On Why Nothing Is ‘Free’ In The Bloggi...

On Why Nothing Is ‘Free’ In The Blogging World

I’m not the first person to write about this and I definitely won’t be the last but I wanted to share my thoughts with you guys, my own readers and audience, because I feel like it’s a topic that can be very mis-understood.

A few weeks ago I was out for the day to experience something that had come about through my blog and during my time there I was having a conversation with someone about why I was there and what it is I do. As it got to the end of the sentence the person added in something about ‘getting things like this for free’, now I honestly don’t think he meant to be rude and I do understand why people see it that way, especially those who don’t really know what a blog is. I’m in no doubt that lots of people who know me think we are always going away on ‘free’ trips or taking ‘free’ pushchairs out to put to the test but I do find it frustrating because as bloggers we really aren’t getting anything for ‘free’.

Now don’t get my wrong, I am so incredibly grateful for the opportunities that have come about as a result of starting my blog four years ago but I don’t get them for nothing and nor do I get them because I’m ‘lucky’, the reason I get these things is because I work really, really hard at what I do. And it’s only because I love it so much that I am able to work so hard at it, it’s not because of the things or the opportunities, it’s because it’s my place for me to be me and to express my creative side. Of course all the things that happen as a result are nice but if they were taken away tomorrow I would still be here doing my thing.

So ranty bit over I just want to share with you a little bit about why nothing is free in the blogging world.

The reason we are sent products or asked to visit places is because the companies want us to help spread the word about what it is they sell. The reason they choose us is because they think we would be a good fit but also because they have looked at our social media followings / blog rankings and seen that the potential is there for lots of business. My following isn’t huge by any means but it’s taken me four years to build up and needs constant attention to maintain it and keep on growing. That takes A LOT of time, social media in itself is like a full time job. I easily work full-time hours on my blogs and it’s not like I ever switch off from it because I work from home and there is always more that could be done.

So when we are sent a product it becomes our job to deliver a service. We need to test the product which usually involves taking it out somewhere, take photos of it in use, spend time editing those photos, write the blog post and share the link to the blog post on all our social media channels. I class that as work.

When we go away on review breaks or trips even more goes into it. If someone asked me if I wanted a ‘free’ holiday then I would imagine lying around all day relaxing on a beach but that isn’t the case when you are going away to review somewhere. You need to make sure you are always taking photos, always filming and experiencing everything there is to do at that place so you can deliver your part of the deal when you get home. And when you do get home you then have to spend HOURS editing photos and videos before writing it all up. I absolutely love this part of my job but I see it as exactly that, a job. Plus a lot of the time there won’t be a budget for expenses so although the accommodation is free you still end up paying for everything else.

Then there is the money I put into running my blogs. I pay monthly hosting and buy premium blog themes. I’ve bought video-editing software and photo-editing software, Photoshop actions and that’s not to mention all the cameras and equipment I have bought over the years.

And let’s not forget that to create a blog that isn’t over-run with product reviews or breaks we also need to spend our time creating blog posts that are interesting to read. If you take a look into most bloggers homes in either the early morning or late evening and you will find them sitting at their computers tapping away on the keys sharing content with their readers that they hope they will enjoy. In the case of my craft blog you will usually find me sitting in front of a pile of old boxes trying to work out what to make with it.

So next time you are reading a review on a blog or see photos of someone on a review holiday hopefully you will know that there is so much more to it than just enjoying a freebie. Usually by the time you see someone in that situation they will have spent months, if not years working on their blogs, FOR FREE!





  1. Grace

    30 July

    Well said jess, fair play to you, you have created a lovely job for yourself out of something you love, enjoy the ride xxx

  2. Too right!!! It annoys me so much when I see people in forums say something like “right I have a blog set up, how do I get free stuff?”, like its some kind of walk in the park. It takes so much effort to keep it going and I think some people just don’t get it. They usually find out very quickly it doesn’t come for free but that perception irks me.

    • Totally!! So many people set up a blog thinking that you don’t really have to do much to be send loads of things, we so earn it!! So much goes into blogging, it’s never ending! x

  3. Alison

    30 July

    YES! Totally agree. And actually the ‘you’re so lucky’ comment is one I see a lot (not necessarily aimed at me, but others) and I always think: it’s not luck. That blogger has worked their socks off and put energy and skill into creating their blog. Of course, sometimes something like a post going viral or getting press coverage might be a case of right place at the right time, and involves a bit of luck, but for the most part, brilliant bloggers receive brilliant opportunities because they have worked hard and they’re incredibly talented.

    • Totally Alison, in fact I think the lucky comments annoy me just as much as the ‘getting it for free’ comments. Like you said there can be some luck involved in certain things but not when it comes to being sent a product, that’s entirely down to A LOT of hard work! x

  4. Donna

    30 July

    I couldn’t agree more. I do feel my blog now is ‘overrun’ with reviews but I know I have at least the same amount of non-review content, days out and family stuff so hopefully there’s a balance and regular readers can skim over the reviews they’re not interested in. But as for the free-ness…. I work 19 hours a week in my day job and just writing, scheduling, photo editing and responding to emails takes me a minimum of 4 hours a day, 7 days a week. It’s a full time job and then some BUT I love it, I wouldn’t do it otherwise and I hope one day it will be my career. Great post x

    • You definitely deserve for it to be your career! You work so hard and to do it with a job too is some serious commitment! x

  5. Claire

    30 July

    I feel a bit of a fraud commenting on this post but I just had to…. I have only been doing this ‘blog thing’ for 6 weeks, it has been a ball, but I can honestly say I have never worked so hard in allmy life (and that’s saying something , I have 5 kids!!) I am up by 5.30 every day and am rarely in bed before 11.30. I am working about 8 hours a day on top of my usual life! I don’t get paid for it and if I start slacking it will all just filter away into cyberspace. I am in total wonderment at those of you who have maintained this level of commitment for years!!

    • Not at all Claire! It really does take up so much time but I think for those who get the bug it becomes one of the most amazing experiences. There aren’t many jobs where I would jump out of bed happily to get downstairs and start working at 5am! x

  6. Saaaay, swell theme you’ve got there (I may be biased, I have the same one) 😉 heh. I think it’s funny how bloggers get stick for accepting free product – exactly why people think consumer journalists would review a 4* spa hotel out of the goodness of their hearts is beyond me :p

    • Just been on your blog, loved your post about gluten and left a long comment but it wouldn’t go through for some reason! Yes that’s the thing, it’s fine for journalists to do it but if a blogger does it then we are blagging a freebie! x

      • Kayleigh

        1 August

        Ooh how annoying, thanks for letting me know! I’ve been considering changing my comments system to commentluv, it gives me the least grief when I’m commenting on others’ blogs! The worst is the one where my only choices are Google or profiles – I have so my comments won’t link through to the right site and Google pulls through a painfully old nickname that I can’t figure out how to change lol! X

  7. Stephanie

    30 July

    This post brought me to your blog and it’s my first time here – I agree too and you’ve put it well. People that aren’t familiar with the blogging world have little idea of what’s involved, but all they see is the fancy stuff. Being good at anything takes hard work and even if it’s in enjoyable people should bear this in mind 🙂

    • Definitely! Loving what you do to earn money is a great thing and admittedly it doesn’t always feel like a job but the fact remains that I put hours and hours of work into it. I know people don’t always understand that, well that’s kind of why I wrote this!

  8. Simply – YES. I might print this out as a pamphlet for people who think blogging is all for freebies so they can actually appreciate what goes into it all. Definitely a full time job, one we all love I think but as you say – one that we can rarely fully switch off from. Fab post xx

    • A few people have said that, it’s a good idea. I might print it off and keep some copies in my bag for the next time someone comments on the things I get for ‘free’! xx

  9. Amber

    31 July

    Gosh, this is exactly it. You spend so much time forcing yourself to analyse and remember and articulate every nuance of feeling that half the time you’re cheating yourself out of feeling it anyway.

    It is a DREAM JOB. It’s amazing. I love almost every second of it, I love that we’re documenting the twins’ childhood and doing our bit to normalise gay families and that we get to go to cool places and do fun things. But goodness me, we’re not doing it just for us. We’re doing it for 15k monthly unique visitors who are enjoying it alongside us – hopefully. And yes, there’s luck involved… but also a lot of hard work.

    Thank you for articulating this.

  10. This! People I speak to, who notice I have a new buggy/bag/something or other tell me they might start up a blog to get ‘free stuff’ – doesn’t usually last long once they realise how much time and effort it takes!

    • Jessica Cherry

      10 August

      Totally!! That’s the thing, people think it’s easy to just start one and start being sent products, they are so wrong! x

  11. Well said. It takes a LOT of time. Which I class as work. But I also know that it is work that I love, and that sits alongside my hobbies, interests, and personal musings, and I love that I get to make it all tie together in this way. I think a lot of non-bloggers underestimate just how much thought goes into creating good content and finding like-minded readers, and that we really do take so much pride in it – it must be difficult to understand until you’ve tried it yourself.

    • Jessica Cherry

      10 August

      Yes that’s totally it. I can see why people make the mistake, there is so much that goes into blogging behind the scenes, it’s never ending. I think the only reason we can keep it up is because we love it, the odd pushchair wouldn’t be enough of a drive if you really didn’t enjoy it x

  12. Oh yes, there are a few people closer to home I wish would read this too

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