Dear Brands, We Will NOT Blog for Free

Dear Brands, We Will NOT blog for free!

Disclaimer: I do not want this post to come across as one giant rant. I want fellow bloggers to read this and realize that they are worth more than just a share on social media. They deserve so much more than to blog for free.

I love to blog, I really do. I love the community of bloggers that I am a part of, and I love creating new content for my readers. There are a few things I don’t love quite as much, but it all balances out in the end. There is one thing, however, that really grinds my gears: when brands expect me to blog for free.

The disappointment typically starts at the very beginning of the process. I’ll get a notification on my phone that I have an email on my blog account, and I immediately get excited, especially when it’s from a brand I know. I check the email, eager to get working on another brand collaboration, only to realize they haven’t mentioned compensation at all. I then reply optimistically, willing to work out some sort of product or cash agreement. Nine times out of ten, I’ll get an email back saying that it’s “just not in the budget” and the collaboration won’t work out. If you blog, I’m sure you’ve been in similar situations.

Let me just explain why this ruffles my feathers so much. They are a brand who has been around for ‘n’ number of years, likely has a good sized marketing budget, and wants some publicity.  I am a 20-year-old woman who is currently juggling school, a part-time job, this blog, plus TWO leadership positions in clubs. The fact that they expect me to blog for free is ridiculous, and kind of insulting. Why would I devote time out of my hectic days to give some company extra promotion that doesn’t benefit me in any way whatsoever?

Enough of my complaining, it’s time to break it all down.

Reasons why I don’t blog for free and you shouldn’t either

  1. “Social shares” don’t pay the bills – Imagine trying to pay your rent with Facebook likes. Kind of ridiculous, right? I don’t think your landlord would like you too much if you did that. When brands propose social sharing as a form of compensation, they’re just trying to get an easy way out.
  2. It devalues my brand – If I just took any opportunity that made its way to my inbox, then what kind of image would my blog have? Half my posts would be meaningless, shallow brand “reviews” based off of a 10 minute website visit.
  3. I simply have better things to do with my time – Like I said earlier, I’m a busy gal. Most likely, all my other tasks will somehow benefit me in the future. Why would I put one of those on the back burner just to write some free promotion? Spend your free time focusing on you, not some brand!

To all my readers out there who have been doing free brand promotions, I hope you reconsider the next opportunity that comes through your inbox. If it doesn’t benefit you, don’t do it.

So now you know my biggest pet peeve when it comes to blogging. What’s yours? Let me know in the comments!

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34 Replies to “Dear Brands, We Will NOT Blog for Free”

  1. YES AND MORE YES! I AM SO SO SO SO SO FRUSTRATED with brands these days! SO FRUSTRATED. I remember a few years back I was making FAR MORE $ than I am now because brands were willing to pay bloggers because there were less of us willing to do things for free. Now I just feel like all brands think they can get away with USING bloggers and simply giving them product because SO MANY are willing to take just product! Drives me bananas!

    1. It’s just so annoying, isn’t it?!

  2. I am so with you! It’s frustrating when brands except you to do things for them for free. I’ve also received many emails that say something along the lines of “if you do this for us, we will reward you with $13.” It drives me NUTS! Thanks for sharing this gf!

    Rachel /

    1. Omg, that’s so ridiculous!

  3. Yes to all of these, Anna! So very true.

    1. Glad you agree Jenny!

  4. YES YES YES! So many brands want the exposure for free! They wouldn’t expect to be featured in a magazine for free, why would they want us to do it for free?

    1. An excellent point!

  5. It’s so annoying how many brands ask for free advertising! I think they think they’re tricking us!

    1. They probably do!

  6. YES YES YESSS!! I just sent three emails saying this to people! And honestly, once I started doing sponsored work for $, more offers started coming in! You are not only hurting your bank account when you work for free but you are devaluing all your friends in the entire industry! THANK YOUUUUU!!!

    Rachel | The Confused Millennial

    1. I can imagine! Thank you for reading Rachel!

  7. GOSH YES!! Like I just got an email that said “We cannot compensate or send you the product, but would still love if you wrote a review” like NO. Ugh, so frustrating and insulting.

    Alix |

    1. It really is! I got an email like that recently and that’s what inspired this post!

  8. I started saying no to brands a few months ago and it was so hard at first but now it’s paying off! Stick to your guns!

    Greta |

    1. I’ve started saying no way more often than I’m saying yes. It’s just frustrating when they don’t learn!

  9. You know – if you want to send free things, that’s fine with me, because if I like it, I’ll actually mention it. It’s when you send it and then EXPECT me to share it just because you sent it

    1. Another great point Maegan! Either that or I’ll give an actual review on whether or not I actually like it!

  10. Preach it girlfriend! This has started to become more and more of a problem lately for me and it’s so frustrating!
    Amy | Pastel N Pink

    1. It really is so frustrating!

  11. Yep yep yep! It’s so great to see so many bloggers like yourself taking a stand against working for free. I’m trying to be very firm about it as well!

    xoxo A

    1. They just won’t learn until we take a stand!

  12. Rachel Timmerman says: Reply

    Yes yes and YES!!!! I couldn’t agree more. What bothers me even more is when I get to the bottom of a long email from a brand that I love only to find it says “we will provide you with high-resolution images for a post.” I feel so devalued and usually just immediately delete the email. This is such a refreshing post to see! Thanks for sharing 🙂

    1. Yes!!! Those high resolution image emails are so annoying!

  13. FINALLY someone says the truth!!! One time a brand contacted me asking for me to feature their brand for free. I wasn’t even going to get a free product, let alone any compensation. As bloggers we want to provide professional, genuine posts for our readers; not tons of little “infomercial” posts.

    1. Exactly! Like what is the point of that?

  14. Someone had to say it. I love this post. The amount of ridiculous blog proposals I get each week is just rude and irritating. Visiting from

    1. Thanks Delaine!

  15. Ugh I feel you, but sometimes it’s so hard to say no! I usually negotiate doing solely an instagram post since it requires almost no effort from me. If the product is provided, of course.

    xo //

    1. I know it’s hard, but we gotta stick to our guns, girl!

  16. Yes girl I feel you!

  17. My biggest struggle with this is I know that I shouldn’t blog for free, but when a brand contacts me I get so excited that I forget. Being a little nervous to be assertive is common for me, but I was this past week and got what I asked for! It was so exciting, and now completely understand that I need to ask for more! This is a great post!

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