By: Sandy Nene I am sure many of you have experienced being bullied. Whether it was at school by the ‘cool kids’ or at home by your big brother. There are many ways that one could be bullied. As bloggers, we all love working with brands, it gives us growth and makes us look ‘cool’ or ‘legit’ towards fellow bloggers – but my question is, is it ALWAYS good for us, our blogs and our readers? I have worked with so many brands as a blogger and that has only started after a year I’ve started blogging, I’ve had both bad and good experiences working with these brands (of which I won’t mention) and doing research from more experienced bloggers has helped me realise what I’m worth.

Free Stuff Won’t Pay The Bills

As much as most PR companies don’t like admitting it, when they send you free stuff; they are actually bribing you. It’s either they expect you to write something good about their brand/product or they are trying to find a way to win you and make you do stuff for them and also try blackmailing you by promising to send you more free stuff in return to publish their press release (that most of the time isn’t relevant to what you write about or what your readers may be interested in). We all love free stuff and it isn’t easy turning them away, this is a difficulty that new bloggers come across. If you are a student and really want to start making money from your blog, you should start knowing what you’re worth. Charging PR companies for reviews, competitions and press releases is never an easy step to take but at the end of the day it needs to be taken – you can save up that money and start investing on your blog.

Here’s What You Could Start Investing For:

  • A domain for your blog.
  • A nice, good looking and unique theme.
  • A Logo.
  • Business cards.
  • Petrol/transport money when covering events and attending meetings.
  • Your Bandwidth

When PR companies send you stuff for you to publish on your blog it’s never wrong to respond saying “Hi_____ thanks so much for contacting me. Here are my rates (attached), let me know if you need any further info. Looking forward to hearing from you. Kind regards_____” if that PR company really care about you, your blog and your readers, they might consider replying and then you could start negotiating prices and so forth. At first, some publicists may not reply – why? Because you stood up for yourself, your blog and your readers – you are looking at yourself as a professional, your blog as your brand/business and your readers as valued customers/audience. Honestly… you’ll never see me browsing through a blog that’s full of press releases and not quality content. I love quality and hearing people’s thoughts.


However, there are brands which are always nice working with… brands who care about you and really wanna see you grow. Don’t chase them away, hold on and stay loyal to them. There are brands who are relevant to your blog, don’t be afraid to share or write about them when you see a need to (remuneration free). Look out for my next post where I’ll be explaining to you when is the right time to start charging for editorial on your blog.

Here’s a short definition of bullying I found on Wikipedia: Bullying is the use of force, threat, or coercion to abuse, intimidate, or aggressively to impose domination over others. The behavior is often repeated and habitual. One essential prerequisite is the perception, by the bully or by others, of an imbalance of social or physical power. Behaviors used to assert such domination can include verbal harassment or threat, physical assault or coercion, and such acts may be directed repeatedly towards particular targets. Justifications and rationalizations for such behavior sometimes include differences of class, race, religion, gender, sexuality,appearance, behavior, or ability. If bullying is done by a group, it is called mobbing. The target of bullying is sometimes referred to as a “victim ”

Are you or your blog being bullied? What are you doing to stop this? What do you love or hate about working with brands?


  1. Wow Ok! I mean this is like so useful and thank you for sharing,normaly I think (IMO) that most people wouldn’t share this but thanks for the heads up. Will still do more research when my blog has grown to that level.

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  2. Very Insightful, never really broadened my mind in terms of brands, pr companies and so forth this post really gave me something to think about. Thanks ya’ll !!

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  3. Very interesting reading. However, as the owner of a small business , we simply cannot pay bloggers and are only able to give product for review. It is a matter of economics. You may find that if you start to charge, many opportunities could fall by the wayside. It is a tricky one. Very delicate balance to decide when to go professional.

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  4. I really love this platform for its amazing advice. I’ve had my experience with vicious publicist, I’m in that transitional stage of talking rates before product review or event exposure and I’ve probably lost half of my “industry friends” cause they feel entitled to your blogger services for goodie bags and booze.

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  5. I think responding with a ‘thanks for the mail, here are my rates’ mail is also a form of bullying. When PR companies and brands provide relevant and useful content it will be used – if they want guarenteed coverage, they’ll enquire about sponsored posts. I think setting a precedent regards paid-for editorial is dangerous and bordering on unethical. You also run the risk of creating a blog where the boundaries between editorial based on choice and editorial based on payment isn’t flagged.

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  6. Hehehe! I didn’t realise I felt strongly about the topic until I came across this blog post and read some of the comments.

    I think bloggers should have very clear editorial and advertising policies long before their blogs are big enough to be approached by brands. Even if you feel that you are not ready to accept advertising and sponsorships yet, put these policies down. They will clarify right quickly for you what you should do when you get a press release/invitation to an event/free goodies from a brand;

    1. Does this product/service/event fit in with your blog topics and themes? Would your readers be interested in this product/service/topic? Writing on a topic that does not relate to your blogging theme is blogger suicuide. It will lose you reader credibility.

    2. Are you confident enough of this brand that you can recommend it to your readers

    3. Is the content they sent to you editorial? Free quality content from other people is great, but my policy is, unless I asked you for content because we’re blogging buddies, it doesn’t go on my blogs for free. This is especially true if there is a link even if just one link, to your website or blog on that post. However, if I used a product/service and loved it, I blog about it, link to it etc without being asked, because my readers like to know what I’m doing/using. The exception to this rule are social causes, as I am an activist and strongly believe we can use blogging to make a difference in our society.

    4. Is this a sponsored post ( which is a completely different animal to editorial, in my view). The sponsored post deals I’ve done have been very straightforward. Company X says, please write your usual post about, say books or writing, and we’ll sponsor it. In return, we’d like the post to include “this sentence” and/or these two links. My job as a blogger is to provide my readers with the very same quality content I would if the post was not sponsored and to inform my readers that this is a sponsored post (my readers happy for me when it happens. To them it means I’m making a living and will therefore be around for a while longer). My job as a service provider for the sponsor is to make sure that the content meets their editorial guidelines, that they are credited properly and that links to their website or blog works.

    5. Is this promotional content/a press release – Does your blog publish press releases? If so, I’m assuming you have already stated to your readers that you will occassionally publish press releases and you will state upfront that they are press releases. You would also have stated the frequency that you will publish them ( maybe every thursday or something?) You also need to decide whether you will publish the press release as it is, link to it from your blog after summarising the basic info in the press release. Either way, this to me seems like a business transaction, pure and simple.

    5. Is this a review? What is your review policy? Mine is pretty simple: My views are my own. If I liked it I’ll blog about it and tell my readers what I like and what my reservations were. If I didn’t like it I’ll tell the brand and won’t blog about it, because my blog is not about trashing other people.

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