Will Work for Food?

by Melanie Edwards on April 16, 2010 · 50 comments

in Blogging, Wahm

will work for food

Photo by Martin Abegglen

There’s been a lot of buzz recently regarding moms who blog and whether or not we should get paid for hosting giveaways. If you’ve ever hosted a giveaway on your blog before, you know there’s a lot of work involved. And if you don’t know just how much, let me break it down for you. On average, if you want your giveaway to be successful, then for each blog contest hosted, you usually have to:

  • Review the items/services.
  • Write a blog post, many times including personal images or even video you create.
  • Promote the contest via various social media outlets.
  • Promote the contest on other blogs and sweepstakes sites.
  • Draw a winner.
  • Contact the winner.
  • Contact the contest sponsor with winner’s information.
  • Follow-up with winner and/or sponsor if necessary.

With all the other millions of things that busy moms who blog have going on in their lives (blogging-related or not), that can take a lot of time out of your week.

As many have said, when you’re writing about any product or brand, you’re helping to promote them. It may not be equivalent to the promotion they’d receive on a larger website or on TV, etc., but it’s still promoting them. And, a blog giveaway is promoting them multiple ways. Think about it.

Not only are you writing about them on your blog (which lives forever via search engines), you’re also talking about them on social media. If you tweet about your contest 3 times a day for a week (standard length of a contest), you’re already at over 20 mentions for that one brand. So, for any given blog contest, you’ll probably be promoting that product or brand about 25 times.

Most bloggers do all of that promotion and work for free.

Now, I know that many bloggers do it to increase their page views, or to provide a good promotion to their readers. For many, that’s enough reward. Others feel that receiving the product in exchange for hosting the giveaway, is equivalent to payment. My opinion? In some cases, it might be enough. But, it depends. It depends on your personal situation, what you feel is worth your time, and what you feel is valuable to your readers.

However, if you’re doing all that work in exchange for a $20 product, which you’ll then have to claim on your taxes as income – is it really worth it?

Recently, I was approached about a new blogger program in which this brand was looking to partner with “five influential bloggers” for a giveaway. The program pitch requested that you post on your blog 6 consecutive days, with a total of seven blog posts to be written. This included not only your own giveaway, but also cross-promoting the other bloggers’ giveaways. SEVEN blog posts – one each weekday (two the day of your contest), plus an extra introductory post. That is a lot of blog posts for one particular brand and will dominate your blog.

Of course, I respectfully declined participation in the program and let them know that it was entirely too much to ask of any blogger without it being a compensated or sponsored program. I just could not see myself participating and doing all that work, to then have to claim $200 worth of products on next year’s taxes with no money in my pocket to show for it.

I share all this because I really want PR companies and brands to think about what you’re asking from bloggers before you pitch them. Are you going beyond creating a mutually benefiting relationship with that blogger and taking advantage of the free ad-space?

I also want my fellow bloggers to think about how much work you’re putting into each giveaway and really consider if it’s worth your time. I know I’ve agreed to host contests in the past that in the long-run were not truly beneficial to either my readers or to myself. I’m starting to learn from those mistakes, though. Plus, like I said – whether you host a giveaway and put in all that work for free is your decision and depends on your personal situation. It might be worth it. All I ask though is that you think about it first before responding to the pitch.

P.S. If you happen to know the brand/pitch I’m referring to in this post because you too received the pitch and/or are actually participating in the program, please don’t mention the name in the comments. My purpose is not to slander any given brand, but rather to share my experience so we can all learn from each other.

Extra reading: Show Me the Money by Audrey Binkowski

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