Don’t Sell Yourself Short – The “Dark Side” of Blogging

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I want to discuss a less talked about thing in the blogging world.  I like to refer to it as the “dark side” of blogging.  So you remember from this post where I outlined about how to start and grow a blog, I mentioned having a blogging mentor and my self appointed one if she knows it or not is Helene.  Well she wrote this post about how to respond to how I like to refer to them “cold call” emails from random companies luring you in with their “write about our XYZ company” and they might just pick YOUR post to share “across our social media outlets where we have thousands of followers so tons of potential exposure for you!!!”  Well you know what.  That is kinda crap.  They use you to get free publicity out for their company and 99% of the time that is it.  They don’t share your post and you are left standing there with no compensation and a total waste of your time.

The Dark Side of Blogging – Don’t Sell Yourself Short

the dark side of blogging, how to make money bloggingI will say the only silver lining is if you are trying to grow your blog and get sponsored posts you can use that one as an example for the next person who contacts you but here is the difference.  Demand your worth.  This article I use as blog inspiration for the impact that we make for potential companies.  Granted she has been around for a long time but look at her reach.


Not that I am saying I am the sole cause but when I put up products that I am passionate about, they tend to sell out.  You have that potential as well.  You are driving people to someones product that they may not have stumbled on without you. This is where I will touch on that “dark side” of blogging if you will.  When I started blogging, I had no clue what an affiliate link was or how to make a cent off what I was doing.  I blogged because I loved showing my family and friends things that I was excited about or ultimately in the end could save them time and money.

[bctt tweet=”How to make money with blogging and your influence.”]

Let’s circle back to this post again.  If you start blogging to make millions it’s not going to happen.  If I were ever to sit down and put in the amount of time I spent vs what I actually ever made it would probably be like 50 cents an hour but you know what???  I absolutely love it.  At the end of the day though when I’m up to 1 in the morning finishing posts…..yes it’s because I love it and sharing my values, ideas and finds but if I can make some fun “play money” as I like to call it…..then why wouldn’t I?


This brings me to my next point.  I think as bloggers sometimes people can be so quick to jump on the “ohhhhh a sponsored post“…..cue the big eye roll.  I on the other hand applaud bloggers when I stumble on those.  Hence, where this dark side of blogging is stemming from.  Why you may ask???  I know that they are getting paid for their worth.  When they get paid, they can use that money for a fabulous purse they have been eyeing or to spruce up their blog design…..whatever!  At the end of the day you are getting paid for your influence.  Plus I don’t know anyone out there that doesn’t like getting something for free.  Be honest.  Even if it’s like a lotion or something….”look babe/family member/friend my blog is paying off I’m getting products sent to me for free“…..there is a little piece of you that loves validating having your laptop glued to you when you finally get something for free.


You work hard, you take the time……so get something from it. There is no shame in that.


I also know there are so many that just blog to blog.  An online journal or a place to get their thoughts out into the world and that is 100% fine as well.  I am not knocking either one.  I am just trying to let you know as women we need to support each other and let you know that you can stand up and demand your worth.  Don’t spend your hard earned time writing for a company at the “potential of being shared with their followers“.  Even if you get $25 for it!  You can smile knowing that your Starbucks for the week was paid because of your blog and voice.


My last point I also want to make about building and supporting each other up.  Pinterest is one of my highest traffic sources and it’s because of all of y’all pinning my recipes, fashion posts etc.  I think we should make a pledge to start pinning each other’s posts more often.  Like I pledge to pin 10 pictures a day or something.  I pinned Pamela’s amazing outfit the other day and it’s already been pined multiple times already.  How do you make images “pinnable” if you will…..check Katie’s tutorial it’s fabulous and pinned on my pinterest already.  You can follow me here on pinterest.


Without further ado and with Helene’s influence from this post here is my response back to those cold call emails.  I keep it sitting in my drafts folder and just pop their name into it.
Hello (fill in the blank of the contact/company)
Thank you so much for reaching out and for your kind words (because they always try to say how your blog was so special that’s why they reached out).  Working with your company would be a great collaboration but I do require compensation for posts.  I have (x amount of) followers with (x amount of) page views a month.  All of my posts will be promoted on my various social media outlets and I  strive to create a post that is organic to my readers.
I also make sure my posts have visuals that can be pinned to my thousands of pinterest followers.  
I appreciate you reaching out and would like to work with you.  My starting price for blog posts are $x minimum.  We can discuss other options also if you would like.
 Thanks again for reaching out!


You know what?  90% of the time I get the email back “thanks Amanda for responding but at this time we do not have the funds to support this“……figured.  However for every 10 I shoot that email back to I get one or two that will pay.  Now it’s up to you to decide if that company fits your vision or voice.  If it does great, name your price.  If if doesn’t, then pass.

Also with that said make sure you layout your expectations and I usually ask for half before I write it because once again I am not wasting my hard earned time.

So that is my honest opinion.  I hope nobody takes offense to it.  You know I have always been about lifting each other up as women and influencers.  I hope we can take some of that stigma away from sponsored posts and promote each other with pinning and sharing peoples fabulous ideas.  Do you get a lot of “cold call” blog emails?  Have you ever asked to be paid or just written something with the hopes of being shared?  Spill let me know your thoughts!  xoxoxoxo

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47 responses to “Don’t Sell Yourself Short – The “Dark Side” of Blogging”

  1. Yes, this post is just all kinds of YES. I agree– as bloggers we NEED to demand our worth!!
    Can you be my blogging mentor? Love you girl!

  2. LOVE this! Seriously. I agree, it’s not about the money, we blog because we love it and we want to share things with our friends, followers, etc but don’t come asking me to write about your company for nothing. I’m not a free advertising billboard and I’m certainly not going to tell my followers I love your product if I don’t even know what it is. I love your response to those cold e-mails. Definitely going to start using that!

    <3, Pamela
    Sequins & Sea Breezes

  3. P!nky says:

    Very informative post, lady! Sponsored posts don’t bother me at all, as long as I can tell the blogger is being truthful. If they just start ‘selling’ stuff on their blog and you know they really don’t use it, I’m kind of like, eh, not my jam anymore.

    I love your idea of supporting bloggers, there’s too much drama in blog land sometimes!

    Have a fabulous day!

  4. Someone is dishing out all kinds of information! :) I just got an email yesterday asking to write a post about some topic and I just clicked the x button on that email. I guess I could send an email back like yours and laugh when they tell me that they don’t have the funds for it. If I am a regular comment on a blog and I see a sponsored post, I try to comment on those posts as well to show support. I hate when I see that a blogger took lots of time taking pictures and telling a story of how the product relates to their life and scroll to the bottom and when you usually see 45 comments there is only 3. I agree, we have to support each other!

  5. Tami says:

    SO much wisdom in a single post! Your email back is perfect-explaining exactly why you deserve compensation while being perfectly polite. And thanks for inspiring me to get back into Pinterest. It’s been a minute since I’ve updated any of my boards. Post pinned!

  6. Myra says:

    Great post, friend! I also try to pop over to someone’s blog when I see it’s a sponsored post I might be interested in. Just because someone got paid for it doesn’t mean they didn’t put the time and effort in to write the post! Also, love the Pinterest idea to help boost our fellow bloggers. Definitely something I plan to do more of.

  7. KW0410 says:

    Hmmm… this was an eye-opening post. I do have to say, however, that as a blog reader and not a blogger, I don’t have a problem turning away from a blog that seemslike posts are simply to endorse a product or pimp out a product that they are promoting just because it was a freebie or because that company is showing the blogger some support. I understand that blogging is time consuming and that it can be expensive and I am definitely not saying that you shouldn’t receive compensation if sales for an item that you TRULY love skyrocket because of your blog posts. As a reader, it is very hard to determine whether a blogger actually loves a product/clothing item or whether they are endorsing it simply because it was free or the blogger is receiving compensation.

    • Hi thanks so much for the feedback. I will tell you that anytime a blogger has a sponsored post they are required by law to clearly state that in blog post. You will see a disclaimer that the post was in collaboration or sponsored by the product. Shoot me an email at
      You are a no-reply blogger I’ll show you how to fix that and we can chat a little more! :-)

  8. Wow thank you so much for this post!! I have had so many of these emails lately and didn’t really know how to reply. Now I do!! And I had no idea adding a “pin it” button to my images was so simple thanks to Katie’s post! Xoxox

  9. great post girl. as i’ve just started to get inquiries about this, i haven’t been sure what to say so this is helpful! i’m not ashamed to say i’d support something as long as i believe in it! thanks for posting this!! xo

  10. Great advice! I don’t know much about the business side of blogging, but it’s something I really would love to look further into. I do know that as with radio endorsements, I’d only feel comfortable endorsing something I’m really interested in and believe in. Also love the idea of supporting each other through pinterest!

  11. PREACH, GIRLFRIEND! Love,love, love this post. You are 100% correct in everything that you outlined above, and I’m so with you about pinning more of each other’s stuff on Pinterest. It’s amazing what sharing can do for all of us.

  12. good for you for demanding this! i think i was lost the first time that happened to me and then wrote something for free and felt disappointed afterward. i love that little blurb about what to say back! thanks girl!

  13. Thank you for this post – The information is very helpful, and you know – you are right Bloggers should demand compensation for helping out a company. This past winter 3 sites approached me to write about their business, no talk of compensation (or even a lotion/ornament/earring)… And while I felt like I could write a great post for them, I really had never shopped with them before and thought it duplicitous to share my views on something I knew nothing about.

  14. Thanks so much for this post, Amanda!! I get a ton of “cold call” emails but I never know how to respond to them. This is a big help.

  15. Alisha says:

    I love supporting other bloggers too – great article, and a good reminder for all of us. xx

  16. awhite says:

    Amen, sister- you gotta demand your worth. And there is a total tendency for bloggers to look down on each for doing sponsored posts- there’s NOTHING wrong with it as long as it fits what you want to do + you have a healthy balance between original and sponsored content.

    Also- just followed you via Pinterest. Can’t believe I wasn’t before! Fixed THAT. :)

    Le Stylo Rouge

  17. Yes yes yes! This was an amazing post. As a blogger, I totally understand the sponsored posts because of course it’s nice to make a few bucks for sharing your thoughts but as a reader, if there are TOO many sponsored posts on a blog, it starts to lose my interest. So I guess it’s all about balance and making sure the things you are reviewing ‘fit’ with your blog! Thanks for sharing my tutorial, too! :)

  18. I really enjoyed this post – Thanks for sharing your thoughts on it. Even though I haven’t had any sponsored posts yet, it makes me think bigger picture for my blog – and I like getting my wheels turning ;)

  19. Love this, thanks for sharing! If I could make some money while blogging some day, that would be awesome!

  20. such an excellent post. I’m always so inspired by YOU! thank you for your kind words and I agree this community should be about lifting eachother up! That’s what i find in you and others that really care about blogging and what it does! keep doing you.

  21. Kayla MKOY says:

    I have gotten only a small handful of things for free from my lil blog – as I haven’t really TRIED to grow it lately, but like you said… I LOVE blogging. & I’ll keep doing it until I don’t anymore.

  22. LOVE this! I sign on to pin and support each other, love it!

  23. This is a really great post that not many people take the time to think about. I love how you say your worth, that is very important. A blog is a lot of work, no matter how much heart and soul you have in it and everyone should feel their worth!

  24. Yes! Absolutely agree with you lady! Even though I started blogging for free that doesn’t mean that I started blogging to share things for others for free.

  25. Kristen says:

    love this post girly. i have nothing against sponsored posts or affiliate links… unless you were randomly going to have a post about pampers diapers i would be like wtf amanda. that’s not cool. but makeup or clothes or anything else relevant to your lifestyle? why the heck not!! i need to pin peoples stuff more, i’m so bad about that!

  26. You.are.amazing.

    Seriously Amanda, this post is awesome and I totally agree – instead of assume “Oh look another sponsored post” we should be training our minds to switch into the happy thought of “oh wow, amazing companies like your material and are actually reaching out to you – you go girl!”

  27. Love this post, girl! Do you ever reach out to brands specifically to review certain products or anything like that?

  28. Kat says:

    This is such a great post! Sometimes I struggle with how to say “no” without seeming rude or demanding, so your sample e-mail was super helpful!

  29. One of the reasons I keep coming back to Meet at the Barre is because you just keep it real! I personally don’t see anything wrong with sponsored posts. But, when I’m really into a blog, and suddenly it’s less of themselves, and just sponsor after sponsor, I tend to stop visiting. I think if you are going to do posts that are sponsored, there also needs to be a healthy balance of other posts that pertain to said blog. For example, your blog. I really think you have the makings to “blog mentor” yourself. (:

  30. Love this post! And ughhh I hate those “cold call” emails, I’ve simply stopped replying to them. When I was a “younger blogger” I fell for them in the beginning and it was a huge waste of time :-P

  31. Such a great post!! I think I did one of those sketchy posts way back when… but that was it, it was so pointless! And I totally agree about the pinning :)

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  33. This is a great post! While I have no problem with sponsored posts, I really, really dislike blogs that quite literally have 4/5 posts a week that are sponsored and they aren’t written in a genuine and real way. I’ve dropped a lot of blogs I used to read constantly because I was really tired of reading never ending advertisements.

    When it’s done well, I think it’s great and I totally agree- you should absolutely get paid for your time and we should support everyone!!! I Get a lot of really, really strange cold call emails. My favorite partnership was with ClassPass! great post as always, Amanda.

    Southern Belle Secrets

  34. MarlaJan says:

    This is a fantastic post! I get plenty of inquiries from “companies” wanting me to review YXZ, and at first I would reply but quickly realized it was a big waste of my time.

  35. Oh, Amanda. I seriously love you. This is such a great post.
    I whole heartedly agree.
    And I totally second that we should be pinning each other’s content! Help sisters out!

  36. I’ve been blogging for about a year and a half and I’ve received maybe a dozen of these ‘cold call’ emails. I’ve declined every one of them because they were simply companies I wasn’t interested in working with or didn’t think my readers would find valuable. I do have a few questions if you wouldn’t mind me asking. Roughly how many email exchanges do you go through once you do agree to work with someone and do things ever fall through before you can actually write the post? How exactly do you accept payment from them? I’m guessing Paypal? Thanks for you help!

  37. I’ve never thought responding back like that. Normally, it’s on a topic or product that I’m not personally vested in and I don’t ever want to voice my opinion on something I don’t truly love, paid or not. But I love your point of view! It is so much work, we should know our worth and get it! Love, love, love the pinning idea as well! Bloggers unite :)

  38. I needed to read this!!! I have actually been getting contacted by some companies lately, which really warms my small blogger soul/heart…but they don’t compensate :/ I am so grateful to you sharing the email draft. I am going to use this next time I get contacted and who knows…maybe I can start making my blog work for me!!!

  39. Wow, I learned a lot from this and greatly appreciate that you shared all of these helpful tips and tricks! Xo, Stephanie

  40. Great article! I just started collaborating with a company who I would normally buy from – they reached out and I said, sure, why not! If the brand is a good fit for my blog, then I am more obliged to write about their product. I totally agree with your article – know your worth, who your audience is and what fits with your brand!

  41. Kay R. says:

    I agree with all of this. I tend to pin people’s posts a lot because really its about support. I wholeheartedly agree about supporting each other. Also I loved that post by Helene ever since she posted it. Thanks for the other resources you’ve shared here.

  42. SC says:

    This is awesome, Amanda! Your blog has seriously gotten so big and I’m so happy for you. I have like, one follower, so I’m still working on that. I’ll get there one day ;) I love following along with your posts. Hopefully see you at PB soon! xoxo

  43. Thank you, Thank you, Thank you for this post! All of these posts help me so much and gives me an inside look into other blogger’s lives, how they got started, how they keep it going, etc. Your posts on these topics have been super valuable. I agree that we should all support one another! Keep up the great work! I love reading your blog.

  44. Thank you for the advice Amanda! How did you figure out what to charge? I haven’t gotten to that phase of blogging yet, but wonder how to set my price. I honestly have no clue how many people even look at my blog and I actually think not many. Another question, how did you build up such a following? #cluellessinthebloggingworld

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