If you’ve found this article you’re likely a blogger or freelancer who is has developed some level of success or following—modest or otherwise—and are looking to build a blog rate card to partner with brands.
If you don’t know where to start with your rate card (also called a rate sheet), this article will help you build an efficient, detailed, well-formatted, and unique one. If you already have one, I’m sure you’ll find some value in this piece to make it the best it can be.
A well-made blog rate card is an important piece of successfully pitching brands and monetizing your blog, and I’m here to help you do it! Make you scroll to the bottom to receive your free downloadable rate sheet template.
Last Updated: May 5, 2020
Do you need a rate card?
Short answer: If you want to be taken seriously? Yes.
Longer answer: You’ll reach a point in your blogging journey where you’re ready to begin initiating contact with brands. You could simply send your email pitches, wait for their response, hope they ask for your rates, and reply with them in the email itself. You might be doing this already with the belief that having a blog rate card limits the amount that you can charge.
This is not the case. Instead, a rate card shows that you’ve put in forethought to you the worth of your blog, your audience, and most importantly, your time. This implies experience and professionalism, two things that you want to lead with, whether you feel like you have them or not. Fake it til you make it.
Your rate card is one of your first impressions. Make it good.
Some Rate Card Essentials:
An easy but potentially disastrous mistake would be to forget your blog or business’ name! Your blog/business’ name should be easily seen, bold, and easy to remember. Since your rate card will likely be sent in conjunction with your media kit you can be brief in the introduction text of your email pitch, as the nitty-gritty details of the services and “why”s they should work with you should be explained in your media kit.
How to Name Your Blog Rate Card PDF
If you are sending your blog’s rate card as part of a series of emails of your pitch you need to be very obvious which attachment is what. You could be sending your media kit, rate card, contract, and other documents all at once. Label each clear
Having the words ‘rate card’ clearly visible at the top of your document helps brands who may download all of these items at once to be able to click through them with ease.
My rate card is named Packs Light – Rate Card – 20200502.pdf
I name it in this convention so that it’s easily searchable if they need to find it in an email or on a server, they know exactly what it is, and they see that it’s recently updated and accurate. These little things can reduce back and forth and make you an easy, breezy, ideal person for collaborations, and brands remember them.
If you’re pitching creatively you may end up sending someone your rate card via Facebook Messenger, Instagram DM, Twitter, etc. so contact information is essential! Include “obvious” contact information such as your email address, business phone number (I suggest a Google Number), or Whatsapp so they have the path of least resistance should they decide to accept your pitch.
Also, adding your social media handles as clickable links in the PDF version makes it that much easier for brands to view and interact with your accounts.
Blog Rates and Social Media Rates
Obviously, a key component of your blog rate card is your rates rates. I found it easier to organize my rates into “Blog Rates” and “Social Media Rates”, as they are able to operate as separate entities for my blog.
In my blog rates, I include pricing for advertisements in my monthly newsletter, my blog content, my blog pages, and other things such as photography and videography services. In social media rates, I price out for minimum social media posts on platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, and YouTube.
As you’ll see in my rate card below I also compose “packages” where I compile standard services I may provide for a brand and encourage brands to purchase them for the best value for both them and me.
Some additional rate card tips:
1.) If you have a service that you price for on a case-by-case basis like photography sessions or videos, and don’t be afraid to put “TBD” on your rate sheet if your prices may vary per project.
2.) Packages help prospective partners decide if a partnership with you will be priced as “budget”, “moderate”, or “costly”. Again, be sure to charge true. Packages may help set your standard rates, but you can always adjust per the scope of each project.
3.) If you need to travel internationally or your business has international partners be sure to specify the currency in your rate sheets. You don’t want confusion between ¥ vs. $ to bite you in the butt later.
4.) Put lower reaching social media at a minimum of 2 or 3 posts. If you offer multiple tweets or posts with a small reach, it can add value better.
5.) It may be a no-brainer, but make sure that your name, website URL, email address, and business phone number are included in your rate card.Charge true—use this article to build your blog rate card and get paid what you're worth. #blogging Click To Tweet
How much should you charge?
The actual rates that each blogger should charge are, honestly, subjective at best.
A classic tool is Social Bluebook, where you can get approximated rates to charge for your website and social media channels based on traffic, engagement, and following. To the right, you can see my Social Bluebook analysis and what sort of metrics it provides you.
Some standard rules exist, like $100 per 1000 followers on Instagram, but as new platforms emerge like TikTok, Twitch, and BigoLive, and as the economy adjusts to the effects of COVID-19, influencer marketing will be affected forever.
The fact is, only you know your true value based on your engagement, quality of content, experience, and range of services. All you can do is try to charge as accurately as possible, be open for negotiation, and weigh all of the benefits of that partnership (portfolio building, networking opportunities, relationship building, associated comped costs, free product, etc.)
But that includes not selling yourself short. The bane of any blogger’s existent are the bloggers who sell themselves extremely short or work for completely free and it lowers the expectation of pay for everyone else!
I’ll only say this once: influencing and blogging is work. Get paid fairly. Period.
Check out my 9 Tips to Attract Real Instagram Followers in 2020 that you’ve never heard before.
Pitching Properly: The Key to Success
After 3 years I still consider myself an amateur blogger, but I’ve had my fair share of successes and failures so I feel I can still provide some advice on this front:
Firstly, pitch within your means. I’m not saying you shouldn’t pitch for the stars because you absolutely should…
Once you have some experience.
Pitching willy-nilly to companies who don’t fit your niche or are completely under or over your level of experience does not serve you or the brand’s best interest. Over-pitching will put stress on you to over-promise and could affect your quality of work. And under-pitching means your time and effort is being taken away from a partnership that could be paying you fairly.
When starting out, you may not have the experience to feel out situations where you may need to charge more or less than your usual rate. You should aim for appropriate pay and experience at the beginning and then you can “get fancy” with negotiations later.
Lead with your strengths—if you have a super-specific niche and high engagement, play that up. If you have 10 years of experience writing, mention that. If you have a huge Facebook group of loyal followers, lead with them. PR staff and brands see multiple pitches every week, so it’s in your best interest to make your blog stand out in the most concise, honest, and impressive way you can.
Happy pitching, monetizing, and of course, blogging.
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