Benefits of Blogging: Bloggers, The Free Sh*t, And Entitlement

As the influencer space becomes bigger, people are starting to really form opinions on the way we work, the things we receive, and our sense of entitlement as influencers.

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Let’s start with the truth: It’s pretty damn cool to be a blogger/influencer. There are a LOT of benefits of blogging.

But I feel like I’ve been recently seeing A LOT of negativity in regards to bloggers, the free shit we get, and how all bloggers feel entitled to everything. I wanted to share my thoughts on a few things because to me, a lot of what’s being said couldn’t be further from the truth. I should probably preface this by saying everyone is VERY much entitled to their own opinions.

This post is written off my own experiences and what I’ve been told from my other blogger/influencer friends. Okay, let’s proceed.

“Oh you blog? You must get a ton of free shit.”

Yeah I do. I’m lucky enough that brands want to send me products to test out and share with my readers. When I first started blogging, I took advantage of every single free item that was sent my way. I thought it made me look important that these companies would send me their products. I was honored that companies noticed me.

Five years later, my outlook has changed. I turn down a lot of free products because it’s just too much stuff. And it doesn’t pay for my photography fees, my SEO strategist, and all of the other expenses that go into running this blog. Oh and 8 times out of 10, the product doesn’t fit into my lifestyle or brand. I am passionate about a lot of other aspects of blogging now (lifestyle, career, blogging posts). On the other hand, sometimes there’s a product I REALLY want to share with my readers and followers (like Patchology). If that’s the case, I have reached out to companies to see if they’d want to work with me in exchange for a product and then talk about a further, paid collaboration. I’m lucky enough to have had a lot of really positive experiences with brands, and in return, I’ve created a lot of really amazing business relationships!

But then there’s always the follow up comment…

“It must be so easy for you to just blog about the stuff you get.”

UH NO. It’s not.

When I agree for a brand to send me products, that means one of two things: I’ve signed a contract to try out the product and then write about it, or it was completely gifted to me. If it was gifted to me, I make sure I let brands know that I’ll only share the product if I REALLY love it. If I don’t, I always ask them if they’d like me to send it back (if that’s possible).

When it comes to a collaboration, I take those VERY seriously. I don’t just accept product for the sake of accepting product anymore. That’s not my brand. So when I accept products for a collaboration, that means I’m about to have a lot of work to do: Hire a photographer, keep track of expenses for project, find time to shoot content, actually write the content, schedule promotion for the project, and any necessary follow up in regards to the project. It is a lot of work, and you can read more about what actually goes into being a blogger here.

Last week, I went to Drybar and explained that I was there for a collaboration to tell my readers about a promotion. The stylist (who was freakin’ amazing), said to me, “you must get so much free stuff! I wanted to start a blog too!” In my head, I rolled my eyes, BUT then she said this: BUT I REALIZED IT WAS A LOT OF WORK. It made me happy that she did notice just how much went into blogging, how it wasn’t for her, and it’s not just all about the free things!

I get why people see it as entitlement.

I really do. I mean some guy put an influencer on blast because she reached out for a stay at a hotel. That’s kind of where I got the idea for this post. I made the mistake of reading some of the comments putting bloggers on blast — entitled, worthless, no talent. Those were some of the words I read. They made me so mad. SO SO SO MAD. I see where people are coming from because, yes, to the average person, it looks like all we do is ask for free things. But do you know how much work we are signing up for when we pitch ourselves to brands?! ESPECIALLY HOTELS.

I’ve only had amazing experiences with my travel partners. But man, it is a ton of work. I want to make sure I’m putting the hotel on a damn pedestal (if I had a great stay). So while I may have pitched myself to a hotel or tourism board, it’s for a good reason. Not only do I want to travel the world, but I also want to make sure I influence others to do the same. When I’m looking to go on a trip, want to know the first thing I do? Look for travel guides from bloggers. I trust bloggers. I reach out to them and ask additional questions. It just makes sense to look at someone who is close in age (with a similar budget to mine) for trip recommendations. Don’t you think?

So yeah, bloggers get a lot of amazing perks. I could write an entire post about the benefits of blogging. I’ve been to amazing places, gotten amazing collaborations, and attended some really fun events because of this blog. But would I say I’m entitled to things? HELL NO. I know my place. But I also know what I have to offer to a brand. I know that I can help influence people to purchase an item. It makes me feel good when a reader/follower tells me they bought something because I was wearing it, or that they tried out a service because I posted about it. That’s the whole point of this “influencer” thing. It’s not so that I can get all of these perks (they are nice, and I am beyond grateful, duh). It’s so I can use my voice to promote things I love, have conversations with people, give them advice, and really anything else they need.

And maybe not every blogger is like me. Maybe there are some people that feel entitled. But for the most part, I think we’re all good people, just hustling. It’s such a different industry, one that doesn’t have set “rules and regulations”. We’re all just kind of making it up as we go along. So please, cut bloggers a break. I have made so many friends from blogging and they’re all BADASS BABES. They work hard. They love what they do. And they’re just trying to live out their passions. If you don’t like someone’s content or some of the business practices they use, just hit the unfollow button. Go follow someone you believe, someone you relate to, and someone who you feel like you know in real life. I’ve done this and it not only made me feel better, but it’s also help me put the right bloggers in the spotlight…because they deserve it.

To end this rant, I want to emphasize that I am truly grateful for what this blog has given me. I’ve learned how to remain true to myself and focus on projects that I really believe in. It’s always a “pinch me” moment when a brand reaches out to work with ME. Yes, little ol’ me. The girl with a small blog and a small Instagram following (in retrospect). I’ll never stop being myself on this corner of the Internet. Sometimes I can’t believe people read my blog posts, comment on my Instagram, or interact with me on Twitter, but that’s something I’ll forever be grateful for!


photos by allie provost

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  1. 1.31.18

    Omg this. THIIIIIS. I think everyone needs to read this post if they follow a blogger! Free really isn’t “free,” and we spend a lot of time, energy and money on photographers, web design, SEO, etc. I’m with you, I really don’t accept too much free product anymore for the exact reasons you stated. I actually donated three boxes full of PR samples to a women’s shelter because I really had no need for it; it was nice to be able to give back, but a huge wake up call that it’s really not necessary to accept every little gift that comes your way.

    • 2.2.18
      Dana Mannarino said:

      Aww thank you so much, Alicia! I’m glad you agree with what I tried to say!
      And yes — totally agree, while I LOVE getting rid of products or sharing them with people I know or donating them, it just really shows how wasteful gifting can be. Unless I know I can give back to the brand somehow by promoting the product, I generally say no!

  2. 1.31.18
    Elle said:

    Best post of yours to date! So proud xo elle

    • 2.2.18
      Dana Mannarino said:

      Love you sooo much! xx

  3. 1.31.18

    all of this!! yes to it all!! thank you so much for sharing dana!


  4. 1.31.18

    I’m with Allie, yes, yes, yes to all of this!! This is a great post for bloggers and non-blogers to read. I have dealt with a blogger that has that entitlement attitude and that’s something I don’t want others to associate me with so I love that you are sharing this side of things and really explaining how it all goes down. Thanks lady!

    xo Laura Leigh

    • 2.2.18
      Dana Mannarino said:

      YES! The entitlement is so unnecessary – we should be grateful for the opportunities we get!
      Thanks for reading, my friend! Can’t wait to see you! xx

  5. 1.31.18
    Allie said:

    It really is so much work! I only just started my blog and it takes all my free time to write it, take pictures, learn about SEO, website design, photography tips etc etc etc. I give you so much credit for growing your little space of the internet! And thanks for the advice on reaching out to brands, I hope I get there some day! xAllie

    • 2.2.18
      Dana Mannarino said:

      YES! There’s so much to it that people do not see, and I really want the blogging world to be more transparent so people UNDERSTAND US!

      Thanks so much for reading, Allie — your blog is great! xx

  6. 1.31.18

    Love this! People definitely don’t realize how much work goes into a single Instagram post, let alone a blog post. It takes a lot of time, effort and hustle to be successful in this space, and kudos to you for laying it all out there! (And being successful!)


    • 2.2.18
      Dana Mannarino said:

      Thank you so much, Sam! I want to be more transparent so that people finally understand us! xx

  7. 1.31.18
    Cassey said:

    So well put, lovely post.

    • 2.2.18
      Dana Mannarino said:

      Thank you, Cassey! xx

  8. 1.31.18
    The Adored Life said:

    One of the things that drives me insane is how people think I can just ask for things for free. Or that I can just say to someone else hey, I’m an influencer so you should give me this! Like we’d be SO offended if that asked us that so why on earth would we ask them?!

    The Adored Life

    • 2.2.18
      Dana Mannarino said:

      AGREED! Unless I KNOW I have an amazing idea to pitch to a brand, I wouldn’t dare to ask for free things!

  9. 2.1.18

    I have SO MANY responses to this but let me start with .. this is SO well spoken!! I’ve said it before but I’ll say it again, I LOVE YOUR WRITING STYLE! Okay in response as a fellow influencer, the free sh** that’s “easy” to blog about is probably the top response I get as well when I tell people I blog. Then I proceed to tell them I have a full-time job, another part-time job, and I use ALL my free time for my “blogging job”. Then it doesn’t seem like just free sh**. The longer this industry runs though, the better it will get! Oh – and if it wasn’t for blogging I wouldn’t know you or some of my other great friends!! It’s been such a blessing! Can’t wait to see you NEXT WEEK! PS – we need to coordinate all that soon!

    How 2 Wear It []

    • 2.2.18
      Dana Mannarino said:

      You are the best, Morgan! Thank you so much for your sweet words and reading this post!
      I had no idea you had another part time job – how do you still freakin’ kill it?! But I agree, I wanted to be more transparent so that people start understanding the industry instead of bashing it constantly because of a few bad eggs, ya know?
      Also SO true about meeting friends through this space…cannot wait to see you!!! xx

  10. 2.2.18
    Nicole Ntumba said:

    This is very insightful and well said!
    Now that I’ve followed a fair amount of experienced bloggers for a while now I’ve already made the realization that it is a ton of work. Due to said realization I’ve been so hesitant to start my own because I know myself.

    • 2.2.18
      Dana Mannarino said:

      Thank you, Nicole!
      I hope I didn’t discourage you at all. All of the hard work is SO worth it! xx