I’m a professional craft writer. And, because I generate all of my income through craft-related pursuits, fair compensation is a subject that’s very near and dear to my heart.
Every day, I receive emails from well-meaning companies who want to work with me on a giveaway, partner with me on a tutorial, or “pick my brain” about about a product/tool/book. The problem is, many of these companies aren’t prepared to compensate me for the work that they’re asking me to do, and are surprised when I broach the subject during our correspondence. This is bad for two reasons: 1. On a personal level, crafting is my day job, and I can’t afford to provide professional-quality work for free, and 2. It speaks to the steadily growing trend of companies asking bloggers to provide free publicity services while, at the same time, neglecting to place any value on the time and work that those bloggers are putting into producing the content. So, while I’m excited to see my favorite brands beginning to embrace more modern, web-based marketing plans, many companies still have a lot to learn when it comes to working with bloggers in a way that benefits both parties equally.
Wait. What is this “fair compensation” nonsense, anyway?
First off, “fair compensation” doesn’t mean the same thing to everyone. For some crafters, fair compensation means getting paid. For others, it means receiving product in exchange for a review or project. Some may even choose to barter content for things like ad space or access to an audience. So, for the purposes of this post, fair compensation means this: the blogger receives something in exchange for her work that—in her opinion—fairly matches the value of her efforts.
I understand why fair compensation is important, but how do I bring it up with a company?
This is where I can help! Below, I’ve included a simple fair compensation email template to get the conversation started. You can customize it to fit your needs—I bracketed off the sections that you’re most likely to change—and you can add or remove details as you see fit. This is the same letter that I use when I’m talking to companies, and I think it explains the need for fair compensation in a way that’s both firm and friendly.
Please note: I have provided this email template as a public service. I make no guarantee that using it will yield a positive outcome.
If you’d like to read more about fair compensation and what it means for the crafting community, my friend Diane facilitated a valuable conversation on the subject over on CraftyPod: Should designers be paid for their services? (An interesting debate)
Edit: Jenny over at Craft Test Dummies has also contributed to the discussion here, with a focus on product reviews.