Last year I wrote about the problem with paying the microinfluencer and how brands should work with bloggers. But the subject of payment and how much to charge brands asking for collaborations is still a hot topic (when is it ever not?) in the influencer industry. As requested by our Instagram audiences, my blogger friend Luoana Negut from Uptown Style and I decided to address five questions from the perspective of a photographer, writer and a PR executive at a high profile agency.
Q1: Do brands look at content over numbers?
As mentioned in my post on why we are far from peak influencer, brands are focusing a lot more on content than numbers precisely because they are aware of the tactics people use to boost their figures. However, this is only prominent at present in certain niche industries and you can read more about that in this post.
Q2: Are they aware of fake followers and likes?
Luoana, who used to work at a large PR agency looking after clients in hospitality and F&B, definitively says yes. Free and open tools like Social Blade are one of the most obvious places to begin to tell if someone could be suspicious. So why is it that brands and agencies still take on influencers who are ‘unethical’ or are suspected to be? For one, I’ve realised that it’s really only us – the bloggers – that actually care. The numbers of our peers and even our own are almost irrelevant to our audiences and at the end of the day, PR agencies just want the engagement figures (real or not) to present to their client.
Q3: How do I work out how much to charge brands for a post?
This is a tricky one because a lot of bloggers will have their own means of figuring this out, whether they go by how it ‘feels’, for example they may charge way less for their dream collaboration or they go by the CPM (cost per millia/ cost per thousand) method. Personally, I don’t strictly adhere to either. The way I think about my price per post is this: every 1000 after 10k equates to $100 USD. Of course, this changes according to how demanding the deadline is, whether or not your blog or aesthetic works within an in-demand niche that means you can ask for more – or if you need to hire a photographer versus taking product shots and editing them yourself.
Luoana approaches this from the mindset of a freelance photographer, factoring the cost of insurance, tax, hours spent on the campaign and the variable factors that I mentioned before. As long as you feel justified in what you’re asking for, there’s no real right or wrong about it. Arguably that is what makes this question so difficult. There is nothing wrong with trial and error and feeling a bit shitty after a job is normal. In fact that just shows you how you really feel about the campaign and next time, you’ll know to charge more if necessary.
You may be wondering why I didn’t factor in accounts under 10k. This is definitely not because I think that smaller accounts should work for free. It’s because I wasn’t taking on paid work when I had an account of that size and I don’t feel comfortable advising anyone without that experience.
However, I’ve mentioned Takumi in a previous post. This is a reliable influencer platform that pays quickly and offers semi-regular work. However, the downside is that each campaign doesn’t offer a lot in return and you can’t choose how much to charge brands, so it’s a volume versus quality game. One UK based high street fashion and beauty blogger showed me that she made £2.5k over the course of a few months from the app, where most of the jobs paid £50-£100 per photo. If you’re a blogger starting out and you’re really looking to build a portfolio of quality brands and get a bit of pocket money on the side, this might be a good place to start.
shot by Anastasija, @anastasija__je
Wondering where questions four and five are?
… Watch our 13 minute video for our best and worst experiences with brands, find out what each of us charge per post and which influencer platform we would recommend connecting with ASAP!