Mom Bloggers Deserve to Get Paid

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I have been talking a lot about the topic of money and pay for mom bloggers lately. There are a few things that have been aggravating me about the mom blogging scene, but one major one is the perception that mom bloggers work for free (or should).

Many mom bloggers I know are brilliant. They know the ins and outs of social media, Twitter, Facebook and blogging far better than many other so-called gurus do. They are connected, and they are influential. They have a following of loyal and devoted readers, subscribers and social network friends.

Yet they get asked to work for free. They are free spokesbloggers. They get asked to promote companies without pay, or for products or for coupons or for trips.

It’s insulting.

Look, here’s the deal. Mom bloggers do not need companies to not make money. We can do that all on our own. Really. If you are approaching a blogger, asking her to promote your company for free is wrong. It’s as simple as that. If you can say with a straight face that your paycheck is paid in your company’s or client’s products, then please. Call me on this.

We get asked constantly if people can “pick our brains.” No! Our brains are our commodity. They ARE our service. That is called consulting. And moms, if you find you are on the end of this, figure out your hourly rate. Figure out what it is worth to take time away from your work, your blogging, your children and your husband.

When you get asked to have your brain picked, quote your hourly rate for that service.

Now I do understand that many times it is tempting. You see an opportunity to work with a major brand. You think working for free will lead to more work. I do understand that. But it is a slippery slope. Why should someone pay you (or anyone for that matter) for work you are doing for free?

Accepting an item to do a review (if you really want to do that review and it serves your readers) is fine. I would just recommend having a policy of including both pros and cons in all reviews. A review should serve readers first and foremost. Any company that doesn’t understand that? Well, I wouldn’t work with that company. Believe me. They are not insisting traditional journalists do positive reviews. Mom bloggers can and should write reviews that show both the negative and positive about products.

And ladies, I am here to say something else. We have to behave like professionals. If we want to be treated as small business women, which is what we are, we should act like entrepreneurs. No more attacks and back-stabbing. We are adults here.

That includes not judging and condemning fellow mom bloggers. Yes, even those who accept products and trips. They are not bad people. Let’s stop jumping down their throats about it. Because the bottom line is surely every mom blogger would work for pay if there were ethical ways to do it, it did not compromise their readers and they actually wanted to do the work involved. But first, companies have to offer it as a standard mode of doing business with mom bloggers.

How can companies ethically pay mom bloggers? Here are some simple options:

  • Pay them for content on your site, not theirs. In response to this issue, I recently launched Momtent. It is geared at connecting companies with mom bloggers. I am not a fan of paid posts (although with full disclosure, it is a personal choice and I don’t like people telling moms the right way to blog). Momtent’s model is for companies to pay bloggers to write on the company blog. But with or without Momtent, why not hire a mom to write for your blog? Or build it for you? Or tell you how you’re blogging wrong?
  • Advertise. Quit looking at blog advertising the same way you look at traditional advertising. It isn’t the 1990s. They aren’t the same, and never will be. Besides, all those metrics that make you feel all warm and fuzzy about traditional media? They are a smoke screen. Traditional advertising metrics like viewers and circulation mean nothing. Who is seeing your ad? Who cares about it when they see it? Who ACTS on it? And treat blogs with some degree of respect. For traditional media, companies pursue two prongs: they hope to get PR coverage but know it’s a toss-up, and they do media buys. On blogs, they just want free coverage. Watch for a future post about the less tangible benefits of advertising on blogs.
  • Hire her as a spokesblogger. This certainly isn’t a new concept. Celebrities have been doing this for years. Hire a mom blogger to promote your company with transparency, and to clearly state she is a spokesblogger. Pay her as you would any spokesperson. The same rules apply for moms here as celebrities: don’t endorse something (even for pay) that you don’t already love.
  • Hire her as a social media consultant. Mom bloggers know so much more than the average person (or company) about the social web. Hire a mom to walk you through the ins and outs, to have conference calls with your staff, to do training, to run your social media campaigns, to develop your social media strategy. Believe me, doing it wrong can have dreadful repercussions.

I have become increasingly concerned about all of these issues. So many mom bloggers are influence-rich but cash-poor. That is a disturbing disparity. It’s also one destined to blow up as moms get increasingly frustrated while getting increasingly influential.

Let’s all do the right thing here. Companies (and the agencies that represent them), if you want to show your support of the mom blogosphere and engage those of us who control the purse strings, put your money where your mouth is. Bloggers, if you want to be taken seriously act like a business person. And the next time you get a pitch and you are agonizing over whether it even interests your readers, send them your ad rates.

Image of Rosie the Blogger, © Michael Licht

I really would welcome your thoughts on this topic. What do you think? If you have worked for a company without pay, why? Was it because you thought it would lead to paid work down the road?  Did it? Have you had any luck responding to companies with an invitation to advertise when they pitch you? Companies and agencies, have you been paying bloggers and have some good examples of projects?

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About the author: Kelby Carr (521 Posts)

Kelby Carr is the founder and publisher of Type-A Parent. She also is the organizer of the Type-A Parent Conference. She is the author of Pinterest For Dummies and Pinterest Marketing For Dummies. You can follow her on Twitter at @typeamom and circle her on Google+.

 

Comments

  1. MommyBlogExpert

    November 15, 2009

    Great ideas in this article!

    After the latest negative mommy blogging story in the L.A. Times today, it appears that our fight has just begun.

    Mommy Bloggers who act professionally should be treated like professionals, not groveling home makers with kids looking for handouts.

    You can read more on my take on the latest blow to the mommy blogger profession at http://MommyBlogExpert.blogspot.com

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  2. Mandi - @AWelbaum

    November 15, 2009

    I totally agree. I think when a person sets out to start a blog, they get thrown into this world of freebies, “swag”, goodies, whatever you want to call it. They think by writing a post, or making a video, that accepting some free products is the equivalent of pay. Does my husband drive an ambulance around for a free meal? Heck no! He drives that ambulance around because he LIKES it, and he gets paid! He drives it because it allowed us to buy a house, save for our children’s futures, etc! He deserves to be paid, burger flippers deserve to be paid, babysitters, deserve to be paid, and people who post, create, edit something for a company deserve to be paid!

    It all started with one blogger, who accepted something for free. It set off a wildfire. Had that person asked for some kind of payment in the form of money, it would have started a different thing. We have to stand up for what we think is right. Companies will continue to seek out bloggers who just want a pack of fruit snacks, or an @____ on Twitter unless we show them that we are worth it (@KadiPrescott, thank you, those are your words!)

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  3. Kimberly/Mom in the City

    November 15, 2009

    This is a great post Kelby. I totally agree with all 4 options that you mentioned. I really think/hope that these will be the future of brand/blogger relations!

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  4. Mom101

    November 15, 2009

    Oh, bless you for saying that consultants should be paid for consulting. Whether they’re moms or not is besides the point.

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  5. Melissa Multitasking Mama

    November 15, 2009

    Thank you! I get paid for my consulting services as a professional organizer, why don’t I require the same for blogging? Thank you for reminding me I am worth it and for all you do for the blogosphere in general!

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  6. Ghennipher

    November 15, 2009

    Companies not paying mom bloggers for their work is so pervasive online. I’ve had many businesses ‘pick my brain’ for social business stragegy, and even to run their online communities. I finally just started a consultancy to make it obvious that my time and expertise is valuable, similar to what you did with Momtent (which is brilliant, btw – I love that it gives Mom bloggers a professional umbrella).

    Thing is, companies are willing to pay me for my other skills (I’ve worked for corporations doing Conversion, SEO and PPC since ’99), but for some reason, a few of these same companies think I should give my 5 years of corporate social media experience to them for free because I’m a (mom) blogger. No bueno! Hoping to see more Pro Mom Blogger umbrellas spring up to remind companies that they’re doing business when they’re asking for content, strategy, reviews, etc.

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  7. Maria

    November 15, 2009

    Thank you for encouraging bloggers to charge for their consulting. It’s ridiculous to see how many women don’t realize that their insights have value.

    It sucks that most of the outside community lumps everyone as women who are eager to work for a few freebies.

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  8. Alan Bleiweiss

    November 15, 2009

    Kelby,

    This is an important issue and I’m glad you’re doing something about it. It’s one aspect of the bigger issue where bloggers are treated like 2nd class netizens (like how the print media industry railing against bloggers in general as harming journalism for example).

    In regard to mom bloggers deserving to be properly compensated, I see two aspects of approach. 1 – banding together (as in your momtent initiative). The more mom bloggers come together to present a united front, the more effortlessly you’ll have the collective strength to say to free-loading companies “enough already”. And a mom blogger who might previously have not had the courage to ask for the respect she deserves will be able to say to the next proposed opportunity – “Oh hay – I really appreciate the opportunity – except I’ve got a counter-offer.” If there’s any push-back to that counter-offer, the mom blogger can point them to online resources like momtent.com and help educate in the process.

    2. Even more PR footwork. One of the biggest gaps in companies understanding the value of mom bloggers has to do with the bigger gap in companies understanding the value of moms in the business world in general.

    Before I shifted to web consulting, I managed a high power real estate company. When it came time to find my own replacement so I could move to a full time web business, I interviewed close to a dozen candidates. And you know who I chose? A mom who had been out of the work force for more than five years.

    I did so because I understand that a mom with two teenage kids, a husband, and a house, already has the skills to manage the information flow of a company. And as long as other indicators are there, she probably also knows how to manage a real estate company, which is just really a place filled with a bunch of teenage kids in adult bodies.

    I’ve since repeated that logic in hiring other key people over the years. And it never fails to prove my perspective and understanding.

    The more you can do to help educate prospective employers about your true value, the less objections they’re going to have. So I highly encourage your continued efforts!

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  9. Kimba @ A Soft Place to Land

    November 15, 2009

    Preach it, Kelby! What we do has tremendous value. And there should be no guilt or discomfort in requiring compensation if a company wants us to work on their behalf.

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  10. Musings from Me

    November 15, 2009

    Kelby — I left #typeamom energized and invigorated. I knew going in to the conference that I deserved to be paid, but did not have the confidence to see if I could. I returned home ready to roll. I am now doing two social media campaigns AND got paid for an article. I will still do reviews for free stuff when I like the product or think that I might like to try the product.

    Kelby — you are an amazing person. I am honored to be with you on this wild ride.

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  11. Miss Mona

    November 15, 2009

    ==================
    We get asked constantly if people can “pick our brains.” No! Our brains are our commodity. They ARE our service. That is called consulting.

    And moms, if you find you are on the end of this, figure out your hourly rate. Figure out what it is worth to take time away from your work, your blogging, your children and your husband.

    When you get asked to have your brain picked, quote your hourly rate for that service.
    ==================

    Yes! You need to set the tone.

    It doesn’t matter if other people are doing things for free.

    Position yourself as the expert in the area that you know the most about, and when people want your help, tell them what’s involved in working with you – including the price.

    If you’re going to do consulting, look into sites like http://www.ActionPlan.com so you can refine your ideal customer, understand how to package your services and how to talk about your services and packages too.

    He has an amazing free newsletter that is so content-rich you’ll think he’s sending you pages from a book. Juicy information in every email.

    If you have issues with asking for money for your services (for whatever reason) look into Mark Silver’s work: http://www.heartofbusiness.com.

    He’s very familiar with issues that come up for business owners around money.

    Whether it’s about worthiness on some deep level, or a fear of being judged for making money online, it doesn’t matter. He’s used to helping people who are very giving and tend to want to do their stuff for free – and he’ll help you have a healthy relationship with money that allows you to embrace success.

    That’s why his tagline is: “When you want to make a difference, and need to make a profit.”

    So instead of being offended that people want you to do things for them for free…

    Take it upon yourself to go down the less-worn path…

    Do some planning ahead of time – take this stuff seriously – and set your rates for whatever work you’re going to do with people. Visit those sites (or others like them) and start learning.

    Hang out with other people who charge for their services and learn how they’re doing it.

    Consider spending some money and paying their hourly rate to get advice from them about how you can share your expertise with others and be paid also.

    Take a class, buy their products, whatever you need to do.

    You’re totally empowered to do something about this situation!

    It’s going to have to start with an inner shift in you…a belief that you can do it, that your talents are worth being paid for, and you’re also going to need to find the courage to put yourself out there in a way that brings money back in return.

    So excited to see what this new perspective brings to the world of mom blogging. Thanks so much for bringing it up @TypeAmom.

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  12. Kelby Carr

    November 15, 2009

    Thanks for the wonderful comments! I think the more (and stronger) we voice this, the more companies will see this is unacceptable. And Alan and Ghennipher, such excellent points. I didn’t want to link to TOO much of my own stuff in a post that truly is not about me (I swear), but I think you will find this interesting:
    http://kelbycarr.com/mom-bloggers-guild/

    I think that would go a tremendous way in helping organize mom bloggers, provide education and support, shoot even things like standard pay rates (sliding based on experience) for various work for bloggers. It really is time that mom bloggers get more advocacy.

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  13. Kris Cain

    November 15, 2009

    Kelby, this is a great post. As usual, you touched on SO many important points. I am certainly at the crossroads myself. I am totally believing right now “Do it, it may lead to more work and exposure.”

    I see nothing wrong with accepting products for posts, but i have a rule… It has to be something that I would actually use, or love, and it has to fit the scope of my life/blog. I will not do a review on just anything… ever. I got one today to accept free jewelry for advertising. Uhh.. did they even read my blog?? Does JEWERLY even fit into my scheme? No.

    I have one possible pay offer pending, but I do not know if that is going to pan out just yet. I’ve just been working on building my media skills/package so that actually paying me to do something will look attractive to companies! But, there definitely is a line. I do believe that you have to spend a little $$ or offer something up for free to make more $$ in the long run in business and blogging is not too much different. No one is going to pay you to write a post if they are not confident that your voice and writing is strong.

    But be confident and know your worth. Obviously if you are just starting out you can’t demand as much as some more experienced bloggers, but you have to start somewhere! Like Kelby said, get that hourly rate ready. :)

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  14. Kelby Carr

    November 15, 2009

    Oh Jill!!! (Musings from Me). That just made me feel sooo good. Wow! Congrats on the gigs. They are well deserved!

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  15. Caroline at Morningside Mom

    November 15, 2009

    If bloggers accept review items or payment, a bloggers intentions can be (have been) questioned. But if bloggers don’t accept any sort of compensation, they work for free and undermine their own value. If they are only compensated with a product, you can be sure their review is worth a heck of a lot more than the product itself.

    We go round and round with this argument, while someone else is making big money off of all of us.

    I write and work hard at writing because I love to write. I’m hardly in this for any glory. But if I do agree to review an item, why do I get the eerie feeling that the marketer sees us as a bargain basement ad campaign: we’re a fraction of the usual price but with twice the value.

    We aren’t perceived as professionals yet and its up to us to establish the rules and expectations. Maybe peeps like you Kelby can help reign some of this all in with your suggestions.

    And one final HEAR HEAR to the point about professionalism. We are our own brand. Write, act and BE the part of a professional writer and it would seem that somehow, someday you might be treated as a professional writer.

    Here’s to our future fortunes made blogging.

    Stop laughing…

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  16. Nicole @ Help! Mama Remote...

    November 15, 2009

    Kelby, Great article and all stated is true. We are very influential people. Not to mention we have the staff & experience needed to test the products that they are creating and making. Most companies that create these products have us(moms) in mind when creating them. We are the ones that go shopping, prepare it for our families and so on and so on. We should not be treated with such disregard. Thanks for sharing this.

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  17. Toni

    November 15, 2009

    Great article.

    I was actually talking with a local news place here about this very thing. I haven’t charged up until now and I am unsure of how to go about doing so. I am worth more than working for free especially when I am doing things others would be paid for in the traditional media. I am not trying to figure out how to go about being paid outside of advertising and more than just free product but I don’t know where to begin and I am sure I am not the only one that feels that way LOL. How do you go about asking for compensation for my expertise in social media when working with a company?

    It’s not because I don’t think I am worth it as some people would say I just don’t know where to start and I think that is the case with a lot of influential bloggers like myself. If you have charged for somethings and not others how do you go about changing that? Some people may be completely okay with compensated just in product or trips and others may prefer actual payment. So united can be united even if the way someone is paid is different.

    This article is wonderful Kelby thanks so much for writing it :)

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  18. Amanda @ High Impact Mom

    November 15, 2009

    Wow Kelby. As usual you did a phenomenal job. You have further lent a strong, influential voice into the mix of those of us who will no longer sell our brains for free. I’m so blogging about your article! You are amazing and you know I love ya!~ Thanks for this.

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  19. Jennifer James

    November 15, 2009

    Yes! Yes! Yes!

    I completely and wholeheartedly agree.

    Great post!

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  20. melissa stover

    November 15, 2009

    it’s exciting to see how blogging is changing and i’m hopeful about what could be in the future for us. i think it’s important to put a dollar amount on what our time is worth and expect more for our work.

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  21. Nicole

    November 15, 2009

    Remember, there will always be someone who is willing to work for free or take less money than what you charge – what sets each of us apart is our unique likes/dislikes and our life experience.

    Building a brand or marketing is so much more than just a sales pitch and product these days. I AM my own BRAND!

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  22. Jodi

    November 15, 2009

    Great article. Companies see a mommy blog and then they start throwing products at it–whether it makes sense for the site or not.

    I really hope these ideas take root and start a groundswell of bloggers getting paid for their time and effort. Just because the Web is free doesn’t mean the people behind it are.

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  23. AngEngland

    November 15, 2009

    Amen! My mom used to have a saying about cows and milk. ;-) Although it wasn’t about blogging, it just might apply.

    I’m almost done with a book highlighting several ways for mom bloggers to make money moving beyond banner ad sales. I think there is so much potential out there and people just aren’t sure where to go or how to start.

    Good post.

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  24. Mommy Niri

    November 15, 2009

    Kelby, this is done so PERFECTLY. I have been crossing this road so often that it is becoming unprofessional. People who are sitting on their butts getting paid have had the nerve to ask me what to do with my review and provide more work. When I said NO they said they understand if it is too difficult and I said, maybe it is and maybe it is not but I don’t have the time to find out.

    On another occasion I was asked to introduce all the brand contacts to a person from a company.. seriously, do they think that because we are friendly online that means we are idiots.

    We are not as old as our blogs, we are moms too so quit trying to pull one over our eyes.

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  25. Sherry Carr-Smith

    November 15, 2009

    This conversation reminds me of one that happens at a lot of non-profit organizations that provide consultancy work. Because the whole purpose of the organization is to “help” people, they often undersell themselves by charging less for their services than they deserve. Meanwhile, many for-profit organizations (that don’t know as much and may be in it only for the money) charge an arm and a leg, so they must be worth it. It’s a strange irony that people feel if they are paying a ton for a service, it must be worth more.

    We are only as valuable as we believe ourselves to be. Your experience, knowledge, wisdom and creativity are all marketable skills. They should be marketed.

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  26. HipM0m77

    November 15, 2009

    Thank you so much for saying what has been on my mind since I was introduced to blogging years ago.

    When I was employed by Kane/Miller Book Publishers, you were one of the first “mom bloggers” I met on-line and I’m so pleased to see the tremendous growth of your sites and the amazing success you’ve had over the years, not to mention the work you do in putting together such a fabulous conference each year!

    Thanks again for empowering and inspiring other bloggers.

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  27. Julie

    November 15, 2009

    Kelby, thank you. I am empowered and totally agree with you.

    Sign me up for your next conference. I’m ready for more inspiration!

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  28. Christina Gleason @ Cutest Kid Ever

    November 15, 2009

    A-freaking-men. Last year at this time, I would have jumped for joy to get a free [insert item here] in exchange for a review on my piddly little blog. It was only when I got laid off from my office job and went into business for myself as a writer that I realized what I was worth. What ALL of us bloggers are worth.

    I do end up giving it up for free sometimes, or for very little. I’m human. It happens.

    But I’ve put myself out there as someone who feels quite strongly about this, as you have. I’m with you. Let’s figure out how to make this work for all of us!

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  29. Katja of Skimbaco

    November 16, 2009

    Great post Kelby and thanks for saying it aloud. I think as more and more of us refuse to do free work we are together changing it for the better and creating the industry standards. There is power in numbers people. Refusing to work for free will only result in more and more paid opportunities…

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  30. Anitra

    November 16, 2009

    Wow! Great post. I’m so glad I saw Kris Cain’s tweet about this. I’ve bookmarked it and am sure I’ll be referring to it again and again.

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  31. LT @HelpAMotherOut

    November 16, 2009

    This is a great post. Your points remind me a lot of what Suze Orman advises women: not put ourselves “on sale.” Our knowledge and expertise (not to mention our time!) are valuable and we need to remember that. Thanks for your insights on this topic.

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  32. Annie @ PhD in Parenting

    November 16, 2009

    Great post Kelby.

    I get frustrated when people think that my objection to their participation in the Nestle Family event was about getting free stuff.

    I think bloggers have the right to be compensated for the work that they do for companies and that compensation can be free stuff or it can be monetary. But I do think that bloggers should disclose that they were compensated. I also think that bloggers should have enough self-respect to not do a bunch of publicity for companies for what amounts to less than minimum wage. Most importantly, I think bloggers should think carefully about who they accept compensation (free stuff or money) from.

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  33. Heather Kephart

    November 16, 2009

    All those people who scoffed at my nonsexual Facebook crush on you are feeling pretty silly now, eh?

    You are a voice of logic and reason in an impassioned social media climate. Thanks. We needed that.

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  34. Aparna Vashisht

    November 16, 2009

    Thank you so much for writing this! I couldn’t agree with it more.

    As a company, I wouldn’t expect anyone to work for us without compensation. I really look forward to guidelines and admire the leadership role you are taking in defining them.

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  35. Danielle @ Kids Meal Crowd

    November 16, 2009

    Excellent post. I really appreciate your thoughtfulness and that rather than just talk about a problem, you have offered some ideas on ways to move forward that can benefit both bloggers, and the companies that we work with.

    I don’t consider myself a prominent blogger – not because I don’t value my work or that I think I don’t have anything original to say – but because I haven’t framed my blogging/social media work as a business. Due to some of the issues that you and others commenting here have mentioned, I’ve pulled an ostrich and just stuck my head in the sand rather than put in the time and effort needed to fully explore what I can do professionally. I’m looking forward to what I learn, and how the initiatives you’ve mentioned play out.

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  36. Marianne@songbird

    November 16, 2009

    I love this article, you are so right. But is it ok, if I read ‘women bloggers’ or ‘home bloggers’ instead of Mommy bloggers? I am not a mom, but I do blog about my home and my life. (it is a pet peeve of mine that I hate the term mommy blogger, it is so excluding and I do not like the endearing connotation either. Make it Mother blogging and it sounds more professional already. Ok getting of my soap box now).
    But again, I love this post and learned a lot from it. So thank you!

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  37. Real Life Sarah

    November 16, 2009

    Brava! Brava! {opera clap}

    I do think a blogger has to build influence before she can ask for a substantial amount, but even teenage grocery baggers are an important part of the company, and make minimum wage or more. (please, don’t be offended if you’re a grocery bagger)Then, they work their way up as they prove themselves. So even if you are a beginner, you are still worth something!

    In my local community, I am constantly being asked to “pick my brain,” and while I really don’t mind helping people, I have worked my hiny off to learn all this!

    So… I started a local social media class, which meets once a month. That way, when people ask me to help, I can point them to my class! If they don’t want that, they can hire me for consulting. But now that I am already getting paid for this information, people don’t expect me to give it for free anymore!

    I love Kelby’s ideas for companies. We, as bloggers, can take that list when companies approach us, and say, “These are the options I can do for you.”

    My advice is to take the bull by the horns, and start a class or build an online resume with the companies and projects you’ve worked with. Point companies there when they ask if they can “pick your brain!”

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  38. Susan

    November 16, 2009

    I am going to be the one to rain on the parade, because what you are asking for can be equated to asking for world peace.
    First off what about networks like PBN and One to One and Mom Central that has a who enlist a group bloggers to review stuff- bloggers are not compensated when they review for these networks- and bloggers should be under what you are saying. You make no mention of these reviews in your post, and I’d love to hear your opinion.
    What I get is instead of companies enlisting an army of bloggers to review for free stuff, they should get a stronger blogger with the social networking chops to be their spokesperson, and they should. Sadly why should companies buy the cow when they can get the milk for free? And while you have empowered a few bloggers here to demand what they rightfully deserved you have 1000 more bloggers giving you the big “FU” and getting high off free swag.
    I do like, Kelby, that you are starting a way for companies and bloggers to get started on the right path, a solution to the problem. Let’s face it talk is cheap- action is were it is at and their has been a lot of talk and no action when it comes to this topic. You got a hard road to travel, I wish you luck!
    I solved my mixed feeling on reviews by NOT doing them. Sometimes I still get free stuff unrequested and it gets donated.

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  39. Laura

    November 16, 2009

    I completely agree. I am a professional freelance copywriter who is paid an hourly rate for my work. For the life of me, I don’t understand why this doesn’t translate into the blogging world. I write FLASH pieces, websites, electronic and printed newsletters and other promotional materials. I’ve been doing this for 11 years, and being paid a good wage. Until recently, I didn’t even know this “no pay to play” racket was happening. It makes me crazy to find out that PR departments think they can get writing services for free because a woman gave birth and has a blog. It’s ten shades of wrong.

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  40. Mom101

    November 16, 2009

    I think there’s some confusion in comments here between receiving compensation for writing product reviews and receiving money for delivering marketing strategy or consulting expertise. There is a huge difference.

    If you are a reviewing a product, it should be (I think) because it benefits your audience, makes a great post, and suits your blog. It should add value to your site as a whole. That is not consulting for a company, or “working for free.” Here, PR is working for YOU. To help you find content. For your blog. Which you own. (Presumably.)

    I wrote about this distinction this summer on a post called What are you Worth as a Blogger. http://www.mom-101.com/2009/08/what-are-you-worth-as-blogger.html

    There are a crapload of smart comments on there. Crapload being the technical term.

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  41. Andrea @ Mommy Snacks.net

    November 16, 2009

    Kelby, EXCELLENT points and discussion!!

    I do feel that as professionals we are worth a lot. I feel that everyone does have to start somewhere and can’t always get paid immediately unless they bring the experience to warrant the payment. With that, taking those opportunities and seeing where they may lead is an excellent way to go. Eventually that has to stop or future opportunities need strict personal guidelines as to how there is a mutual benefit (including a benefit to readers).

    Just this weekend I had a large site asking me for advice on how to build their community. I shared that they could hire me as a consultant and I would be glad to share my ideas with them.

    Finally, if we are really serious about getting paid, we need to have a resume, be professional and be prepared to share ROI. Like you said, rates will be different, we need to set them using personal discretion. But, our experience should speak for itself. Depending on the company, they may not *get* it because they are newer to social media.

    Bottom line, we are worth every penny.

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  42. Kelby Carr

    November 16, 2009

    Thanks for that point! I tried to make it but maybe not clearly enough.

    A review is NOT working for a company, and it should not be. In my mind? No such thing as a paid review because once a payment by the company is involved, it ceases to be a review.

    A review is journalism. It is where you receive a product and you write fairly about your experience testing it. Receiving a product from a company is not tantamount to working for the company. It is not consulting or advertising. You are working for yourself and your readers.

    You are NOT beholden to a company to say positive things about their product just because they sent it to you. If you feel receiving a free product will keep you from conducting a fair review, personally I wouldn’t accept free products.

    Journalists write all the time about things they receive for free. They don’t pay to attend concerts or Chamber breakfasts. They don’t buy books they review.

    I found it rather amusing. At BlogWorldExpo, two reporters asked me my thoughts about the FTC guidelines. I said I liked them, but felt they should be applied to all media. They asked what I meant by that. I said, “So did you pay to attend this conference?” (It cost a good $1K-plus to attend). They said no. I asked if they planned to disclose that. One seemed rather shocked I would ask. He said, “But I’m a journalist.”

    So.

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  43. WhyMommy (Susan)

    November 16, 2009

    This is important. But the post stops just before a point that has been bothering me for quite a while.

    Why are marketing/review bloggers not applying for marketing positions with these companies? Or starting their own consulting practices and valuing their services accordingly? I’ve seen a few women do this recently, and I’ve been very impressed.

    I think this could be incredibly empowering for many, many bloggers, writers, readers, and mamas. It’s not just about the blog, I think. It’s about what you can do with the blog.

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  44. Frugal Femina

    November 16, 2009

    Right on the money! Love it!

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  45. Katherine

    November 16, 2009

    Kelby, thank you for raising this important issue and continuing to sound off. Here’s my take:

    Nobody deserves to get paid. If you are a good writer, and people want to read what you write, then yes, you are creating something of value. But I don’t see it as some moral issue — nobody can exploit you without your permission.

    Mom bloggers, laid-off journalists, beginning entrepreneurs all must first value themselves — and demand to be paid what they’re worth. There is obviously some give-and-take. If you are just starting out, you may be willing to work for free just to demonstrate your skill. Or, there’s a little thing called networking that usually involves the exchange of ideas and expertise — I find that giving away my expertise often results in more opportunity coming back to me. Plus, it’s good karma!

    But at some point, you have to turn down the offer to work for peanuts, and be comfortable within yourself that it was the right decision. Yes, there will be someone else right behind you in line who will do that job. Don’t worry about her. You’ll have freed up your time to market yourself or do work that will earn you income long term.

    I don’t think we’ll ever raise the bar so much that companies or publishers will stop asking talented writers to produce for free. But the smart companies and publishers know that working with a writer who values her work and takes the job seriously — and is in it for the long haul — will mean less headaches and a better end product.

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  46. Lisa @ Crazy Adventures in Parenting

    November 16, 2009

    You, my dear, have written a post that needs to be shown to every. single. blogger. There are so many that are simply unaware and continue on with posting anything-and-everything-for-nothing. The one line that caught me and made me want to scream was “So many mom bloggers are influence-rich but cash-poor.” Holy crap, you are so right on, it isn’t funny.

    I hope they’re listening.

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  47. kim.hormone-colored days

    November 16, 2009

    I’ve been meaning to get over to see what all the buzz is about. Great post, Kelby!

    I was just joking on twitter that the new goofy Trident commercials about being paid in gum must be meant for mombloggers.

    The giving it away thing can be tough because it’s often taken me a good unpaid conversation or two before I get hired. I love @reallifeSarah’s advice about holding a class and referring people to that. Some of those unpaid convos had not paid off. Am I a sucker or is it the cost of doing business?

    I wrote an article with a similar theme of paying mombloggers over at MediaPost Engage:Moms ( http://tinyurl.com/y8e7b2l ). A lot of marketers and PR types check out that column. I encourage you and readers who are putting up their consulting shingles to consider writing for MediaPost. It gives the writer and credible clip and might even bring in a client or two.

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  48. Alli Worthington

    November 16, 2009

    As usual, this is excellent.

    The issue of working for free needs to be discussed more. All trips, cruises, flights, hotel stays, gifts, and products (appliances, games, giftcards) are all taxable income.

    Many bloggers working for ‘free’ could be liable for thousands of dollars in taxes.

    I worry about the implications of free on personal bloggers.

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  49. Liz@thisfullhouse

    November 16, 2009

    Great stuff, Kelby; I would just add one more point:

    A person does NOT stop being a mom (or dad) once her (or, his) kid starts kindergarten. Parents of teens and tweens (like me) buy stuff, sometimes in family-sized jumbo packs, too.

    Thanks!

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  50. Susan

    November 16, 2009

    I apologize if my comment was one of the crap that was referred too, silly me for voicing an opinion and thoughts.
    Maybe I misunderstood your intent for this piece Kelby and I apologize for that.

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  51. Danielle @ ExtraordinaryMommy

    November 16, 2009

    Well done, Kelby. I love, not only that you are working to bring this topic out into the open, but that you are offering solutions.

    So many moms/home/family/lifestyle bloggers have spent far too long undervaluing their influence, their potential contribution to companies.

    I do think it will have to be our collective voices that force the change.

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  52. Melanie @ Mel, A Dramatic Mommy

    November 16, 2009

    Thank you for this Kelby. I have cut WAY back on reviews and giveaways because of how much work they are. I decided it’s not worth it, even if the item is something I think my readers would appreciate knowing about.

    The few trips I’ve been on, I did learn a lot from the companies and I feel I got something out of them besides the trip itself, but you’re right, there’s a slippery slope. Thanks for the food for thought!

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  53. Lisa

    November 16, 2009

    Excellent! Thank you so much, very well said.

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  54. melissa

    November 16, 2009

    we bloggers are being used.
    it’s enough already. we are performing a service. we deserve to be paid more than just the product. even hookers make more money than some of us do!!

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  55. kim.hormone-colored days

    November 16, 2009

    Liz had a great point. I see myself approaching “mommy irrelevance” because my boys are tweens.

    I think Alli raised an issue I’d love to see more talk on (in fact recently commented about such at Mom101′s blog in reaction to the LA Times piece). Of course consulting work gets taxed, but are moms who accept products for review or even packed-to-the-gills conference swag bags liable for taxes on those free products?

    I think we need more education on this topic. I think the tax issue can have a profound impact on the relationship between marketers and bloggers, even (especially?) for bloggers who are in it for fun and not for business purposes.

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  56. CarolinaMama

    November 16, 2009

    Great writing Kelby! It is also nice to share what was discussed at TypeAMom because others need to know. I cannot commit my time for free.

    Some companies get it others do not. The ones who respect bloggers and are willing to pay are building relationships and marketing that lasts.

    Also, I would like to add, I am finished doing Social Media Consulting for free. Seriously, conference calls with major corporations to learn from me how social media works but they do not have money to allocate.

    Well, companies that do will benefit!

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  57. Mommy NaniBooboo

    November 16, 2009

    Double “Whoot” for this post!
    It is true that our “collective voice” will be the one that forces change. Thanks for being one of the louder ones.

    PS- I just found you. You have a new fan.

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  58. Andrea @Lilkidthings

    November 16, 2009

    Kelby,

    Thank you SO much for this post! My paradox is that when I started my blog, 6 years ago, it was for me and me alone. Maybe a few friends and that was that. Then as time went on and I gained a few more readers and even a STRANGER or two I thought, gosh how amazing would it be if I could make some money off this? I have done a couple reviews and have a couple paying ads but have tried not to stress about it because my motto has been, I’ve been doing it for free all this time, anything more is icing on the a cake that I already love.

    But you make such an excellent point! Part of the issue with the everyday mom-blogger, who I would argue is loving the swag, is that she may not know HOW to do what you suggest. HOW to figure out that hourly rate and negotiate with potential clients. I am excited about your new venture and I hope that only good things come of it.

    Thanks again for this post. I’ll be mulling it over for a while…I can already tell.

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  59. Deb Rox

    November 16, 2009

    Excellent suggestions. I represent a few bloggers and it’s amazing for them to find out that by asking in the right way, they can arrange fair payment for their consulting and services. I encourage bloggers to ask for payment, or if it is hard to do that themselves, trade advocacy with a friend, join a network or get a rep who can help you. You must advocate for the value of your services!

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  60. Katherine

    November 16, 2009

    Alli is right on regarding the tax implications.

    Please make sure that if you’re going to accept payment or freebies for any type of review or promotion that you are maintaining accurate records for the IRS. Understanding the tax isues of Blogging (IRC Section 183 – business or hobby) can make or break the professional blogger. Trust me, they’re watching.

    If you don’t become familiar with the rules and keep good records, there can be consequesnces from being audited including a 20% penalty of the underpayment of income tax (IRC Section 6662).

    Meet with your tax preparer. If they don’t understand what you’re talking about, hire someone else. (Doing it yourself will send up a red flag.)

    After being audited 3 years in a row, accurate recordkeeping and a tax preparer willing to go to bat for me was the only thing that saved our $$$$.

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  61. DiaryofaNewMom

    November 16, 2009

    You make some good points. Coming from my perspective as a freelance writer, plenty of things that seem like no-brainers to me AREN’T for lots of mom bloggers that don’t have journalism backgrounds. If you’re not used to thinking of yourself as a professional or a commodity, as you put it, it can be hard to get up the confidence & courage to take yourself seriously & make others do so as well.

    Case in point: I hired a fellow mom blogger to redesign my site. When she billed me, I told her she wasn’t charging enough & paid her more. I really felt she needed to know she deserved more.

    Also, I do find it a little insulting to be asked to blog for free since, as I said, I’m a pro writer by trade, but I sometimes do it for the traffic, promotion & because it can & has led to paid opportunities. But I really think it’s mainly a matter of having confidence in yourself. People usually won’t offer to pay you if you don’t ask.

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  62. Amie aka MammaLoves

    November 16, 2009

    Kelby this is truly a seminal piece. You’ve captured my thoughts exactly.

    I will point many people back here.

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  63. Mrs. Accountability

    November 16, 2009

    I volunteered for my current employer for one year (8 hours a week) and then asked them to hire me and they did. It worked out for me.

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  64. Law School Wife

    November 16, 2009

    I’m a lowly PR account coordinator at a boutique agency. I can tell you that the vast majority of product reviews work the same way in the traditional media as they do with mommy bloggers. A company sends a paid journalist/reporter (paid by their employer, not the product’s supplier) at a publication a free product, and they choose whether or not to review it. Case closed. It’s the same way a bedding manufacturer would send sheets and comforters to a department store linens buyer. The buyer (paid by the department store, not the bedding manufacturer) checks out the product and then determines whether or not to purchase it for their store. So it is annoying to hear that mommy bloggers should be paid for “something the traditional media gets paid to do” because that is simply untrue. A product should get reviewed because of its relevance and merit. If it’s nothing new or uninteresting, don’t review. If you think it might be cool, review it and add value to your readers lives. And then move on.

    I do agree that mommy bloggers have great potential for consultancy and even full-time work within a PR agency. My (very humble) opinion is that if a blogger wants to be paid so bad for her expertise and is not finding the kind of revenue she needs through her blog, she should apply for jobs that fit her new expertise that would pay her well, instead of sitting in her home office waiting for a paying gig to drop into her lap via an email from a company willing to pay her for something someone else will do for free. I know that sounds callous, but there really are a million other mommy bloggers. Most companies do not care if Blogger X reviews it over Blogger Y, because chances are their audiences are similar enough and it’s truthfully not about the blogger’s voice, it’s about the audience the company wants to reach.

    I also think paid posts do not engage the audience well. It’s proven that readers will simply keep scrolling instead of reading the paid material. This is where it becomes important for bloggers to build real relationships with the PR people who reach out to them. Assuming the PR person pitches relevant news/products to the blogger, it would behoove the blogger to work with that PR person. The definition of PR is “earned media.” So no, companies by definition will not pay you to post about their products. But, my clients are undoubtedly more likely to purchase ad space with a blogger that we (the agency) has a real relationship with.

    This is just what I’ve found in my somewhat limited experience, but I know I am not the only person who believes this. I can see the same conversation playing out at a conference table at any agency.

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  65. becky

    November 16, 2009

    So true, Kelby. I am a freelance writer and editor – and I’m online most of the day for various reasons (much of it work, a little social). I’m also an early adopter – I love technology. I probably do know a lot more than many self-appointed social media gurus. If only more companies would realize how many women just like me are out there. Without asking me to write something about them on my personal site, where many times what they want doesn’t even begin to fit my voice.

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  66. Leah @Bookieboo

    November 16, 2009

    I think Ali has a good point. Anytime you accept anything free, it’s actually taxable as income. This is precisely the reason I stopped doing reviews. Cause I couldn’t keep track of it all and I didn’t want my company to get dinged.

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  67. Leah @Bookieboo

    November 16, 2009

    I think Ali has a good point. Anytime you accept anything free, it’s actually taxable as income. This is precisely the reason I stopped doing reviews. Cause I couldn’t keep track of it all and I didn’t want my company to get dinged.

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  68. Kelly

    November 16, 2009

    Great post, Kelby!
    This is something I’m still sorting out for myself.

    I think every blogger needs to figure out what their goal is. Do you want to be a product review blog? Awesome, go for it.

    Do you want to be paid to consult with corporations, then go for it!

    It doesn’t help that there are no rules, and so much of the industry is in its’ infancy.

    Great food for thought, especially in the comments.

    Thanks!

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  69. Kelby Carr

    November 16, 2009

    So many wonderful comments! Thanks guys! And yes, I actually plan to devote a whole post to the tax implications (I used to cover taxes and finances as a business reporter). I am also thinking a post on how to determine your hourly rate would be really helpful.

    Anyway, to this comment from Law School Wife:
    “I can tell you that the vast majority of product reviews work the same way in the traditional media as they do with mommy bloggers.”

    I would actually have to disagree, and here’s why. In traditional media, the companies seek the PR but also advertise. So the newspaper/magazine/station pays the reporter.

    Companies are not advertising on blogs. They are only counting on reviews and free publicity. So NO ONE any which of way is paying bloggers.

    So I can tell you this… if companies want to show they are supporting the mom blogging community (they sure seem to), then they need to advertise AND seek PR coverage. They do it with traditional media. And as someone with a background of 15 years as a newspaper reporter, I feel confident in saying this. Advertising online is a GOOD decision. That is where most people are consuming their media, yet most of the advertising dollars are going where people are not consuming their media: print.

    Look at it this way. How much time did you spend this week reading a newspaper or watching the news? How much time did you spend online?

    Thought so.

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  70. Law School Wife

    November 16, 2009

    Kelby,

    To clarify what I meant in the quote you pulled out from my comment, I mean that companies do generally send out products and hope they get reviewed for free, as they do with mommy bloggers. Reviews in traditional media iare not usually a pay-to-play deal, otherwise they must list “advertorial” or some other identifying text which causes that review to loose credibility, and agencies will actually reject “opportunities” to pay reporters to review their products. What works best with traditional media is to approach the editors of trade publications that we frequently work with and with whom we have established rapport (though almost never advertise with) and pitch them the idea. If they pass, we pitch it to someone else.

    I addressed that point (re: advertising) farther down in my comment. As someone who works at a boutique agency, my clients are not the Fisher-Prices and Disneys of the world. I agree those major corporations are not advertising on blogs.

    But small (especially local) companies DO advertise on blogs, because I have several small companies for clients who do (though in a different industry than would apply for mommy readers).

    My point is that if bloggers will work with PR people and establish a real, working, professional relationship with the PR people who reach out to them about less glamorous opportunities, the PR agency’s client WILL be more likely to spend money on ad space with that blogger. If my client’s product/news gets traction on a particular blog and the comments/traffic for the applicable days demonstrate that audience’s interest in the topic, it makes my case much stronger when I go to recommend to my client to advertise with that same blogger.

    I think you might be nipping real business in the bud.

    B

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  71. Law School Wife

    November 16, 2009

    Maybe I should clarify that I do think mommy bloggers should be able to develop enough revenue from their efforts to (at least) earn a living. I’m not advocating that they don’t “deserve to be paid,” though I think an earlier commenter had an interesting point when she said “no one deserves to be paid.” You could also argue that interns deserve to be paid, except that there will always be another kid right behind them who WOULD work for free.

    Anyways, I also want to mention that I think whether or not a blogger accepts products for review/news to share/spokeswoman-ships/etc. is his/her own prerogative. I’m not arguing whether or not they should.

    B

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  72. Mom101

    November 16, 2009

    I can’t stop coming back here!

    You wrote “if companies want to show they are supporting the mom blogging community (they sure seem to), then they need to advertise AND seek PR coverage.”

    The thing is, we both know companies are not here to support anyone but themselves. They will advertise when the media buying agencies can justify the ROI and that’s still a challenge if you look at average click through rates on banner ads.

    I am with Law School Wife – when a review on Cool Mom Picks is particularly successful for a brand, they may ask about advertising. Which means they got a lot of traffic. Or a lot of sales. Or contacts from other blogs or editors or TV producers – whatever they deem success.

    If bloggers want advertising, they need to make their websites valuable to them. They do that by consistently creating excellent content that appeals to the most people in that niche. It does not happen by simply doing giveaways for anyone who asks.

    Maybe we need to talk less about what marketers should be doing for us, and more about what makes us valuable to them? Not everyone with 1000 twitter followers is a social media expert, and not everyone with a blog will land a sweet iPod campaign. Me especially.

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  73. Amy @ The Bitchin' Wives Club

    November 16, 2009

    I think you have absolutely nailed it. This is the problem with everything that is going on– if these companies paid us a fee or wage instead of just throwing freebies or loaners our way, it would be a much fairer space. I think that the huge amount on mom-bloggers registering their brand/business for tax reasons would really empower the group, as well.

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  74. Kelby Carr

    November 16, 2009

    Yes but there is sooo much more value to advertising with a blogger than simple click-throughs. A blogger will beat any traditional media hands down when it comes to building buzz. Other bloggers see that a company supports mom bloggers. They can include things like posts introducing a new advertiser, tweets to announce a new advertiser, Facebook updates/fan page upates to announce a new advertiser, outreach to other bloggers about the company, or any other creative and ethical way you can do it. Not to mention the value in search rankins for the incoming links.

    The issue is that companies can SEE exactly how effective advertising is online. In print, they had very few methods of truly measuring value and results. We can take advantage of that by being fanatical about tracking the ROI when we do have an advertiser. Send them a report about all the eyeballs (traffic, Twitter followers, retweets, etc.).

    And as far as companies not wanting to support anyone. Well, there are several who want to engage mom bloggers. Clearly. Even if all they care about is their bottom line, you engage the community better by supporting it properly than by throwing products at it.

    And really… I think products are separate from all of this. Like Law School Wife said, that is done for coverage. It is and should be handle by bloggers the same way journalists handle it.

    Getting products to review is not working with a company. I’m sorry, it isn’t. That is COVERING a company.

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  75. Mom101

    November 16, 2009

    Oh I’m totally sold on why brands should be on blogs! That is…some brands and some blogs.

    “A blogger will beat any traditional media hands down when it comes to building buzz.”

    I can’t agree with that. SOME bloggers will do that. Many bloggers will not. Or the buzz will just be…small.

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  76. Corina

    November 16, 2009

    Wonderful topic. It is a difficult one to say the least.

    I can count the reviews I have done on one finger. I can also say that I have not scored a professional writing gig from my blog, even though I am confident that I can write. My blog is more of the personal nature and never really considered that I would make money from my blog.

    However, there is a fine line. As a former science teacher, teacher trainer, and curriculum writer, I recognized that I can sell what I know. I think as bloggers we need to recognize that what we KNOW is the commodity, not our blog space or a fact that we are moms, holy grail companies, holder of the almighty family dollar.

    The real fact of the matter is, I have a commodity, my knowledge and my writing ability. However, as a former science teacher, the whole business side of the writing deal eludes me. And so I am in a stalemate, knowing I am commodity, but unsure how to market myself.

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  77. Kristina Brooke

    November 16, 2009

    This is a great post and address so many issues that are being ignored in the “Mommy Blogger” coverage. We are definitely offering a service. When we write reviews we are telling the companies what to do to make the product better or we are telling others to buy it. Companies are getting free advertising and in essence are getting rich. And all we are getting is blasted! Things have to change.

    Great Post.

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  78. The Mayor

    November 16, 2009

    I love your line, “Our brains are our commodity”. I have ineffectively whined for years that I need to get paid for my brilliant ideas people in my life are constantly calling me for.

    I may have to change the plans for having “Do I look like a pack mule”? on my headstone to that.

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  79. Gwen Bell

    November 16, 2009

    “We deserve to be paid” and “I am worth something” are really great starting points. I salute everyone for talking about this subject.

    Here’s what I think needs to happen next.

    We need to start talking in dollar amounts. Prominent bloggers need to step forward and give a range for how much we make hourly, approximately what we get per speaking gig, the amount we’re making for each project. Someone mentioned “doctors and teachers don’t work for nothing.” Which is true. If I google how much a doctor makes a year, I’ll find the answer. I don’t see moms, especially, being forthcoming with their numbers. As in, “I got paid three thousand dollars to speak at Conference X and I also got approximately four hundred dollars worth of items from the conference organizers.”

    One of my favorite examples of someone who does share his numbers is Steve Krug, a usability expert. He says, “I can occasionally be persuaded to do a private in-house workshop. The advantage is that we can focus in on your specific problems all day, in addition to training your team. But I’ll warn you in advance: they’re pricey. (Hint: think $15,000 plus travel expenses.)” – http://www.sensible.com/services.html (I triple-underline love his book, btw, for designers, programmers and those of us in branding/social web.)

    So my challenge here in the comments is two-fold. One, I’m challenging myself to get public about what I’m offering and assigning a dollar amount to it. Two, I’m challenging moms, dads, bloggers and writers of all sorts to get real about numbers. (As one NYTimes bestseller does here, “More on the Reality of a Times Bestseller”: http://www.publetariat.com/publish/more-reality-times-bestseller)

    If it’s important you get paid your worth, as I believe it should be, assign a dollar amount to it. And share that information widely. A lot of men in the blogosphere do this already (Shoemoney comes to mind – http://www.shoemoney.com/2007/11/04/the-adsense-check-for-13299497/ ) It causes waves, for sure, but at least we know where we stand. “Pay me ______ dollars for _______ service,” is much more doable than, “Pay me!”

    We get to decide where to set the bar between “free” and “pay me.”

    (This is a topic I plan to explore further in an upcoming blog post. Thanks for the provocative piece, Kelby.)

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  80. Brooke (A Life in Need of Change)

    November 16, 2009

    I guess I would like to bring still a different perspective. I blog almost daily for several purposes.

    1. Because I love to write and it nourishes my soul.
    2. Because I want my writing to be a blessing to others, encouraging them in their daily walks.
    3. To practice writing and therefore become better at it.
    4. I hope eventually to use my blog as a platform for my other (hopefully paid) writing not done ON the blog
    5. Other things too.

    I really don’t want to represent another company at all. I want to represent me and the thoughts I want to share.

    If I do a giveaway it’s because I WANT to bless my readers. In fact, I’m getting ready to do a big one the 1st week of December. In order to have enough I actually approached authors of my fave book, creators of my fave learning tools, artists, etc and requested a free item to review for my readers. I came up with a grouping of items that have been VERY valuable to me in my life and went after them. Most everyone I approached said yes. I did this because I WANTED to review their products. I’m not getting my own copy of all of the products…I already have most of them. But I choose not to do regular giveaways because I want them to be seen as a rare blessing.

    Also, I have benefitted in significant ways from 1-2 ladies who have shared their hearts and brains with me pro bono. I guess that was their choice, but I have incredibly high esteem for both of them and actively look for ways to bless them back. Not something they asked for in return, just something I do because I want to show them how much I appreciate them. I think we miss out on an important element of servanthood when we charge for everything. Sometimes there is joy is giving for free.

    That’s not to say that I disagree with the worker being worth their pay. I would love to make money doing this thing I love so much. But again, I don’t want to have to move even an inch away from my goal in order to do it.

    I wonder then, in light of these things, how a blogger like me is to interpret this article?

    Thanks ;-)

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  81. Dipaola Moma

    November 16, 2009

    If we’ll by “Because I’m worth it” from a hair color product, why then can’t we do the same for our own intellectual property, snarky humor, sage advice, brand expertise and unique voice?

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  82. Scott

    November 16, 2009

    “Deserve?” Yikes! What’s next, the right to be paid to blog?

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  83. Melanie @ Mel, A Dramatic Mommy

    November 16, 2009

    Thank you, Gwen, for your insight. I was at at Twitter party once and asked a question about how what range people are using to charge for certain things and the response I got from the party moderators was that it is inappropriate to talk about money and that, in a corporate setting, talking to others about one’s salary is a punishable offense. Once the dollars are out there, I feel more bloggers can use the info to estimate their worth and companies can use it to evaluate the true cost of a campaign and adjust accordingly.

    And yes, there will always be someone out there willing to write about a product for free. And on many of those sites, the fact that the PR agency/advertiser got what they paid for is glaringly obvious.

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  84. April~Living The Sweet Life

    November 16, 2009

    Thank You!
    I have been thinking about this lately. I even had one company go as far as saying no we aren’t buying your ads because we are offering you a giveaway and material for content like I can’t come up with content on my own or something. Please don’t insult me.
    We as bloggers need to start drawing the line somewhere.
    I had another company tell me after buying an ad on another bloggers site that they won’t be buying an ad on my site because their budget is tight, understandable. BUT in the same email said they are doing a printable giveaway for $100 to their stores for the holidays and I can promote the giveaway at their business for them for free as though it was some sort of consolation prize.
    What are these people thinking here? That they can just use us all?
    I agree with Gwen Bell we need to set a price and let them know we are worth something.
    And for heaven sakes ladies and gents you are worth way more than $10-$25 a month for an ad even if your traffic is only 200 a day!
    You offer advertisers a very condensed target market that trusts your opinion which is hard to find anywhere else.
    Don’t get me wrong I still help out local businesses and they help me out too. But when a marketing firm comes to you send them your ad prices. You know they are getting paid to send you that email.
    Thanks again Kelby!

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  85. Corina

    November 16, 2009

    Gwen: That is an excellent question. I know many times that I have felt in the course of this conversation that I don’t know what to ask for or how to approach it. I know that many have been made to feel like they are bringing down the freelance/ blogging community because they are doing it for free/trips, etc. In fact, at times people have been accosted. But then there is no guidance/follow-up to tell us or suggest where to start as far as pay. Think we are lowering your bargaining power? Then give us some semblance of a clue. I know that many feel it is rude to ask, but so is it to make others feel like they are ruining your business when there is no resource to consult on the matter.

    As I said, what we know is a commodity. What we know as mothers, as the holder of the purse, as women, as consultants, as marketers….. We should get paid for what we know.

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  86. Boston Mamas

    November 16, 2009

    K, what an excellent post; thank you for articulating your thoughts (and clearly those shared by so many) so clearly. As I’ve watched the blogging landscape evolve, it has mystified me how much smart women are willing to do for so little.

    I’ve written this before (over at my personal blog, popdiscourse.com), but I really feel that a key element is the push back from bloggers — to be *selective* in what they do and who they will engage with. Not to mention understanding fully what the scope of the corporate engagement is. For example, when I’m invited to events I’m the pain in the ass who asks a lot of questions. I want to know, is this basically a press junket where it’s a learning opportunity? If yes, and the content aligns with my editorial POV, I will consider going (and I always make it clear that my attendance does not guarantee editorial…if the event organizers are not confident enough in their event as informative and interesting, then there’s a problem IMO…). If that godforsaken “pick your brain” phrase enters the picture or it’s clear (or usually, becomes clear after repeated inquiries from me) that they want, as Liz (Mom101) once wrote, consulting services in exchange for a deli platter, then I tell them I can consult for pay. Too many bloggers do not draw those lines and establish their worth, and this is why brands see the market as rich.

    -Christine

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  87. Alaina Frederick

    November 16, 2009

    I was once one of those totally caught up in the game of how much free crap I could get. That was before. This is me now.

    Now, I feel that if a company wants to reach my readers then I have a ad space for that. If they want me to try their product that’s fine and dandy but my comments will be to them via email – or posted on their website.

    If and only if I am totally in love with a product and it has solved the war in our household then yes I will tell my readers about it.

    I either delete PR emails or I reply back if and only if I know the brand and have had good experiences with them before. I also tell them my ‘rules’. Many times the PR company moves on and I see another blogger writing about the item and I know that they do reviews for free.

    What irks me is I have had bad experiences with products in the past – and I’m still on the fence about writing about them. However, the point I want to make is that the PR person requested a NUMBER of times if I did not have a positive review to not post it.

    At the time I was a cloudy mess – had it been now I would have told them where to stick their positive sunshine. If a product is a piece of crap then others should know that for me this did not work – for you it might though.

    I love that some moms are finally seeing the light at the end of the swag tunnel. We are worth more than a $20 toy or a trip to see a factory. Our families are worth more than that too!

    - Alaina

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  88. Alaina Frederick

    November 16, 2009

    I forgot to mention that I started out blogging about products. My blog was originally to support my ecommerce store. So product reviews were already second nature to me. However, they were about items I sold or items that I’d love to sell but just didn’t quite fit.

    I sort of feel different from many bloggers that sometimes have started out blogging because of the free stuff. Or started out talking about their kids and realized that sometimes their kids are not that interesting.

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  89. Belinda Gomez

    November 16, 2009

    How is any blogger asked to work for free? If you set up your own site, for self-expression or for swag, you’re in charge. You can solicit crap or you can ignore all that junk. No one is forcing you to review products, get Intel to pay for your life list or to promote their books, their toys, their websites or their companies.
    If you want to get paid, run some ads. Or don’t.

    But thinking that you can get paid by a corporation and still be your own boss is to misjudge the economic climate.

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  90. ComplicatedMama

    November 16, 2009

    Brilliant post Kelby!

    I love the idea of blogging for companies on their blog, Im working on doing this with 2 different companies in the near future.

    Although I’ve never set rates for ads or consultation, I am definitely interested in hearing more discussion about it.

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  91. Cheryl@SomewhatCrunchy

    November 16, 2009

    I love this. What a great conversation! Although, I have to say I am completely in the dark about income taxes with the trips, freebies etc. Yikes! I need a post about that Kelby!!

    Here are my noob thoughts on the whole thing:
    http://crispy-not-crunchy.blogspot.com/2009/11/paying-mommy-bloggers-noobs-point-of.html

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  92. Katie @ Kitchen Stewardship

    November 17, 2009

    I’m still a rather new blogger, so it’s exciting to get free “stuff” and I count it as income, especially if it’s something I would have had to buy anyway. I do work awfully hard for what I’m “making” though. I’d prefer to just have ads that pay me, but I’m not so good at asking for $. The humility thing. I’ll keep trying though!
    Katie

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  93. Cat @ Mom Talk with 3 Kids and Us

    November 17, 2009

    It’s quite interesting that I ran into this article after the day I’ve had.

    Not one, but two major brands represented by well know PR agencies not only assumed my work would be free, but expected it. Expected it! The two instances were to host a giveaway for their client, not a review, but a promotion that involves writing content, social network promotion, image editing, checking entrant validity, gathering shipping addresses and what I think of as a very large advertising space. All that for free.

    When I in return kindly offered my rates for said work the response I received…

    “it is our policy that we don’t compensate bloggers for coverage.”

    It was interesting to hear how quickly my value was dismissed and work, time away from my kids and my worth was reduced to “coverage”.

    It’s time for change and I applaud you for this article. If we don’t stand up and unite now, our influence, expertise and value will forever remain degraded to simple “coverage”.

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  94. We are THAT family

    November 17, 2009

    Excellent post. I think if we ban together and unite and refuse to accept less, we’ll make a powerful statement.

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  95. Rachel

    November 17, 2009

    Thanks for this article. Approaching my one year bloggiversary, traffic is rising and I want to be paid.

    I would appreciate a post or series of posts about how to get paid once you have that influence. Even before I have the first consultant gig, do I put up a consultant page? I would love to read specifics about how to find companies that fit, the balance of sponsored articles vs ads, etc.

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  96. Mike Driehorst

    November 17, 2009

    Kelby & others:
    First, let me say with 94 previous comments, I didn’t take the time to read them all. So, if I’m duplicating a point, I am sorry.

    I have worked in PR since 1994, including being active in social media marketing since 2005. At first glance (first few paragraphs), I was already to spew fire and brimstone for your arrogant tone.

    But, like most posts and stories, you have to read it all and try to understand the so-called big picture. This is a post bloggers and PR pros alike should read. While you have a lot of great points, let me focus on two:

    Yes, any blogger who reviews a product should feel free to point out positive AND negative aspects. They don’t HAVE TO include both, but if a product or service has both and they’re significant enough, the blogger should feel free to point out both.

    After all, it is a review. And, if the PR person has done his/her job right, client expectations are set so if a negative feature is pointed out, it’ll be okay. Besides, you shouldn’t ask for a review if you’re not confident in your product.

    My other point is the PR pros should not pay for reviews. Sure, advertise if you want and even have a guest blogger on your corp site (which does offer *some* value to the blogger besides $$). But, I would never pay a blogger for a review.

    Just like bloggers DO NOT need companies for content, the reverse is true. If a PR pro is doing his/her job right, he/she is providing valuable content for the blogger and there are enough other bloggers who would see value in doing the review.

    I defintely agree that monetizing a blog is a huge question. The women who take the time to blog and give great information should be rewarded — but should also keep their focus pure. Afterall, that’s very likely why they obtained such a big following in the first place.

    -Mike

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  97. Matt

    November 17, 2009

    Maybe it’s just that most bloggers just aren’t worth paying? The low barrier to entry means that, means there’s as many bloggers as there are readers, so the audience is far more dispersed than print or even TV. You really have to prove yourself to be absolutely exceptional, and those that stand out (usually as a sideline to something much more profitable) are already getting paid.

    I know blogging can take up immense amounts of time and effort but you are not owed any more renumeration for it than anyone is willing to pay you.

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  98. amy cross

    November 17, 2009

    Good for you to talk about professionalizing your cultural work.

    Call if mommy blogging or whatever you want, but I support you in encouraging people not to give it away for free. Women online should become less recreational and more entrepreneurial

    amy cross
    women make news

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  99. Law School Wife

    November 17, 2009

    I completely agree with Mike on the previous comment.

    In one of my senior PR courses, we covered a case study where HP wanted blog coverage to build buzz for the launch of its most expensive laptop ever. The campaign was called 31 Days of the Dragon. Thirty one top tech bloggers were approached by a social media marketing firm (know famous for this 31 Days thing) who set up a chain of giveaways–a laptop giveaway every day for 31 days. Each blogger would receive the top-of-the-line laptop, but, if they accepted, they could play with it, test it out, whatever computer geeks do, but then they *had* to give it away in a giveaway contest of their choice. There were a few rules to follow to keep the giveaway legal, but the most important stipulation was that they give it away on a day set by HP’s marketing agent. The innovative thing about this giveaway was that the excitement built from one blog to the next. Readership at the smaller blogs went through the roof because the bigger blogs would send traffic their way. Readers would hop from blog to blog for 31 days entering for a chance to win one of 31 computers. This is an OVERWHELMING success for both HP and the 31 bloggers that participated in the giveaway. It’s something to think about when considering how to actually capitalize on product reviews/giveaways.

    In response to earlier comments about transparency in what bloggers earn, I think this article from The New York Times might be of interest. It’s not about bloggers, but it is about the taboo of sharing salary info: http://www.nytimes.com/2008/08/21/fashion/21Work.html

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  100. Cat @ Mom Talk with 3 Kids and Us

    November 17, 2009

    @Law School Wife

    I agree with you to some extent but you’re talking about a $1k plus laptop…we’re being asked to write about $10 DVD’s and $20 snack foods that offer little long term value to the boost of readership.

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  101. Missy @ The Marketing Mama

    November 18, 2009

    Kelby, I just found you on twitter yesterday, started following you and I feel like I finally found the blog mentor I’ve been looking for! This post is excellent and gave me some tangible ideas I can use to continue to build my brand as a mom blogger and hold companies accountable.

    Just last week a very good toy store in town was having a grand opening of a new location and invited me to come to a “sneak peek” of the new store. I wrote back and told them that they could partner with me for my time to help them promote the store via my blog, fb, twitter, AND give me a $40+ toy or gift card to give away to my readers. The response was that they “never pay the media or bloggers to cover their events!” HA! They put bloggers in the same category as journalists expecting free coverage.

    I let it sit for a few days. I checked out the store on my own time, spent a boatload of money, took great pics of my son playing with their toys in their store, but I will NEVER put it on my blog because that was on my own time – and I will not be used like that for their benefit – even though I love the store and the quality of their products.

    Tonight I sent the PR Rep an e-mail. I encouraged her to stop thinking of bloggers and journalists in the same light. I shared with her why I’m the premiere mom-blogger in our market and the influence I have. I talked about the 3 blogs that covered the event and why they won’t have an impact on moms at all… and then I quoted you (with a link) from this post on ways they can partner with Mom bloggers to achieve their goals. And then opened the door once more to discussing consulting and/or partnering on a campaign.

    I’m not holding my breath, but I do feel good about a) not selling out and working my ass off for them for free and b) educating them and giving them a new image of mom bloggers.

    THANK YOU sincerely for this post and I look forward to reading more of your blog(s).

    Missy
    twitter.com/MarketingMamaMN

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  102. Rock and Roll Mama

    November 19, 2009

    Kelby,
    As always, you make many strong and salient points. You and I have had some great discussions about this, and you know that I feel the entire “mom-blogging for money” issue has strong sexist undertones.

    It’s a question of us, as women, not being comfortable asking to be paid, and companies buying into the patriarchal notion that if you’re home raising children, you were out of a paycheck anyway- might as well keep busy with “getting your brain picked!”

    For the most part, I’m not taking issue with anything to do with reviews or giveaways- I think each blogger has to draw her own line on that, and agree that the concept of anyone PAYING for a review is a big no-go all around.

    I’m talking about when the companies start to get to know you a bit, and it comes off the blog- you’re wanted to host panels or chats, or record some video, or maybe host a series of parties for brand X in return for…what, exactly?

    The chance for your brand to become a billboard for a bunch of brands that you never set out to represent, and that you’re not being compensated for doing so.

    As you say, Kelby, in the real world, spokespeople are paid and paid well. In the mom-blog world, some companies expect you to arrange your life (literally!) around their needs, and be happy for the privilege. I mentally refer to it as “Borrowing my megaphone”, and I don’t allow it anymore, because it’s disrespectful to the people I interact with.

    There are lots of great companies who WILL pay moms to consult, and will pay for content creation. I work with a few. The problem is, if you’re feeling stretched too thin with doing stuff for free with companies who’ll use you up and toss you when your followers don’t want to hear about their widget anymore- You won’t have time to find them.

    Thank you, Kelby, for bringing this topic into the open where it belongs.

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  103. Mom101

    November 19, 2009

    Wow Missy, I actually find this story kind of sad. You loved the event, you loved the store, you spent money there, and you think your readers might like it…but you wouldn’t tell your readers about it because no one’s paying you to do so?

    What ever happened to bloggers writing about the things we love and sharing the things we’re passionate about?

    Kelby, time for a follow up post!

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  104. Stephanie

    November 19, 2009

    Excellent post, Kelby. You presented your points convincingly and I appreciate that you gave 4 tangible ways that brands/companies can engage moms. I do sincerely hope that PR influencers and CEOS are reading this and taking note.

    Side Note: I would also add that it’s imperative for mom bloggers to DRESS like professionals. I was a bit taken aback at BlogHer 2008 when I saw so many women wearing yoga pants, graphic tees, and sloppy/inappropriate attire. That kind of apparel may be okay for when you’re blogging at home on your couch, but I do think blogging events merit more effort.

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  105. felica devers

    November 19, 2009

    Even as a young girl growing up in rural Louisiana, I always dreamed of owning my own company and answering to no one but myself as CEO of my own business. I always had an intense interest in the entertainment industry, so for me the nature of my future business was a no-brainer. I was born creative, and have spent most of life engaged in intense creative spurts of one kind or another. I have written songs and produced a demo, written poetry and short stories, produced for TV & film and working on developing my own TV projects.

    I believe that with business training and mentoring, anyone with a dream of owning their own business can make it happen. The key is maintaining the business and helping it grow so that it is a productive and profitable entity.

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  106. Amber

    November 19, 2009

    You’ve got me thinking. I’ve received a few of the ‘pick my brain’ emails, and I honestly didn’t get around to answering them. It wasn’t intentional or otherwise, I just have a lot on my plate. In retrospect, though, it’s not really fair for a company that I don’t know to approach me in this manner. In the future, I will definitely consider a specific response, instead of thinking I might get around to it and forgetting.

    Making money on the internet is still a little bit of the Wild West. There aren’t established routes or established rates. People are chronically undervalued, including by their own selves. It’s an interesting time, to see this develop. I am optimistic to see folks like you speaking out and sharing their well-informed views.

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  107. Gwen Bell

    November 19, 2009

    I’m in agreement with Mom 101 on this.

    I think there’s a fine line between calmly knowing one is influential (as a consumer, as a group, as an individual) and threatening a company or brand with that power.

    The comment Missy/MarketingMamaMN makes (thanks for your honesty and I’m going to push back here) is unsettling to me because it comes across as, “who do you think you’re messing with here – I have influence!” – or, in your words, ” I shared with her why I’m the premiere mom-blogger in our market and the influence I have.” There is an underlying sentiment in this that needs to be noted. (To my mind, it’s menacing.)

    In this case, this might be a good post to ponder:

    http://www.happiness-project.com/happiness_project/2009/04/taken-for-granted-5-tips-for-dealing-with-feeling-unappreciated.html

    Good luck & Kelby, looking forward to your thoughts on this as well.

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  108. Kelby Carr

    November 19, 2009

    Great points Gwen and Mom101. I may not have made this clear enough, but editorial and advertising/making money should remain as separate as possible. I know on blogs the two get intermingled more easily because, unlike traditional media, you can’t separate the two departments when it’s one person’s blog.

    Who pays me or doesn’t does NOT affect what I write. I would never tell someone paying or not paying me will affect whether I blog about them (or how I blog about them).

    When I say mom bloggers should get paid, I mean for the examples I offered companies above. I don’t think a blogger’s influence should be used to twist a company’s arm.

    Content should not be for sale. I know some people do paid posts, and you can disclose and if that is how you choose to blog, so be it. I don’t care for it and can think of only a few instances I might do it. For example, I’ve mulled over the idea of sponsored sections at Type-A Mom and Foodie Mama. Like I could see, say, a major cheese company sponsoring a section at Foodie Mama where writers share their favorite recipes featuring cheese. With my ad sales, I also will do a post announcing a new advertiser. That is NOT the same as selling a post to say how great an advertiser is. Or doing a paid review (which can’t, by definition, be a review). My opinion is not and never will be for sale. Period.

    It’s a dangerous line to cross. It should never be done lightly.

    Even if I were to be a spokesblogger, I would only do that for a product or company I was truly passionate about… one I WOULD gush about for free.

    For example, a few of us were raving about Keurig on Twitter. I LOVE my Keurig. You couldn’t pay me to say a bad thing about it (except maybe that I wish the freakin’ K-Cups were at grocery stores). I would make a great spokesblogger for Keurig. I love it. The people I social network with are a great target (mom bloggers who need us some coffee). This is a good example. On the other hand, I can’t stand seafood. It would make not the slightest sense for me to strike a deal with a seafood company. I would have nothing nice to genuinely say about their products.

    While talented mom bloggers are entitled to be paid when companies come knocking and they want spokesblogging or consulting, they are NOT entitled to be slipped cash to say nice things about companies in blog posts. As soon as we demand that, we kill our credibility.

    Defending yourself means that when a company asks to pick your brain, you quote them your consulting fee. It means if a company wants you to spend numerous hours doing a contest to promote their products on your blog, you might consider whether it’s worth doing that for free. That is work. And marketing. If a company sends you a pitch, instead of feeling you have to jump when they snap… you respond with your ad rates.

    I talked about moms being paid, but if you read closely I believe I said twice in an ETHICAL way. This is absolutely crucial.

    Finally and foremost, the readers MUST always be our top priority. Yes, even if it means walking away from opportunities. Because know this: the opportunities do not come if you don’t have readers or you sell them out for a few bucks… or freebies… or trips…

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  109. Missy @ The Marketing Mama

    November 19, 2009

    Thanks Mom101 and Gwen Bell for your comments directed at me. I appreciate you pushing back and the dialogue. I didn’t mean to come off sounding full of myself. The reason I chose not to attend that event and blog about it is because I am a full time working mom out blog about it, and it of the house and it would have required time away from work. I added up the time to attend the event and it would have been approximately 5 hours of my time. I simply cannot afford to give that time away without compensation. I did, however, tell the company that I like their store and would be happy to mention the opening regardless to tell my readers. But for my attendance, pics, and a full blog post, I felt I deserved some type of compensation. They obviously disagreed. Perhaps you do, too. Either way they are getting something out of me…

    When I talked about why I’m a good blogger for them to partner with in our market, it was part of the rationale of why they might consider actually compensating a blog for partnering with them around a grand opening – for a full social media campaign including blog/fb/twitter. I have a large portion of readers from my hometown and I feel this makes me desireable to local companies trying to reach moms in our area.

    Again, thanks for pushing back. I hope you don’t find my explanation as menacing as my first comment. I truly care about my blog and my readers, and am trying to find the balance between “giving it all away” and getting paid to promote a company.

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  110. Candace

    November 19, 2009

    A few thoughts:

    1. Reviews. I have to have hands on something to review it. Mailing it back is a nuisance. Most of the product gets donated locally, instead. I accept no payment for reviews.

    2. Consulting. I am an educational consultant, a professional writer, an experienced blogger, and I work on the occasional paid social media project. My rates are competitive if anyone wants to “pick my brain”.

    3. Giveaways. At this point, I consider these to be favors for small businesses and/or fun things for my readers. I’ve done free giveaways for big brands in the past and I’ve done paid ones. In general, I think they do more for the brand than for me. So, going forward, I will be turning down more of these “opportunities”.

    4. Small businesses versus large businesses. One of the pleasures of this side business of mine is to help out awesome business owners. I’ve developed some great relationships and I am more inclined to help out other mom entrepreneurs than a big brand repped by a freelancer who gets my name wrong. That doesn’t mean you won’t see big brands on my blog–you will. If they have great products that are an editorial fit, absolutely. But if they want me to advertise their latest sale or announce their corporate contest, they need to pay for that.

    5. “My time”: My time has value. Because I have been a professional writer for many years, I have an idea of what that value is. I also have a business model for my blog. It does not include selling my editorial content. However, I have found new and interesting products via contacts I made working on my blog.

    I think every blogger who plans on selling something needs to think about what is for sale and what isn’t and for what price.

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  111. Susan (5 Minutes for Mom)

    November 20, 2009

    Thank you Kelby for this excellent post.

    Monetizing any blog is difficult and it is a challenge that we are all doing our best to meet.

    I believe one of the most important issues at hand with mom bloggers is our internal treatment of our own community. We simply must treat ourselves and each other with respect. That may mean we respectfully agree to disagree with each other or that we debate intelligently and endlessly. Either way, the key is respect.

    We have found that many PR companies with whom we have worked hard to develop relationships are recognizing the value in mom bloggers and budgets are beginning to follow accordingly. But it is difficult.

    We have noticed a positive trend towards companies using all four methods of paying mom bloggers that you listed.

    Janice and I have had companies pay us to write on their company’s website. We’ve had advertisers. We’ve been spokesbloggers and we have been compensated as social media consultants.

    So the change has started.

    When we run giveaways, we do ask for an admin fee to cover the cost of running the giveaway. (But we are flexible and sometimes we will waive the fee if we want to offer our readers that particular prize.) When we promote a brand through a larger campaign, we prepare a proposal that includes advertising and consulting fees.

    We do not do paid reviews. In fact, we don’t tend to really “review” products on our sites. Since Janice and I generally have a tough time saying negative words about anything (it’s just not in our personalities), we don’t write “reviews”. We will feature a product in a giveaway or have a brand sponsor a contest, event or some other campaign. And of course we disclose these sponsorships.

    We’re not saying we have solved the dilemma of effectively monetizing our site. Far from it. We are forging our way through this new territory along with everyone else.

    As for the suggestion of publishing our rates, I do think it is complicated. Campaign budgets and proposal prices are fluid and constantly changing. When we have limited time and space on our site, our prices will increase.

    I would caution against the community laying out prices for PR companies to see and price shop. I think it is perhaps more beneficial for us all to share that information with each other privately. Janice and I regularly discuss our campaign prices with fellow blogging friends who ask, but I don’t think we’d publish them publicly.

    Again, thank you so much Kelby for this great discussion. Your post and the comments reflect the intelligence and valuable insights of the mom blogging community.

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  112. Nicole Feliciano

    November 20, 2009

    Amen! I am now refusing to host contests for free. I think we should all band together and demand more from companies. Thank you for this post.

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  113. Jennifer @ J. Leigh Designz

    November 21, 2009

    I hear ya! I would LOVE to actually make some money for all the HOURS I put into my blog each week. If I could quit my real job for the blog I love it would be great!

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  114. Debba / Girlfriendology

    November 21, 2009

    Kelby – great post! Thanks for taking a stand and starting the conversation. I worked in the craft industry previously and companies did the same thing – they’d send free product and want designers to create projects (for books/magazines) with it. Basically, designers did their advertising for them – and often just for some free ‘stuff. Just like the company/blogger situation, as long as people accept that, companies will keep trying it. I’m glad you took a stand and that you have a community who will keep the conversation going. Hopefully it will make a difference for earning bloggers (not just mom bloggers, IMHO) the pay we deserve for providing valuable services. Thanks!

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  115. Kimberly @ Raising Olives

    January 20, 2010

    Thank you for a great post. As a mom blogger I realize that you are exactly right. I get multiple requests each week asking me to promote a company, brand, event, product for free. I’m worth more than that!

    Thank you for speaking up!

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  116. Beckie

    January 25, 2010

    wow, really well written, exactly how I feel about the whole PR pitch thing. I have worked with some very large software companies writing blogs about their products in hopes of building relationships with them. Most of the time, doing the free work led to nothing. So I have gotten wise, I send them my fees and if they take it, great, if not no loss on my part. I agree these companies are making millions and asking bloggers to make them more $ for free is plain wrong.

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  117. DLA

    April 2, 2010

    Does anyone blog for fun anymore? I understand there are some moms who want to be paid for their services, and they should, but for me, it's a hobby, not a profession. Blogging does not equal journalism. Anyone can blog. So, I do the occasional review for free product and giveaway because I enjoy it and it's fun for my readers. There is nothing wrong with wanting to blog for money, but I can always tell when I am reading a paid post. And that's just not fun for me. I love to read my “fun” blogs. After all, blogging is a type of SOCIAL media.

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  118. barb

    May 9, 2010

    I know you have some valid points but I for one love blogging & I would welcome the opportunity to have PR sending me emails! Maybe you are tired of taking products, trips and such in trade but for me & others who haven't been so lucky it sounds wonderful! I don't think we should be paid like you said. It's a hobby, it's fun. I like new products, I like writing about products, I love giveaways. As long as companies would give us a free product in kind like they give away I don't see any reason not to take it. If I wanted a paycheck for blogging I'd go back to the workforce. Send me some PR love & if I get sick of it, I'll come back here & rethink my opinion but don't count on that to happen. I welcome freebies, free samples, free products! http://diabeticsnacker.blogspot.com/

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    • kelbycarr

      May 9, 2010

      Barb, not everyone who blogs is just doing it as a hobby. Would you begrudge artists charging for their work just because some people do it as a hobby? And just like in any field, if people will do it for free that makes it all the harder for those who want to use their passion to help support their family. Not everyone has the luxury of doing things just for fun.

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      • Anonymous

        June 19, 2010

        I should get paid for this terrific comment.

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  119. Claire

    July 16, 2010

    Agree…Mommy should get paid for their thoughts and opinion…self-appraisal…since mommy is very influence in the daily life…i like reviewing product and get free sample…

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  120. Yolinewman

    December 5, 2010

    nice blog

    it will be a insulting insults

    if i had said it's great

    therefore it's not great

    it's very great

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