HOW TO PRICE YOURSELF AS A BLOGGER

Blogger Q&A Vol. 16

how to price yourself as a blogger - @mystylevita

I think it’s safe to say that talking income with friends and co-workers can be a little awkward or even frowned upon. I however, highly disagree with this notion. If I don’t know what someone next to me is making for doing the exact same work I am, how can I know if I’m selling myself short or not. Or getting away with murder, hey, you never know. I’ve always been open about this to friends and close co-workers and have no regrets about it. When it comes to blogging, it’s even more taboo to discuss what you charge. Where do you begin to decide those numbers, when do you start to charge and so on. There’s no job description or average pay scale calculator for this new age digital profession. Instead, we have to rely on one another to figure it all out, which is fine, but can be uncomfortable at times.

While at a blog workshop last summer, this topic came up and it quickly got heated. The experts didn’t have an answer for us or guidance on how to find it which was incredibly frustrating since they worked on paid projects daily and definitely knew the answer. The room quickly grew annoyed and it got me thinking, how does one price yourself? And why don’t we talk about it more? What’s the right way to go about it, and what’s the wrong way. So today I’m sharing how I come up with my fees which I’ve been using for a while now as well a some of my closest blog friends. I’m giving up the secret formula on how to price yourself as a blogger, what goes into my quotes and a general guideline that you can easily follow that has grown to become more of the standard. Let’s get started. 

  1. Blog Posts – I like to break my blog posts down into two categories based on my content. First are my original posts with original photography. These include outfit posts, recipes, interior posts and the like that require me to hire a photographer, style, edit and publish. These are more time consuming than the second type, a product collage, or a post with provided images by the brand. Since this requires less time and resources, I obviously price those less. Here’s how I do it.
      • A general rule of thumb is $100 for every 10,000 pageviews. So if you get 50k pageviews a month, you should generally charge around $500. This is personally my baseline for original advertorials (standard blog posts with original photography). It’s the bottom of my range and I then go up from there. If a post needs to be done on a quick timeline, the price goes up. If the post requires me to buy supplies (recipe, decor and the like) the price goes up. Take into account your time, your resources needed and any costs associated with your post and build them into your price. This range can vary based on the above numbers from $500 to $1,000. 
      • For product collage posts (think gift guides, or a product roundup without needing original photography) I have my highest dollar amount in the range be the $100 for every 10,000 pageviews. I may vary it depending on how much editorial freedom I get or don’t get, turnaround and so on. If a brand won’t let me use affiliate links, that changes the number too. Take everything and anything into account on how you make your money and how you spend your time.
      • All of my blog posts automatically come with one round of social media for the brand which I also add on to that. So in addition to the $100 for every 10,000 pageviews, I also do $100 for every 10,000 social followers. Combine those two numbers and that should give you your standard blog post rate with one round of social. Below is a formula to reference for someone who has 50,000 pageviews and roughly 50,000 total social followers (Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest and Instagram).
      • If a brand is looking for additional coverage outside of my standard asks, I’ll use the below section 2 that I apply to just social media posts.
    ((TOTAL PAGEVIEWS/10,000)*100) + ((TOTAL SOCIAL/10,000)*100) = STANDARD BLOG POST RATE
    ((50,000/10,000)*100) + ((50,000/10,000)*100) = $1,000
  2. Social Media Posts – These are classified as sponsored posts solely for social media. I’ll use this formula as well if I’m adding on additional social media to my standard advertorial blog posts which includes one round of social. All platforms vary and you should always take into account your engagement levels. If your platform has a ton of engagement, think more than 30%, you’ll want to increase your price as that’s more exposure the brand is receiving. The same rule applies here of $100 for every 10,000 followers. I find this to be the most accurate and easily applies to all social platforms. Here’s how I do it.
      • I currently have 22k Instagram followers. I’ll typically start an Instagram sponsored post at $200. Again other aspects may affect this price. Do they want you to take an original photo? Does this photo require you to hire a photographer or buy supplies or require additional time (attend an event or a store to shoot at). 
      • If my posts are also being shared to Facebook and Twitter (which I always offer as an extra and brands almost always add it on) I’ll add to the price as well. Same rule applies. $100 for every 10,000 followers. My Facebook currently has 5k followers, so that’s another $50 to share to that platform. My Twitter currently has 6k, that’s another $60. So let’s do the math. 
        22k Instagram + 5k Facebook + 6k Twitter = 33k total followers
        $220 +  $50 + $60 = $330

        My rate would be around $300-$350 before any other expenses come into play. Need me to come up with an original recipe for this Instagram post? You bet I’m adding on to that, that’s my time, energy and work. Need this up by tomorrow? You’ll be paying an additional 25% because of that.

     

  3. Event Hosting – This is a tough one and I’ve found it to be one that varies the most. It’s really up to you as a blogger to decide if events are worth your time and energy. I’ve had both great experiences with events, and sadly, awful experiences. It’s important to take into account your own city and their habits. Do people enjoy events, is there traffic that keeps them from attending, are there other events going on that night that may reduce media attendees and so on. Also, is the brand promising promotion of your brand on their platforms as well. All things to think about when coming up with a proposed price.  Personally, if someone wants me to just show up and they’ll handle everything else, I’ll charge roughly my standard post rate per hour (and closer to the higher end of my range). I’ll add in any additional things they want as well, social media coverage before and after, blog post recaps and so on. If the brand wants me for two hours, with one round of social and a recap blog post with one round of social about the post itself, my total fee would look something like this:

(Post Rate x #of hours) + Post Rate + Social Media Rate = Total Event Fee

Roughly a 2 hour event based on the given numbers above used in this post for reference, this would be a range anywhere from   $1,500 to $3,000 depending on the asks of the brand.

Now you may be looking at this and wondering why on earth are you explaining all of this. I think it’s important that bloggers all get on the bandwagon that you NEED to charge. Your blog is an online digital platform with influence. You have built a readership, pageviews and clout. Charging for a brand to be featured on your site, your platform with your work is in my opinion, mandatory.

After 5 years of blogging, it can become frustrating when a brand says “we don’t have a budget”. I find it hard to believe large brands that have a national and international presence can’t afford to pay you the few hundred dollars you’re asking for your work.  Brands are defintely paying the agency who emailed you for collaborations. So there’s a budget, but they just don’t want to share. Brands can get away with this because there are plenty of bloggers that will do it for free.

*Watch this video for a little humor on the subject

And trust me, I’ve done my fair share of free work, work for exposure, work on trade and so on. And to be honest, I still do occasionally if I find value in the project and relationship. We all have to start somewhere and there’s always give and take. But if you’ve been blogging for over a year and have great content with beautiful imagery and a growing audience, begin charging. 

I hope this helps you begin to realize your worth as a digital influencer. What would you like to see covered next in my Blogger Q&A?

PS How bloggers make their money and how to organize your editorial calendar.

 

64 Comments | February 16, 2016
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64 thoughts on “HOW TO PRICE YOURSELF AS A BLOGGER

  1. Kate

    This is super helpful! I’m starting to pitch my blog to local events, and I know I’ll start charging eventually, once I have a good handle on everything. This is a great guide and breakdown for how to get started. Thank you for sharing this!

    Reply
    1. Jessica Post author

      I find events to be very tough and I’m super selective about doing them. You don’t want to do too many because your followers won’t want to go to all of them.

      Reply
  2. Luisa

    Thank you so much for sharing this Jessica! I learned so much and realize that I’m underselling myself. I appreciate you sharing your secrets and experience with us!

    Hope to see you soon!

    Xo,

    Luisa

    Reply
  3. jessica

    It’s so easy to fall into the trap of working with a big company to get exposure, especially when you are a smaller blog without thousands of page views. But, with the help of fellow bloggers, I am slowly realizing my worth and that I shouldn’t work for free and am gaining the confidence to ask to be paid.
    Thanks so much for posting this, it was very helpful and encouraging!

    Reply
  4. Shari

    This is such a great post! Coming from a writing/editing background before blogging I actually charge more for posts, but I haven’t even thought about charging for my time and energy at events (and I go out of my way to attend if I can make it).

    Reply
    1. Jessica

      So glad you liked it! I would NEVER charge to attend an event unless they’re looking for coverage. My formula above is for event hosting as an influencer. Hope that helps!

      Reply
  5. Coco

    Loved this post, Jess! Have you also considered the SEO benefits of linking to brand websites, as well as the other costs behind creating content (camera rental / hiring photographers / photo editing / copy writing / etc.) that should be included as well?

    I know lots of smaller bloggers who put out high-quality work but have less site impressions… the behind-the-scenes work that goes into a blog post shouldn’t be discounted just because of their smaller audience 🙂 Especially since brands repurpose high-quality blogger content for their own social media channels!

    xo, coco | millennielle.com

    Reply
  6. Kimi, Cotton Cashmere Cat Hair

    Thank you so much for this! I agree that I wish we talked about the numbers more. As a small blogger, it’s incredibly difficult to know what to charge (and intimidating to ask those who have been at it for longer). What would you do if you started a collaboration with a brand when you were smaller (receiving product for free but not being paid in addition), and they want to collab again the next year under the same circumstances (free product but no extra payment), even though you’ve grown a lot in one year? At what point would you start charging in addition to receiving free product? I guess I’m just wondering if I’m underselling myself if I just accept the product and nothing more.

    Reply
    1. Jessica Post author

      I’d show them how you’ve grown over time. You are no longer the same platform you were a year ago. Show them your growth, your numbers, lay it out there and create a proposal!

      Reply
  7. Betty

    this might work for small traffic blogs, but once you are in the hundreds of thousands, no. My traffic is 600-800k a month, and I get about $3k a post sometimes higher, and I’m making a six figure income. There’s no way I’d get much work if I was charging $6-8,000 per post.

    Reply
    1. Jessica Post author

      It’s definitely all relative and just a guide! I’d also look at engagement, click throughs etc. Always great to hear from others though!

      xo

      Reply
  8. Jessica Post author

    It’s definitely just a guide. Even though I use the above numbers, I’ll also do posts for $200 if it’s the right fit and I truly believe in the product. I’ve also received triple of what I typically charge as budgets change from project to project.

    Reply
  9. Hillary

    This is such a great post! I’ve been blogging for a little over a year and a half and I’m just now feeling that I produce good enough content to start charging more. Question about product reviews. Is there a different formula that you use when doing a product review that you receive “as compensation?” Do you still charge even though the brand thinks they are “paying you?” Thanks again for being so open about this!

    ~Hillary
    http://www.styleinasmalltown.com

    Reply
    1. Jessica Post author

      I would say product reviews are actually unpaid. Those are real reviews that you’re doing for your site. A product review that’s sponsored is more of an advertisement where you’re guaranteeing positive coverage.

      Reply
    1. Jessica Post author

      It’s very old and from Heart & Arrow Designs. She doesn’t sell them anymore unfortunately.

      Reply
  10. Adam Sommer

    Posts about how to make money with a blog are super interesting, and it’s very cool to see the amount of engagement with this type of guide. Have you considered creating an online course on how to make money blogging?

    Reply
  11. Jacy

    This is probably THE most helpful blogger tips post I’ve ever read! Thank you for the open communication and uncomplicated formulas. Also thank you for helping me feel empowered to start charging more brands and not doing as much free work! I agree that it hurts other bloggers when some bloggers do a ton of free work. I’ve realized that I don’t have to be one of the ‘elite bloggers’ to make money off of my posts…I know my photos are good and I have a growing social media presence, so I shouldn’t sell myself short! Thank you again for the fantastic post!

    Jacy | lovelenore.com

    Reply
  12. Torey Beerman

    This was SO helpful for me! I just hit 12k followers on IG and I have yet to charge any companies, although I’ve had huge collaboration with Coach, etc. Thank you for laying it out so clearly, I appreciate it! 🙂

    http://www.toreystreasures.com
    @toreystreasures

    Reply
  13. Rachel

    Great post with good info. I had a question, does the blog posts where you include your own photography do you charge a brand along with their product? I assume it is but wanted to make sure. Was it a turn off to a lot of brands when you gave them pricing with their product?

    Reply
    1. Jessica Post author

      Yes you always want to charge whenever possible. Gifted product alone should not be considered compensation as it takes time and resources to develop posts. If you lay it out for brands why you charge they shouldn’t be turned off. Most brands know they need to pay its just a matter of negotiating.

      Reply
  14. Casey

    This post was incredibly helpful. It’s so refreshing for someone to be up front about it (and to save new bloggers from undercharging).
    I do think I found a small typo in your first formula. (TOTAL PAGEVIEWS/100)*100 should be (TOTAL PAGEVIEWS/10,000)*100, right? Thank you for this incredibly helpful post!

    Reply
  15. Sarah Henson

    Thank you SO much! I have been dying for insight on this. I am ever so grateful for your advice!! I am just a newbie style blogger (under 500 followers) and had no idea when and how this time comes. I do everything for trade as of right now, time and money in exchange for exposure. I had no idea when I would really need to begin charging as the costs become very high at times.

    Reply
    1. Jessica Post author

      That’s definitely where you need to start, but at least even requesting a fee of $50 to help cover photography costs, time and so on is necessary.

      Reply

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