Sam Tech Girl Wright

Why I don’t have a rate card for my blog

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

Sam Tech Girl Wright

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

Sam Tech Girl Wright

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?

Sam Tech Girl Wright

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

Sam Tech Girl Wright

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

Sam Tech Girl Wright

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. 

 

29 Comments

  • Reply kerryheathfield March 1, 2018 at 09:23

    II haven’t done a rate card for my blog yet because it is still new but this has definitely given me something to think about. I love your way of thinking Sam and I am so glad that you discuss things like this because it genuinely helps so many of us.

    • Reply Sam Wright March 2, 2018 at 17:54

      Thanks Kerry. Glad you find it useful. I’m never sure about writing blogging stuff because I feel like a lot of the people who come to the blog aren’t necessarily bloggers. So you’ve made me super happy knowing someone found it useful!

  • Reply Jonelle March 1, 2018 at 09:26

    Sam, thanks for this honest post. It’s REALLY helpful. I don’t do a lot of brand work because I’m really selective about the brands I will and won’t promote and you’re so right, how do you write a post and NOT share it on social media. I really struggle with the idea of a rate card and some jobs take days and some an hour – quoting one price is bizarre! Thanks very much for putting this out there!

    • Reply Sam Wright March 2, 2018 at 17:55

      Glad you found it useful. Charging for just a tweet seems absolutely absurd to me!

  • Reply mrstracydawson March 1, 2018 at 09:33

    I don’t have a rate card either, I have the same opinion as you.

    • Reply Sam Wright March 2, 2018 at 17:56

      Makes me feel better to know I’m not the only one!

  • Reply Judy March 1, 2018 at 09:39

    Hi Sam

    I also don’t have a specific rate card. I offer an inclusive option to the brands I work with. I’m not selling advertising, I hate Twitter and I really just Want to introduce great products, services and content to Fun mamma S.A.. it doesn’t make me as popular as other blogs but that’s ok. I’m not here to win a popularity contest I’m here to do what I love …write.
    My readership is growing each month and I get to work with some amazing brands – My own stumble in the dark way. I’m proberbly way off with the marketing companies but I’m honest and work with a companies budget as best I can so I feel good about what I do at the end of each day ❤ keep going your own way …
    It’s good to be unique xxxx

    • Reply Sam Wright March 2, 2018 at 17:57

      Judy I dont think you’re off the mark. From the responses here we’re all following a really similar approach to this – which is good!

  • Reply Megan March 1, 2018 at 09:40

    This is exactly how I’ve been doing it until recently, when a brand insisted on a rate card for what I imagine to be there international database. I feel weird about charging per tweet – like how do you even do that!? I prefer creating a package from my vision and pricing according to that concept. But yeh, I created a rate card for that one brand but this post as reaffirmed my approach.

    • Reply Sam Wright March 2, 2018 at 17:57

      The replies to this post have made me feel so much better about my approach. Turns out most of us have the same feelings on this.

  • Reply Laetitia Corder March 1, 2018 at 09:44

    Thank you so much for this post. I feel less alone and I agree with you wholeheartedly. I’ve recently had a media agency ask for my rates for a client I’ve worked with directly in the past. They told me that it’s for the purpose of comparing apples to apples. I sent my rate card after much hesitation, but I clearly explained that our offering are not apples. We don’t offer washing machines with exactly the same functions that can be bought from Game or Makro. They didn’t like my response. The client has been in contact with me since and understands that I work out a rate based on the campaign and not an individual post. It becomes REALLY difficult when agencies and clients treat us like apples. I wish we could start a movement to change the mindset. If I never send a rate card again, I will be so happy.

    • Reply Sam Wright March 2, 2018 at 17:58

      I actually love this. We are not apples! Nice one!

  • Reply An Ordinary Gal March 1, 2018 at 10:31

    Just yesterday I was attempting to do a rate card and I was quite torn. On the beauty side, I am really trying to improve my photography so I put a lot of time into that. So some posts I may receive pictures, others…like beauty take a bit more time. How do I just factor that into a generic sort of rand value?

    What you say makes so much sense and I’m glad I read this today. I understand a brand may need a starting point though so I actually added a ‘Additional comments’ section, but it was getting so long. lol…it’s a ‘card’ on it’s own.

    I received products from a brand a year ago, no payment…but because I love the products so much, I still tweet about the products today. I understand a blog is a business, but it’s not as cut and dry as: here is a rate!

    • Reply Sam Wright March 2, 2018 at 17:59

      Exactly. Plus it isn’t just : here’s a rate, we tweeted, you’ll never hear from us again. Definitely not our style at all!

  • Reply Shaney Vijendranath March 1, 2018 at 10:50

    I also dont have a rate card for You, Baby and I. I prefer to customize my packages.

    • Reply Sam Wright March 2, 2018 at 17:52

      Right. You’re basically my blogging guru so I feel like I’m on the right track now! haha

  • Reply Veronica March 1, 2018 at 11:09

    This is incredibly interesting! I never considered having a rate card and I don’t even have a media kit *starts working on that immediately* but this has given me a lot of insight on what I should be doing 🙂

    • Reply Sam Wright March 2, 2018 at 17:51

      Media kits are good. Do one of those. Still not sure on the rate card though.

  • Reply Melissa Javan March 1, 2018 at 11:21

    Interesting post Sam. It’s tight, do what you feel is good.

    • Reply Sam Wright March 2, 2018 at 17:51

      Thanks Mel. Yeah that was the point I was trying to make. Don’t think there is a right or wrong way to navigate this one.

  • Reply Dina Wordsmith March 1, 2018 at 12:59

    I blog for fun, but I work as a language editor. My rates work on a sliding scale as well. Some tasks simply take longer than others because editing ranges from a complete rewrite to small tweaks. However, I do have set rates for companies that consistently send me the same kind of work because I know in advance what to expect. I’m not sure if you can do the same kind of thing for blogging though.

    • Reply Sam Wright March 2, 2018 at 17:50

      I have rates for consulting work, hosting etc. that work in the same way. I’ve just never found a good “fit” for blogging if that makes sense?

  • Reply moonstormer March 1, 2018 at 15:36

    LOVED this post!! I think it totally makes sense and is more oriented towards actual brand relationships and working together long term. When I started blogging, I had a rate card with all my prices because as you say, that’s “what you do”. But, tbh, it never really got me anywhere. I now also just send my stats and followers, and then try to discuss potential campaigns and ideas.

    I also keep pushing the idea that my voice, and the way I frame a concept, is what gives me value. My audience is, of course, awesome and important, too. But we can always pay to boost content and get it in front of enough interested eyeballs, but if the content isn’t intriguing or unique, they’re not going to read it anyway.

    • Reply Sam Wright March 2, 2018 at 17:49

      Spot on. Jade said it best – if you want to beat algorithms just make good content!

  • Reply prettifulblog March 2, 2018 at 08:20

    I didn’t have a rate card and kept on being asked for one. So I ended up doing one, but I don’t really agree with a one price for all approach and definitely agree with you that it depends on so many factors. I am still not sure about it…

    • Reply Sam Wright March 2, 2018 at 17:48

      Yeah. Same basically. I’m thinking I just stick to my guns on this one and leave it as is.

  • Reply Mandy-Lee Miller March 2, 2018 at 09:55

    I always forget how much I enjoy reading your words. Because I have Tums 2 Tots (which is an online magazine) and Pregnant in Cape Town (personal blog) and I write professionally for more corporate clients, I have a bit of everything. I have a “rate card” but it is more of an information document, where I give a bit of a breakdown of what different offerings contain (photography, research, writing, reviews, competitions, single or multiple posts, etc) and I give a starting point on costing (from R750 for example, which is my base consulting hourly fee). I am very clear that I specialize in creating and tailoring mini-campaigns specific to the brands in a more long term PR and relationship building exercise with my audiences; and the fact that I have multiple audiences means the styles of content I can offer vary hugely. Not sure if I am relevant to this convo because of the difference in my brands, but I find having a starting point helps me streamline my processes. Mx

    • Reply Sam Wright March 2, 2018 at 17:47

      Thanks for the nice words about my words! Made me blush. I have a media kit which gives an overview of what I do and offer. Just no prices. Your explanation sounds like the best for your offerings and is probably a good “middle ground” for a blog in general actually!

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