podcast episode

Should You Accept an Unpaid Campaign?

When does it make sense to work for trade?
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written by:
Hosted by:
Rhonda Jenkins
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Hot topic alert! Should you accept unpaid campaigns or "for trade" campaigns?!

This is a huge topic that I get questions about all the time! There isn't a right or wrong answer here. It all comes down to YOU - what kind of business you want *and* what stage of business you are in! 

We all want to get paid, but there are times where you might be tempted to work for free or trade and there might be a good reason for you to do so.

Today's episode shares the 3 ways to determine if a campaign is a good fit for YOU. I'm also sharing some tips to help you negotiate and one red flag brand move to AVOID!

First things first: When a brand reaches out (or responds to your email), we always want to pitch for dollars first. Of course! But today we are talking about what happens when they say there is no budget or it's a gifted campaign only. If you're not in a place where gifted makes sense, be sure to listen to Episode 10, about how to convert gifted into paid!

I rarely work for free, and I treat my blog as a business and take it seriously. Brands can tell right away if you’re serious about your content or not. I usually say no to unpaid work. Just to remind you - I have under 10k followers on instagram and I get paid consistently. BUT there are still times where I’ll consider working for free or trade, depending on the situation, so it all depends on YOU!

When a brand says there’s no budget, you have 2 options:

  1. Say "thanks but no thanks." (usually how I respond)

Reminder: usually #1 is the right option, but for the sake of today's podcast, we are talking all things unpaid, so let’s dig in here because there are definitely times when trade can benefit you.

This ALL depends on you. Nobody is every forcing to work for free. You get to decide.

There are 3 easy ways to determine if an unpaid opportunity is right for you.

One quick note: NEVER work for the promise of future paid campaigns. Phrases like “let’s reevaluate” or “lets see how it goes” are giant red flags. You should be VERY skeptical if a brand tosses those phrases around.

Here are the 3 questions to ask when deciding if a campaign makes sense for you:

  1. Is their product or service valuable to you? aka do you buy it in real life? is it worth your time to create content around it?
  2. Will it benefit your content? i.e. you're a fashion blogger and it's a clothing subscription or gifted accessories, etc.
  3. Do you already have a relationship with the brand?

If I have worked with a brand before on paid campaigns and we have a good relationship, I might accept trade for a one-off campaign. It still has to pass questions 1 & 2, but if it does, then it makes sense for me to maintain that relationship.

All three of those reasons are so subjective and personal - there is not one right way to run your business!

TIP: no matter what - paid or unpaid campaign - you always negotiate for more. For a gifted campaign, that could mean asking for a higher gift card amount, an additional product, parking included, etc.

I'm always going to remind you to negotiate for more, and I hope you will hear me in your head yelling "ASK FOR MORE!" when you are negotiating. These are the 3 ways you can determine if a campaign makes sense for you, and I hope this helps you start to be a little more discerning in the campaigns that you say yes to.

If you loved this week's episode, leave a review on iTunes, and tag us on Instagram @thebloggerbrunch.

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Podcast Host

Rhonda Jenkins

CEO & Founder
The Blogger Brunch

Founder of The Blogger Brunch, influencer marketing expert, event planner, and lifestyle blogger at The Skinny Arm.