Who's that Girl?


Giving Your Expertise (And Audience) Away

Originally posted: September 3, 2013 on TrishMcFarlane.com

There is a part of  the world of blogging that is not openly discussed often.  The pay.

For hundreds of thousands of bloggers worldwide, blogging is a medium to use to share your thoughts and ideas without it being a paid position.  As a blogger, I can honestly share that when you begin, you’d write for free anytime, anywhere for as many reputable sites as you can find related to your industry or genre.  However, if you are fortunate enough to garner readers and start to have influence, these “opportunities” come out of the woodwork.  So do the offers of reviewing books, products, and providing free consulting advice.

Herein lies the problem.

At what point does a blogger gain enough credibility to require a fee for the time they spend writing, researching, and investing in growing their blog?  Is it with 10,000 views a month?  50,000?  200,000 or more?  There is no magic number and ask any paid blogger and you’ll receive a myriad of answers and opinions.  Well, now there is a lawsuit against the Huffington Post to test the waters on whether or not bloggers have a right to be paid.  Newser.com ran an article Unpaid Bloggers File Suit Against Huffington Post that is getting quite a bit of attention. There are more intricacies to the story so be sure to check it out.

I’ll be interested in how this evolves.  I’d also be interested in your thoughts on whether or not bloggers should receive something (money, expenses, products, etc) for our time and effort.  As a friend of mine, Kris Dunn recently wrote about when to work for free, “Work for free when you’re trying to build experience in any areas that you can’t get paid for until you reach proficiency, when you think you need a reference to get paying work for what you can already do well, or if the free work is going to be seen and commented on by the masses and serves as effective marketing.”

I personally get so many contacts from PR firms wanting me to do things for them that I could just run those requests 7 days a week.  Often, there is never any attempt to show me why it’s truly beneficial for my readers to see the information and also no reason it’s beneficial for me personally to use my space to share the information.  The pitches are only about what’s in it for their clients.   It’s a strange world because if you look at the mommy-blogging industry, those “paid” bloggers are receiving merchandise or services on a regular basis as part of the benefit of sharing information on the product or service.

I’m not buying into turning my space into a place where I ever share information I don’t believe in or that I don’t personally find interesting.  If I share information about a company, it’s because I believe in what they offer.   What do you think?  And, even if you don’t personally blog, what do you think about doing any type of work for free?  In your profession, are there times when you’ve provided pro-bono consulting or advice?  What were the benefits and pitfalls?

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