Would You Work for Free 16 Hours Each Week? | Up For Discussion: What If Blogs Charged a Fee to Submit to Them?

What If Publications Charged For Submissions?

Because you can freely visit a blog without paying for your time there (like you would with a print magazine), there is a silly idea out there that blogs are a FREE space ... that blog editors die for the chance to feature anything and if you send it: they will post.  Now that would be awesome if just one thing were true: 

blog editors are a special type of human who never have to pay bills

I think we can all have a little chuckle that I am the one writing about bills ... since I just set free a skeleton from my closet last week on this very blog ... but in all seriousness, where did the respect for blogs and blog editors go??  Why is there a constant 'expectation' that wedding blog editors need content so badly that they will take, take, take, promote, promote, promote ... endlessly while you never pay them a dime of support back?

I am going to say this as gently as I can: if you are submitting to a wedding blog you love for the third time (so clearly you love them) why don't you do that blog a solid and inquire about advertising.  Seems fair, right?  They've featured your work ... they've supported you ... what do I always say on here??

Scratch My Back and I'll Scratch Yours

This wedding industry relies on relationships << I can't hit that over your heads enough ... relationships are everything!  And a blog editor is a fantastic friend to have!  It's a great extension of your amazing and growing network of AWESOME and I'll tell you from personal experience:  when I was looking at the third feature for Style Unveiled that a non-advertiser was getting, I made a tiny mental note ... not a 'blacklist' sort of note ... but a "hmmm ... is this always going to be how this relationship goes?? ..."

But, Heather we are lucky in the fact that we are so busy we don't have to advertise!

That's super special and I'm so happy for you!  Truly.  I get it ... when you are already so busy and all your hard work paid off the last thing you feel you should do is advertise ... just keep the momentum going by having your work featured and you're all set!!  But what if that ends?  What happens if your non-stop bookings starts slowing down and you don't have an ad anywhere to be found?  Remember my story about the bride and how she found her wedding vendor?  It was a journey.  AND: if you are so booked up you can't accept weddings and brides are finding you anyway, then this gives you the opportunity to REFER and spread the love of your AWESOME around ...

Sorry, Heather I'm not buying it

It's ok.  I get it ... but consider this:  I have a two blog editor friends and each one of them spends 16 hours on SUBMISSIONS each week!!!  SIXTEEN HOURS!  That's unpaid time they spend on content you submit ... so, here's my question to you and I want to discuss this on here ... don't be shy ;)  The question is:

>> If you are a non advertiser on the blog you are submitting to, should the blog editor charge you a fee for submitting your work? <<

... and a follow up:

>> Yes, I am hiding behind my chair right now because I know the stones are coming <<

Let me guess:  here are your immediate responses:

  • then blogs should pay to use our photographs

  • blogs would be nothing without our content

  • blogs are lucky they have wedding pros submit to them - without us they wouldn't exist

  • if a blog editor charges me I will never submit to them again

  • and on and on and on

I get it.  Your photographs are AMAZING ... blog editors benefit from featuring them ... but I'm the new kid in town and I want to shake things up a bit ... so here are my responses to my 'comebacks' listed above:

>> Blogs Should Pay To Use Our Photographs <<

Did you take a picture of air?  Because I'm pretty sure there were probably flowers created by a florist, a table used from a vintage rental company, a bride and groom who PAID you for your services, a dress created by a high end designer that cost a bagillion dollars ... photographers are paid for their work ... if you want it to be seen you can decide to submit to a magazine, show it off on your personal blog and promote it yourself via your social media accounts or you can submit it to a blog.  

>> Blogs Would be Nothing Without Our Content <<

Sure!  I'll give you that!  But if you love blogs so much and want them to stick around, they need money to survive and keep paying for their wifi to create pretty posts ... while I wish editors could take a gorgeous photo and pay their heating bill with it << it's just not so.  Also, who would you be without blogs??  Have you considered what the answer to that question looks like?? ;)

>> Blogs are lucky they have wedding pros submit to them - without us they wouldn't exist << 

Let's *hmmmmm* on that for a second.  This seems to be a case of what came first: the chicken or the egg ... brides are ONLINE ... so if blogs are so popular with brides, then let's flip that sh*t around ... actually, let's call it a WIN-WIN for us all ... it's a cycle: brides are on blogs, they see your work, they call you, they hire and PAY you, you work their wedding, you receive or take photos of their wedding, you submit it to the blogs, the blogs show it off .... now, I only saw one person truly get a monetary gain from this ... there is NO guarantee that a blog will get paid in this scenario.

>> If a blog editor charges me I will never submit to them again <<

Really??  If a blog editor decided to charge an annual fee of let's pretend $50 for you to be able to submit to them unlimited times: you would rather ban their blog forever??  So, is this a case of you just don't think a blog editor deserves to be paid?  If you are a photographer and a bride wants the digital file of an image so she can repeatedly print the image over and over (so you are losing the money on print orders) I would think you charge her a BUTT-LOAD of money for that file.  Am I right??  Same idea here.

>> Heather, even if I said 'yeah' I'd chip in the fifty bucks this idea will never fly <<

CORRECT-O!!!  It will never work ... here are the reasons it won't work:

  1. EVERY single blog editor would have to decide to do it ... or at least the majority of them would have to

  2. Styled shoots and weddings take a team to create - so does the entire team have to pay or just the person submitting - and in the case that just the person submitting has to pay, then that's totally unfair

  3. How would the fee amount be decided? Let's say SMP charged less because they get the most submission and another blog just starting out who rarely got any submissions needed to charge more to get by ... then everyone would just do what they do now and keep submitting to SMP and ignore the other baby blog and we'd be back to square one.

So instead ... choose a blog ... ANY blog ... and support what you love that they do well: buy an ad on their blog and make them feel like the 16 hours of unpaid time they spend making your work shine was worth it :)  Shall we call today 'National Support a Blog' day??  Who's with me!?

XO~ Heather

Pssst ... I know some of you probably were like: uhm, blogs get paid from affiliate programs and ad networks ... I'll be back to discuss those in a bit ... and it's not quite the cash flow you'd think ;)