The The PR Desk is a regular column on FBC written by PR professional Heather Travis to help food bloggers navigate the ins and outs of working with PR agencies and brands. This month, Heather explains when to raise your rates for sponsored content as part of her ongoing Show Me the Money! series.
You've gone and done it. You’ve BLOWN UP. You’ve been re-pinned countless times, your Twitter analytics are out of this world, your Facebook gets more comments than Ryan Gosling on a hot summer day, you get re-grammed on the regular, and the increased traffic to your blog has your eyes crossing.
You’ve really done it. Well done, you!
Now's the time to raise your rates.
Why Should You Raise Your Rates For Sponsored Content?
Why raise your rates? Because you’ve blown up? Yes, but also no. The main reason you should raise your rates is because your experience, your knowledge, your ability to "know where to tap" has made you better at your job. It's made you more effective at managing your time, and at delivering high quality content your audience loves and your brand partners see value in (because it helps them reach their goals).
When Should You Raise Your Sponsored Content Rates?
You should raise your rates when you can quantifiably prove to yourself you're an expert at what you do. Notice I said prove to yourself — yes, you. If you can look at your numbers and your gut backs you up in knowing you're delivering more value now than you were a year ago, go ahead and raise your rates.
Don’t worry about updating a pretty rate card. I’ve already shared my belief that's a waste of your hustle time and energy. Instead, spend the time and energy pulling together solid "value" proof points. Share a post on your LinkedIn (we’ve talked about that before, here) about how you were delighted to deliver XYZ value for a brand partner, helping them reach their goal of ABC.
Show, Don't Tell
What's the difference between spending time crafting a well thought out value-driving LinkedIn post or popping onto Canva to update your pretty rate card, you ask? A LOT.
In the simplest of terms, one helps you clearly articulate the value you bring to a relevant audience of PRs and brands. The other sits on your hard drive and does nothing to help you articulate the value you bring.
What Are Some Invalid Reasons to Raise Your Rates?
Raising your rates because others are, raising them because you read in a private FB bloggers group that a particular rate is now standard, or raising them because you’ve been doing this for X number of years are not valid or sound reasons.
In the corporate world raises are negotiated based on job performance (delivering against business goals), positive contribution to overall workplace community/environment, and your ability to effectively communicate all this when the time comes. Very rarely does a giant raise just land in your lap. It's most often because a) you asked, and b) you could communicate clearly your value and the contribution you bring (results!).
Next up in the series we’ll be looking at exactly this: negotiating a raise with existing brand partners.
5 Point Checklist: Are You Ready for a Rate Raise?
Use this checklist to help you understand if you're ready to raise your rates.
- Do you have year over year (and month over month) data to show your increased traffic, clicks, comments, et cetera?
- Do you have clear examples of winning project results with brand partners and non-sponsored posts?
- Do you have clear expressions of your value? (For example: “Branded links placed in my monthly subscriber newsletter on average generate a 50 percent clickthrough rate," meaning, my readers trust me and the brands I partner with.)
- Do you have LinkedIn recommendations from PRs and brands you work with testifying to your overall ability to contribute to a winning project or campaign? (If you’ve got these in email, respond back and ask if they wouldn’t mind posting them as a review on your LinkedIn)
- Do you have major skills improvements? (For example, your photos are a million times better, your videos are now in focus with actual sound, etc.)
- PR Desk: Why You Should Ditch Your Rate Cards
- A Blogger's Guide to Asking for More Money
- A Blogger's Guide to Determining Your Value
Heather Travis is a PR professional and lover of all things creative. She has extensive experience developing and implementing integrated public relations and marketing programs for agricultural brands, producers and processors, as well as high end sporting goods. She’s a DIY junkie with a mean power tool addiction, and can often be found painting, refinishing, and scouring both junk yards and antique markets for her next fix … err, piece of content for her blog heatherinheels.com. Find Heather on Twitter @heathertravis and Instagram @heathertravis.