Are You Giving It Away For Free?

If you don’t know “Mommy Blogger” Jessica Gottlieb, you should.  She is one of the funniest and feistiest people I’ve met on the social media scene,  IRL (in real life) and if not the planet. Her blog and vlog posts, whether sweet but mostly sassy, are always insightful, intelligent and make you think or question the status quo.  I hate the status quo which is why I admire and respect her beyond words.  She never is afraid to speak her mind – for or against what she believes – a trait unfortunately not shared by many in today’s world.  After all, she’s the original the Motrin Mom and she is a true warrior for justice!

But back to the subject at hand – why am I especially praising Jessica today above all days? Well, I just watched her latest YouTube vlog and as expected she’s taking sharp aim at her subject.  What made this one different was that she’s not slinging arrows at some big brand or corporate malfeasance, she’s taking sharp aim at her fellow brothers and sisters of the blog.  “Why are Bloggers Bankrupt?,”  she asks. “They need to stop being sluts and giving away their content for free!” My interpretation and choice of words!

Those words hit my ears like manna from heaven.  For the past 20 plus years, I was paid handsomely for my writing and producing skills and would never have thought to give my work away for free.  How would I pay my rent, feed my kids, support my shoe addiction?  A huge television empire was built on the work I and others did for it but we were paid.  That TV empire (that shall remain nameless) continues to grow bigger off the blood, sweat and tears of its anorexically downsized workforce while many of its formerly loyal employees are waiting to see if they can continue to get unemployment benefits continued.  But that’s another rant for another time.  My point is none of us ever gave it away for free.

My blog began as a hobby, an outlet to write more personal stories and about things that mattered to me. My day job was spent writing short pithy on-air promos and advertising copy – my blog was my chance to not only write more than thirty seconds of copy- but maybe give back something to the world. Frankly back then, I had no idea that people did get paid to blog other than the big news organizations or those connected to some media entity.  After I was laid off and promo jobs were scarce, I discovered that one could make money by blogging.  “Wow,”  I thought somewhat big-headedly, this would be a no-brainer for moi.  I mean with my experience and skills, I could just knock this blogging baby out of the park and take home the big bucks before I hit home plate.  So as I explored the business of blogging, I’ve since found out, how bloggers are re-numerated for their services, is a tangled web of coupons, giveaways, sponsorships as well as pay for play maze.  There is no set “standard” to charge for your services, no day rate, per word rate, and even a per click rate may not accurately reflect the blood, sweat and number of characters one puts into their efforts.  I am still trying to figure this out as I have begun the process of “monetizing” my blog and my Web TV show on    What’s more,  how can there be pay parity among bloggers or even rate card developed in a system where people are not properly valuing their talent and influence and once again, they are giving it away for free.

Jessica’s words sparked the memory of what my mother used to repeat to me over and over again – “Marla, why would boys buy the cow, if the milk is free?” As a young girl, I didn’t know what she was talking about,  as a teenager, during the era of free-love,  I really didn’t care.  Like most things, I eventually found out the hard way that mother is always right. Boys used the easy girls and the ones who played hard to get, always landed the guy.

So heed the words of “Mother” Jessica….stop giving your content away for free! Our livelihoods depend on it!

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