How to… Not become a Blogging Pushover

Credit: Via Love Shot

I have thought long and hard about actually posting this after I wrote it. It is, in all honesty, a little bit of a rant but I hope it actually might give you a greater insight into my world. As I hope most of you know, I put a lot of work into running Rock n Roll Bride. When I’m at home I’m on my computer pretty much from 10am to at least 10/11 pm past midnight working on posts, running up new ideas and keeping in touch with people. It’s no longer just a hobby for me, and weird as it feels to say this, it is now my business and one I work very hard on. Anyway…

This is a bit of a random post, but I think it’s something that needs to be said. I hope in sharing this I won’t p*** anyone off and if anything I hope it might be able to give you, my loyal readers an small insight into how I view the blog in terms of advertising and sponsorships.

I love my sponsors. Every single one of them. I never take offers of sponsorship from companies who I deem to be spammy or not right to recommend for my readers. It would horrify me to think I’d ‘recommended’ anyone to be involved in your wedding that was unreliable or shady just because they were paying me to. I have and will continue to turn down these kind of sponsorship offers.

Similarly I often (like on a daily basis) receive emails from companies and individuals wanting product mentions or reviews…and don’t want to pay for it. “Sure, I say, I love your product, here are my rates” I’ll be honest here, in about 95% of these emails I am fully aware that these companies are wanting free coverage, as if I’m some kind of platform for them to get free advertising. The response is usually something along the lines of “erm…thanks but we don’t have any budget for advertising, we were thinking something more along the lines of an editorial mention, in exchange we’ll give you a link back to your site from ours/we’ll send you something for free/we’ll think you’re really really cool.” Oh reeeeeally?

FYI – in my book the definition of editorial is something I make my own editorial decision on, something that I blog because I love it. If in your book editorial means free advertising, well in the nicest possible way. F-Off!

I’m not being funny (well maybe I am) but FFS a) this is my job. This is how I make my living and I am not going to apologise for making money from advertising and b) Where exactly would I draw the line with these ‘free’ mentions? What would Rock n Roll Bride become? A place for companies to freely spam you with their products? Well I wouldn’t have many readers left would I? Who wants to read that?!

So is everything you read on Rock n Roll Bride paid for? No of course not! Every single real wedding, engagement shoot or photo session I feature is up here because I love it and I know you will too. I do it because I hope some of you will be inspired by them for your own weddings and photo shoots. I work very hard to source original and unique content for my readers and I pride myself in only sharing things that I know you’ll love to read about. I have mentioned many companies on the blog who haven’t paid a penny to me. People I’ve met who I think are ace. People who’ve done something amazing for me and people who I just really want you to know about. As a rule I don’t run ‘free’ editorial on products. I started Rock n Roll  Bride to share photography and real weddings/photo shoots that I love and I think you’ll love too. That is the core of the site and the advertising and sponsorships are what keep the blog going. Quite simply, without them I’d still be working for someone else.

I do run a select few sponsored posts in my ‘Under the Spotlight’ features which, along side my ‘link love’ adverts not only give me a little bit of money (hey, I’ve got kittens to feed and tattoos to get!) but I hope bring to your attention some really great vendors that I hope you might use for your wedding. I’m not going to apologise for making money doing something I love.

What was the point of this post you might ask? Well in all honesty it’s actually a bit of a vent. I’m literally sick to death of getting emails like this and to anyone thinking of spamming me with your ‘special reader offers’ or ‘check out our XYZ product – your readers will love it!’ with no intention of paying for it, well forget it.

This post was inspired by this great post I read on Mommybloggers (don’t get scared – I found a link via Think Splendid – I’m not reading ‘Mommy’ blogs!) It reads:

“Yesterday, the advertising team at Cool Mom Picks (a small and worthy mom-run business if I ever knew one) spent a good deal of time putting together a proposal for a four-month advertising program for a major brand that was rejected because *gasp* we had the audacity to ask for actual money to run their banners.

Not giveaways for our readers.

Not “a link on our microsite” or “access to our event” or “gift cards for your readers” which is in fact what they were hoping to compensate us with.

Money. As in, that stuff we use to pay our writers and designers and tech guys and the US Postal Service and the fine discount hotels of Las Vegas during trade show season.

I think the actual response from the marketer was something like: Oh, we don’t need to pay for this. The mommyblogs are so great, they’re excited to help and do it in exchange for a link! “

Here here sistaaas! Read the full post here.

Bloggers, there are some other really great posts relating to this issue on Mommybloggers. Check out:
What are you worth as a blogger
Lookin’ out for Mah Peeps – don’t undervalue yourself
Bloggers and self-promotion

Blogs are not a place for companies to get free advertising. We will not be seen a pushovers or magazines ‘lite’ (in many instances our readership vastly outstrips the readership number of many real life print magazines) You wouldn’t dream of emailing the editor of Brides magazine and asking for a free advert would you?

207 comments

  1. Kat- love your site, love your writing. You have featured a story we shot and we are grateful. Thank you for being amazing! xoxo

  2. re: editorial…there’s a win/win relationship there. Vendors give the content which supplies the blog with content their readers like to read. In return the vendor gets good PR and the blogger continues to supply readers w/content they want. win/win

    If the blogger COMMISSIONS the content from vendors and specifies the look/feel of the content, at the least, a budget should be given for materials. Just like a stylist/photographer/team of vendors would have for a magazine.

    That seems like a totally different convo than the idea of a company asking bloggers to write about products. There’s less give in that relationship. More take. If there’s less/no editorial value to the readers, if those posts don’t drive readership, if the post is basically an advertorial, what’s the point…that should be a paid commercial break, which is why I’m Amen-ing Kat’s post. There has to be a win on either side for it to work.

  3. As a planning bride, I appreciate this post. I love wedding blogs because they are honest and each has a fresh approach based on the blogger’s personality as opposed to the generic quality of bridal magazines. I have gotten ALL of my inspiration and ideas from various blogs. I have also never felt the affects of blog advertising fees on my bottom line. The world of blogging is no where near fading, it is just getting started. Kudos to you for standing up for yourself and fighting for what is owed to you.

  4. Rosanna

    Personally, as a bride, I would NEVER hire somebody who has been featured for pay (precisely why I would never hire somebody by clicking on an ad). I want to be able to trust a blogger’s assessment so I want the blogger not to be paid for that assessment. If you think about it, it’s precisely like with doctors… would you trust a doctor who gets paid by the pharmaceutical industry to say great things about the medication he prescribes? I would never know whether the doctor really thinks that medication is the best or s/he is doing it just to make a living. So I totally understand when a blogger gets his/her revenue from ads, but I don’t trust them when their blog entries are paid for.
    Also I kind of understand the photographer’s perspective, at least partially. Without pics, there would simply be nothing to blog about. It’s true that who writes should be compensated for the way s/he writes but on the other hand there are people – like me – who don’t read blogs, just browse them for pics.
    I love Kat’s blog and work but I wouldn’t hire anybody featured here because I know it’s paid for. And – considering that I’m thinking about becoming a WP – I don’t think I would pay a blogger to feature my work. I would – however – pay for a clearly labeled ad. I do think that’s the fairest way to make money out of a blog.

  5. malex

    I have been checking this blog daily for 6 months now. I am not engaged, nor married and neither are my girlfriends who have started to follow this blog as well. I find so much inspiration here and my appreciation for photography has increased ten-fold. One year ago, if I were looking for a wedding photographer I probably would have paid a family friend a few hundred bucks to take some underwhelming photos. Now, I know that when I want to find my wedding photographer, I will look no further than this site. This decision will have everything to do with the trust I have in Kat, her tastes, the hard work, effort, contacts, and TALENT she showcases. It is so easy to see how hard Kat works, and I know that no stone is unturned in her search for photos and wedding ideas to share. The wedding pictures on this site are never just poses and cake cutting, these photographers bring the best out of the subjects, make the most of the locations, and get damn good results. This is why I feel confident that the best photographer to capture the best moments, along with my style and my personality can be found here at rock ‘n roll bride. No longer do I see myself paying a family friend a few hundo to snap a few pix, the biggest line item in my wedding budget will be a photographer to capture priceless photographs, moments infused with style & personality – art. I am one of the reasons why sponsors and advertisers need to see Kat’s worth (and put food on her plate!) and if one reason isn’t good enough, 3 of my girlfriends have started reading this blog daily after I shared a few of my favorite posts with them.

  6. rawlimark

    I think what Mr pissedoftog is trying to say is he read something on the internet (where he spends much of his life, and where his friend lives) and he is now an expert! Obviously he hasn’t put into practice any of his ideas, if he had he would know he needs publicity to get where all photographers want to be. That and I think he just wants to wind you up, get some attention and show what an idiot he is. Take no notice of him Kat. Feature me! I’ll pay you thousands to be on your blog! 🙂

  7. As a newer member to the blogging world I just wanted to applaud you for this article and having the guts to put it out there for the world to see.

    I know the benefit of bridal blogs for photographers as I have been seen and published and know the huge return. As I have now entered into the other side of actually creating and running my own bridal blog I know the huge amount of work that goes into the creating, maintenance, selecting wisely to make sure our readers get the best of the best.

    There are vendors who believe in us and show their loyalty because they know that our blog’s purpose helps brides in need. These vendors understand the service we are offering and its our partnership that creates a warm and welcoming community.

    We have also been approached by vendors who want free mentions in the blog for no vendor membership and we always politely tell them that we can never guarantee blog posts for any vendor, but if we do happen to write about a topic that requires a vendor’s expertise in their given field, we will always ask our vendor members for contribution because, like you, we only want quality, committed, and high-end vendors who believe in providing the best service to our dear readers.

    Thank you, Kat, for speaking on behalf of the wedding blogging community. We all chose this field because we love weddings, want to help brides, and want to showcase vendors who understand that we have offered them a wonderful platform for which to market their services.

  8. Rebecca

    Kat,
    As not a blog that having sponsors that annoys the crap out of me. It’s when blog’s ONLY feature their sponsors making us feel like its all just a con.
    THIS SITE doesn’t JUST feature sponsors which is why its fabulous.
    I’ve not read all of the above (its too long!) but keep it up!

  9. LOVE the article Kat!!! People who undervalue online platforms just don’t get it and will get left behind in the future … if you can give a vendor similar (or better) exposure than a magazine can to their target audience, then that’s worth any vendor paying up for. There is a great site called http://www.thebusinessofbeingcreative.com/ which often deals with the issue of how to put a value on creativity. Anyone who doesn’t understand the value of the time you put in and the unbelievable network that they can access through you, is going to miss out. Plain and simple. PS have been loving your ranting tweets too; brilliant!!

  10. Wow, looks like I missed a lot since going to bed early last night! Great morning coffee read though 🙂

    Just wanted to say that loads of companies spend thousands (if not more) of dollars or pounds to try and receive the kind of traffic I can imagine Kat receives here on the blog – and they never get there!

    The exposure vendors / photographers get by being featured here is invaluable as its not only a “word of mouth” type recommendation, which is more personal and therefor feels more genuine, but at the same time feels like it comes from a well established, “in the know” industry expert.

    Don’t want to jump on the band wagon, but @pissedofftog – you shouldn’t be so mean! I don’t think I would want a grumpy photographer shooting my wedding :/

  11. What a fantastic, honest, justifiable write-up Kat. No-one could have worded it better.
    too many people in this life want freebies…and you absolutely deserve to reap financial reward for all your hard work (hell, we have to live, right!).

    pissedofftog – you surely must feel a bit stupid now? you’re in a minority so small, it’s pathetic.
    having met Kat and produced a short film of her, I totally realised how much dedication and passion and looooong hours she puts into her blog. She didn’t just start it up for personal gain.
    And as the blog now takes up more and more of her time, her transition to working more from home (blogging more) HAS to start generating income. And IMO, she should have done this yonks ago.
    Kat sees this sense. Us as vendors see this sense. You’re the only one that doesn’t!!
    end of.

  12. Rebecca – agreed. That is super tacky and obvious…and almost a bit ‘look at how many sponsors we are and how great we are. eugh

    Rosanna – really? even if after you clicked the ad the photography/or whatever the ad was for was incredible?! I honestly only let people advertsie on my site who are ace but if thats your optinion then thats cool. I hope you might find your photographer though a real wedding feature then as they are not paid for and i only share them because i think the wedding/images are incredible

    rawlimark – hah please feel free to email me with your offer of paying me thousands! :oP

  13. Paul – I will drop you an email with my info. I adored your work and featuring you was a pleeeasure!

  14. Elesha

    What a keyboard warrior!!! Do you reckon he didn’t get any last night? 🙂

  15. faith

    wow, i always wondered what all the fuss was about when stumbling across discussions like this when i’d googled something or other… bit of a tornado in a teacup really 🙂 glad you turned off pissed off tog – vitriol was the perfect word to describe his/her venemous outpourings. i also want to say that i love your blog Kat. it was an absolute honour to be featured as a ‘rock n roll bride’ and i still indulge in following your blog as a treat to me. my husband and i have started a wedding photography business and describe our style as rock n roll bride 🙂 inspiration is truly what your blog is all about. a wedding that’s about the couple and what they love and their individual style rather than stuffy traditions and other peoples expectations. have a fantastic day!! congratulations on moving to full time blogging – that’s a real achievement!

  16. Wow! What a great read! Really interesting perspectives.

    Never underestimate the power of a blog!

    Please excuse me if my spelling or grammar is incorrect – I am a creative not a writter and also dislexic, that does not make me stupid!

    Kat – I got married a few years back now and I so wish I had found your site then. I think the photography on here is so beautiful, my photographer was a disapointment – having studied photography and taught it I guess I had high expectations, however if I had come across this site things may have been different. My husband is a musician and a rock and roll shoot was exactly what I wanted. Anyway my point being is even in the last few years the wedding industry has changed so much blogs offer brides to be wonderful insights into celebrations beyond the norm of twee meringues! This is a fantastic site and the way of the modern industry. You have to embrace the future of advertising and not get stuck in old fashioned ways.

    Big love X

  17. Have loved reading through these comments.

    Just to weigh in, as a wedding stylist and makeup artist, I often can’t believe how much people take umbridge with you actually trying to actually make money out of your business. It’s in the name folks, it’s a business, it’s what we do in order to feed ourselves, pay the bills and buy pretty things (and tattoos and kitty food).

    In the current economic climate it absolutely astounds me that society in general isn’t more encouraging of independent business people.

    Kat, you do fantastic work, and having some photos featured earlier this year that I did the makeup for not only generated publicity for me, but helped me to gain more credibility in the field that I work in, and I would not dream of asking for money to be featured.

    In business, marketing is a cost, and if that cost is only the time spent sending in photos for a free feature then you’re bloody lucky.

  18. Kat, I’ve been following your blog for over a year now and even though I’m not planning on getting married I think what you do is amazing and I know as soon as I do (if ever) want to get married, this is the first place I’m coming for ideas!

    Keep up the good work, you are truly an inspiration and its been fun watching Rock n Roll bride grow – you can really see how hard you work on your blog and as long as you are happy with how you run things then really that is all that matters.

  19. Kat – Rock and Roll Bride inspires me every single day. The world you open up to us inspires people and makes me (personally!) very happy! So much lush, colourful eye candy! Who would want to be negative about that!

    The photographers you feature are amazing and are leading the way in wedding photography, taking it to places that 10 years ago seemed un imaginable!
    I have been reading R&RB for a very long time now and the creativity it has inspired in me personally has been life changing. seriously. It has made me go out there and push myself and I am now doing what I love. Making amazing new friends, making people happy and taking photographs.

    At the end of the day, R&RB is all about beautiful, creative and unique weddings and at the heart of that is a couple getting married. Many photographers read R&RB and aspire to being featured but the brides-to-be and grooms are the heart of your blog…
    You are giving them a window into a creative world that allows couples to have a fun filled and unique wedding. I started as one of those brides and have R&RB to thank in inspiring me to create a super cool day that we loved and our guests still talk about!

    Never stop what you are doing Kat! Ever. Do whatever you need to to keep it going!

  20. Post author

    Abilu – sorry to hear you were upset with your photographer. you should totally do an anniversary shoot with one of the awesome photographers ive featured so you can have some really great images of you and your husband!

    Kirstie Taylor – i would never want to be taken off your press list. you are in fact one of the people i was talking about when i said ive featured people without getting paid for it. ive mentioned you on the blog and tweeted about you,. i wouldnt expect payment for that. its great content for me and some publiciry for you. I went to The White Gallery this week and met a load of amazing suppliers who i will be blogging about, not cos theyre paying me but cos they are great and need to be shared with my readers! keep the press info coming love!!

  21. Pissed off tog – You obviously don’t understand that wedding photography is different than commercial, editorial and the like… Our clients don’t have huge marketing budgets and tons of money to spend on photography. There is also not a lot of return business. (people hopefully only get married once) In the commercial world, photographers typically work with the same client over and over and they get paid big bucks and have a lot more control over how their images are used…

    In the wedding world, the name of the game is Word of Mouth and getting new business from new clients who have no idea what makes a good photographer or good photography. Blogs like Kat’s help to organize and filter the vast array of photography styles that exist and provide their readers with relevant content… While she is using our images to create value in her blog, this only serves to help gain more readers and in turn drive MORE TRAFFIC to the photographers site… which leads to potential new clients discovering photographers they might never have heard of…

    You obviously don’t know how the internet works, and you seem a little bitter and stuck in an old fashioned view of the way the world works…

    Kat works hard to CREATE a product that is valuble to both her readers (Brides) and her source (Photogs) It is truly a Win-Win for all so get over yourself…

    We now return to our regularly scheduled broadcast… 😉

  22. Last year, we arranged a sponsored post here and we’ve been super-happy with it. We’ve had hundreds of extra visitors to the site as a direct result, and a little SEO boost too, plus some great comments on the sponsored post itself.

    We wrote to Kat enquiring about the Under the Spotlight feature, she let us know the rates. We decided to hold fire for a couple of months to get the timing right for us, and Kat put together the feature for us right on cue.

    It’s all conducted in a completely honest, transparent way — Kat’s very clear that Under the Spotlight posts are sponsored, but readers can be sure that nothing is posted that Kat hasn’t considered carefully beforehand. The post isn’t a review (there’s very little opinion in there), it’s an introduction. If you then follow it up and like what you find, I don’t see how that’s not helpful for everyone.

  23. Post author

    mirroring what annabel just said – if i wanted an easy life and and easy pay, i wouldnt be doing this full time, as i said in the actual post id be working for someone else…but thats bloody boring and nothing is more satisfying than thinking the money youre earning is a direct reflection of how hard you’ve worked.

  24. Post author

    Annabel, i think it may be even harder for you than me as you do feature a lot of brands for free. whereas my blog is primarily real weddings/photo shoots your blog is features on wedding suppliers. i think it will be harder for you to maintain your integrity when companies expect to be featured for free and for nothing in return..rememeber to stick to your guns and only feature what you love and admire! thats what makes your blog great – that you featre everyone, especially the little guys and not just people who pay you for coverage (again mirroring what rebecca said earlier)
    and no you cant wat yet..yo have to keep up with the debate (ps on my second cup of coffee!!)

  25. Can I just say that we aspire to be featured by Kat, and we have a long way to go to be even considered at the moment, but every wedding booking we take, in the back of our minds is ‘can we make it different enough to be featured’. Sorry if this sounds prissy, but it’s true. This site is a complete inspiration, both for brides looking for ideas, and also for photographers looking to do something different. Keep up the good work, and you never know, in a couple of years, we may even have the honour of being featured ourselves!!!! Recognition by others is the payment here.

    Jeanette

  26. Like you Alexis I’m catching up on the 50 comments that have posted whilst I was sleeping (early night).

    It does prove the point that Blogs are not simple online magazines and shouldn’t be compared to in such a way.

    Magazine publishers are tyrants when it comes using images…. expecting free imagery because they are offing a byline.

    Blogs are about the community – reader, writers and contributors. If every area of the community is befitting then it’s all win win win.

    True, this site cannot survive without the imagery but these aren’t amateur photographers shooting part time at weekends and posting their ‘rings on a book’ photos on Flickr.

    It is their choice to submit images and if there was on befit then why would they continue to send more images to Kat?

    What’s most refreshing is that their is no £10 a month directory here…. photographers you know the ones and we receive emails about the ‘latest wedding directory’ almost everyday… what a waste of time!

    As a photographer the biggest trap is to fall into your own little bubble and ignore that is really happening in terms of treads and dare I say it… what clients really want…. anyone who thinks they can achieve that by merely asking their own clients is somewhat naive.

    Being part of community is as much about giving as it is as taking.

    Any fool can write a blog?…… There’s a big difference between having a blog that works (makes you money) and one that doesn’t……. as someone who posts everyday on at least one of my four blogs I can tell you it takes a great amount of commitment, time and energy….. and perhaps wine!

    So thank you Kat for spending time not only to create this blog but promote it and engage wonderfully with your community.

    You can expect my first submission to you soon!

    Much love.

  27. I have read through most of the comments and thought I would throw in what i think….
    I think people need to wake up and realise that if you want quality coverage you have to pay for it. All of the free listings that I have subscribed to have brought me nothing except crap inquiries and people asking if i would like to cover an hour of their wedding!! Modern brides (and grooms) are web savvy and desperate to find the perfect vendors for their wedding so will always turn to places like RRB because they can see real people in real weddings not some glossy model pouting in a dress. If you are serious about your business then surely these people have business plans in place with an amount of money put aside for advertising??
    I was chuffed when you featured one of my weddings last year it confirmed to me that i was doing the right thing with my work and heading in the right direction and hopefully in the future i will gladly pay you have my name listed along side some of the best photographers/vendors in the world.
    keep up the good work
    Lee

  28. Post author

    Thanks Michael – i would never have a ‘£10 a month directory’ again, who wants to read that? its so obviously a way to try and make the most money with minimum effort and i cant imagine any brides trawling through a list of a hundred photographers in their area to try and find one. waste of time on all accounts. I look forward to seeing your submission!

  29. Just wanted to add my comment in support of Kat and all the wonderful photographers and other ‘wedding artisans’ she has featured on her blog.

    I’m not even a bride for heaven’s sake, but this blog is so inspiring I have to keep reading it.

    I know a lot of photographers, and sadly, I know a few like you, sad old blokes (I am assuming of course) who think they know it all because they’ve been doing it for 50 years. Well, things have changed yknow, people don’t want the traditional thing anymore, people like a bit of individuality in their wedding photographs, it’s one of the most important days of their lives, and they need truly special, creative photographers to help them remember that day for years to come.

    And so what if they look like they’ve been wee’d on, that’s just the most hilarious comment ever.

    If you’re so good, share your images with us, what have you got to hide?!

    Kat, I got your back, keep up the good work!

  30. True that Kat …. I see see lots of debates on forums about these listings and they usually begin with “as anyone heard of….”

    Surely the clue is in your question????

    Didn’t mention this but I do think the adversing on this site is done really well… there’s always the temptation to go crazy and have banner ads and Google ads after every paragraph.

    Oh and a quick bit of advice to any brides reading this looking for a photographer……. don’t be afraid to click on the right hand ads in this site….. they are all very good! (I’m not one of them incase you’re thinking that).

  31. As a bride to be I do not know where I’d be without sites such a this to showcase photographic talent. I know that Kat takes such pride in her work and consequently I trust her implicitly. I know that she only supports those who deserve to supported. (And by that I mean, photographic talent.) Advertising is an intrinsic part of our culture and I would rather trust Kat who obviously is able to showcase the best of the talent available today than an indiscriminate source.

    I do not understand how I would have found vendors without blogs. Magazines are helpful but blogs maintain a far more up to date log of new vendors and bad vendors.

    As a wedding blogger (who does don’t currently take sponsorship) I know how much effort it must take to keep her blog fresh and exciting. It is her job and one that she does rather well. People may think she is just a hack trying to earn a quick buck but maintaining a blog to her standard requires an inordinate amount of love and effort. She obviously does it for the love but why does this not equate to earning money from it?

    I can only aspire to be as well thought of as Kat. Her post was honest and true. I heart Mrs Pink.

  32. Rob

    @pissedofftog I suggest instead of trashing Kat’s blog that you look at the benefits Kat has brought to the photographic industry as a whole. This woman is up there with Venture (portraiture) and Gok Wan (boudoir) with helping to transform dull wedding photography. In fact I go as far to say she’s helping to save wedding photography from itself! What started out as RocknRoll is fast becoming mainstream wedding photography.

    @pissedofftog May I also recommend you a great book called ‘ How to win friends and influence people ‘ it may help you avoid such nasty situations as this in the future.

  33. Post author

    Rob – “This woman is up there with Venture (portraiture) and Gok Wan (boudoir) with helping to transform dull wedding photography”

    WOW thank you!

  34. Great article Kat… the blogger vs advertiser/pr person is a very interesting one. I’m v glad you pick your sponsors with care – but to be honest from reading your posts, I wouldn’t expect anything less 😉

    My main gripe with people that get in touch with me asking for free promotion is how little they’ve done their research… I’ve obviously popped up on their software package that searches for types of bloggers and then they fire stuff out at me. 90% of the emails I get are for things based in London that they want me to blog about… eh, I live in Edinburgh. I like London a lot but I don’t live there – and why would I blog about a design show/festival/market etc etc that I can’t go to??

    Sorry rant over! Anyway, thanks for posting this… I think it’s one of the unspoken things in blogging as to how you handle this!

  35. Post author

    same goes for me Zoe. I get so much stuff for America which is ridiculous. Just cos im a sucessful wedding blogger i must be American right? if they even just read the about page they’d see that im in the UK!
    id actually love to go to a lot of the events in LA or New York but alas they wont even pay my airfare…boo!

  36. Taking ‘pissedofftog’s’ comments into account: Fact is, independent Bloggers are currently playing a hugely important role in changing the way the wedding industry (and other industries of course) operate in terms of advertising and promotion. More and more Brides are turning to Blogs for inspiration and there is an important debate taking place in the wedding industry now that I know you are well aware of Kat, that Blogs are now becoming more influential than traditional wedding magazines.

    People need to get with it, understand it, celebrate this exciting new development and develop relations/learn to work with the more influential bloggers – who really, can open up the most wonderful new opportunities for businesses. Who knows where this might all lead eventually in terms of regulations and what not, but for now, this is the situation, and one must learn to ride with it if one wants not to be left behine.

    Finally, two points which really just support what you’re saying anyway:

    (1) Bloggers like you, and me, who wirte for a living work (I also have a day job but treat my blog as my 2nd job/income earner) work damned hard to maintain our blogs (jeepers, if I could get paid for the number of times I heard my hubby saying “get to bed NOW! It’s gone midnight!”, I’d probably never need another sponsor again ha!). I wrote about this in my recent ‘Sharing the Love for UK Wedding Blogs’ post which you so kindly supported me on. It’s unfair to expect us to blog content for free. WE ARE WORKING REALLY HARD OVER HERE GUYS, blogging is NOT a pushover. It takes time, hard work, commitment, passion and all the others things a ‘normal’ paying job requires.

    (2) Bloggers like you and me, who have a GENUINE passion for inspiring others, work damned hard to maintain the integrity of our sites. I was interviewed by a journalist yesterday about my blog, who asked me “do you find it hard to turn down request to be feautured on your blog”. I do when the request comes from what appears to be a really NICE person (photographer/designer etc) but whose brand I feel doesn’t quite represent the essence of Love My Dress – HOWEVER – I don’t when the request comes with a more corporate approach from an established brand who claim free editorial would benefit my blog and who apparently don’t have a budget for such advertising.

    And my advice to you? If you haven’t arleady is, have a standard one/two (max!) liner to any such brand seeking free editorial/content with you – wing it off every time you get such a request and give it no more thought. You’ll probably continue to be bothered by such reqeusts for a good while yet my love – other people will always want to ride on the coat-tails of success of others!

    Annabel xXx

  37. I just want to clarify, I write about MANY brands who I don’t receive payment for, and would never expect to, simply because I love and adore them.

    A lot of the brands I feature belong to pepole working form home – start-up companies/sole traders/independents who genuinely CANNOT afford an advertising budget, but in most cases, I am not directly contacted by these people ayway, I find them during my research and they are producing some of the most beautiful, hand-crafted products out there that I want to help celebrate and share with others.

    By the same token, I am very committed to my paying sponsors, each of whom I feel represent the essence of Love My Dress, and who I also love and adore and treat very serioulsy as my customers. I OWE them this, they are paying my bills! And I am proud to have every single one of them on board as for me, they represent some of the best brands in the wedding industry.

    Can I go get breakfast now? 😉

    Annabel xXx

  38. Kat, you know you’ve got it right. Not just the paying for editorial and refusing submissions which don’t fit, but it’s always struck me you have the perfect balance of personality / business on here. You’re outspoken, you obviously pick what you feature very carefully and as a result everything ‘fits’ perfectly on your blog.

    The important thing is how the blog ‘feels’, if that makes sense. And Rock n Roll Bride feels like your place. Things you love, things you’ve chosen, things you have chosen for us.

    It’s all very genuine, the work you put in speaks volumes, and I’m talking about the events you go to, the photoshoots, and the research, not just the actual blog posts.

    Yes, you should be paid for editorial. Of course. The important thing is, you choose so well it doesn’t feel like anything is paid for. Which is why it works.

    It’s probably also why people ask you for free editorial – they don’t realise there’s a business behind RRB, but that’s because your brand is so very strong: you’re a sassy girl with pink hair and strong opinions and that’s why this place is fab and works so well.

    Good rant / vent, anyway. Interesting esp. for us newbie bloggers. Just keep doing it your way, is all we ask.

    Claire x

  39. kirsty

    I cant face reading what everyone else has written, but I completely know where you are coming from. Every single day my in box has something from someone basically wanting my photos for free. Saying they will ‘credit me’ – oh whoopie do. Considering my photos cost an absolute fortune for me to produce and im doing it for the entire length of my spare time its not fair, and not good enough. Bloody magazines want full editorials …. for NOTHING, so i get the ‘exposure’. So NO its not ok, and Kat I completely agree with you – its your job now and you need to make a living like the rest of us. xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx (ps – but I like letting you use them because you genuinely like them, and your blog is wicked!) ahah. hope the arm is looking good girlie x

  40. Awesome article Kat. Have been following you for a little while and am relatively new to the ins and outs of blogging. I have the utmost respect for you and other “upmarket” wedding blogs and am glad you turn away people after freebies. Agree with what you worte 100%. Go you!

  41. When I started thinking I wanted to blog, I bounced the idea off a photographer I know well and he instantly replied that he felt this was the future for the wedding industry and that he would love to get involved. When I begged him for the photos from a particularly amazing wedding, I mentioned that I would understand if he wanted to give first dibs to a magazine. His response was that he wouldn’t dream of it; print media was soon going to be (and is being in some cases) surpassed by online media like blogs where the usability & gratification for brides is superior. Therefore he would be positioning himself first and foremost with the blogs which he felt would be the best platforms for him to access his future clients. People like him get it and will do well. ‘Other people’ don’t, and won’t.

  42. So many people have made valuable and worthy comments I can only add my experience with blogs..

    I am a new supplier- I only started the business in March and I have to say about 95% of my business is from wedding blogs- I am ever grateful to the girls at Rock My Wedding who featured my launch- the best publicity I could ask for. I also contacted Kat and had a sponsored post on this blog- the response was amazing and I can’t thank you enough Kat!

    You see its all about finding your target audience and advertising there- whether it be a blog, a magazine etc. I REALLY dont understand what the fuss is about ‘PissedoffTog’ -I have attended wedding fairs, tried other ways of advertising at the end of the day its the blogs that have got me my business! AND I certainly don’t charge my brides for my advertising- you can see that by looking at my prices!

    What it comes down to is; are you advertising in the right place?- and do you have a good product in the first place??? I’m guessing something is lacking for you!

    I love Rock n Roll bride- the work Kat puts into this blog is unbelievable- she has thousands of readers- It would be stupid to think this kind of medium is not relevant!

    Lucy xxx

  43. Awesome article indeed! I am starting a small wedding related business and I have approached Kat for rates and when I am ready to launch I am excited about contacting her and sending her my product as I kinda feel that her acceptance of advertising/under the spotlight type deal is top marks for my product. Its refreshing for someone to stand up for what they believe in and put their belief into the companies they work with! You are not the corporate face of weddings, you’re the friendly indie face who so many people trust! Keep on truckin’

  44. Shoegal

    Hiya Kat

    I’m a bride-to-be and have loved your blog from the word go. This is such an interesting subject and to be honest, I don’t necessarily agree with everything you’ve said but I certainly think it’s a relevant debate. As an ex-PR for some big photographic brands, I have a slightly different perspective. With magazine circulations on the decline clients were always demanding that we look online for coverage across a variety of demographics including mums/ photographers/ brides/ everyone you could bloomin think of, etc. As a PR you’ve also got no budget to splash, so we would be expected to ‘open a dialogue’ with bloggers’ key influencers and ‘build relationships’. If I’m honest, as a PR this was always incredibly embarrassing – I knew full well that blogs such as yours which as based on sharing your experiences, the brands you have found and perhaps used that you love, etc, would have noooooo interest in some dodgy personalised calendar that I was trying to shift! And as much as I would gush that I may love your blog, I wouldn’t blame the blogger for not wanting to build this unrequited relationship with me!! But, I would have to send the press release and have the shameful conversation anyway, trying to find a way that the product may fit or be of interest and then mortifyingly have to say that we had no money to spend but could offer a reader offer instead. Sometimes this would be successful, which is why we had to keep on doing it, but frequently is was just plain embarrassing.

    So, I guess what I’m tying to say is that PRs usually don’t hold the purse strings so will try to get their brand integrated into editorial in any way they can. But it’s a difficult balance to strike and one that hasn’t quite been figured out yet. But do remember, like you’re doing your job, they’re doing their job too and like me, they may have hated every minute of targeting blogs they loved with totally irrelevant stuff at the command of their boss. This is one of the many reasons why I’m an ex-PR.

    Great debate though and I’m sure I won’t be the last to comment!!

  45. Post author

    Shoegal – my issue isnt that i get these press releases. i love to read and learn about new brands and people in the industry. my issue is when i get impersonal ‘dear blogger’ emails to irelevant products with no attempt to learn anything about me, MY brand or what im about. i once got a ‘link exchange’ request from a TATTOO REMOVAL company FFS!!

    if a product/brand is truely awesome and i know my readers will adore it i will often blog it without expecting payment. its again going back to psoting whats best for my readers and what is inkeeping with my blog and ethos.

  46. “any unskilled idiot can make a blog.” Ref, Mr ‘PissedoffTog’.

    Sure they can. But only those with the dedication, time, passion and commitment, plus an intate understanding of what makes a blog a ‘good’ blog (format, presentation, writing style, content, regularity of posts, targeting of posts to specific readers, integrity of content etc etc etc) will stick around.

    Like this one.

    Which has some of the most talented photographers world-wide clamouring to be featured on it, I hasten to add, for the kudos that such a feature will bring to their brand.

    Do you have a blog?

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