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On Thursday I had the opportunity to be the spokesperson for a few brands on a "Healthy Back to School Snacks" segment on Telemundo Noticiero Primera Edicion. From the outside, to others it may seem like such an awesome opportunity, an "I made it moment, a great chance for "exposure". I may have even gained a few "Haters" cause I did something another blogger hasn't. But what you don't get to see is what goes on behind the scenes, the negotiating or I should say the lack there of.
The first time I went on Telemundo for a segment, I was given the opportunity by another blogger, I will forever be grateful to her for passing that along to me. I was inexperienced, but the PR company took a chance on me as did I. I was up for the challenge, I was ready for a new skill set, I was happy to be adding "on air spokesperson" to my (blogger) resume. I wasn't paid, the experience was more than enough this time around. As a courtesy they threw in a gift card, turns out it didn't work but I never complained, never bothered to email the PR company asking for a new one. I let it be.
A few months later the same PR company emails for another segment. I was excited, another opportunity? Yes I'll take it but now I have experience, so compensation only seems right, right? Nope sorry, it's not in the budget but we can however reimburse fuel and give you a reimbursed complimentary visit to the brands establishment. Ok sounds good, I'm still a newbie at this, I'accepted. All I had to do was email over my receipts and wait for my reimbursement. Three months, numerous emails and a few calls later no reimbursement. But as a blogger with only one previous on air spokesperson segment under her belt, I should just be happy with the "exposure" and leave it alone. Um, yeah, that's not gonna fly.
Even with them owing me a promised reimbursement yet again that same PR company emails with another opportunity to go on Telemundo. Nice, they must really like me, my work ethic and talents, this time for sure I will be getting compensated. I mean why wouldn't I, I now have two television segments on my resume plus they owe from last time. Only seems ethical and professional to be paid. I must be really naive because after replying with the later along with my fee I got a "We typically don't pay for this". Weird because I know many bloggers who now earn a living by being a spokesperson. A position that pays on average $80K a year. With that in mind I rebuttal, we come to the weakest, lamest agreement but I accept, well because it will give me yet more experience. After the segment I make another attempt to charge what I feel is acceptable and collect on the balance but for whatever reason that situation seems to be no ones problem but my own and I am told I would only be getting paid what was offered previously. Politely and professionally but extremely upset, disappointed and disheartened I accept my pay and end the relationship with this PR company.
Why am I sharing this? For a few reasons and this is for that PR company w̶h̶o̶ ̶t̶r̶i̶e̶d̶ ̶t̶o̶ ̶p̶l̶a̶y̶ ̶m̶e̶ who apparently does not yet know the ins and outs of working with bloggers/spokespeople, the brand(s), that may want to contract me in the future and to bloggers who think they've "made it" cause they got 3 minutes on a television network. I charge a fee not only for what I am doing but also for what I know. You can pick anyone of the million bloggers that are in the blogosphere but you are taking out the time to email me, if you don't like my fee or I should say the politically correct PR term "don't have the budget" to pay for my fee, it is totally acceptable to decline and chose another blogger. What is not OK is to low ball, abuse or take advantage of a blogger because you feel they don't have the experience, following or fame. Which simple leads back to, go with another blogger who does and pay them what they ask.
I was hesitant to share because according to my close friend a PR graduate, PR professionals are always moving company to company so you never want to bad mouth any one because they will talk and you don't want to be placed on the "hard to work with list". My sister a fan of Kelly Cutrone said "Never be a bitch on paper, voice mail or text". But pieces of advice seem very logical and have sound basis however I am a women of faith, I have and will always say "what God has for me is for me". So whether I am transparent in writing this post and it offends the PR brand that is behind this or not, doors I shouldn't go through won't open but not because buzz in the grape vines but because my God said so.
But yeah, bloggers, know your worth, don't accept "exposure" or even products as a form of payment. I always say exposure doesn't feed my kids but guess what it also doesn't pay for gas, tolls, rent or that cell phone you use to practiacally run you blog. I am here trying to make a living, I am not trying to be Web Famous. When I was employed blogging was my hobby but this is now my business, how I help my husband support our children and meet our financial responsibilities. Honor my work, my effort and my talent, cause I do.
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I'M ALICIA GIBBS
Faith + Family!
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