The 4 Worst Things That Brands & PRs Can Do To Bloggers

February 09, 2022

Blogging has given me many opportunities to do things that make me happy but I also have my fair share of unfavorable experiences.

I’ve been nothing but grateful to the blogging industry for giving me the opportunity to do things that I really love. I got to write, I got to publish a book, and I’ve worked with brands and businesses that I genuinely believe in. However, just as I have good experiences, I also have bad experiences in blogging. 

The worst things that brands and PRs can do to bloggers

The 4 Worst Things That Brands & PRs Can Do To Bloggers

    Blogging is a part of the media industry

    The blogging industry is just as colorful as any other local industry in the Philippines. In fact, I do consider it to be a part of the media industry. What sets it apart from mainstream media is that bloggers and their blog (or their social media accounts) are one.

    The blogger speaks through their blog and I think that’s a powerful method of getting messages across. A blogger earns the trust of their readers and followers and that is powerful because trust is built over the years. After all, trust is not something that a person earns overnight. The blogger provides value to their readers in order to earn the latter’s trust.

    Blogging is all about working hard

    Blogging is hard work and you have to really like what you’re doing to last in the industry. Blogging is also competitive but it can be colorful. I’ve met a lot of wonderful people, made new friends with fellow bloggers, and even PRs.

    While I started blogging in 2007, I do admit that I still have a lot to learn in terms of the skills needed to succeed in blogging and eventually make it a profitable side hustle. However, with the support of my blogging friends, I would say that I was already able to gain a ton of knowledge in terms of content creation as well as some insider secrets that have allowed me to grow my blog traffic as well as social media engagement.

    Worst things that bloggers may experience from brands

    Like in any other industry though, there may be times when the situation becomes far from ideal for bloggers. There are bad times and there are also people who are out to take advantage of bloggers.

    I know there are already many seasoned bloggers who have written about their worst blogging experiences, including the worst tokens that they’ve received and the most unpleasant way that they’ve been treated by brands and PRs. Just the same, I’d like to share my own experiences in hopes that it can also help my fellow bloggers.

    I also believe that PRs are extensions of brands. They are the face of the brands who deal with bloggers and media practitioners. As such, the way PRs conduct themselves is reflective of the actual values of the brand. Otherwise, the brand should exercise more due diligence in choosing the PR to represent them.

    Having said that, I would consider a brand to have treated me offensively even if it’s their PR that I dealt with. You can say that I could’ve called out the brand by sending a private message, but we both know that it’s always that ideal.

    Obviously, bloggers wouldn’t know who to get in touch with at the level of the brand most of the time. Even if the bloggers did, they would be hesitant to do so especially if they’re not used to talking to the executive of the brand. That’s just the way it is.

    Going back, here are my own worst experiences in doing brand collabs and events.

    1. Brands and PRs not being transparent to me

    I remember this one brand collab that I was really excited about when the PR called me. It was a referral from a fellow dad blogger but it was a product that I really wanted to try and see if it would work.

    It initially went on smoothly. I was emailed the campaign brief and the contact. It stated that it would be a paid campaign and that I would receive two units of the product for me to try.

    You can imagine how happy I was because it was one of my first brand collabs outside of the usual sponsored post content that I used to get. Finally, I can be an endorser too, just like my blogger friends.

    However, the following day, I received a call from the PR who proceeded to tell me that the brand is requesting the bloggers for just a product seeding instead of the initial paid campaign. Not only that, since the brand is just a small start up, they requested for just one (1) unit of the product instead of two.

    After a brief discussion and telling the PR my terms, we agreed on a non-paid campaign but with a product sample. I’d also just be doing a short non-talking video instead of a full minute production with a monologue.

    It went well, I posted it in my social media pages and I even wrote a blog post about it that put it in the first page of the google search results.

    However, two weeks after the campaign, I received a message from a fellow blogger asking me if I already received my payment. I said, “What, the PR said that it’s not a paid campaign as requested by the brand?” My fellow blogger was just as shocked as I was after I told him my story.

    He then proceeded to ask if I already got the second bottle of the product, to which I said no because the PR said that it’s just one free product for the campaign. Oh, well.

    I decided to just choose my battle instead of lashing on the PR who, by the way, had the gall to ask me why I wasn’t popular even if I had been blogging for so long. I jokingly said that I had other things to focus on, such as my website traffic and SEO, instead of growing my social media clout.

    Lesson learned: if you have blogger friends who are included in the same campaign, feel free to ask them about the inclusions. Not for anything, but that will allow you to gauge if you are not being taken advantage of.

    As for the campaign, I was just happy that I haggled for less work. Otherwise, I would’ve felt more used and abused.

    2. Brands that leave bloggers hanging after finalizing a deal

    This happened to me with one budget booking app and hotel chain. I’ve been seeing my fellow travel bloggers post about them (including their personal promo codes) and it was really my dream to work with them. I believe in the brand’s vision of providing top notch accommodation at an affordable price as well as easy booking through their app.

    That dream almost came to a reality in 2019, a month after my second son was born. I got an email from the marketing manager with the partnership offer as well as the promise to give me a personal promo code to share to my readers.

    Naturally, I was super excited and I said yes in an instant. The marketing manager then replied if I would be up for a staycation soon? To which I said yes. I also said that I had a newborn baby so I was hoping they could just arrange the booking in the next two months.

    I wanted to give my wife a staycation and bring my eldest child to the kiddie pool. I emphasized that I was willing to pay for the additional headcount and that it would not affect my opinion. I loved the brand, after all.

    After that last email though, I got no reply from the manager. I sent a follow up email and still no reply. I usually just send two follow up emails for deals like this one. If there is still no reply despite the two follow up emails, I move on and treat it as a no deal.

    For this brand though, I felt a little hurt because I truly liked it; its vision and its business model. So I felt betrayed that it didn’t live up to my expectations. I do understand that I dealt with just one person in that company but, again, a single person could make or break a company. That’s why it’s the company’s responsibility to inculcate its values to its employees. One simple email telling me that the deal will not push through would've sufficed.

    I could’ve brought it up to higher management but I decided not to lest I be accused of wanting free accommodation. After all, they’re just a budget hotel chain. I can book a room in a five-star hotel and pay for it with my earnings.

    3. Forgetting a blogger’s token for an event

    I usually don’t attend events even before the pandemic. I used to receive invitations to restaurant visits from Zomato many years ago but the time is not always ideal for me. Like lunchtime in Pasay or BGC when I was working in Makati. The one time when I got an invitation to lunch in Makati, it was for an early lunch at 11:00 AM. So, yeah, they stopped sending me invitations eventually.

    Then I began receiving after-office event invitations but it was also the time that my first baby was born so that made it hard for me to attend events.

    It’s not that I don’t like attending events. I actually wanted to attend events and meet fellow bloggers, it’s just that the timing for me was always off.

    However, I did remember the one time that I said yes to an event because it was just across my old office in Makati. The restaurant was launching its revamped menu and new brand, so they needed bloggers to cover it.

    As expected, I was one of the first to arrive because I just crossed the street to get there. That gave me ample time to talk to the PRs/organizer and ask questions that I wanted to ask. I even asked about the rebrand because I knew the restaurant by a different name.

    I got the answers that I needed and I wanted to believe that I made a good impression being the interested blogger that I was.

    The event went well and it was time to say goodbye. I could see the PRs/organizing handing out envelopes and I thought that it must be the token. I secretly wished that it was a GC for a meal because I enjoyed the newly-launched food offerings.

    However, the PRs soon panicked when they could not find the envelope with my name on it. After about five minutes of going through the envelopes, one of the girls went inside the office and came back with an envelope in hand. It had my name written on it but I didn't take a peek at what was inside. I thought it was impolite to do so plus I was in a hurry to get home.

    When I was finally able to examine my token at home, I was shocked and disappointed. It was a P15 discount gift voucher for a slice of cake, redeemable on our next meal at the restaurant. That meant that I would have to spend before I could even enjoy the P15 discount for a slice of cake. It wasn’t even for a flavor of our choice but a boring-looking chocolate cake.

    My only consolation was that I didn’t have to spend on transportation for that event.

    4. Brands forgetting the bloggers who have truly helped them

    I can name several PR friends who have been really good to me in giving me opportunities to join paid campaigns. As a way of thanking them, I agree to publish press releases in my blog. I don’t copy and paste press releases, except if the brand has paid for the publication.

    I usually write my own PRs or rehash the pre-written article based on my experience in using product samples. I make sure that they are SEO friendly and oftentimes, my articles land in the first page of google so that’s extra traction for the brand.

    After that, I usually don’t expect much from the brand. However, when PRs announce that these brands are giving Christmas gifts to bloggers, I half expect to be included in the list. After all, I do have proof that what I did for them has value.

    However, I was left frustrated during the previous Christmas because my fellow bloggers received gift packs from a certain brand while I got nothing. Don’t get me wrong; I’m not saying that the brand should’ve left out the other bloggers. What I’m saying is that they shouldn’t have left me out, especially because I gave a lot of effort in my articles and social media posts.

    Once again, I decided to choose my battles instead of burning bridges. After all, my gratitude goes to the PR who introduced the brand to me. This particular brand might've forgotten about me in this instance but the PR has been very generous to me in other campaigns.


    I didn’t realize that this article was already too long because I just typed nonstop. Anyway, those are just the worst things that I have experienced as a blogger from the brands that I’ve worked with.

    If you are a blogger like me, please feel free to share your similar experiences in the comment section below so that we can help out our fellow bloggers.

    Worst blogger treatments from brands and PRs

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    1. Worth it naman po kahit mahaba dami din pala disappoinment sa bloggers napapaisip tuloy ako kung anong mga brand , restaurant or staycation. Anyway fighting po dadi and God bless kasi kahit bad yung na experience mo sa kanila still no name drop ka pa din po. Pray na lang natin yan kay God.

      1. Thanks for reading. Yes po, madami din disappointing moments although in the end, grateful pa din po ako sa blogging opportunities.

    2. Joaquin Eli Bacod9 February 2022 at 07:33

      Awww my mga ganito pa lang worst na mga ngyayare . Ako share ko lng my nasalihan dn akong campaign ng product . Medyo umabot dn ng 4mos ung paid nila sa amin . Kse paurong ng paurong . Pero buti nlng po naipapaliwanag sa amin nung ng invite sa amin . Thankful na dn kse opportunity dn ito .

    3. Replies
      1. Naku, oo. I'm sure you have your own fair share of experiences. In the end, mutual respect lang between bloggers and PRs.

        Due diligence din sa part ng bloggers and sharing of experiences such as this one para makaiwas tayo sa abuso.

    4. In my opinYon po kahit sa ibang trabaho may time na nagpe failed din tayo.dito pa kaya sa pag ba vlogging na minsan ay hindi mo maiiwasan na may kakumpitensya tayo pero kung gusto talaga natin mag succeed gagawin po natim ang lahat sa abot ng ating makakaya na may kasamang sipag, tyaga at diskarte at siyempre kasama rin si god sa ating mga pangarap. Kea continue your being good Dad and good vlogger salamat po