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Why no, I won’t work on commission for your brand

Why no, I won't work on commission for your brand

Why no, I won’t work on commission for your brand

As a blogger, I’ve had to tell people why no, I won’t work on commission for your brand many times lately. My blog is a passion project of mine. I pour my heart and soul into it. I am vulnerable and honest on it; I share my highs and lows with my audience, who I consider my friends. It exists because I spend my time, my money and energy on it to keep it alive. I pay for hosting, buy equipment, take classes, buy products, and more. I’ve spent the past 11.5 years cultivating my relationship with my fans who I think of as friends. I’m constantly trying to improve my content and create unique, interesting things like my 2019 Summer Gothic Fashion Lookbook. I even wrote a book for my fans!

My blog does not exist solely as a selling tool for your brand; it exists to voice my opinion. My job is not to be your brand’s sales associate. What I do with my blog is share my honest experiences, both positive and negative with different experiences, products, and brands. That naturally lends to raising brand awareness. It’s probably very obvious to my friends when I love a brand (such as Milk, Melt, Black Moon Cosmetics or Urban Decay), and when I’m frustrated with one (such as Anastasia Beverly Hills & Sephora).

Marketing and Sales are two different things. And it seems like you and your brand are focused solely on sales. If you, as a brand, are focused solely on sale conversions, you’re missing out on multiple key marketing points. You’re not building a lasting relationship with your customers, which is critical for your brand’s survival.

The old marketing rule of 7 basically states that a person needs to hear about a brand at least 7 times before they’ll take action to buy that product, experience, or service. That means that my friends need to hear about something at least 7 times – through my blog, other blogs, Youtube, social media, or elsewhere – before they buy something.

My fans may read my blog, but may prefer to shop in person rather than online, so working on commission doesn’t cover that. Many times lately the tracking cookies with Amazon, Reward Style, Instagram Stories, etc aren’t accurately tracking purchases. When one of my fans tells me that she loved a recent feature, spent $300 at a retailer, received her items & didn’t return them, yet I still don’t see the commission, I’m skeptical. When my parents tell me they spent $200 shopping through my link and I never see it, I’m skeptical. There have been so many commissions I didn’t receive because of some issue or another with tracking.

Not everyone who sees a review for your brand the day it goes live will buy the product. They may wait 6 months. They may decide to shop in person rather than online. They may end up going directly to your brand’s site rather than using my affiliate link. They may go to a different retailer than the one I linked to. They may shop through someone else’s link, even though they read the review on my blog. So as a brand, if you’re just counting sales surrounding the day the review is live, it doesn’t reflect the whole picture.

While my blog is not my full time job (I work in the tech industry from home), I work at least 20 hours a week on my blog, if not more. Do I deserve to be paid for my hard work? Of course! And is the brand you work for paying you for your job? I’m guessing yes. So now you understand why no, I won’t work on commission for your brand. If you’re asking me to work for you, I deserve to be paid.

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  • I feel this so much right now. I’ve had people tell me they purchased something because of me, but they never used an affiliate link as they were waiting for payday or just went to the store. I’m glad to see people enjoying this I do and value my opinion, but it does make the whole affiliate/commission system pretty pointless. I do what I do because I love it, but it would be nice for these companies to actually recognize the value we bring to their brands.

  • I couldn’t agree more. Brands forget that they are not only getting your testimonial and your blog/social reach, but also your photography or videography which they can then share (and boost) on their social channels (w/attribution obviously).

    • Yep! They get my blog’s reputation, my social reach (and some of them scoff at Pinterest, but it still brings traffic), my photography or video stuff. Lots of benefits. The best? SEO value. My blog is searchable on google, unlike a lot of content on Instagram. People still google for reviews and want to read them.

  • I did a trial subscription to Kinder after you talked about it, mainly because I was looking for something exactly like that. But I agree on the rule of 7, that’s about what it takes for me to actually purchase something I’ve seen talked about on social media. Love your work and your style!

  • I am so glad you stand up for yourself and your authenticity and don’t allow yourself to be devalued by cheap tactics brands use to avoid compensating you the way you deserve. By the way, I love your honesty, the way you open up, and everything about you and your blog! You’re fantabulous!

  • 100% agree with you. I get A LOT of messages saying they bought something because of me IN STORE, or screenshots saying “thank you for the rec!”. Half the time the commission never shows from that second one, BTW. But the reason they went in store to look at it was because of MY post, not because of some random ad they saw somewhere else. They like the no-pressure attitude and are more likely to buy. Even if it’s a paid post it’s more organic than an brand ad on Facebook and less intrusive than a salesperson forcing their sale.

    Note on the tracking cookies, they’re WORTHLESS half the time and don’t always work on mobile. Giving a personal discount code is easier to track but brands usually have to pay out affiliate networks to handle that and IMO it’s more cost effective to just pay the sponsored rate of the influencer instead of paying out an affiliate network.

    Have I mentioned paying the influencer outright will overall make them less pushing in their writing/speaking, making your buyer more relaxed to actually BUY? Just saying.

    Also, what if they saw it first on my blog, clicked and knew they wanted it but have to wait until payday (I do this a lot and have a folder of screenshots to look back on). By then the tracking cookie likely expired and then what?! Like, great for you that you say your cookies track for 60 days but what if in that time they’ve cleared out their cookies/cache? Or what if they have cookies disabled? Wouldn’t that negate their click on my link? Or what if they can’t remember where they saw it so they just head to your site and buy it? I don’t get credit for that, but the brand sure does.

    I’ll agree to commissions, but only if it also comes with a one-time payment. This field is saturated and while, yes, room for everyone, it makes doing posts based off commission a complete waste of time for anyone that isn’t considered a high-to-mega level influencer.

    • To add to my original post, these same brands that want you to work via commission and use certain links also hire SEO firms who a few months later are emailing you to REMOVE YOUR LINK that is supposed to be bringing in $ for you! The emails usually originate from the .com of the brand, so they’re absolutely legit and another huge reason why you should not be working on only a commission basis – particularly when the brand sets forth posting requirements!

  • This is super important and I’m glad you’re being so clear about the VERY VALID reasons why you won’t do this. You, and other content creators, deserve to be paid a fair wage for your work, not on a maybe. These companies pass the buck by forcing you, the creator, to really push a product in order to encourage sales – and that’s not ok. It makes what would be an organic discussion less about why and how you love something and it always shows. It’s not rewarding your hard work with a cut, it’s saying you’re only as good as what you can sell and I know your blog is NOT about that noise.

    Good on you sweetie.

    • I just refuse to do it. I’m not a sales person. I hate being pushy. I’m glad that my audience prefers my straightforward method vs. me being pushy and trying to sell sell sell the way I see Trendmood doing all the time.

  • Great article! I like to look for reviews before purchasing things, but I also like to look for the best deals. This raised my awareness about how the reviews I rely on come to be. I’m going to try to be more conscious of looking for an affiliate link of somebody’s review was helpful to me

  • Brava! I couldn’t agree more. My background is in advertising, and building a brand and creating a relationship with that brand is what I’ve done for my whole career. I’ve been getting more emails lately about becoming an affiliate, and I turn almost all of them down for exactly the reasons you outlined so well. Thanks for this post!

  • I totally agree. The number of emails I get about this is amazing. As soon as I mention a price they disappear. I don’t want commission, I don’t want to be their affiliate. Worse though is the lies that go on and all of a sudden the commission disappears. That’s not the magic I like.

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