Transparency Tuesday – sharing what I said at Problogger
Transparency is important in any industry. It is absolutely paramount in rapid growth industries like ours – where the rules are being made as the industry is born, as it flexes its muscles and begins to grow.
I went to Problogger Event two weeks ago on the Gold Coast as a guest and a speaker. It was my second Problogger Event – I went last year in Melbourne as well. As always, Darren and the team did an amazing job. Top quality content, inspiring speakers and lots of opportunities to catch up with the smart, pioneering and colourful characters that make up this space we call the blogosphere.
One thing that saddened me though was that the topic of bloggers’ fees was behind closed doors – with bloggers reluctant to share what they themselves charge brands for partnerships. This isn’t limited to this event – it’s something I’ve observed constantly in the four years since I first ventured into working with bloggers.
At the end of a Day 2 session, Mrs Woog jumped up and shared some information about her blog. I then spoke briefly about how The Remarkables Group is structured, and the team and myself have been inundated with emails thanking us since.
I thought it would be helpful to share those points in a wider space – so here they are in black and white (or grey and white).
When I started the business, most of the founding five Remarkables didn’t have a set rate card – so I needed to find a way of structuring them in a fair system that was easy for brands to understand.
We have seven tiers of Remarkables at the moment, which is based on their unique visitors per month. This figure is based on an average of three months – so it provides a buffer against unusually high or low traffic on specific days/weeks.
These tiers are:
Tier 1 – 140,000+ UVs
Tier 2 – 110,000+ UVs
Tier 3 – 80,000+ UVs
Tier 4 – 50,000+ UVs
Tier 5 – 20,000+ UVs
Tier 6 – 10,000+ UVs
Tier 7 – 5,000+ UVs
What we charge – an example
Our rate card is very detailed and covers everything from sponsored posts, to day rates to attend events, content creation, social media sharing. To give you a guide, we charge $1,500 for a sponsored post for Tier 7. The rates then increase gradually tier by tier to $8,000 for Tier 1.
How our Remarkables pay us
We receive 30% of the fees we charge on behalf of our Remarkables and they pay us a monthly retainer.
Contra is when a brand offers a product/service/experience in return for content or endorsement from a blogger. What the blogger is providing can be paid for fully from contra, or else part contra/part payment. For example, a fashion brand might offer $500 in clothes and $500 payment to make up the $1,000 on the blogger’s rate card.
We trialled part contra/part payment in the early days of the business but we decided not to do it again. It can be difficult to place an accurate value on the cost of the product/service/experience, and sometimes it wasn’t something that the blogger actually needed originally. So all of the blogger partnerships we do now are purely payment – that keeps it nice and clear for both the brand and the blogger.
SEO guest posting
Up until a few months ago, we were constantly receiving offers for Remarkables to have guest posts on their blogs for $30-$50 – and often for very big brands. These posts are purely for search benefit, and often the search agencies managing them are completely separate to the true marketing function of the brand.
We always decline these “opportunities”, and several Remarkables have clearly stated on their blogs that they don’t accept these offers – hence the huge reduction in approaches like these.
It’s OK to say no
Another recurring theme at the session I attended was bloggers being afraid to turn down opportunities that were below their rate card. As a blogger, you need to decide what your value is and that is your value.
I remember the first time I turned down an opportunity on a Remarkable’s behalf – my heart was in my mouth! I agreed with her beforehand that it was far below her value, and made the phone call. Lo and behold, the brand found another $2,000 and we made the campaign happen.
Another reason we don’t drop our Remarkables’ rates is that it’s unfair to clients who do pay full rate. It doesn’t feel ethical to me to charge Brand A one rate and Brand B another – it needs to be fair to brands.
Repeat after me – it’s ok to say no.
There have been a number of blogger agencies pop up since we launched in May 2012, who could probably read this. I may be naïve (or even idiotic!) for sharing information about our business.
But as I said at Problogger Event, there are a lot more brands than bloggers.
And a lot more brands than agencies.
We need to have more transparency in this industry we’re creating together, for the good of everyone. Because by sharing information and working together, we will create something truly outstanding.
I urge bloggers to share your traffic and rates with others – compare notes, figure out how you decide your rates together. Share brand approaches with them – get their feedback.
Being a blogger is a bloody isolating job sometimes, so lean on the amazing online community you have for support and guidance. Two heads are most definitely better than one – three is even better again.
As Helen Keller said: “Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much”.
I have a lot more to share on the topic of transparency, so we have at least one more Transparency Tuesday coming up. Next week: managing blogger financials within our agency