WARNING… THIS POST IS LONG AND STRONG… AND IT’S DOWN TO GET THE FRICTION ON…
THAT’S WHAT SHE SAID…
It feels as if these days, ALMOST EVERYONE in the blog, social media/influencer world is fueled by that all mighty dollar (euro, pound, lira, franc, dinar…).
Now, if you are reading this, and you are in fact a blogger and/or consider yourself an influencer, you may not be one of the types that get blinded by the green, so please don’t think I am directly pointing at you. Now if you simply give up all your values and morals and agree to be something you are not simply because a brand agrees to pay you (even just $10) to post about god knows what, then yes, I am pointing my UNPOLISHED and UNMANICURED finger at you (Perhaps, I am waiting for that sponsored spa treatment invitation to show up in my inbox?).
You know those HUGE cruise ships… The ones that can carry about 4000 people per ship… Yeah, I feel like over the past 6 – 12 months, I have seen at least 10 dozen of those behemoth water gondolas carrying a whole bunch of blog and/or influencer SELL OUTS.
Oh and guess what? I will not be buying a ticket for one of those cruises… Ever. And honestly, despite any fancy perks, neither should you.
Clearly, I am going to explain my reasoning behind all of this… Because I am sure you’re now thinking about how much you want to book a cruise (with all that money you’ve made blogging?). So why don’t you go get your comfy pants on… And ladies… Feel free to take your tit-smashing underwire bra OFF… Because STORY TIME is about to commence and I want you all to be as comfortable AS POSSIBLE!
YAY! STORY TIME!
Once upon a time, a little blond imp was born… Okay, no, story time won’t take you back that far in my life, because it’s not important at this moment in time and I have actually already written a blog post about my upbringing, ha! Instead, let me take you back about five, almost six years ago…To when my own “baby” was born.
Unlike a lot of people’s motives today, I started blogging and YouTubing because… I love entertaining others (making people smile and laugh is my goal in life every day) and I wanted an outlet where I could just be me. Not having others tell me what to do is honestly what I live for. Sure, I welcome advice when necessary, but my overall life is based off of me being my own boss… And lets just say “my boss” is insanely lenient, letting me be me (no strings attached), or what she describes as: unconventional, blunt, crass, realistic, yet also insanely caring and loving along with a phenomenal listener (who offers a realistic perspective) who just won’t stop laughing, ever.
I never thought, for even a second, when I started, what I now consider my full-time gig, that I would ever be able to make monetary compensation from an outlet that just let me do my thing. As I mentioned, I am not really “the norm”… Or “the safe choice” as I say things how they are, never sugar-coating anything. Doing that causes problems… I mean we all know at this point that a lot of sugar in your life can cause type 2 diabetes, right?
I remember the first time I was offered ACTUAL MONEY (not just product) to promote a brand on my website, YouTube channel and all social media platforms. It was about 2 – 3 years into my blogging “career” as I never sought out such opportunities and typically the types of brands I would partner with were (and still are) start-up companies because back when I started expressing my thoughts and ideas to the world wide web, smaller companies aligned with my brand (living a food allergen/intolerance-friendly lifestyle) the most.
When I got the email that I would be offered money (and truckloads of product) to create a video around the product they wanted to be promoted (that I genuinely believed in and wanted to utilize), I won’t lie to you, the Cancer side of me (I am so not into astrology, FYI, so if any brands associated with that topic are reading this… Do not contact me about doing something in regards to it, I will say no) popped out of the woodworks… And I cried tears of happiness (I know Cancer-signs are supposed to be emotional AF, and SHOCKER ALERT: I at times can be that way). Tears of acceptance. FINALLY, my personality was being accepted. People actually want to work with me, for me. I felt like I was getting the biggest, most comforting bear hug from a sexy man named Reassurance, and I never wanted him to let go.
But guess what? He basically turned out to be one of those smooth-talking Tinder dudes, who “WAM, BAM and THANK YOU MAM” ladies… And then proceeds to never talk to them ever again.
I, on the other hand, turned into a feisty chick, standing her ground.
You see, what happened is that this brand let me do me. They thought my videos and blog posts were cute, outside of the box and unique, thus would make their brand stand out in a different light from what it’s used to. These attributes are something I pride myself in, however, I don’t go out of my way to act this way, it’s just me, so it’s easy. That being said, I created a blog post and YouTube video for said brand and published it on what I like to call, “Tasty Tuesday”. They never asked for a draft or the video prior to me posting, they put trust in me that I would create something quirky, fun and not the norm in the cooking video world.
You bet your baking soda I did just that.
It was a super cute video, and I made a tasty meal and drink combo utilizing the product as much as possible. Everything was delicious. During the video, I just did me, and during the editing process, I remember laughing at myself, because honestly… I think I am hysterical.
Export. Upload. Schedule. Embed. Publish.
That Tuesday turned out to be EXTRA “tasty” because that evening (after publication), I got an email from my point of contact saying how much he loved the video. Said he laughed the whole time and mentioned how the food and drink also looked delicious. I was thrilled. My heart sang (even though I have ZERO musical talent) and I slept like a rock that night in the arms of Reassurance; we may or may not have canoodled?
The next morning, BAM, he left. He left before I could even offer to make him pancakes. Maybe he knew they were going to be wheat, dairy, gluten, sugar, soy, nut, and fruit free? I mean that might turn anyone off, ha! Perhaps we can call this particular Wednesday, “Well that’s gross, Wednesday”.
Anywho… I got an email from my point of contact when I woke up saying that I needed to take down the video immediately. I was confused, worried, frazzled, anxious and… Heartbroken.
Apparently, there was a funny “one-liner” sexual innuendo (I am known for these types of comments) that did not bode well with the head-honchos at this company and they wanted it edited out of the video.
Being new to the ‘whole monetary compensation for my efforts’ world, I obliged. I took down the video, re-edited it without the sexy talk and re-uploaded it. But then, then my contact mentioned that because of said issue, payment would no longer be an option.
FURIOUS is an understatement. As I said earlier, I didn’t start blogging and YouTubeing for the money, but when I do my part in a deal, I expect the other party to do theirs. THIS IS WHY CONTRACTS are 100% necessary if you ever partner with a brand… I did not know this until AFTER this situation occurred.
Honestly though, at that point, the amount of money they were paying me did not cover the costs of the amount of anxiety I had over this.
We emailed back and forth what feels like 15 million times, and guess what? I won this battle. I was that annoying girl who just wouldn’t stop texting her one-night stand Tinder date, telling him how much of an asshole he was. And he eventually apologized, probably because I was irritating the crap out of him at that point. Or in other words, I finally did get paid for my efforts and for a fleeting moment, I felt strong and powerful but at the same time, I secretly was scared-shitless to continue on my pursuit to obtain monetary compensation for any of my work thanks to no longer sleeping with Reassurance.
That being said, I got over my fear pretty quickly because I am not one to live in the past or harp over shortcomings, and I moved on to make my self-expression my fulltime job. It’s been an amazing rollercoaster ride (which is crazy for me to say because I hate rollercoasters) and brands/peers over the years have taken me as seriously as they can (because I am not a very serious person, to begin with), accepted me for me and dare I say, have commended me for doing my thing and not letting others tell me what to do.
If you think the instance I detailed earlier is the only time this has ever happened to me, you’re sorely mistaken. And the reason why I decided to write THIS LONG-ASS blog post is because… It recently happened to me again, basically shoveling kindling and throwing DIESEL FUEL into this fire of mine.
BUT… Before I continue, how are you all doing? Need to pee? Grab a beverage or snack? Stretch your legs? You go do that, I’ll wait for you!
And… We’re back!
A few weeks ago… Through the sea of emails I get on the regular (I am sure you’re all in the same camp?), one, in particular, popped out at me… No, it did not say anything about enhancing any specific body parts. This email actually was from a company that connects bloggers/influencers with brands. I am not overly fond of said middleman companies because they tend to take a HUGE CUT of your potential earnings and I personally like to speak with brands directly so as to really get a sense of what they’re looking for and to see if they like my style of promotion. Despite my not necessarily liking these companies, I have worked with a multitude (lets be real, I probably have an account on every one of those damn websites) of them who have been pretty wonderful and I mean, since I have made my blog my fulltime job, having those types of connections are just a necessary “evil”.
Anywho… Let me blend through the fluff and get to the point. This company disclosed to me that the brand they were working with for a specific collaboration wanted me to be apart of it and within the next few weeks I would be getting product and after creating a blog post and a YouTube video, I would be compensated for my efforts. The typical routine.
I’ve said this before and I will say it again. Money is a bonus when it comes to blogging for me. However, with blogging being my focus, compensation is necessary, and lets just say, this brand low balled the crap out of the rate (despite being a huge brand) they were going to pay me and for some reason, I agreed upon the number, despite it being WAY UNDER what I typically charge. I could honestly write a whole other rant about how brands DO NOT UNDERSTAND THE TIME AND EFFORT IT TAKES A LOT OF PEOPLE TO MAKE VIDEOS, TAKE PICTURES and WRITE BLOG POSTS… And then promoting the content is a whole other playing field in and of itself. Brands, GIVE US MORE CREDIT. End scene… As I said, that’s for another blog post.
Anyhow… I received the product and decided that it actually was pretty necessary (and downright NEAT) for a bunch of other recipe videos I was filming in the weeks prior to when the actual post was due, thus I used it in a bunch of videos. Hey, look at that, FREE PROMOTION, for you. JACKASS.
With publishing date LOOMING (yes, LOOMING, because to be completely honest with all of you, filming videos can be exhausting), I decided to would film the video dedicated to this company on a THURSDAY and then post it the following “TASTY TUESDAY”… Or… D-Day?
Having fun in the kitchen is what I do. I am not the type to perfectly measure out 1 TBS of an ingredient, and hey, if a little more than a cup of say coconut flour goes into the mix, so be it. Recipes are all about experimenting. I like to give people a general gist of what to do in the kitchen, but emphasize that it’s all about your own preferences, so if you want more of one thing and not as much of the other… GO FOR IT!
Speaking of having fun. Part of my having fun is just being me, as I have said ten trillion times at this point, and me… Yeah, I talk in sexual innuendos on the regular. I am not the type of person to EVER get offended by ANY of that lingo/jargon and all my friends, family members, peers, and acquaintances know this… Thus, they feel as though they never have to censor themselves around me, and oh wait… Dare I say they can just be themselves too?
With everyone’s guards down… You really NEVER KNOW what’s going to happen in my kitchen, which is what makes it so hysterical… And I generally like to keep the organic actions and reactions in my videos because that’s what people can relate to the most (i.e. not being perfect).
That being said, my cooking companion in the video (made for the brand) made a reference alluding to “knockers”… Uh, kind of like what I do on the regular (I am a proud TWINS SUPPORTER here)… And I thought it was hysterical and all of you who watched the video seemed to agree.
Can you guess who did not like this? DING! DING! DING! … YOU ARE CORRECT!
Sure, it’s risky to put that type of content in your sponsored YouTube video but IF THE BRAND DID ANY RESEARCH ABOUT ME WHAT SO EVER PRIOR TO AGREEING TO WORK WITH ME… They would have probably considered me a HARD PASS.
Instead, I GAVE THEM THE HARD PASS.
A few hours after I published my efforts… I got an email DEMANDING that I take down the YouTube video IMMEDIATELY. About five minutes later I got a CALL from THE MIDDLEMAN company telling me that the brand thought the video was inappropriate and wanted it taken down until further notice. I kept my composure and detailed to “THE MAN” that my brand is quirky, and bubbly, but is served up with a side of crassness and if they were not okay with that well that’s their problem, not mine. After a little bicker fest on the phone, I finally agreed to hide the video and edit out the “vulgar” humor. You better believe that was INSANELY PAINFUL TO DO because I stand behind EVERYTHING I DO.
However, when I got home, I realized I no longer had the raw footage, and honestly, I didn’t want to take down a video that already had a good amount of views on it (YouTube can be hard to garner views on, people!! SO THANK YOU FOR WATCHING). I actually initially thought I would be able to edit the video on YouTube itself, however, learned rather quickly that YouTube took down that feature a few months back. I truly believe this was a SIGN telling me to NOT change anything, and stay true to who I am.
After these realizations, I wrote “THE MAN” an email stating that I cannot edit this video, but I gave him links to several other videos that incorporated the product (unsponsored) as a “workaround” so as to be compensated for my efforts and make the brand “happier”.
The final straw came when I got an email a little later that evening stating that the brand requested that I UNPUBLISH MY BLOG POST… IE: Take it down.
HARD FUCKING FUCK NO.
I do NOT unpublish published work. EVER. I am so insanely thankful for everyone who comes to visit this blog of mine, and everyone who leaves me comments, thus unpublishing a post would halt you from visiting and I do NOT want that as I live for the conversation on my blog (and YouTube videos). Plus, I am always SO PROUD of what I publish. This was basically like asking a vegan to kill and then eat a chicken.
So, NOPE. Blog post stays… PLUS, this blog post had ZERO crass humor sprinkled in. ZERO. That brand needs to get the blade out of their ass.
Admittedly, I ignored his initial email. It was later in the evening that he sent it so for all he knows, I actually know how to practice a healthy work/life balance and stop working come 6 pm… Ha, if only that was the truth.
Come EARLY the next morning. I got back on my computer, to get some work done when I saw a new email notification. It was “THE MAN”… Asking me again to take down my blog post. This time I responded and I told him to fuck off, but in the nicest way I possibly could. I put a “please” in front of it.
I decided to make this VERY EASY for the lazy brand that didn’t do their research before agreeing to work with me. I told “THE MAN” that despite my efforts, if this brand was so up in arms with my work, they did not have to pay me because I will NOT conform to what they want. I promoted the brand in the most positive of lights as much as I could without making it seemed like an insanely sponsored post. I introduced the product organically in an engaging and fun fashion. I stayed true to who I am, and what I like to do when writing blog posts. I did not change to be something I am not. At this point in my blogging/influencing career… You would see right through my clever ruse and (I would hope) call me out. Good thing I have no idea how to be fake! (My boobs do though!)
So did I wind up rollin’ in the dough they promised me via our contract?
That’s a big fat nope. And guess what I did the second I sent that email stating I did not want their money? I made my oh so “crass and raunchy” YouTube video LIVE AGAIN.
Muah, ha ha ha!
The moral of this long ass story is this…
DO NOT BUY A TICKET AND BOARD THE CRUISE SHIP FULL OF SELLOUTS. And don’t you dare try and sneak on the ship either. I don’t care how much all-you-can-eat shrimp cocktail they may have.
Sure, if you decide to go against what you TRULY believe/want, initially you might get a payout that makes you want to “make it rain,” but soon enough those who follow you will see through your antics and will no longer respect you or visit your website/Youtube channel/Instagram or whatever you do/promote on the Internet.
How many of you feel as though you’ve been unfollowing a lot of people who have “changed” over the years?
I am officially ON MY KNEES… Begging ALL OF YOU… DO NOT lose sight of your morals and values. Do “blow a load” because a wad of cash is in front of you… All sexy and shit. Realize that you are a unique individual with a perspective that your followers/fans want to hear, and brands that align with who you are will come your way and value your opinion. After all, YOU ARE THE TITS!
If you never realize this, you will never be able to succeed in this money hungry world.
SO TELL ME…
- Is this a “been there, done that” type of story for you? If so, I want to hear some horror stories you have!
- What company/brand was your favorite to work with and why?
- Do you recall the first time you ever got paid for your blogging/influencing work?
- What are the top three things you wish brands/companies knew about bloggers/blogging/YouTubing/influencing, etc?
- Have you forgotten why you started blogging in the first place?
- Did you actually read this lengthy read? If not… I highly recommend you scroll back up and do so, or PIN IT FOR LATER!