by Yvonne DiVita - Like Lip-sticking on Facebook!
This week we come to you from sunny Colorado where the temperatures are back in the mid-to-high 90s. After enduring a record-breaking stretch of higher than high temps, sometimes up to 105 degrees in the shade, we Coloradans were happy to embrace the 80s. Ah! Those were the day - as temps inch upwards again, we are thankful the fires are under control and we mostly have air conditioning and we did have a good bit of rain to soak into the ground.
That's key, isn't it? Being thankful for what you have - because you could lose it at any time.
In the world of politics, we saw Mitt Romney booed by members of the NAACP. He handled it well, I think. He's also delusional about the American people, but... I was impressed by the way he stuck to his guns. Not enough to vote for him, but... enough to say so.
Obama appears on TV quite regularly, also. He's always smiling and encouraging and focused on what we can do, not what we didn't do. Interesting that, yes? It's uplifting to see him speaking about progress and moving Forward.
As I write this, I'm remembering an email exchange from earlier this week. A blogger in our pet network wrote to say he was participating in a new <brand not mentioned> program and had been invited by <brand not mentioned> to do things with their social media, also. "I really need to find a way to monetize all this!" he joked in his note to me.
Really? I answered. You want to monetize your hard work but because Brand X and Brand Y have offered to feed you THEIR information (which they know you will share) and bring you to THEIR homebase for a visit (which you'll put up on your Facebook page - and share with all 10,000 fans), you're thrilled and
happy and wondering when the dollars will roll in!
Here's when that will happen - when pigs fly! As long as you give your hard work away for free, these brands know they never have to send you a dime.
Are you in the same boat as this guy? Are you doing a ton of coverage for various brands FOR FREE because you think, "Once I get my foot in the door, I can make money with this brand"?
My advice is to Stop. Just Stop. Ask yourself these questions before you decide to work for free:
How much is this brand paying the dog that appears in its xyz commercial and doesn't do anything but sit there with a sign on its neck or only chases a ball or just gobbles some food in a dish for the camera? Is that dog doing MORE than you'll do? Is that dog sharing with thousands of other bloggers? No. That dog is just... being a dog. HIS handler or owner is taking the big check the brand paid him all the way to the bank and he's eating out at a nice restaurant tonight.
How much is the brand paying to place a rich media ad on Dogtime Media? Or Yahoo? Or Techcrunch? Yes, I know. Those sites garner millions of pageviews, which everyone thinks is fantastic. And, you only bring in a hundred thousand pageviews (or 20,000, I don't know)... so, they deserve the hundreds of thousands of dollars the brands are paying them.
Does that mean your blog is free? Does that mean the 20,000 - 30,000 or more pageviews YOU get every month are chopped liver? NO! It means, instead of paying those other groups hundreds of thousands of dollars for eyeballs that may or may not be interested in the product, the brand can pay you several thousand dollars to get in front of its true, target market! Seriously.
I told my friend that he was (and is) a rock star in his niche. I told him to start thinking like a rock star. And no, rock stars don't visit headquarters for free. Rock stars don't do commercials for free. Rock stars don't roll over and wiggle when the brand sends them a press release about a new product. Now, if that press release is accompanied by a BIG check, the rock star will THINK about it. And, actually, his manager will help him decide whether to participate.
Got it? If you're a blogger - if you operate in a niche - if you've built a network - you're a rock star. When a brand offers to send you Press releases before anyone else and to bring you to headquarters, ask them, "What's in it for me? Press releases don't pay my light bill. Coming to headquarters so I can write about you doesn't pay my mortgage. How much will you pay for the privilege of bringing me to headquarters and sharing your PR with my network?" Then, set a price. Start at $5000. You can always go lower.
Or, get an agent. I hear there's a market for that these days.