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2) Have you heard about all the freebies and money that a blogger earns?
If your answer to point 1 is yes because of point 2 , I would advise you to seriously reconsider. Sorry to burst your bubble, it is a wrong way to motivate oneself from blogging. Blogging is not the 'Goldmine' mainstream media painted . The gold may exist for the rare selected few, but it remains elusive to the majority. Besides if you intend to just blog for money, where is your credibility if you are merely a walking billboard or a paid mouthpiece?
Before I start, I would like to reiterate. Blogging does not make me money. It makes me friends; it allows my boys to enjoy new experiences. Occasionally we do get 'freebies, in terms of the products we review or events we attended. Although technically I would disagree on terming it as a freebie, as we do return a post in kind. In economic terms, this is known as barter trade. However if you have been around our blog, you would have noted that most of the content generated would be based on our own personal experiences. On numerous occasions, they are at our own expenses too. After all I started blogging as a hobby rather than for the goodies.
Yes blogging is indeed a tough business, which is why it should not be one (at least not for us at the moment)
Our philosophy towards blogging is simple. It opens doors for new experiences. Some of these experiences are unique and even priceless; that itself 'pays' for the post. I must admit , keeping up with relevant content can be demanding especially when you are doing this on a one man show ( in my case one man , two little boys and a very accommodating wife) This is why I open the doors to sponsorship, media invites and product reviews on our blog.
No, it is not selling out.
Rather through these, we can endeavor to bring our readers the latest trends, the best places to bring the family for a day out or an awesome product for the children. Bottom line,we welcome sponsors, especially those that come bearing the promise of a wealth of experiences that would otherwise be beyond our reach.
Our posts take time to conceptualize . Mind you, writing a post is not an easy task. First , you have to attend the event, do research if you are writing a product review, take thousands of photos , select and edit the 100 + photos you took, write your 1000 words post and finally edit it . From start to finish, it could take at least 6 hours, if not days to complete one decent post. If you think all these sounded like hard work, it is . So it is not unreasonable to be compensated for the time and effort invested, even if it is non-monetary. For the record, a post like this without much photos can take a few days ( or even weeks) to write and edit.
And I am not paid to write this.
In case you are wondering, blogging for free does not mean necessarily mean free to the blogger. For one , expenses like admission , transportation , food, lodging, not to mention invaluable time spend in order to gather information for a post . Without a little help from sponsors, these will probably burn a lot of holes in one's pocket.
- Requesting for collaboration and upon agreement, then ask you to purchase the product or pay your own expenses for review.
To illustrate , there was this particular incident when the family were invited for food sampling . Instead of a meal, we were humiliated by a staff who deemed us as unworthy to serve because our sampling was complimentary. We were made to wait for an hour , talked down in a demeaning manner and were asked to pay for water (?) In the end, we chose to decline their meal. We did received an apologetic phone call thereafter from the owner who invited us ( she was not present at that time), but the damage was done. Not only do we have to put up with an incredulous invitation from hell , our weekend was effectively ruin.
Sponsors need not pay us to blog, but that does not mean we have to pay people to blog about their products on their request AND be humiliated in the process. So for all the stories about bloggers expecting freebies, 'sponsors' are as guilty by demanding free publicity and on extreme cases, expect bloggers to pay and write for them.
- Doing a bait and switch
- No Follow up
- Wrong product fit
- Addressing you with a WRONG name.
- Weekday event during working hours
- Press releases
Bloggers are known to be content creators but not photocopiers. So for press releases, it usually gets shifted to my special folder (otherwise known as trash) real fast.
Where is our bottomline?
After 4 decades of existence, it is great to find a hobby that I can share with my family. In a way blogging does that, as it allows me to explore the different aspects on photography and writing. The family , especially the children, get their lion share of new experiences to savour. I have no qualms on blogging pro bono. There are occasions when we use our own expenses for such posts. The content that existed in this journal were because I felt that they were good enough to share. The MAIN rule remains. We must experience what is written, else this blog would be nothing but a catalogue you can pick up at ToysRUs.
I have no intention of going down the road . Thus when such a situation happens, it is rather unpleasant dealing with it, especially if you are well aware that you are being take advantage of. I am sure that these situations are not peculiar to me. Most of the time the invitations are 95% legit but there will always the 5% 'lead to nowhere' situations ( increase to 50% if you include press releases)
Finally I would like to use this opportunity to declare the following
- We are not a 'cut and paste 'catalogue
- Respect is mutual, it is earned not given. It applies to both bloggers and sponsors alike.
- Sponsors who desired a collaboration base on REAL LIFE experiences instead of reprinting press releases are most welcome with us.
So to answer our own question.
We blog to bring you real experiences, free, fee and the whole shebang..
If at this point you feel the urge to
Bloggers have evolved from merely diary writers to content creators to social influencers. To put it in perspective, we owned the blogs we set up. From paying the annual domain fees, to updating the blogs with our own content ; Bloggers have become media owners in their own right. Thus it is the prerogative of the bloggers to market the blogs the way they deem fit. This is a free market. For those who chose to monetize their efforts, they are to be applauded for their entrepreneur spirit. For the successful ones, no matter how envious we are, we cannot belittle their efforts and achievements. Most worked hard for the rewards. More importantly both sponsors and readers love them for it.
Regardless of the debates of blogging for fee or free, there are always 2 sides of the coin to every tale. There are no rights or wrongs to this debate. There are only writers and readers.
Updated March 2016
With the IRAS guidelines on Bloggers for declaration of income for both monetary and product in kind, it had made blogging challenging for bloggers like us that blogs as a hobby. As we are usually blogging on a barter trade policy, this effectively means we are paying out of pocket for engagements in form of taxes. Given this scenario, it is not just about blogging for free or fee but do we want to pay to blog about our interest.