What is your Worth and How is it Measured?

WHAT IS YOUR WORTH AND HOW IS IT MEASURED?

Lately there’s been an overwhelming lot of information about money (some conflicting) when it comes to blogging, and even for someone like me (who has been blogging for almost 2 years), it is often confusing. This post covers what is the law, before we consider “what is our worth and how it is measured”.

Pinkoddy What is your Worth

If you have money coming in then you are a Sole Trader

The first FACT you need to know is, that whether it is working with brands who are covering your costs, run adverts, sponsored content, or sponsorship for an event – then if you have any money coming in (even if it is ALL going back out again) – then you are a sole trader: Unless the person paying you is paying tax and National Insurance contributions on it. So you must declare yourself as Self-Employed. You can do it online here http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/selfemployed/register-selfemp.htm

If you wish to verify this information please do call the Self-Assessment Helpline: 0300 200 3310.

When you register at the end of that tax year (the following April) you have until the October do a tax return by paper or January to do it online. So make sure you keep copies of incoming (invoices/paypal etc) and outgoing (receipts – paper/e-mail etc). If you are really organised you can work out what your income and outgoings are every month. I label my receipts by writing on the back what event they were for.

Disclosure – it’s the Law! But Google isn’t

The second FACT is that LEGALLY if you receive payment of any kind (product or money) then you must DISCLOSE. Whether you use follow or no-follow, is a matter of choice to you as whether you upset Google and risk losing your page rank. What this means is when a Google search is made, depending on your page rank how high up in the search listings you will come. If you already write about say ‘Pinkoddy’ – and no-one else is writing about ‘Pinkoddy’ – then you will come out on top anyway – so does it matter (may be someone could answer this – if stripped of page rank does it not appear in the listings at all?) But if you are writing about Children then it could make a huge difference (especially if you’ve made to the first page). NB: if you write about ‘Pinkoddy’ and your post isn’t relvant so people go back to google to look for relevant stuff about ‘Pinkoddy’ you will get what is called a high bounce back rate.

For more information on these issues please look at information by MummyBarrow

Is my worth measured by the financial value/payment?

I read this post Blogsploitation and then there was a discussion on twitter,

Sian said that, she considered that accepting £4 a week for a link was better than reviewing a £2 soft drink – as you’d only be worth half as much to the brand.

This is just an example of a soft drink

This got me thinking; I can understand how if bloggers are asked to put a “follow link” into their blogs for a small amount of payment, then their blogs are possibly not being valued, and that the SEO may not care how well the blogger writes, or the content of the blog, as they have set deadlines and budgets. This comparison, I feel, only works if both examples use follow links too – because the review item isn’t a “risk” in terms of Google. That in agreement with the blog article we were discussing (above), I do agree that whilst people feel that they are only able to be paid £4 for a link then it does run the risk of undervaluing bloggers time/effort and expertise. This is because follow links are to be picked up by the Google bots and not on the quality of social media sharing, etc. That these follow links may as well be “sold” for as cheap as possible – so why pay someone say £100 for one when you can get away with selling it for £4? This may not be the case with all SEO though and I feel we shouldn’t tar them all with the same brush – and sometimes if you help them out with the smaller projects they will respect you and remember you next time.

But PRs could be impressed with your work on smaller projects and consider you in the future.

“I reviewed and returned a tablet and laptop: Just got commissioned to write something for them for £250. They valued me! I also did some Moshi monster stuff for free for 77pr who then sent me a Wii u for Nintendo who were another client of theirs. I reviewed some £1 liquid margarine and ended up getting loads from that PR including Playtex bras etc. I could go on. It’s all about the relationships for me.” – TiredMummyofTwo

Why do we accept Sponsored Content/Reviews & Why do we accept different rates?

Is the amount you receive in money or product your worth though? People blog for all manner of different reasons, but most that I know, don’t set out to do it to make money from it. One of the reasons I started mine was because I couldn’t justify going out to work because my family commitments/the cost of childcare prevented me (mainly because I feel that one of the parents of my son with special needs need to be available if the situation arises – I don’t care if you disagree with this, this is how it is for us). Originally meant as a way to keep my mind ticking over, it started to evolve. I started to write things to try to help others, before moving onto sponsored content/reviews that benefited my family which otherwise would not have had, it also gives me the opportunity to support my family?

The boys got to watch the Smurfs2 and attend the JAKKS Pacific ToyLaunch
The boys got to watch the Smurfs2 and attend the JAKKS Pacific ToyLaunch

 “Cinema tickets don’t cost much but provide exclusive opportunities.” – Alice

Does blogging this way help empower women – to help with the work/home balance? I can understand bloggers accepting whatever ££s they can get to help pay the bills/put food on the table etc – so again why should they think of everyone else? Surely they are going to put their families first? But would they accept so little if they knew they could get more without risking losing the opportunity?

“You may review an item for fun, or because you are interested in it; these could end up being a big source of traffic too” – MummyBarrow

I do agree that we should be talking about what kind of rates we are all getting as some SEOs do lie, telling us “there is no budget” “this is the highest I can go” – when if we speak to each other, then actually they can afford to go higher, they are just undervaluing you and trying to pay as little as possible. But without talking we fear we will lose that opportunity so best not to push/upset them. But it’s not just SEOs/Pr companies being dishonest and here is a great bit of advice in this post here http://scissorspaperrock.co.uk/general-stuff/rantyfriday-sometimes-bloggers-lie-too is about us forming better relationships and being honest – telling bloggers to make sure that they are clear whether you want no-follow from the off-set.

 “Media packs are really tricky things – they are finely tuned to the individual’s skills and outreach, “ Mammasaurus

It really is your blog so do what you like with it, personally I try to build relationships and only work with people I trust.

“Things to consider are: is it something that you’re happy to be associated with, is it a pr that you’re happy with, do you want to spend your time doing it and it is something that fits with you, your life and/or your blog.”.  – Liz Weston

Building Relationships

“I charge more nowadays than I used to for 2 reasons: 1) My readership is bigger and more targeted than it used to be, so it is worth more to a brand than it was when I had a smaller audience. Which is why it’s difficult for all of us to get paid the same amount. At the end of the day if they desperately want a particular blogger they’ll pay her more than someone they like but can afford to lose. And 2) I get so many requests these days (and I’m doing paid work too) that I can’t afford to spend my working hours doing a review unless a) it’s paying well enough or b) it fits my blog perfectly or c) it’s something I really really want. Some people say that new bloggers should expect as much as more established bloggers, but I disagree, it has taken me time to get to the point I’m at. Unless you are a niche blogger, in which case they’re totally right. ” – ActuallyMummy

We need to be confident in who we are and what we are doing. Do you have a community or an audience – (Communities talk to each other when you are not there – this is more influential). It is then about the value of the community and not the size. It’s no good having an audience of 10,000 if no-one is actually listening. How attractive is that audience to Brands? If you are talking to everyone with new babies but want to review computer games the Brand is going to be less interested. Can you influence people to retweet/share/engage in content? Are you honest? Do people trust you – so you are more likely to influence? Do you have a low bounce rate? Do people spend a lot of time on your site? Do you have a unique selling point?

A community talks about things even when you are not around.

“I find that when you work with a brand and get to know them they think of you first for projects and get in touch”. – ACupCakeMum

Blogging for Good

Some people do blog for good – or to help others in their situation (e.g. DownSideUp), or find answers to help with their situation, or help charities, such as, Team Honk – this then in turn may, and has, lead to further opportunities because they have built up a relationship.

What about Companies with products not worth a lot

What happens to those small companies, ones who have products not worth a lot? Are we no good as bloggers to them? Or should they be paying is lots of money to review their £2 soft drink? What if they are new or small – should we not give them a helping hand?

I reviewed the Write to Read App and actually discovered that it was a very useful tool for my son!

This App unexpectedly was very useful for my son’s special needs – and something I would have not discovered if I hadn’t agreed to review it.

“I’ve agreed to do things for a lot less if it was a new company or a small business to help them start out – because it’s a nice thing to do – encouraging people – and yes if they are success then maybe your loyalty will be rewarded too! Equally if it’s something I really like or care about then I would do it for a lot less” – Keynko

I did reviews/giveaways for local businesses because I wanted to show them how important social media was, whilst helping support my local community. Buying local is a very important issue to me. I feel this is how I’d measure my worth, by being supportive, rather than n ££s as I feel that we have become too fixated by money https://pinkoddy.co.uk/blog/2013/02/20/are-we-really-that-fixated-about-money/. I think it also illustrates to Brands/PR/SEOs looking at my blog what my reviews are like – to make sure we ‘fit’ together.

“I reviewed a couple of fabric pens for that cost of about a fiver 2 and a half years ago. I’ve since reviewed a massive range of their products, built a brilliant relationship with them, appeared in their newsletters and craft magazine features and they have sponsored me the past 2 years running to attend an event” – Me and My Shadow

But also I know when to say no to posts, if the product has no interest to me then I’m not going to review it. If I wouldn’t endorse if without being given it for free then I will not endorse it just because it is free. If I have agreed to review something and not been happy, I will go back to the PR Company – the message I keep getting back from Brands is they prefer honest criticism as long as you go through them and not posting it straight out on social media/your blog. Again I can see how attractive a loans company offering £100 for a prewritten post with a follow link can be for someone who needs the money.

Blagging – Don’t be afraid to accept Products/Payment

When thinking about a price to accept for sponsored content/review we could ask ourselves some questions– was the post written in free time for fun? Or have you had to put things off/work to deadlines/stay up late? Has the product cost anything to review (have you had to travel to London (for example), stay overnight in a Hotel)? Will you have made a loss? What kind of loss are you willing to make? And for what kind of product/service/event? Why do you want to review it?

“Go with what you’re happy with…I’ve reviewed cheap as chips stuff & it hasn’t done me any harm” – The Crazy Kitchen

Don’t be afraid to approach Brands you love – your enthusiasm for their product/service will be beneficial to them. Don’t worry about being called a “Blagger” either – sticks and stones and all that. As long as you know your worth – work hard – ADVERTISING – for the Brand you are not blagging, you are providing them with an important service – so never need feel bad for accepting/ asking for payment.

In conclusion, it’s your blog, and only you know your worth and that of your blog – just remember that it is not necessarily measured in £££s and do what is right for you.

“At the end of the day, if it’s something you’re happy with reviewing or being part of, you should do it – it’s your blog, your presence and your decision! Don’t worry about other people”  – Liz Weston

Kind thanks to the many people who have helped me compile this post – it is not a Sponsored post.

41 thoughts on “What is your Worth and How is it Measured?”

  1. really interesting post, I have just started to think more seriously about where I want to with reviews/sponsored posts on my blog, and you have given me lots to think about and useful tips- thank you

    Reply
  2. I have a list of things I won’t review, such as tablet apps and ebooks, because I just don’t have the time. I won’t review anything I don’t want or need and I wont review anything that I could stroll into a supermarket and buy for a fiver. Yes there may be the opportunity of future work… but then again, there might not! I struggle to find the time to write my blog and I try not to do more than 2 reviews a week, because a) I’d get bored and b) My readers would get bored. So therefore I only review products I really want. I once offered to review an ebook, that I thought “might be nice” but turned out to be bloomin awful (and I said that in my review). Then I realised it’d take a good half an hour plus to write that review, only to find I could have bought it for £1.99.That’s when the arguments started because the publisher decided she wanted four follow links and loads of pictures and me to change the negative bits. Needless to say, I told her where to shove her ebook – but that wasted lots more of my time. That’s time I won’t get back.

    I wont publish press releases, unless I get the products. I just don’t have the time. The only posts I write for free are for Cancer charities, Lullaby Trust and British Red Cross. At Blog Summit in Bristol I learnt that all is good and well supporting charities, but there has to be a limit, you can’t just blog about any and every charity going or your blog loses focus. So I blog about those three charities because they are close to my heart. As much as I’d love to save the penguins, I just don’t have that much time and I don’t want to distract focus from the Cancer charities I support.

    I only recently started taking sponsored posts, but I have a minimum amount in mind, and I wont go below it. I publish giveaways for free, because I find them exciting and they are a good traffic driver. People say it’s false traffic, but sometimes it’s not – I’ve gained a great many subscribers who haven’t ever unsubscribed. A few do yes, but that’s to be expected.

    I think a lot of this debate comes down to time – how much time do you have. I found this post fascinating. A great read. And I learnt something too… I always wondered what bounceback was. Thanky. xx

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  3. Very helpful and thought provoking post.

    I do both reviews and sponsored posts on my blog and in many ways prefer to do reviews as they expose both me and my family to new products that we may want to purchase but don’t have the money to purchase.

    I don’t think that buy reviewing a book that retails at £4.99 devalues myself or my blog, we got to read/enjoy a new book and hopefully we will help others who are thinking of purchasing that book in the future.

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  4. Very good post. 🙂 For me it is more about the experience than the monetary value. I have started turning down a lot of items to review as it is so time consuming and leading my blog in the wrong direction for me. I think you are so flattered to be offered when you are a newbie, but as time goes on you do need to choose mre carefully. Thanks. Another reminder to do a Media Pack too. 🙂

    Reply
    • I think that is it – it easy to be dragged into the flattery and do things you wouldn’t normally which, as you say, can pull you the wrong way.

      Thank you for taking the time to comment.

      Reply
  5. Really helpful post. I agree with pretty much all that’s said, and it is really hard when starting out monetising, knowing what to charge. I think you also need to have the strength to say no when you want to, as some pr’s really push and don’t listed to what you’re saying. No point wasting yours and the company’s time up front.

    Reply
    • I’m glad you found it helpful. A very good point about having the strength to say no. Luckily I haven’t had to deal with any pushy PRs as yet. Thank you for your time to comment.

      Reply
  6. brilliantly written Pinkoddy, when I first started my blog I had no idea you could earn money from it, I started both of mine for my own and my daughters sake plus my love of food! and really enjoy it. Pleased you put the financial stuff at the top of the post, so important to keep everything in order.

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  7. This is brilliant 🙂 it’s fantastic you’ve collected together so many different opinions and given a rounded view point – beats a lot of the stuff out there that only gives one side. I’m bookmarking it to look back on! x

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  8. Such a great post. It really makes you think. I always stay up late to work on my blog – whether it be for my own posts or for ones of the sponsored variety. It just means I can spend time with my children in the daytime and not feel like I want to take a break for half an hour and talk about more adult things with my readers! Great blog by the way – how come I never came across it before?!

    Confessions of a Secret Shopper

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  9. An excellent article. I wonder, if we are given products to review, is that considered an income for self assessment purposes? I think I need to start keeping track of these things as my blog seems to be getting a life of its own!

    Reply
    • I really would like to hear which opinions you don’t agree with and why – it will help give a balance to help people to make informed choices.
      Thank you for commenting.

      Reply
  10. This is such a comprehensive post! I totally get why people would say you’re worth as much as the lowest amount you’re willing to accept, but that’s looking at it from a very black and white point of view. In reality, what’s going on between bloggers and brands is a business transaction, and good business sense always dictates that what matters the most in any transaction is the relationship between the 2 parties.

    So, as an example, I have blogged about things totally free of charge for one PR, because I know that when he has a budget he will pay me, and when he has a great review item that he knows will suit me, I’ll be at the top of his list. That’s why I think it’s a much more complex issue than some say it is.

    At the end of the day, everything is about relationships.

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  11. What a wonderful post!!
    I have seen so many questions from new bloggers recently, I was considering writing down some of my views/experience – now I’l just refer them to you 😉 xx

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  12. Fascinating post. I’ve been thinking lots recently about money and where my blogging is going! TBH I too wish that bloggers would be more open about money.

    My experience/feeling is that it’s hard to monetarise successfully, certainly without challenging your “values.” But, of course, that isn’t just what blogging is about. I have started to ask myself why spend ages blogging about something I really don’t have much intetest in for no or minimal financial gain? And, if I’m brutally honest, I’m not really that into writing (or reading) about many of the brands that focus on mummy blogs.

    I totally get why, with a relatively small readership, I’m not that attractive to brands but, on the flip side, I am coming to the view that spending hours sampling and writing about frozen pizza slices (or whatever) gratis because I’ve got a free product isn’t really a great use of my time.

    Great if you can make it work. I too am staying home to be on call if my son (who has a medical condition) needs me. And I’d love to make blogging “pay” to help me do this. However, I suspect I really (a) don’t have the stamina for the grind, (b) could probably make more money in other ways and (c) I don’t like how much I think I’d have to compromise to get in with the brands to make it all work (even on a small scale).

    I do however really wish that as a whole the blogging community and PRs could be more open about what one can reasonably expect to make (taking on board there are so many variables). I really do find it clouded in mystique rather than hard figures and concrete examples. I may be totally wrong, but my feel is that very few people make a decent income out of just blogging.

    Hope someone jumps in to tell me I’m wrong!

    Reply
    • I think that is why it is really important that we don’t feel bad about approaching Brands that we are passionate about/suit as it will be the best relationship all around, and be the most relevant.
      Thank you for commenting.

      Reply
  13. I find that such a crazy argument – does that mean that employers think volunteering is worthless? Um no! Whatever happened to doing your own thing, the thing that makes you happy?

    I totally agree about companies with low value products – surely that doesn’t mean that they can’t benefit from blogger reviews? Personally, I write about what I want to and if that helps to build relationships with businesses and brands and lead to further opportunities, then all the better.

    Great post.

    Reply
    • Thank you.
      I would like to hear why people feel that this argument stands though – least I could try and weigh up what they are saying – but without any other kind of explanation I’m definitely with you.

      Thank you for your help. x

      Reply
  14. Great post! I started a baby and toddler product review blog this year as a hobby that I very much enjoy. Occasionally one of my children does something strange/funny/endearing or somebody sneaks into my parking spot (!) and I get an urge to blog about it but predominantly I write product reviews. I’m not sure into which blogger pigeon hole this places me and I’m not too concerned. My intention behind the blog was to provide honest and informative reviews to those assessing a particular product or surveying the market.

    I spend a very long time reviewing products, surveying competitor offerings, writing and editing the posts, taking and editing pictures and short movies, publicising the post, replying to comments/queries on my blog and on forums, etc. I always disclose where products have been provided for the purpose of review and also include any negative points I find. I currently don’t entertain sponsored posts (not a judgement but I think it could compromise my status as an impartial review site). I don’t agree to take products unless I can use them, I actually want to try them and they’re relevant to my blog and lifestyle. I don’t think I’ll ever make money out of what I do but that’s not the point for me. I’ve reviewed products costing just a couple of pounds and there’s no way it was cost effective for me to do so (if I were viewing it as an hourly rate thing which I don’t) but that wasn’t the point for me as I thought the product was brilliant and I was trying to give it visibility.

    Thank you for the helpful information too!

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  15. Great post. It’s really interesting to see what other people think about certain scenarios. I go by the rule: If I’m happy with what I do, then that’s all that counts 😉

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  16. Brilliant post and great to hear so many viewpoints. For me the relationship with the PR company is really important, and I’m usually happy to review smaller items from PR’s I have a good relationship with.

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  17. Great information. I started blogging because I love it, and opportunities do arise to review products/sponsored posts – I never thought I woud get approached but I do. Now I try to create really great relationships, not just with PRs but with other bloggers. It’s a whole world I never knew existed, and posts like this really help 🙂

    Reply
  18. Wow! So much useful information, especially for someone as clueless as me! I’ve just had a little shift with my blog and I’m now considering doing reviews and sponsored posts. I’ve declined everything I’ve been offered so far because it’s not been do – able…although now I’ve read this post I wonder if I’m just a bit anxious about turning my blog into something that generates income. I’m really nervous about getting it wrong. Bookmarking this so I can go through it properly later. Thank you! X

    Reply

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