Should Blogs Be Paid?



The age-old debate ever since blogging came about... Although, I admit I'm not as eloquent as my dearest fellow blogger Wanwei, I decided to tackle this issue once and for all, for all our readers and sponsors. First of all, I want to say I went through an entire week of sleepless nights due to the controversy of this topic. I expect high-spirited opinions supporting either side and the consequences are enormous. So as I try to compose my weary thoughts, bear with me as I explain it bit by bit for our intelligent RxRaters.

The Persecutors: "All you do is write ads."

Usually some readers and some brands hold the view that bloggers that do get paid to endorse products are obliged to provide positive reviews even if they are untruthful. In other cases, bloggers are willing to write anything accordingly to the sponsor as long as they earn the cash. Therefore they might, at best, be thought as ad writers, or even, nasty names like "beggars" (according to Xiaxue, many people actually HATE bloggers). This is not helped by some illusioned bloggers abusing their "influence" and demanding VIP status and services.

The Defendants: "I'm blogging for a living."

Usually bloggers (unsurprisingly) are the ones who support this thought, and also certain PR companies (like this one). In fact, to some others, it is even daylight robbery to demand a blogger's services for free, citing reasons such as writing requires time, professionals should be treated as such etc. (such as this article here).

We should be asking... What Exactly Does a Blogger Do?

Without pointing to exactly which side I'm on (yet), I think the deferring opinions come from a lack of understanding of bloggers in general. Everyone knows about blogs but you might not know that not all bloggers are alike. Some do blog for a living, while others do it purely for passion. In fact, as clearly described on this blog, there are at least SEVEN types of bloggers and blogs, such as: #1 Niche Expert | #2 Business Blog | #3 Journal Writer | #4 Platform Builder (aka popularity) | even spam blogs. As long as there's a reader for a certain type of content, there will always be more and more types of blogs.

However, the differences end there. All blogs write for YOU in mind, the readers of the Internet.

Importance of Earned Media

What differentiates a good blog from a lousy one is that the owner(s) recognizes the importance of being transparent, honest and truthful to their readers. They believe that one truthful recommendation is more effective than ten brand-paid messages. Blogs should connect with people from the ground up. Therefore every fan and reader to the blog is referred to an "earned media", a valuable asset. Even in a world of social media and mass-marketing, word-of-mouth marketing is way more effective compared to other forms of paid marketing. One simple example is TV. Why do we watch our favorite TV serial drama shows day after day, season after season? Simply because they have won our hearts and minds with good content.

Where Does RachxRella stand?

We support paid blogs, it is a no-brainer actually. A blog requires time, resources and money to run and the money has to come from somewhere. Earned media sounds fantastic but, practically speaking, you won't get any "media" if you don't spend any money or time or effort getting a name out there first. This is especially true for bloggers who blog for a living. Let's use the TV example again, if there were no sponsors or advertising done for the show (even if it was the best show on the planet), would anyone have known about it?

However...

As blogs are inherently different from each other, a brand has the right to choose to hire a blogger that best represents them and also be aware of all the risks involved in hiring a particular blogger. The blogger should always be transparent and it doesn't hurt to ask more questions! In other words, nobody is forcing you to hire bloggers!

RxR Declarations of Transparency

Speaking of transparency, I want to take the opportunity to clarify what RachxRella is all about.

1. Readers are our priority. We want to rock your world and tell your stories.
    We trust in information sharing and a caring community. Therefore our readers are king.
    We aspire to write for the women of Singapore, look for the extraordinary from the ordinary, and give them a voice through writing.

2. We are motivated by a desire to improve ourselves, not by money.
    Yes, I mean it. A famous, bespectacled man once said "Stay Hungry, Stay Foolish". That's the principle we live by. We are constantly fueled by a desire to discover and that, to us, is paramount.
    We do accept (very nominal) cash sponsorships, but only because we need to pay for hosting, advertising and the occasional transportation fees. More often than not, we would VERY MUCH prefer product sponsors in kind, so that we can do what we love to do best: Discover, Review and Share. Ultimately, all of our experiences are something that money can't replace. That is the main reason why we started on this blog.
    I can boldly say, none of us at RachRella.com and our guest bloggers, intend to earn a living off the blog.

Ultimately, there are businesses and there are non-profits. Guess which one we plan to be?

Regardless, earning the respect and trust of fans and readers should be the top place and everything else secondary, even if that objective is difficult... And it applies to you, whether you are a blog or brand.

What do you think? Should bloggers be compensated? Should brands pay bloggers?

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