Blogger Outreach: EARNED Versus Paid Media ~ Should Bloggers Work For Free?

Working for Free? Photo Closeup of a hand pulling out the lining of an empty pocket

Image Credit: Ella Media. Click image to read Bloggers Should Be Compensated for Work

Chris Abraham argued in a post on that bloggers should not be paid because the brands they promote “earned” the right to get their PR agency to get you to work for free.

Although traditional PR agencies contacting Journalists who are paid salaries CAN be compared to bloggers for major blogs that are also paid, that is a totally different business model than a small blog.

Then or now, though, only the very naive can truly believe advertising dollars do not determine media coverage – not only amount but what is – and more importantly – IS NOT – written about a brand.

I elaborated on that topic in Ethical Blogging: Bloggers
Is YOUR Opinion for Sale? Is Traditional Media Unbiased?

You are arguing that YOU should be paid for your work coordinating blog outreach, but that bloggers should want to work for you for free for what? The prestige? Because they love the big brand that is rolling in profit who would prefer not to pay anyone fairly – not their employees nor their suppliers?

These companies want to argue they deserve “earned” media coverage when what they are really doing is BUYING that awareness by paying PR agencies to go out and sell it for them. They aren’t earning it by some good deed or being awesome – they are spending money to get a PR agency to talk bloggers into working for free on their behalf.

In my experience there are NOT thousands of exceptional blogs in ANY niche. The few bloggers who have high integrity, write well, have something worth reading to say, who have the audience you wish to reach, and know how to use social media DESERVE to be compensated for their time.

Yes, they need to produce quality content but it doesn’t have to be about what YOU want so if you want them to dedicate their time to really understanding a company’s products and services that company should be willing to compensate those bloggers who have great interest in you.


What small businesses need to be focusing on instead is hiring select brand advocates / brand evangelists to consistently use and recommend their products and services. These posts elaborate on how to do that:



NOTE: This post was originally published June 28, 2012.

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Gail Gardner

Small Business Marketing Strategist at GrowMap
Creator and owner of, Gail is primarily known for mentoring small businesses and encouraging bloggers to join collaborations to share skills and support small business.

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