A Travel and Lifestyle Blog
This cuppa and a chat post comes off the back of a recent experience, and the discussion I then had a with a few people following on from that. It does talk mainly about the blogging industry, but I think my non-blogging readers may find it interesting too. Grab your cuppa people, lets talk about why I will work for free.
I have wrote my blog for two and a half years now, and still love it as much now as I did when I started it. I love it when people message me telling me they have booked a hotel I have written about, or are taking a short break to a place I have featured. It genuinely, from the bottom of my heart makes my day. As I always bang on about, I want to encourage you to make memories and have experiences, so when you tell me that I have done that, my little heart swells up with happiness. Obviously, if you use my blog link to book the hotel or trip, even better haha!
Eventually, most people that write a blog, and I will go out on a limb here and say, 90% is probably a fair guesstimate, want their blog to hopefully become “a thing” That can mean many things to many people, and hugely vary in what they want their “thing” to be, but generally they do want their blog to become either a side hustle income, give them opportunity for gifted stuff or invited to events, or for it to become their job. First things first, I HAVE NO ISSUE WITH THAT. In fact, blooming good luck to you, you do you. I think its fabulous, and have voiced myself that I like to do small amounts of brand work throughout the year. I spoke about that in this post, What Does your version of Blog success look like?
However, I was slightly taken aback recently when I was contacted by a well meaning blogger after I published a post. I had written a hotel review, (An Executive Treat at The Grosvenor Hotel) and she messaged me to tell me that I had forgotten to declare it as ad, and she didnt want me to get into trouble. (For those of you that may not know, if bloggers are gifted or paid anything at all by a brand, we have to declare it an ad) I thought this was very nice of her, but explained that I had bought and paid for the room myself, out of my own money, so therefore it was not an ad. Well, this annoyed her and she explained why….
She told me that I should not be writing a blog post for a hotel for free. I should be getting a fee or payment of some kind. In fact, she was cross with me for writing the “free post” as she felt “hobby bloggers” like me were damaging the blogging industry. Apparently, my working for free was bringing the fee’s that people could charge down, and I was making it harder for people to earn a living. That told me right!
I will not go into the backwards and forwards of our conversation, and I did see her point to some degree. I get that if so many of us are writing reviews etc without payment, why would hotels/restaurants/holiday companies pay a fee to a blogger. I did see her point, but it was a very one sided point. We did discuss it like adults, and agree to disagree. It did get me thinking though..
Every week, I will see someone that has written a post about “What you should be charging for xyz” or “Why you should know your worth with your blog” All sort’s of cheerleading posts telling us that, in the words of L’oreal, we are worth it! You can, if the mood takes you, buy 57 gazillion e-courses on “how to earn from your blog” or similar. I am not disagreeing with this in any way. I personally feel that bloggers give great first hand coverage on things, and if a company is gaining from them, then a working relationship and the blogger getting paid is fabulous. My trip to Portugal last year was a press trip, so I am not averse to sponsored posts etc, and will be doing more in the future.
However, my blog is not my job. My blog is my passion, my love and my escape from the stress that is hovering over my family. Yes, I do like to earn a bit of money from it, I am keen to do a little more brand work, and its amazing to get invited along to relevant experiences that I can tell you about etc, but it is not why I do it. Maybe one day it will be my job, who knows, but even then, I will write for free. The posts that I write, are from my personal experience, and 90% of them, maybe 95% of them, are bought and paid for by me. I tell you about them because I think they are to be shouted about, and I want you to go and have an amazing time too! I don’t think Im going to be the down fall of the blogging industry by telling you about my trip or hotel stay without charging the brand!
Also, and I appreciate this opinion could ruffle a few feathers, I personally do not enjoy reading blogs where it is all ads, sponsored posts or gifted items. In fact, I stop reading them. Be it right or wrong, but it does make me a little less trusting of what the blogger has to say if everything they write about has been paid for or gifted to them by brands. Im sorry if that is an unfair assumption, and I am not saying that all these bloggers write without integrity, but as a blog reader many, many years before being a blog writer, I can only speak my own truth.
I prefer blogs, especially travel/lifestyle blogs, where it is a mix of both paid (and I include “gifted items” in payment, it is a form of payment after all) and unpaid work. That shows me that there is passion and desire still to travel, and a genuine interest for the trip/event/meal etc, not just money on the table or a “freebie”. (One of the “bigger” blogs that I feel gets a great balance is The Wandering Quinn) If you are still sometimes putting put your hand in your pocket to buy whatever it is you are talking about on your blog, (and lets face it, you want us, the reader, to perhaps put their hand in their own pocket to buy it), then I feel more of a trust towards you.
Blogging is indeed a huge industry now, and so many people are out there living amazing lives through their blogs and the businesses that they have become. I think its fantastic that people can craft their own lives this way. I have worked for myself now for 20 years so totally get the draw of leaving the nine to five. I also want to reiterate (again) that I too have, and will continue to do, paid posts, gifted experiences and brand work. You can also bet your last pound that if someone wants me to fly to The Seychelles for a press trip, Im on that plane quicker than you can say factor 50!
I do not want you to misunderstand my point. My point is that for me, I will always, without any doubt, “work for free” some of the time. Even if my blog develops into something more, I will share the things bought and paid for by me, with as much passion and enthusiasm as the things that are paid for or gifted to me by a “brand”. Even if my blog develops into being my income, I will still be as choosy as to what I accept to feature on my blog as I have always been. There has to be a genuine and experienced love for me for it to get on my little corner of the web. I don’t think that me working for free makes me a bad person, that I am cheapening the industry or that I am being an idiot working without a payment. I have always paid for my own trips etc, I will continue to do so…..and share them with you! It just makes me as excited to share things that I have loved with you now, as I was in my very first blog posts.
So, you know me by now, I value a discussion in these monthly posts. If you have a difference of opinion to me, don’t be afraid to voice it. I love to hear all sides and all points of view.
If you write a blog, do you still feature products/items/events etc without payment? How do you feel about bloggers working for free? If you are a blog reader, does it bother you if the blog you read is all paid for posts etc? Has the fact that blogging has become such a huge business now, changed your enjoyment of reading blogs? I would really love to hear your views on this. Tell me your thoughts!