Wednesday, September 29, 2010

The Momblogger's Lament: Asking for Money and Hearing Crickets

I'm reading: The Momblogger's Lament: Asking for Money and Hearing CricketsTweet this!

The other day, I tweeted that I asked for compensation for a project and suddenly the quick responses I'd been getting from the potential client slowed to a halt. I received several "Been there!" tweets in response, so I know it's not an uncommon situation for bloggers.

In this particular case, I'm not convinced the client has completely blown me off, they might just be looking into budgets and such.

However, I feel the need to clarify what I couldn't in 140 characters: I didn't just jump in and ask for the big bucks.

What I did was send the potential client a list of questions regarding the assignment. I asked about expectations. I inquired about objectives and outcomes. I tried to clarify my role in the bigger picture. And then I asked about the related compensation.

I noticed that Jennifer James, a leader in the social media mom space, has started to refer to professional mombloggers (yes, there is such a thing!) as blogging businesswomen.

Blogging businesswomen. Love it.

That said, I'm not sure the term will catch on. Blogging businesswomen sound more intimidating than mommybloggers, don't you think?

It's okay to ask for money, if that's what makes for a balanced value exchange. But don't get all greedy and grabby. Take time to understand what's involved in an assignment, ask questions until you are clear on the outcomes and then talk money.

You'd never go into a job interview demanding a certain salary before you knew what the job entailed. If you want to be a blogging businesswoman, approach potential gigs as a professional. Take your self seriously. Be assertive, but tactful.

And if you still hear crickets when you ask for money, or the allotted budget doesn't fit with your hopes/needs/wildest dreams. Move ahead without burning bridges and set your sights on the next opportunity.


QuatroMama said...

A to The MEN!

MBB Founder and Editor Denene Millner said...

Yes indeed to everything you said!
BUT what gets my goat EVERY TIME is the crickets. If you're representing a company and you want to procure my services and I tell you, respectfully and tactfully, that the services you're asking for come at a cost and "here's the price," at least have the decency to be as quick about saying you can't afford it/don't want to pay as you are about asking me to work for free. Anything less is rude and certainly not businesslike. I understand if you don't have the budget or think someone else will be willing to give you what you want for free, but if that's the case, SAY THAT. Don't all of a sudden get unresponsive when you realize I'm a businesswoman running A BUSINESS.

Sorry to sound so harsh, but I guess my patience is growing glaringly thin when it comes to the unsportsmanlike conduct these businesses employ when they approach us businesswoman...

Sara (from Saving for Someday) said...

I still consider myself 'new to blogging' even though I've been around going on 10 months.

I've learned a great deal, one of which has to do with this idea of compensation.

In my 'real job', I don't work for free. But I have friends/family that will ask me for advice. As a lawyer, I can't do that -- freely give advice. The ethical rules create challenges for me if I do. So either they pay or I agree to represent pro bono. But there is always an up front agreement.

I have seen that many brands don't view what 'mom bloggers' do as a business. Then again, many are not professional and do not turn our quality work. But, that's no different than any consultant out there. There's a bell curve for everything!

My belief is that if I'm that significant that you've come to me because you (brand) believe I bring reach and influence then you have to pay for it. No brand - big or small - will think of calling up NBC and saying 'hey, will you do a little story on us for 5 days in a row and ask your viewers to go to your website and leave a comment about our product so that at the end of 5 days you can pick a winner and give one of the commenters our widget'.

NBC would laugh them out of existence, that is if they'd stayed on the phone long enough to hear the whole thing.

No brand would ask a PR company to work for free or for product, so why is it OK to ask us? Well, it's OK b/c we've said it is OK. Mom bloggers have taken compensation in product.

But, just as the old west changed from bartering chickens for dental care, so has mom blogging!

However, if we expect to be treated as legitimate business women we need to act like it, carry ourselves as such, and not be afraid to ask for what we feel is just.

Jennifer James said...

Hi Kim -- Thanks for the shout-out about my use of "blogging businesswomen". It easily rolled off my fingers after such an amazing experience at Type-A. That's the vibe I got there..that it was a conference for women who want to really be businesswomen.

I hope those crickets turn to cash for you with this potential client.

Elita said...

I definitely believe that women should be paid for their expertise online. However, as a professional in management in my "real life," I would definitely want to know what the salary was for a job before I applied. All of that "commensurate with experience" stuff doesn't fly for me. Maybe it is just the industry I work in, but that tends to be code for "shitty salary for a lot of work." I am a library director, so if you want me to run your library, the salary better be decent and if you know it's decent, say what it is! There is always room for negotiation so if these companies want good work, why not come up with an offer? I'd rather hear something even slightly insulting and offer a counter than have to ask for compensation and hear crickets. Do companies really not know by now that the bloggers they want to work with, the ones who can write and have influence, aren't free?

Lisa said...

Having worked in PR, a lot of time it isn't the PR persons fault. They are given little to no budget. I know I fought with my boss for over 2 years to get him to pay bloggers -- him and his clients could not for the life of them understand why we wouldn't want to do it for free. And that's the divide that we are still seeing. Another person commented -- they don't see this as our "jobs" and until that happens, we'll run into this.

Sarah Auerswald said...

My problem is I get annoyed when they ask for stuff for free. I have to remember to take it in stride, realize there are always going to be people asking for stuff for free - and that I have the power to respond by naming a price instead.

Most of the time they're probably still going to go away and leave only crickets, but at least I don't have to get crabby about it.

What gets tricky is knowing what to charge.

A local store asked me to post about an event they were having - not a type of store I would normally write about or in a place I would normally write about -- and on top of everything, the event was not free. It was kind of pricey, actually.

I ended up politely declining, but I guess I could have asked for either a sponsored post about the event, a set of free tickets for myself (which I didn't want) or a sponsored post with a ticket giveaway.

What do people charge for a post like that?

Thanks for starting the topic, Kim!

MelADramatic Mommy said...

I love that we can continue to have this conversation respectfully and intelligently. We will be able to show companies and businesses that our desk may be our kitchen table but that doesn't mean we're not taking what we do seriously when we're sitting there.

WeaselMomma said...

Great advice, Kim. Thanks for posting.

Jodi said...

I love being called a blogging businesswoman. And how smart is Jennifer James?? Love her.

I hope this works out for you. And if not? There's lots of other companies who'd love to work with someone as intelligent as you.