Bloggers, Know Your Worth…

…even if you think it’s not that much.

I wanted to do this quick blog entry for those of you who are blogging (whether you’re new or somewhat seasoned) who may not be privy to this sort of information. Truthfully speaking, what I’m about to share should be considered common knowledge but I don’t fault anyone for not knowing better. Since a lot (not all) of larger bloggers usually withhold certain pieces of information, every now and then, I’ll share with you my own experiences. You can either take it and use it to your advantage or completely ignore it. But somewhere out there, there’s somebody that can benefit.


When I started my blog in June 2009, I had no clue what the possibilities were. Even in witnessing some of the huge transformation of some of my favorites, I was still somewhat oblivious to how the blogging game worked. I asked questions, I google’d, I did all that I had to do to fill my head with as much knowledge as possible. Although I am absolutely NOT in the same ranks as some of the more notable bloggers, I will say that I have learned quite a bit. One of the biggest lessons I’ve learned (aside from DO NOT WORK WITH AD GROUPS) is that it’s important to know you and your blogs worth.

There are several of you who will read this and write it off as something that you don’t need to hear…either b/c you’re blog is already the shizzle dizzle or because you seem to think that because you don’t have the same large audience that some of the bigger blogs have, you have to take what you can get. But every publicist, label, marketing director, etc., is NOT looking out for you and your best interest. Trust me.

Once you start a blog, what generally happens is you’ll get contacted by various publicists or street teams, people from labels, etc., who are looking to get the most publicity possible for their artists/clients. The emails usually read as follows:

Hey _______ (and feel blessed if they spelled your name right or remembered to change it from another blogger’s name to yours)!

I wanted to tell you, first of all, that I love your blog. I have been reading it for a while and am a huge fan. I wanted to see if you could post this story on _______, a new artist signed with XYZ records. I’m sure your readers would love it.

Let me know when/if this is possible, so that I can send you exclusive pics/videos/performance dates/social security numbers/blood types, etc.

Now, if you’re a new blogger, the first thing that comes to mind is your level of crunkness that ______ from ________ label or PR firm contacted YOU in the first place. The second thing that I’m sure you notice is the word exclusive.

Aside from the fact that 98% of the time, I have NEVER heard of the artists that they’re throwing around in my inbox, I often question….what makes you think that whatever information that I publicize about your client is going to benefit me and my readers?

And usually you won’t receive just one email. That’s not how it works. You’ll continuously get emails saying that they can grant requests for interviews (keep in mind, you didn’t ask for it), continue sending you exclusive whatevers…just enough to sucker you in.

So you bite the bait. You post all the material that you were given by John Q. Publicist. You interact with them several times via email and you’re excited as hell that you’ve established this “relationship” with this publicist. But then _______’s album drops or movie debuts. You log on to _______’s popular blogsite and see that the celebrity you’ve been responsible for publicizing over the past couple weeks/months has placed paid advertisements on the blog (be it in the form of banner ads, sponsored posts or site take overs) while you sit with your regular ass wordpress background and Google ads (with NO love from whoever’s in charge of the artist/celeb you just helped publicize).

Feels shady, doesn’t it?

THIS is where I say you should know your worth. I am not, in ANY way, trying to shade any bloggers, big or small. The fact is, there is enough money out there to go around 10 times over. But if that publicist was able to find and email you, requesting that you ‘scratch his/her back,’ why shouldn’t they ‘scratch’ yours in the form of advertising dollars? I mean, you did throw out some publicity for their client, right? It’s not about whether or not you’re as big as _______; it’s the fact that you were contacted about helping to draw publicity to their client, you complied and rightfully so, you should be compensated for it. You may not get as many hits as a bigger blogger…but John Q. Publicist surely believed that SOMEBODY was reading your shit well enough to contact YOU and have you write about their artist/client in the first place.

Granted, I will say that sometimes, in order to foster relationships, you may have to bend over a little. Every now and then, doing something for a publicist/marketing company now could mean bigger and better opportunities for the future. But where do you draw the line? How do you differentiate between those who are truly trying to establish positive relationships with you versus those who are simply trying to “get it in” for this one client real quick before they bounce on to the next blog to pay them instead of you?

A perfect example would be a couple months ago…a certain entertainer’s publicist hit me up and said that they were interested in getting some publicity for their clients upcoming project. They said that, in addition to having an album release, he/she was also working on collaborating with another company for some new products. She said that they’d send me samples of the products, exclusive information about her client and also offer me the opportunity to interview and get pictures. Well, some of the things I posted…not only b/c of the publicist’s request but also because I am a fan. Weeks go by…this person releases their new album. Almost every single blog I visit had SOME sort of paid advertisement from this artist’s label and MissJia.com had zilch. And truth be told, I don’t fault anyone but myself in this situation; but I do want to drive the point home that it doesn’t have to be YOUR job (as the smaller blogger) to do the dirty work while other bloggers get the pay check. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with saying in an email, “Mr./Mrs. ______, thanks for providing me with new information regarding your client, _________. I also wanted to know if I would speak with you directly about possibly having some advertisements placed on my site during the day/few days before your client’s album release?” See what the response is…if they get silent on you, it’s a safe bet that you’re not likely to get anything in terms of advertising dollars. Don’t hesitate to ask if there’s another contact that you could speak with regarding promotion for the client so that you can forward a media kit/rate sheet. It’s their business to publicize their client; it’s your business to assist them AND make money.

A lot of times, I see many bloggers doubting themselves because of their numbers; they seem to think that they should simply take whatever treatment necessary because it’s assumed that all blogs are doing it. While I definitely support making business decisions with an open heart, you have to also learn that it is IMPERATIVE to operate a business with a sound mind. Making a good business decision now could mean the difference in making a few quick bucks here and there every month to making enough for you to comfortably live off (and still walking away with your dignity, not feeling as though you’ve gotten fucked in a deal).

Pick your poison wisely. You don’t always have to slight yourself to ‘get in.’

  • Aprill

    Very well said. Thanks!

  • http://Www.elegantignance.com Crissle

    Great post. I don’t blog for money but this is a good read for all of us.

  • http://www.iamyourpeople.com I Am Your People

    This is the type of info bloggers pay for. Thanks Jia! Right now I just blog for fun, but this is good info to know.

  • http://www.thebuzzinthecity.com T-MARIE

    So thankful for this post. And yes, I’m taking note, because my first year, I’ve learned, but going into my second and beyond…I plan to EARN!!

    Appreciate you Jia.

  • Jia

    Thanks, T-Marie…I appreciate your support always! I just wanted to share with everybody some things that the bigger bloggers probably wouldn’t share with us. Folks need to know; I’m not cool with folks being shaded by these “business types.”

  • MsIzzo

    I found this article very informative. What are standard advertising rates?

  • Jia

    It’s not really a standard. It’s about your blogs popularity…traffic.

  • Chase

    Very good info. I love that fact that you are so open and candid. It’s appreciated!

  • Jia

    No problems and thank you for reading!

  • http://MissDimplez.com Miss Dimplez

    Thanks for keeping it real Jia-darling…

    I definitely know that feeling of excitement you’d get when a publicist would send you an email or something… I used to think, “Oh snap! someone’s reading this ish!” or “I must be good because they emailed me an EXCLUSIVE…”…

    But after blogging for a little over a year now, I have realized that if they were able to find you, then they are able to pay to be promoted by you.

    =*]

  • http://www.freshurbanent.co.uk FreshUrbanEnt

    Thank you Miss Jia,
    I really appreciate that you take the time out to help us smaller bloggers. I find that the bigger blogs seem to withhold pieces of knowledge they have, forgetting that they once were in our position.

    I myself have been contacted by several publicists and they seem very friendly at first so i posted what they wanted me to post on my site. So in return i simply asked them to tweet about my site to their followers. Did I get a tweet or a reply……? NO. while it may not seem like a big deal, I thought to myself why am i wasting 40mins of my day writing this post for people that can’t take the time to just re-tweet my website address.

    FreshUrbanEnt.

  • Timothy Hunt

    I thought this one of the best and most informative articles I have read in a long time. Being a newbie to the blogging world, I see that a lot other established bloggers are selfish to providing information to help others succeed. So to see this information was great, because it gives people like me sort of beginning of how to approach or respond to individuals when they send me e-mails. I noticed I’m starting to get some of these e-mails, and I don’t know how to respond, but this was a great example of how to.

    Thanks Again,
    Tim
    http://www.timmygotsoul.com

  • http://mzvirgo.com/ MzVirgo

    Very informative.

  • http://www.thecubiclechick.com TheCubicleChick

    Yes, yes, yes. If this was the church of Jia and you were giving a sermon, I would be shouting and dancing the Holy Ghost jig.

    You are so right about the things you mentioned. And the fact that a lot of other “seasoned” bloggers do not share this info. Thanks for doing so and paying it forward.

  • http://soulreunion.blogspot.com/ Kandia

    I pretty much blog for fun and because I like to write…I remember you from the BV days way back in the day when I used to live on BlackVoices…that was nice of you to pass along info that might help other bloggers. Thanks. :-)

  • http://redbych.com Redbytch

    Thanks for being so real and helpful! xoxo

  • http://www.redbytch.com Redbytch

    Thanks for being so real and helpful! xoxoxo

  • http://imnotjaded.com Jade

    I really appreciate this article. This is exactly the info that I have been searching for. Thanks for sharing your knowledge.

  • http://www.ericavain.com EricaVain

    Thanks Jia I really appreciate the info….. I totally aged with not working with ad groups…. so many shady people out there its crazy….. I actually just completed my advertising packet that will be forwarded to folks interested in some promo…. I am taking ur advice…. no I don’t have the numbers of larger bloggers however I do have a quickly dropping Alexa ranking and content growing exponentially…. I know my worth and my potential… no one will use my baby (blog), http://www.EricaVain.com

  • http://www.yazmar.com Yazmar

    Cool post!! Some of the same foul shit has happened to me in this bizness…Highly informative. Props

    http://www.Yazmar.com

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  • http://whataboutourdaughters.com Gina

    Thank you for sharing this is something we all struggle with. I just became comfortable with viewing myself as a business woman.

  • http://www.dyvatude.com Dyvatude

    Thanks Jia! Dope information. I pretty much agree with everyone else. Most of the bigger bloggers are either, not very open with information or they seem totally unapproachable. Hey, even some smaller bloggers act that way. You blog and you learn, right? :) Thanks again for the info.

  • http://www.diaryofashyblackwoman.org/ Diary of a Shy Black Woman

    This is very resourceful! Also, congratulations on your nominations!!

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  • http://iolastar.com/blog iolastar

    Great post, but it’s what I expect from you. I’ve been a fan of Jia’s since BV. It’s good to know that you’re willing to share blogging information with us aspiring bloggers (yea i’m gonna get back into the game). What I appreciate the most is that you haven’t changed unlike some bloggers.Thanks for sharing.

  • New Blogger on the Block

    You hit it right on the head, I’ve contacted a few of the big blogger’s and i only had 2 actualy answer me back. What a damn shame!! Well like you said there is enough money to go around a few times. What’s wrong with helping each other….see black folks hate helping one another.

  • http://www.dramadupree.com Drama Dupree

    Great article…

  • Jia

    Thank you mama! You know you have the #. If you ever need to hit me, I’m here!

  • Jia

    This is true!

  • http://www.grupieluv.com Tha Grupie

    Well damn! I luv that you did this.. Now can you please do a “how to” for YouTube as well. I would to hear your suggestions for building an audience.

  • http://autumnsays.com autumnsays.com

    what do you mean by ad groups?

  • Jia

    Ad groups is the name of an agency that gets you advertisements for your blog. They’re full of shit. Stay as far away from them as you can.

  • Toi Butler

    Thanks for the info. I came across your blog from another blogger and joy your down to earth response.. I must say we have the same thoughts.

    I have been thinking about starting my on blogs due to encouragement of friends.. So I thank you for the advise and what to expect from the industry…

    Check for my soon, Just a Friend.. We all need one!

  • http://jetaraspeaks.com Je’Tara

    I love when you give out blog tips. Thank you because we can all use them and plus these tips can go for any business.

  • http://www.mygossip565.com mygossip565dotcom

    Hey thax Jia. I just recently came across your blog and while my blog has no where near the numbers other people have or your traffic i do know what you mean. You have to make it a business if you want to earn some money doing this. Since i don’t have much traffic my site still hasn’t found an audience yet i have not been contacted by anyone to promote their artist. I was contracted by Elle magazine though to add a link to their site to one of my post. Anyway thax again and i like your blog. http://www.mygossip565.com Don’t delete my post mis jia but would anyone like to affiliate??

  • http://thejasminebrand.com The Jasmine Brand

    thank you for sharing.

  • http://www.sdotreal.com TheRealSDoT

    Sure appreciate you taking the time to school ALL bloggers.. From me to you, thanks.

  • http://omgtre.com OMGTré!

    I read this before I actually started my blog. And I’m reading it today; it never gets old.

    As many have said, I too approached a number of bloggers and Jia was the ONLY one who replied to me. The ONLY one – come on.

    I’m not a threat to the bigger bloggers so I don’t see the point in the indirect and subtle hostility. It’s crazy!

    I swear Jia must think I’m a stalker as I’m up right under her frock tail lol

    Twitter, FB, Blog,Dirty Panties, Here lol

    But Jia, I have nuff ratings for you – you are true to self and I love that ish.

    I started my blog one month and a day ago, Alexa then was 14mil+ and today it’s 1.8 mil+ and 38k + in the UK. I do believe that’s due to the info info Jia gave me when she replied to my email.

    Granted I’m still small and a new blogger, my problem now is – I don’t have a clue how to price the ads or how to do a ‘media kit’ or anything.

    Back to researching….

    Good luck to all my fellow bloggers up top!

    http://OMGTre.com

  • http://www.twanatells.com Twana Tells

    Great Article Jia now that’s what I’m talking about bloggers helping bloggers. Keep doing ya thang girlie & much success.

    Twana :)

  • MrStormE

    I agree being nice will always have you holding the door & at the back of the line!

  • http://www.jaelcustomdesigns.com Jen (Jael Custom Designs)

    This post was very informative! Thank you!

  • http://www.reupspot.com reupspot

    cool write up, if you sell out and blog to make money…

  • Jia

    So people who make money from their hobbies are “selling out?”

    Do tell! I’m all ears on this one!

    *sits indian style and waits*

  • http://www.creativelyyoursbyro.blogspot.com RChelle

    Thanks for this…as a new blogger I really appreciate and take heed to the advice given.

    And in response to selling out…just because you benefit from your blog by making money that in no way means that you are a sell out…smh

  • http://musingsofagidimallam.wordpress.com GidiMallam

    Great advice…didn’t know the article was this old…thanks for the pointers…

  • http://libbyspinkvanity.blogspot.com Kimberly

    Thank you for sharing this. It IS the truth!