Have you turned your blog into a business? Congratulations to you if you've sold prime "real estate" on your blog and are earning revenue for your efforts. Here at Momtrends we believe mom bloggers generally sell themsleves short and give away far too much to brands. So we're here to help you build and strengthen your relationship. Today's Business of Blogging feature is about GETTING PAID.
First, we'll hope you've got a media kit or advertising rates listed on your blog (if you don't go here to learn more). Once you and the brand have come to an agreement on what service you'll provide in return for money it's up to you to make sure you get paid. Getting a verbal or email sale is great--following through is what makes you successful and professional.
Track your revenue:
Once you've sold an ad, landed a sponsorship, or signed up for an affiliate program you need to write down the terms. There's softward available to do this (and send invoices). For the beginner, a simple spreadsheet will suffice. Here's a basic format I use (prices and brands are made up). I highlight the payment once it is received. Use the note section to list payment reminders and any other details (invoice # perhaps). This system also makes year-end tax reporting much easier
Truth be told I get a lot less for my rates, but I aim high. In general, I have to send AT LEAST ONE REMINDER to every brand to get paid. The hardest checks to get come from the large companies. The exception? When I work with other mom bloggers (kudos to TheMotherhood--they rock!). If we have a paid program it always seems we pay promptly. Set aside one afternoon a week to follow-up on invoices and tend to revenue tracking.
An invoice spells out the who, what and how much of the agreement. Some blogs may use insertion orders, but again for the beginner an invoice is fine. It should have all your payment details on the invoice. If you want payment before the ad runs (and I highly recommend this)--spell it out on the invoice.
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Take paypal. Often brands want to pay with a credit card (especially PR firms). If you take paypal they can use a credit card and you can get immediately payment. There is a fee that paypal imposes--but it is worth not waiting months for a check.
What to do when someone hasn't paid:
1.) Send the invoice again with a reminder.
2.) Call your contact--sometimes there is a problem that can be solved with a simple phone chat.
3.) DO NOT RUN THE AD. If you haven't gotten your payment, hold off on giving your end of the agreement. If the ad, post or marketing program is already up? Take it down and clearly communicate this with the brand.
4.) Don't bash brands on twitter and facebook until you've given the brand a chance. Sometimes its bureaucracy at work. Many companies pay on a 60 or 30 day cycle--make sure you have the terms spelled out early.
I recently worked with a large company on a travel program. I made the mistake of NOT spelling out the specifics of what would be covered. As it turns out, they thought I would be responsible for taxes, tips, parking, etc. The trip ended up costing me $800--not an expense I anticipated. After MANY emails and back and forth, I got the company to split the costs. If I had spelled everything out, I wouldn't have had this issue.
Keep the email trail! Until the program is finished and you've been paid. This line of communication is key to making sure you get what you deserve.
Momtrends was not paid for this post.