PR who is arranging an event or a gifting project will have a list of things the bloggers must be. Whether it’s a DA score, level of social following, quality of past content, which brands they’ve worked with in the past, the list can be endless depending on the brand. 

Take a blogger event. If an established blogger hasn’t been invited to an event it could be that they simply got missed off the list. But more often than not, the guest list is one that has been put together painstakingly, signed off by the client and isn’t subject to change. They want the people who are most 'on brand'. The people who could be their target market and will influence people who may then become customers. They're also restricted by budgets, space and numbers of goodybags, amongst other things.

Blagging an event invite or simply turning up uninvited is a hassle and more importantly, it’s rude.

Imagine you were throwing a dinner party. You’ve budgeted and catered for a certain number. You’ve bought gifts for each of your guests. You have space around the table for those who have RSVP-ed. And then someone heard about it from a friend of a friend, found out your address and turned up on your doorstep expecting it to be OK. In real life, that would be rude, socially unaccepted and just plain inappropriate, so why would you expect it of an event?

Some events are open to everyone, the PRs will ask you to spread the word and bring a plus one. Other events are invite only - but that’s the way the world works.




The blogger market is saturated. There are the established bloggers, the newbies and people like me who are inbetween. The issue being that a lot of newer bloggers got into it after seeing that other people get amazing opportunities, amazing freebies and they wanted a piece of the action – who can blame them?

I mean, how many times has someone said to you as a blogger ‘I want to start blogging so that I get free stuff’? And how many times have you wanted to chuck your camera at their head? And tell them that they need to produce regular content, quality images, invest time into learning the basics of coding and SEO and do that with the only reward being that other people are reading your words for a good year or so. Oh and that’s all for free.





But some bloggers are giving the rest of us that reputation. They’re the free-loaders. They’re trying to get as much for free as they possibly can and they genuinely believe every brand should want a piece of them because they’re a blogger. And you know what? It just doesn’t work like that.




This may sound harsh, but no blogger is entitled to anything.

No brand is obliged to invite you to an event, send you a product or pay to advertise with you. Every blogger that goes full time knows the risk they’re taking. They worry about it, they often blog about it and they usually have a back-up plan or other freelance work on the go too, just in case.

If you want the opportunities, you need to prove your worth. Much like in the workplace where you do the shitty jobs to prove you have a work ethic, where you do work placements to gain experience for free and it makes you more employable. Blogging is the same. You need a back-log of content that you’ve produced for free. It shows that you love writing, that you’ve worked on your photography, that you still buy your own products and you’re genuinely passionate about different things.

Essentially, your blog needs to be good if you want people to work with you. And good takes time. 

I look back at my first posts and cringe. My writing style was far from developed, my images were crap and my layout was shoddy. My blog is far from perfect now but it’s come on in leaps and bounds from what it was two and a half years ago. 



Blogs take time. Be patient. Keep producing the good content and people will want to work with you eventually. But prove your worth. Have staying power. Don’t just stop blogging inbetween the things you get sent as that’s what truly shows that you’re in it for the long haul not just for the freebies. 
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15 comments

  1. Great post! There's definitely a plague of this at the moment.

    Kariss
    www.shystrangemanic.com

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    1. Thank you! I felt like I just needed to say something about it as there's so much of it around and it's driving me mad!

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  2. YES TO THIS, TO ALL OF THIS!!! This is something I have come across SO much in organising #TheCityGirls events - and as much as I could go off on a tangent rant about some of the things Holly and I have encountered, I won't! The biggest issue is the guest list. Some bloggers just seem to "expect" an invitation, when they have absolutely no related content whatsoever. As much as the events (ALL events, not just ours!) are about socialising, and getting to know new faces and bloggers - the main purpose of an invite is to push whatever it was you've been inviting to push. A brand has invited you to give them some exposure, not so you can sit and chat to your friends all night. I can't cope with people who blog for the freebies, I mean I know they exist but it winds me up ridiculously! This is a massive bug bear for me, your post has hit the nail on the head!! xx

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    1. So glad you agree! I can only imagine how much you and Holly will have had this when organising The City Girls! At the end of the day, events are about promotion, they're not just a night out paid for by someone else (as much as they often end up being that too!) xx

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  3. First of all I love the Game Of Thrones meme.

    So glad someone has actually posted about this. There is a lot of this going on lately and I think it's driving everyone crazy. With some it's painfully obvious that they are only in it for the freebies and it just isn't attractive at all and might explain why they don't get the invites or opportunities they think they are entitled to. Just because you have started to blog doesn't mean you are going to become the next Zoella.

    When I started blogging I was quite lucky that I was supported by other bloggers and that has meant I have had opportunities come my way so much quicker than I would have expected. Having said that, I still miss out on events etc, but I don't stalk them on twitter or rant about not being invited etc. I just think, maybe next time.

    Thanks for posting. Hopefully some people will take a look at themselves after reading.

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    1. Thank you for commenting, I don't even watch GoT and I just felt that it was necessary!

      I agree, it's happened a lot of late, and I can see why there is the illusion that bloggers get free stuff and that's a bandwagon to jump on, but there needs to be an appreciation that the opportunities come naturally and follow a lot of hard work! Like yourself, I was supported a lot as a newbie blogger but even now, I also miss out on a lot (not having my own domain doesn't help this!). But as you say, you just think 'oh, next time' and if it's a brand you love, blog about them anyway, if you think they're worth shouting about!

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  4. Yes! This!
    I get asked everytime when I say I'm a blogger - ooh what freebies do you get?
    I don't! I get products to try, review, take photos of and then write about! And that's only because I've spent time doing the above for products etc that I've bought and continue to buy myself! I also dislike the longer serving bloggers who do nothing but wrote about things they've been paid to review as u dint know what they actually like anymore if that makes sense!
    Ive seen some terrible new blogs that write and act like they are entitled to everything but I've also heard more established bloggers acting that way too and criticising brands for not rolling out the red carpet when they work with them which can be just as bad.
    Oh and I love all the meme's in this 👏🏻

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    1. Thank you so much for your comment, and I totally agree. There are established bloggers who no longer do anything of their own just because they have so much sponsored content to get though. It stops blogging being about blogging and it makes it about being an advertising platform and the voice of a brand not an individual - it's so wrong!

      But yeah, the newer bloggers who think they deserve everything drive me mad, especially when they're not even well written!

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  5. Super post, hit the nail right on the head... a lot of bloggers seem to have very little sense of humility and absolutely no manners.

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    1. Thanks for your comment Kel, I agree, it's the lack of manners that really gets me. It's just an expectation that really isn't justified!

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  6. Agreed! I have been blogging for 7 years and in that time I have seen a lot of ungraciousness and greediness. It gives the rest of us a bad name. I even wrote a post with a similar sentiment last year http://blognix.co.uk/blogger-blagger-expect-blogger-perks/

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    1. That's such an interesting post, thank you for sharing! The fact that bloggers went to an event for which they were given a free ticket and then asked about freebies is absolutely appalling! What happened to manners?! When I go to events, I'm grateful for the opportunities to take photos and chat to staff and therefore have the content to write about, anything else from that is an absolute bonus!

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  7. I'm so glad someone's written this post, and you've written it so well! The number of times my friends say they should become bloggers to get all the free stuff makes me so riled up - in fact last time they said it I told them I'd bang their heads together haha! If only they knew!

    Noone is entitled to anything without working for it, blogging isn't any different! Have shared on this post on Twitter :)

    Katie || KNEL xx

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    1. Thanks Katie :) It's been getting a bit crazy with the requests lately *cough birthday blogger drama* but I'm hoping it will calm down at some point! (Maybe... until the Christmas wishlists start!!)

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  8. Love this post! And the use of memes is brilliant! So very true unfortunately. I wrote a similar post a while ago about why people I know want to become bloggers and it's so frustrating when people go on about me getting things for free. That's not all there is to it? I know it's not far to say about new bloggers really, but do feel a lot came along for the sake of the 'blogger life' rather than the blogging.

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