I had a blogger ask recently how they can work with PR people and/or companies to get paid for posts. I was pretty taken aback by this question, because even though I know it has become an issue in recent years, I still refuse to believe that bloggers actually expect to be paid for blogging about a brand. Especially by a PR person. Do you know what PR is? The whole point of PR is gaining unpaid coverage. Otherwise it’s an advertisement. Whole different ballgame.
The fact is that some bloggers do get paid to write about certain brands or products. There are companies out there who so want to see themselves written about that they will disregard the ethics and ignore the fact that there will most likely be a disclaimer mentioning that the blogger got paid to write about it, thereby discrediting any authenticity there may have been, and will in fact pay per post. In this day of changing media and integrated communications strategies, it can be tricky to draw the line, but paying for coverage is pretty generally it.
Blogging is awesome and it’s always great to see a nice post about a client. I even support the action of sending a product to a blogger, who can then keep said product after testing it out. This is not a blatant bribe, but a chance for the writer to actually get a full sense of the product in order to write a comprehensive review of it, in the same way that a PR person would offer an experience free of charge to a magazine writer. Many bloggers enjoy this perk and see the chance for the free experience or product as enough of a payment. If not, they still view it as the chance to produce interesting content worth reading, which will drive traffic to their blog and therefore gain advertising dollars from the ads on their page.
If this is not enough for a blogger then there are other options as well. Bloggers often have the skills for positions with a regular paycheck, like working on a company blog, helping a brand with social media, freelance writing for local publications or national websites, event planning and coordination, and more. If bloggers are looking for a paying gig, there are ways to make it happen, but most bloggers understand that 9 times out of 10 a blog is not a paying job, and they don’t intend it to be when they start.
I’m all for working with bloggers and I find that they often are the most enthusiastic about my clients and very fun to work with. I’ve been lucky to work with bloggers who truly understand my role and their own role and have no unrealistic expectations about how we will work together. But it does worry me that bloggers may come to think of being paid per post as a normal thing, or to believe that that is what PR is. Bloggers are certainly going to become an even larger part of the PR picture in years to come and we will all have to see how the relationships grow and evolve and what the new norms become.
If you are a blogger with a blog relevant to pollinaPR clients and would like to be in touch for future opportunities, email your info here!