Dear PR Person, “Social Media Exposure” Doesn’t Pay The Bills

This post has been a long time coming. I’ve received hundreds of emails from multi-million dollar companies that “reach out” because they “just LOVE your blog” and want to “showcase some inspiration from bloggers” and will “choose the best for a chance to be featured on our *some over inflated number of followers* fans! My favorite moment that illustrates this is when I got an email from ProFlowers (Yes, I’m calling them out.) about how they would love for me to do a post on how florals inspire an outfit. Okay, great! You’d think I would need actual flowers for this. I wrote them back, told them I needed either actual flowers or money for this. I immediately was met with, “We have no budget and cannot pay or give you anything.” Oh really, then why am I watching a commercial for ProFlowers right now on my TV? No budget my very large fannie. 

Necklace:Bauble Bar (exact)
Lipstick: Revlon (Poppy)

Well guess what, I know you are just doing your job, but that’s the thing. You are getting PAID to do your job. You are getting PAID to email me, ask me to invest my time in your company, put together a post, boost it on social media, and don’t even offer payment or an item? Specifically, the item you want me to talk about? Uh, okay, yeah, no. You are getting paid to do your job, so why do you think that I will work for free? You have absolutely no care that I present posts that mean something to me and I truly do like or use the item. You just want me to be a free billboard for you and feel flattered that a large company found my blog. 

I realize that a lot of people will fall for this. They will truly think that if they partner with you now, for free, then eventually a really great, big project will come their way. The issue is this: when you start working for free, you can’t leverage that into pay. You have set the precedent that you are okay will working for free. Social media exposure doesn’t pay for my gas, lunches, clothing, anything. If it did, I would be a millionaire from the offers I’ve gotten. I realize that some people are okay with doing this and that’s not my point. I know it’s your right to do that. I just don’t want anyone to pretend that this is how you leverage respect and payment later on.

I think that companies frequently prey on smaller blogs because they truly do think that the author isn’t educated enough to know that you should be getting paid. That you have to disclose said payment, that you know that when you work for free you can never leverage it into a paid gig. I was told by another company that they don’t have the money for paying for a post and then the next day a massive blogger had a post sponsored by them. They have the money. They will use it for who they value. 

I’m not saying all of this in anger. I’m saying it in frustration because I am tired of these pitches. I’m tired of seeing bloggers who fall for this and I just want to say NO GIRL NO! YOU ARE WORTH IT! Ask for something in return. They sure as heck aren’t afraid to ask for something from YOU.