11 September 2017

Why You Need To Pay Your Creatives

Why you need to pay your creatives, social media Hampshire, Hampshire blogger

There seems to be a growing trend in brands and businesses to ask free services from creatives, and I'm not loving it. As someone who works for both sides of the business, a blogger and a marketeer, I have many opinions on this matter, and just so happens that my blog is the space where I will express these opinions.

Firstly, when I say creatives I'm talking about a wide pool of creatives: bloggers, photographers, designers, writers, social media gurus, videographers. There is a wide pool of people with creative talents and passions - but simply because they are not selling a physical item, suddenly their asking price becomes ridiculous and they are expected to perform their services for pennies or worst of all - for free. Why?

Brands and businesses work because customers buy their products. This is how the CEO's, managers, staff and anyone else involved is able to get paid and come back to a warm house, cooked dinner, and paid for bills. So why are the same people who understand how businesses work expecting creatives to give away their sales to customers for free? Because as a business or a brand, you become a customer to a creative.

This article was inspired by several real life situations not only I, but also my fellow creative friends, have been faced with in the last few months. There are three points of view I'd like to talk about in this article, all which answer one question: why should you pay a creative?

Why you should pay your social media manager:

Brands and businesses employ professionals to work on budgets, manage clients, find new business, design adverts and websites, edit photos, etc - the list goes on and I'm sure I don't need to tell you why you employ staff. Employing a social media manager is just like any other specialist: because you don't know how to make the most of this digital marketing tool, you don't have a strategy, you don't have the time, and trust me managing social media for business is not the same as sharing a post of pugs dressed up as dinosaurs on Facebook.

Most of my clients come to me because of the above reasons: they don't know how to use social media to its full ability, or they simply don't have the time because they need to run their business. But they know you need social media marketing these days for a number of reasons, which you can read here.

A social media manager comes in to your strategy for several reasons: to create a strategic approach to social, create content which is both engaging and valuable when it comes to SEO, teach the team how to use social media, manage it (which trust me is a 24hr job), analyse the results, and ultimately help you hit your KPIs. You're paying this person because they have a degree in marketing, years of experience of the role; they are a qualified professional, not a hobbyist college student. And at the end of the day, you get what you pay for: you scrimp out on your specialist costs, and you'll get mediocre work; you spend the money on professional services, and you will see results and quality of work.

Plus, you need to think about the software you're going to use to make beautiful branded graphics for your content, scheduling tools, analysing tools - these all cost money, and social media managers have these tools to be able to give you the best they digitally can.

On this note, here's a shameless plug if you want to talk to me about social or digital media: Dalry Rose Digital Services.

Why you should pay a blogger for working with you:

A blogger gets hundreds of emails a month from brands asking to collaborate, talking about how much they like the look of the blog; the style of writing; the beautiful photography; oh and you have a loyal social media following who will read your blog too! This makes you an attractive outlet for advertisement. Because let's not beat around the bush - blogger collaborations are advertising, doesn't matter how you want to paint it. We're all big girls (and boys) here.
So the blogger falls in love with the brand, their ethos and their products and agrees to a collaboration because they feel their readers will love it too. And the negotiations for the project start. Let's break it down though:

What a brand gets from a blogger/vlogger collaboration:

- Beautiful imagery / video to use across their digital channels
- SEO key worded content
- Exposure to a loyal readership
- Social media promotion
- Endorsement
- Review to use on the brands website/social
- Advertising of product/service/event/whatever

How much work goes into a blog post:

- Photoshoot of the product, which may involve a professional photographer when it comes to clothing shots or any other shots when the blogger has to be in the photo
- Time to review the product or service
- Time to trawl through the photos/video footage
- Time to edit the photos/footage
- Time to write the post, then edit it, and ensure it's SEO friendly
- Create content for social media, schedule it all

What a blogger gets from a brand collaboration:

- A free product or service, worth anywhere from a fiver to thousands of pounds
- Do not even go there with me but as this is a selling point for brands you also apparently get 'exposure'

Now someone like me has bills to pay, and mouths to feed, and my blog is a big part of my overall business which is where my income comes from - please can you tell me how exposure is going to pay for me to live? As a brand, you choose to come to a blogger because you want to advertise your product or service, and your ultimate goal is to get more money from it. But it's not fair to use a creative for all the services mentioned above, and not offer them monetary compensation, whatever your budget.

Blogging is quickly becoming a recognisable business and a career, catching up with advertising and traditional press. To advertise for one month in my local Parish magazine will cost you anywhere from £200 - £500, and their readership is 2,000. My monthly readership on average is 5,000 individuals, most of whom are from the UK, visiting my blog multiple times for new posts - theoretically that means that I should be charging hundreds of pounds for a post, but 9/10 there is no budget allocated for a project.

What we failed to mention is also the costs that bloggers need to keep up with: cameras, lenses, editing software, scheduling tools, photographers and videographers - all of these things that make our work great cost us money.
So as a brand who wants beautiful content for their advertising, it's only fair you support the creative who makes this beautiful content.

Why you should hire a professional photographer or videographer:

In 2017 we have seen a rise in photo and video content across digital media - people simply don't want to read long articles (sorry pals, I know this one is a tad lengthy!) but get the message within seconds though the use of photo and video content. As a brand you need to keep on top of these trends to give your customers what they want - but here I would strongly advise quality over quantity.
Yes, maybe paying a couple of grand for a video or photoshoot seems steep, but when it comes to your visual content you simply cannot afford to be cheap. I have seen so many examples of videos gone bad - I'm talking businesses filming videos in their messy personal living room, with a wonky camera set up, and their kids screaming in the background. Stop it. Pay your creative and create 2-3 minutes of content which you can use across all of your digital media, chop and change, and it will be beautiful, and it will bring you more customers. Same goes for photoshoots and your photographer.

These professionals not only rely on their creative eye, but also on a lot of technical equipment which costs thousands of pounds. When you're not paying their fees, you're not allowing them to grow and do the best they can for you because they simply can't buy equipment. Simples, really. Same goes for professional editing software.

Whilst we're here and throwing recommendations, here's a brilliant videographer I work with on my own business and as a creative parter, Heidi Bawden.

Why I want to pay creatives as a digital marketeer working with brands and budgets:

Because I wouldn't walk into Primark expecting Prada standard for £1.

I'd love to hear your thoughts and opinions on this topic, whether you're a creative or a marketeer - comments below and let's get the conversation going!

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