Don’t worry, I’m not about to ask for cash.
This Tuesday, 29 November, is officially Pay a Blogger Day. I say officially… someone has decided it would be a nice idea and so they’ve done it. I don’t think there is anything much more formal than that involved.
I don’t know how I feel about it.
Obviously I’m not averse to making the odd pound or two, but I think I would rather it be slightly more indirectly than simply waving an upturned cap and looking expectantly at you, my reader.
I never started blogging to make money. *cue cynical laughter*. No really I didn’t. I’m not saying I had an innocent dream to bring comfort and smiles to the faces of lonely orphans or anything, but I certainly wasn’t looking for straight cash.
The responses I’ve read to the idea of readers paying voluntarily for blog content has been mixed. Some say it’s only fair that if you enjoy someone’s writing, you chuck ‘em a quid or so to show your appreciation. We pay for magazines and newspapers after all right? Others say it undermines the spirit of blogging and just looks desperate, like begging.
Call it blegging if you will.
That’s actually a pretty neat term I reckon. If you hear that anywhere else in the future, remember you heard it here first.
To me though it just seems to bit odd, the argument that just because you find something entertaining, you should expect to pay for it. It feels a bit like going out for lunch with a friend and then saying at the end “Well, I made you laugh seven times, so that’ll be £3.50 please.” Or going for a walk in the park, and having to pay every time you see a beautiful plant or a squirrel or something.
What do you think? Are you a blogger who proudly features a donate button? Does the idea make you cringe with embarrassment? Would you as a reader pay to read your favourite blogs? More to the point, would you give 50p to an amusing squirrel?
Hmmm, this is a complex one for me. I’ll start by saying that I will not be asking people to ‘donate’ on my blog tomorrow. It seems too cheeky, blogs by nature are free and I think they need to stay that way to remain impartial, creative and somewhat personal; that’s what I love about blogs and wouldn’t change it.
But, I do accept the concept of National Pay A Blogger Day. I think to raise the profile of blogging to something on a parr with traditional media is no bad thing. The quality of information, writing and entertainment on many blogs is equally as good as that of magazines or newspapers, so I see the thought process behind asking to pay for it.
Blogging is a personal thing, however, providing copy or articles for other publications is work. Many bloggers are freelance writers or work within the industry they write about and I often find people expect you to write something for them for free just because you are a blogger. This is what needs to change in the industry, if I provide work I expect to be paid. Simple. If I choose to share my own work with others through my own blog then that is my choice and I do not expect you to pay to read it.
Pay A Blogger Day is great to raise the professional profile of bloggers. But the onus should be on editors and company’s to recognise a bloggers’ professional qualities not on readers to appreciate their work, that is what ‘comments’ are for.
And I wouldn’t pay an amusing squirrel 50p, though I might give him a nut!
I totally agree with you – the idea of valuing blogs as Actual Writing is a good one, but doing this just by saying we should all pay isn’t the way to do this in my opinion.
I’m cringing. Not for me this one, struggled enough in the past with sponsored stuff but maybe I should have some more self confidence, after all they’re right it does take time so why not get paid?!
I’m not sure it’s a matter of self-confidence, and I think cringing is OK. You didn’t set out to make money from it, so why ask now? I think if you start thinking in terms of cash you can lose the enjoyment – there are plenty of other things we do in our lives that take time, but we don’t expect to be paid for them all do we? Although it would be nice if someone paid me to cook tea sometimes.
(Full disclosure first: I work for Flattr, one of the companies who started the Pay a Blogger Day idea.)
What’s your favorite way of getting feedback from your readers? What makes you buzz nicely knowing that what you write matters to someone and they want to come back tomorrow?
I’ve been blogging for 10+ years (rather inactively for the past couple of years though) and it was always my close friends I had in mind when I wrote stuff and I wanted them to read (although the topics I covered ranged from wall to wall, occasionally catching the interest of a wider group of people.
I certainly didn’t expect any of my friends to support me financially, that was not why I started and I didn’t need the support either.
However, once, out of whim, I announced that I’ve started my “bed fund” to finally get a proper bed and was smacked off my feet by donations from people I knew a bit to total strangers. It was weird and wonderful at the same time.
For me that was the first ever Pay a Blogger Day :)
Thanks for commenting! Comments are my favourite way of getting feedback. I love it when people have been interested enough in something I’ve written to want to say something about it.
I totally get the idea of what you’re trying to do, I just don’t feel that’s what blogging is about for me. My readers are a mixture of people close to me and complete strangers, but that doesn’t really change how I feel. I think it has a lot to do with your original motives – if you start blogging to make money, and are clear about that, then fine, go for it! If you start as a hobby though, because it’s something you enjoy, why would you shift the goalposts? I’ve done a lot of different unpaid work for charities in the past, because it has been something I want to do, and I would never dream of saying half way through ‘you know what, this takes up time and I’m doing a good job, I think you should start paying me’.
I think your bed story is a lovely one, but isn’t that just a case of you having made a group of friends and them wanting to help you? They weren’t all suddenly moved by the content of your blog to think ‘wow, this writing is worth paying for’, they just saw a guy they’d grown to like and wanted to help out didn’t they?
No I for one am happy to do sponsored posts but would not ask for money. I like the fact people want to drop by and read my blog, but would never ask them to pay for the privilege, and I would still keep writing my blog even if nobody read it as it is a history of the fun we have together that my children and grandchildren can look back on . But good luck to all that do.
You’ve hit the nail on the head I think Elaine – it’s about your motivation isn’t it? You blog because you want to create a record of memories for your family, and that’s not something you can put a price tag on.
Hmm well, nice thought but as others have said, not the reason I started my blog…and not sure how I’d feel if I got paid for airing my myriad odd thoughts!
I do think too that if you start expecting money, it adds a lot of pressure. Like you say, you may just want to air your thoughts and feelings about something, but if you’re charging, won’t there be that feeling of ‘is this worth people’s cash? Am I giving them value for money?’ That would spoil it for me.
Blegging ! Love it! As for turning tricks for cash, why not! Superstar actors do it as a job, JK Rowling’s in a league beyond me for sure but if people wanted to put her on the moneyed list then I’m sure she never said no! That said, the begging cap concept is a little too gauche for me, but if readers like what I do then I fully endorse them clicking on my adverts or buying my affiliated products, after all that’s why adsense and Amazon associates exist after all.
I am LOVING blegging :-)
I should say, it’s wordpress that covers my blog with ads, not me, so don’t click on them, that won’t earn me money!
But yes, I agree that there are better, less direct ways to make money from your blog without having to go cap in hand to your readers.