How to Negotiate with Brands about Compensation – What your Blog is Worth

Posted on February 5, 2014

There it is – an email from the company you have been in contact with and for once, it’s not just another product pitch, it’s an offer. An offer to work on a real project and to get compensated! It’s hurray at first but then your happiness might easily get overshadowed by worries about how much are they going to pay you? Do you have a say in this? How much could you ask for anyways?

How to negotiate with brands about compensation, iFabbo

Image via Flickr by Tax Credits

Besides the fact that bloggers these days prefer cash over anything else when it comes to compensation for their work, there is still a huge grey area when it comes to payment for sponsored posts, product placement and other blogger-brand related cooperation. So how much exactly can you as a blogger expect to get out of a deal? Let’s dive deeper into this grey area and explore some of the guidelines that might help you score big.

To pay or not to pay….

There are plenty of reasons why brands would want to work with bloggers and plenty of different opportunities to do so. But when it comes to bloggers and compensation there are still opposing camps to find. PR agencies usually won’t pay bloggers just to write about a story or product, in the same way it is expected from journalists to write a story but not to get paid by the agency. However companies who want to see their product placed on a blog and promoted, definitely do!  The question is, is your blog and its following big enough to take on such a role?

  • Think about it like this: A company offers you to write about a product or to place it somehow in one of your posts. Your post will stay on your blog for a long time and most likely promoted on social media not just once but over and over again. The likelihood of your promotional work turning into potential leads and eventually into people buying the product is relatively high. Also, opposed to journalists who only hand in a piece they wrote to e.g. a newspaper they work for (and get paid from), bloggers usually invest time and resources into taking photos, editing and curating their brand, audiences and content (more or less for free). All aspects of typical advertisement, companies usually would have to pay big bucks for.

From free samples for a product review, being promoted on the company’s social media channels, to actual money, there is a long list of different types of compensation that companies are willing to offer.

It is important to clarify what you find acceptable as compensation. 

  • In the same way actors can get paid anything from $500 to $500.000 for the same role, depending on popularity and how many awards he or she has won, the worth of your blog depends on many variables. How many followers you have and monthly page visits certainly play a role but more and more your actual influence. Do people actually comment on your blog and interact with you, buy those products you recommend?
  • If you can establish yourself as a true influencer that does bring in the ROI (Return Of Investment) and brings in the revenue companies are looking for, than you should have a say in what you get for all your hard work. However, brands will most likely not work with bloggers and pay commensurate if the referral traffic or social media stats, such as “likes” comments or retweets aren’t high enough.

Tip: The best way to show brands and companies your blog’s worth is by adding a media kit to your repertoire. But don’t just list your numbers or your Klout score, showcase previous cooperations with brands and achievements that make you stand out. Take on the role of a PR agency and market yourself accordingly. Your blog is a brand and has value, showcase that! Find here more details on putting together a media kit.

Set a price for yourself but be realistic!

Mentioning compensation on your blog

There is no reason not to mention anything about wanting to get compensated when working with brands.  It’s a personal preference and completely up to you.

  • Since your blog is most likely changing over time and in best case scenario growing, make sure to only state something like: Please contact me for media kit and pricing information. That way you don’t have to change up your pricing information all the time and can assess the offer first before replying with a pricing.

It’s all about the $$$…

Similar to your media kit, have your stats and numbers ready, so whenever agencies and brands do ask for pricing, you know where to start. Begin by thinking in categories. What are brands most likely willing to work with you on and how much would you like to receive for that?

  • If a company wants to advertise on your blog, how much do you ask for monthly? If a company wants you to use their jewelry line in a photo spread, is the free jewelry enough or do you want to be paid on top? If a makeup retailer wants you to write a review of their website, how much do you take per word or post?
  • Many bloggers like to set up a flat rate and start negotiating from there. Example: One sponsored blog post might start at $50 plus each tweet $0.50. Or they take free samples plus an affiliate account and 10% per sale. The opportunities and variations are endless.
  • If you are new in the blogging business and unsure as to where to start, make use of your blogging friends that have similar blog stats, maybe they are willing to share some insight with you. Research other blogs and try to find their policy on pricing. Remember though that every blog is different, what works for your friends, might not work for you. Also, not every blogger might feel comfortable talking about money, make sure to keep it professional and respect other bloggers privacy.

Tip: Find here more information on ways to monetize your blog and unconventional ways to make money with your blog.

  • Most importantly, everything is negotiable. It starts with a friendly conversation and depending on the brand’s budget as well as your blog’s value, it can go either way. If the brand is working with only a few bloggers on a project their budget might allow negotiating, however most blogger outreach programs contain several 100 bloggers and can therefore limit the amount they are willing to spend. Other times they might ask you for a price first and you will have to figure out a middle way that can satisfy both parties. In any case, nothing should be forced or end on a bitter note. If you have never worked with the brand before, it might take a few unpaid gigs before they start to trust your blogs capability.
  • However, remember that when working with blogger networks such as iFabbo, they usually state very clear in their terms of use what type of compensation, if any at all can be expected. Free products or paid sponsorships are usually fixed terms set prior by the partnering company and therefore can’t be negotiated. Learn more about iFabbo’s SHOP rules.
  • Very successful bloggers have a management company take over for these type of inquiries. Appearances at events (plus airfare and hotel), filming sponsored videos or taking over brand ambassadorship, the opportunities for bloggers can be endless and so can be the compensation and its fine print. If you feel your blog is ready to take the next step and you prefer to leave financial as well as legal matters to professional hands, do your research and ask for advice. Just getting in touch with social talent agencies and talking about your stats and content might give you an idea where your blog stands.

Tip: Watch on our Youtube channel our latest Legal Series video on copyright, trademarks and slander. Every month we’ll team up with a knowledgable law firm and get all your legal questions answered. More info here. 

  • Lastly, as always, no matter what type of compensation you have received for your work, never forget to include your disclosure statement. Anything you got for free or any cash value can influence your opinion of a product and therefore needs to be disclosed. Find here more information on FTC rules.

Where do you stand on the topic of blogger compensation? Do you have a strategy when it comes to negotiating with brands and companies? Share with us your thoughts in the comment section below.

Besides working for iFabbo, Jessica is the beauty blogger behind

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3 Responses to “How to Negotiate with Brands about Compensation – What your Blog is Worth”

  • Allison
    Twitter: nesdbeauty

    Thank you for this. I still haven’t put together a media kit. I thought that it had to be available on the blog. Thanks for the tip about posting that there is one but not publishing it till asked.
    Allison recently posted..Milani Lip Intense Liquid Color: Pink Rave & Fiery CoralMy Profile

  • Loved all the tips and I will definitely start implementing many of them as soon as possible!
    Lily Seymour recently posted..Fashion ~ Chartreuse and Black Exercise Wear by XersionMy Profile

  • El

    I need advice on a few brands contacting me.
    The first one wants me to write up a post referencing and linking back to an article on their website. It IS relevant to my blog. The only compensation they offer is if they like my post they might feature it on their site. MIGHT.

    The second situation is also a post referring to a certain tool on their website. The woman who contacted me claims she doesn’t have the authority to compensate me but she “promises” to pin my post on her personal Pinterest page where she has 3,500 followers.

    Is this strange? Normal? My blog is only 6 months old, should I not be picky and just do it??
    El recently posted..DIY: At Home Gel Nail Polish RemovalMy Profile

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