Congratulations! You did it! You have successfully made it through the 5 steps in becoming a content creator. Maybe you’re even monetizing your posts through affiliate marketing. Now you have gotten to the point in your creating that you are asking yourself “should I still be accepting unpaid work?”. Read on to learn when to stop accepting gifted or non-paid influencer brand campaigns.
Exceptions for Accepting Gifted Campaigns
No two influencers are the same. So your exceptions may differ from mine. The reason I have these exceptions is because I value how much time and effort goes in to my content. Furthermore, I cannot just be accepting things just because it’s free. However, there is value in some of the campaigns that I receive that are non-monetary compensation.
That being said, the three reasons I will accept a gifted campaign are:
- It’s a product I was going to buy anyway AND the deliverables are not excessive. If I really want the product, but they are asking for 4 posts, well then I’m passing. However, one post and an Instagram Story with a swipe-up link is perfectly fine.
- It’s a product that I can link to make some commissionable sales off of it. In this way, I can actually make money off of a free product by talking about it on my feed.
- It’s a company that I really wanted to work with. I have my own list of companies that I would work with on a gifted basis.
Evaluate Your Page and Time
If you are constantly getting DMs with opportunities, your schedule is booked solid with fun campaigns, it could mean that you don’t have enough time to mix in your own non-sponsored posts. This would be a definite sign that you need to stop accepting those non-paid gigs. And time start giving them your posting rates. Don’t get me wrong, free is always fun. But if opportunities are always knocking on your door, then you are doing something right.
How to Respond to Gifted or Non-Paid Campaigns
This is a big question so read my blog on how best to respond to these gifted or non-paid campaigns. You would be surprised by how effective just asking for your posting rate can be. Be warned though, companies can still say no.
If you really just want to work for free, no one is stopping you! But with the influencer market becoming so large, there will ALWAYS be someone willing to work for free if you won’t. You don’t have to be one of them.
Why You Should Stop Accepting Gifted Campaigns
One of the biggest reasons to move from gifted work to paid work is because the market is so saturated. Influencers left and right want to work for brands, and they are willing to do it for free. Which is fine to build a portfolio or to get your foot in the door with a brand you like. But the reason influencers are getting a lot of opportunities for non-paid work is because other influencers continue to accept those campaigns. Companies know that they can get away with offering gifted campaigns because people are willing to work for free.
Companies everywhere are turning to influencers because it is cheaper to use hundreds of influencers to promote them. Doing it themselves themselves, they would have to get a photographer, wardrobe, lighting, and hire an editing team. Trust me, they have room in their marketing budget to pay influencers a decent rate. But they won’t if they know someone will work for free. Can you imagine the impact on the influencer market if every influencer started asking for their posting rate?
Who can get paid campaigns
You don’t need a certain amount of followers to do paid work! Don’t sell yourself short just because you don’t think you have a big enough following to get a company’s attention. If you have an engaged audience and you are getting campaign requests from brands, keep up the good work up! So many people get paid deals with as little as 2,000 followers. Don’t sell yourself short if you think it’s time that you started getting paid for your awesome posts.
Overall, just take this with a grain of salt. There is no one right answer to this big question of “when you should stop accepting non-paid work”. It’s a moving target. Eventually your time and your work needs to start making you money in return.