I have noticed a few problems with blogs and bloggers recently. Both between them and PR’s as well as bloggers and companies directly.
Most of it has been due to a lack of communication. Some have been due to unrealistic expectations on either or both sides.
Some has been a sincere lack of knowledge of that goes into blogging and the same lack of knowledge of what a PR’s job is.
A lot of it goes back to the ‘they got it for free’ mind-set which must go through the minds of some companies as well and some PR’s and the general public too.
Any blogger will tell you though, the amount of work which goes into researching a company and product, testing it, photographing it, editing the photos and writing the piece-not to mention the social media promotion, nothing is free.
In some cases, the cost of the product can fall way short of a daily rate for many industries but we do it because we love it.
Where does a blogger go when it goes wrong though?
There are a number of Facebook groups dedicated to helping bloggers-both in finding opportunities and going to for advice but what if it gets serious?
Who foots the bill if a blogger gets sued for using a copy write image or for liable?
In short, the blogger.
I have been a journalist for over ten years and we have a union-the National Union of Journalists. You pay a fee every month to be in it and get a press card and a newsletter. You can set up chapels with colleagues if you work in a big publication and they will help you if you need advice-unfair dismissal, non-payment of fees for freelancers, that kind of thing.
Is it time the blogging world created similar?
Somewhere to fight for fair fees? Somewhere to advise what to charge?
I have seen some comment threads where money is being discussed where some bloggers have become really disgruntled with the amount a company has paid them compared to a much larger amount being paid to a bigger blogger.
I think it is this which needs addressing the most. One idea would be for an agreed fee for time which would be known and acceptable to all bloggers and PR’s. Then the price would be dependant on the traffic you get to your blog.
For example, if a company, say Betty’s Beans wanted to advertise in a local newspaper, they would be paying considerably less than a national.
If you go on the websites of our national newspapers, there is also a lot of discrepancy between them-the Daily Mail’s advertising charge sheet is much higher than, say, the Telegraph.
If you are sitting there sulking that another blogger got a larger fee for a piece, you need to ask yourself if you are a national newspaper equivalent or a local paper? It is a similar thing.
It is all about traffic to your blog. A company is not going to pay £500 for a piece which only three people will read. It just doesn’t make sense.
It may also ensure that there was some kind of blogging code. I have spoken to PR’s who have been totally burnt by bloggers-products have been sent out and had no review etc.
Regulation could mean one blogger would not be able to jeopardise a brand relationship with other bloggers-if they have a bad experience for example.
Regulating the blogging industry is not for everyone. All of us started out because we enjoyed doing it and yes, I am sure every blogger has published something for free because they were starting out or they believed in the cause.
For everything else though, is it time we had someone to stand up for us?
It is not a cut and dry issue. What do you think?
Is it time we set up a National Union of Bloggers?