I always find it a bit awkward when I receive emails from PR agencies and brands asking me for my rate card. I have a media kit which shares a bit of information about my blog and the various social platforms I have. It showcases my blog stats, my other work and examples of what I’ve done in the past. There isn’t a price, monetary value or costing on any of it. The follow up always tends to be a request for a rate card but, I don’t have one.
I’m not a “traditional” publication
While we can chat about banner ads and the like it isn’t something I’m attempting to sell to anyone. I also cannot wrap my head around charging “per tweet”. Don’t get me wrong, I understand why an online publication would but I just feel like my blog and various social channels are a little bit different to that. I’m not in the business of charging for 140 characters with a picture and then never discussing the offering again. It doesn’t feel authentic to me. Before handing over a set rate I prefer to chat to the brand or PR, get a feel for what it is they want to achieve by tapping in to my “audience” (Gosh that sounds pretentious AF) and determine what I believe is the best content creation strategy for their goals. From there I also like to have a chat about budgets and figure out what fits the brand and whether it aligns to the time and effort I’m going to put in to creating the work.
Every campaign and brand is different.. and so am I
Because my approach isn’t a “one shoe fits all” type of offering it is impossible to have a standard rate across the board. I’m well aware that, for example, filming a video is always different. One might take me 30 minutes to film and 30 minutes to edit while another could take days of scrubbing through footage. Should both of those be charged at the same cost? I don’t think so. Also, the truth is, I cannot imagine writing a blog post and not sharing it on social. The majority of my traffic comes from social media. If I were to send a rate card and say the brand ONLY wanted a blog post – I cannot, in good faith, just take their money and post. I would explain how important it is for me to tweet the link or share on Facebook to drive more eyeballs to their content, which is ultimately what I’d presume they want.
So how does my costing work?
Exactly as I explained above. It involves a bit of a backward and forward to get a feel for what the brand wants and then I put forward a proposal of what I believe will work and the cost involved. I do have an agent so they’re involved in this process too. I’m also really picky so before I start quoting I prefer to know what brand I’m working with and if they campaign is a good fit.
But here’s the problem
First off, we’ve been trained by marketing agencies to believe we have to fit the mould of how media has run for basically ever. Fine. I don’t want to. I don’t want to “sell” like them and I don’t believe I offer the same service as them. So it makes sense to do it my way.
This becomes a time issue. I know that most brands and agencies ask for a rate card because they can add it to a database and file. When it comes time to cost a campaign they can pull those figures. This stops confidential information coming out but it also allows someone to pull a costing in a few minutes rather than entering into a backward and forward with the baby of the media plan, i.e. me.
Everyone else is doing it. Influencer marketing agencies regularly put together quotes for campaigns. Rate cards allow them to pitch away without ever having to discuss with the content creator. I get it. I just don’t think it works – pitching a creator who doesn’t know they’re on the brief or doesn’t necessarily want to agree to the stipulations is going to cause a time issue down the line. Also, most other content creators are sending out rate cards already. Do I want to deal with the girl asking all the questions or just grab the PDF? I get it. But I’m going to stand by decision not to bend.
Yes, rate cards are good – just not for me
I’m not slating bloggers who have rate cards. I’m not saying they’re wrong. I’m simply saying it doesn’t work for me and doesn’t fit my plan for the blog or anything else I’m doing. There’s a good chance I’m COMPLETELY off track here and getting it all wrong so I’d love to hear from you in the comments. Do you have a rate card? Why? Does it work? Is my reasoning completely off?
I’ve been having some second thoughts recently about my decision thus this post. I’m conflicted as to whether I’m doing this wrong so would love to hear some other thoughts on the issue so I can decide.