The Business of Blogging: Compensation

I don’t usually post about actual blogging on this blog (very meta), but I came across this clip last night and found it so interesting. I can’t read the full article or see the full video because you have to be a subscriber to WWD (boo), but from what I can see Emily Schuman of Cupcakes and Cashmere gave a speech about the business of blogging at an event held by Fairchild Fashion Media, which is a part of Conde Nast. I think it’s an interesting clip whether you’re a blogger or not, but especially if you’re a blogger, obviously. 
It speaks to the question of whether bloggers should be paid for their work, and how. The first article that I read that really struck me on this subject was here, which if you don’t want to read the full article, is about a brand basically trying to get a blogger to promote them for free, claiming that they don’t have a marketing budget. I definitely think that’s completely wrong, but I guess I wasn’t too surprised that brands would be trying to wrangle free publicity out of people. 
However, I have to say that when I saw this clip of Emily, I was actually shocked! She’s pretty much as huge as it gets in the blogging world, and companies would still write her an email that says “dear blogger”? That really surprises me. And I’m also pretty shocked that, considering the level that she’s at, a brand wouldn’t understand that she would be paid monetarily for anything she does, and would instead try to pay her with free products. That’s very surprising to me that that would happen with a blogger and author as influential and popular as Emily – I’m guessing that her site must get millions of pageviews per month. That’s huge exposure for any brand that she posts about – so why wouldn’t she be paid for giving them that exposure and that access to her audience? I’ve definitely bought things that she’s posted (too many things!). In fact, she’s how I discovered Club Monaco, which has become one of my favorite brands ever (if not number one favorite). 
Anyway, I think it’s an interesting clip (so wish I could see the whole speech!) and interesting to ponder if you’re in the blogging world, or even just any public relations or media field. I think it just goes to show that bloggers still have a long way to go towards being taken truly seriously as business entities. I don’t know much about the business side of blogging, but from what I can tell I think that bloggers need to accurately assess their worth (the size of their audience, the complexity of their posts and the time it takes to create them), and charge accordingly. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with taking a product as payment, if it’s a product that you really love and want, but I don’t think brands should expect that as the norm. 

Leave a Comment

  1. Dana wrote:

    great post – thanks for sharing that clip. super interesting stuff for sure!

    Published 4.8.14 · Reply
  2. Yes, very interesting topic, would be interesting to listen to it all. Thanks for sharing 🙂

    Published 4.8.14 · Reply
  3. Bhreagh wrote:

    I agree with everything you discussed above. It's a pity that a successful female blogger isn't looked at as a business woman but "just a blogger". Blogs create larger platforms for companies and brands to showcase their products, and they absolutely should be compensated for this service. Emily is an extremely successful person and to assume that her blog would showcase a product for free or for very little it a small insult to her success. Would a major corporation expect to allow marketing on their website for free? I think not.

    Such an excellent post! Thanks for sharing!


    Published 4.8.14 · Reply
  4. Alex wrote:

    This is such an interesting post. I agree with Seersucker Sass that it's important to be selective and only work with companies and products you truly believe in. However, it does shock me that Emily still doesnt always get the respect she deserves.

    Published 4.8.14 · Reply
  5. Anonymous wrote:

    I love your blog, seriously I do, but every time a blogger gets paid to promote a product, even though they say they will only work with brands they truly believe in, they have to undermine their independence. As long as they accept this, it's fine. But journalists don't.
    Kind regards, Paddy

    Published 4.9.14 · Reply
  6. Wow! That was an interesting post! One of my friends that works in the marketing industry recently came over for dinner and we were talking about the blogging world and marketing & it astounded me to hear that multi-billion dollar industries are seeking out bloggers to promote their products– for free. Sure, the bloggers get to try something new for free, but are they getting paid for the revenue they bring to the company by doing that? No! It's ridiculous too, because these companies claim that their best form of marketing is "word of mouth" and that is what bloggers do. You would think that there would be compensation for the items bloggers feature because they are doing these companies such a huge favor (basically). I don't know…to me, if companies are shifting their marketing strategies to more "word of mouth" by way of bloggers, there should be money in that. I could go on and on, but basically, great post!!

    Published 4.9.14 · Reply
    • Thank you so much for your awesome comment! I could go on and on about this subject too. I agree with what you said. The fact is that when a company is on a blog like Cupcakes and Cashmere, they're getting tons of exposure (to millions of people I would think) and and that could translate into lots of dollars for them. So why wouldn't the blogger be entitled to some of those dollars?

      Published 4.10.14 · Reply
  7. I would love to see the whole video too! I totally agree, a less well-known blogger or someone who just does it as more of a hobby might be happy to take products as payment, and that totally makes sense. I was just shocked that they would think someone like Emily (blogging royalty is a good way of putting it!) would.

    Published 4.10.14 · Reply
  8. Totally agree! You need to be careful right from the outset to only blog about brands and products and things that you really and truly love…I think that's one of the most important things to keep in mind. Great point!

    Published 4.10.14 · Reply
  9. This is a topic that's been coming up more and more in my blogger circles lately. As someone who's been running a blog as a business for going on 5 years, it's a bit insulting at times. I feel like I'm constantly having to prove my worth to brands in order to get compensated for the time I put into my blog.

    Published 4.14.14 · Reply