I have always had agents. I have an agent for modelling, MOT. I have an agent for acting, Gilbert & Payne. I have had these agents since I graduated and actually never moved because I’m really “loyal” 😉 . My modelling and acting work (see more here) have always required an agent, it’s just the common way to live out your working life in that environment. That being said, once you have established yourself you can sometimes get direct bookings because you have gained contacts and learnt how much to charge. Even though this is the case, it is always nice to have an agent because they are there to look out for you and make contracts solid and safe. As I moved into a more professional line of blogging I believed that I needed an agent, so I hunted one down and got one. I then got another that was a pretty big company filled with some incredible talent. I was over the moon to be signed by them, especially since they had some huge names I had heard of. Then one day out of the blue, they decided that they were going to stop representing talent. At the time I thought this was the end of the world (I’m rather dramatic you see), but then after a couple of weeks I realised it was the best thing that could happen to me. Read on to see the pros and the cons I have learnt that come with having a blogging agent/managements. From these pros and cons you can see if you do or don’t want to get yourself a manager.
After a few years of blogging I was desperate to have a blogging agent. I was getting about 15 emails a week from PR and brands. Some were for paid work and I had no idea how much to pitch my work at. After having an agent for a year I learnt how much to charge for stories, blog posts, videos, social posts etc. This was however, how much to charge at the level of blogger I was at that stage. If I had a surge in followers on my social platforms or like now that my blog site hits have gone through the roof (see how I have increased my site hits here) I actually don’t know the best price to charge my work at. If there was an honest place on the internet for us digital content creators to find out how much to charge or how much everyone is charging then I probably wouldn’t have looked for an agent a few years back.
If you are signed to an agent that has a few other vaguely similar “influencers” on their books to you and they turn down a job then you know that you will be next on the list to book that job. However, after a year with my last agent I only got one job through them, the others were all my own contacts and enquiries that I passed on to them to work out the contracts.
When you have an agent, for whatever field of work you are in, you know that they have your best interest at heart. If you work, they earn money. They can act like your parent at the best of times. The biggest pro to having had an agent was being able to say to the potential client of mine, I will pass you on to my agent to discuss the money. I don’t know if it’s my British-ness or some sort of self worth issue but I hate the part where I have to discuss money. It was so nice having someone else deal with that and negotiate the best price. Now I just have a price list which I email along in a pdf along with my media kit when they ask. If you want to learn how to make your own media kit and how to grow on social media, check out my ebook here. There is also some sort of gravitas to being a signed blogger, it shows that someone else believes in you and your work and so should the brands.
Although I love having an agent for modelling and acting and have indeed had some great moments with blogging agents there are a few cons which I am going to share with you. It has been said by many brands that they are put off by bloggers and content creators that have agents simply because of the time consuming aspects and indirect contact they have with the creator who in turn becomes a thing to be discussed rather than the brand and personality that they are. Yet, does this also mean that we as content creators are being treated in a more professional manner in which we do deserve? After listening to Victoria of In The Frow on Blogosphere’s podcast, I learnt that the way she tackles this issue is by making sure she still has meetings and personal emails and even whatapps with the brands and PR. After two years of being a signed blogger at these agencies I stopped going to quite so many events, I immediately passed on all of my email enquiries to my agents and actually found myself completely out of the loop from my original PR and brand contracts. I don’t think I dealt with this in the best way. I should at the time have gone to as many events as possible and chatted my way in to gaining some personal friendliness with others. Yet, instead I lost lots of contacts who over time had of course gone on to new PR companies without me realising and I found myself back at square one and having to find and make friends all over again.
Another thing I found whilst being with my second agent was that I actually only got one job through their contacts. All of the other jobs I had were my own contacts and enquiries that I just passed their way to deal with the money side. You are essentially giving your money away by getting them to deal with the email back and forth about the fee. If you do have or get an agent then take a leaf out of In The Frow’s book and make sure you keep those meetings happening so you don’t lose your connections.
WHAT YOU SHOULD DO
Having experienced life on both sides, I personally think that you should stick it out by yourself until you are too big to deal with your emails. When you are making good money, maybe then it is time to get a part time assistant. Then when you want to move into the realm of larger projects that aren’t just about solely about blogging then you may want to get management to help guide you along the way…but is this actually getting into the land of needing a PR for yourself instead?
When you are just starting out you can use the likes of the Takumi’s and Tribe’s of the world. With platforms like this there are paid opportunities for “micro-influencers” with Instagram followings of 1k+. The payment is very low but there are a mass of working opportunities so if you can work a lot you can earn ok money. This being said you really need to be aware that if you do too many paid jobs you may be seen as “selling out” so do be careful of not irritating your well earned audience. I was looking at a blogger friends Instagram who has a similar following to my own the other day and saw that she had done 12 #AD which I had also seen on the likes of platforms like Takumi. I totted up how much these jobs were and she would have earned approximately £1400. With months like this she could be making £16+ a year just from these platforms. This is amazing and for most people, myself included, is a much more fulfilling life than working in an office for someone else. the only trouble is, that is a lot of “#AD” for a month. If you have an agent or go direct through a PR/brand, then you can charge more for a job and you are able to afford to do less collaborations per month (These collaborations will probably be more time consuming). There are also the likes of ambassadorships which I could delve into the ins and outs of versus the one off Insta collaborations but I think I should save that for another day as this is getting a little too wordy now.
Do you have blogging management? If not, do you want it?