Professionals Don’t Work for Free: Why Marketers Should Always Pay For Influencer Marketing

The creative field is one of the only fields where people are constantly asked to work for free. Professionals don’t work for free, so why is it so common that creatives are asked to do so? Many social media influencers use content creation as a source of part-time or even full-time income, and they simply cannot afford to work for free. Here are a few reasons why you should be paying creative professionals.

Influencers are an investment

Influencer marketing is becoming an increasingly powerful channel in the marketers’ toolkit, as there are hundreds of millions of people using Instagram on a monthly basis. Isn’t that the reason why you’re reaching out to influencers in the first place, rather than focusing on creating and posting your own content? By investing in influencers, you’re investing in their ability to create compelling content, storytelling and their ability to drive engagement with their audience through their media channels.

Not paying devalues the influencer’s skills and time

Do you value your own skills and time? Would you work in your day job for free or products? Planning, shooting, editing, writing, and everything else that comes with preparing a sponsored post can take hours—is it really worth the “exposure” you’re promising? Is it fair to pay someone in exposure for their work? By not paying influencers for their hard work, you devalue and take advantage of their skills and their time. Definitely not setting the right foundations for a long term strategy when working with influencers.

Exposure doesn’t pay the bills

If your brand is so distinguished that exposure is of such value, how can you not have the budget to pay influencers? Unfortunately, internet bills and Creative Cloud subscriptions can’t be paid with exposure (or free products, for that matter). As nice as it would be to have the chance to have a photo featured on your brand’s page or get some free things, neither of those things pay the bills.

They’re helping you profit and adding value to your business

Your ultimate goal as a marketer is to make a profit, right? Influencers are their own brand, and they have the same goal as you do. By creating content for your brand, influencers are helping to promote you and increase your awareness and sales. If you’re not paying them, how are you helping them and their brands?

You deserve to work with professionals and get what you want

You wouldn’t ask a non-creative professional to work for free, so why should creative professionals do so? Content creation is a profession, not a hobby, and influencers should be compensated for their hard work. Having a contract that outlines key deliverables—with terms that dictate what influencers get compensated for—ensures you get your collaborations posted as approved. Payments and contracts go hand in hand when working with professionals.

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Jessica is a fashion and lifestyle blogger at Diary of a Toronto Girl. Find her on Instagram @jessicailam. Jessica is a member of #ThePaidCrew editorial team.

Featured image by: James Baker