Just yesterday, I read online about a toy collector and social media personality who was looking for a contractor for his property in Bulacan. But instead of paying a certain amount for services rendered, he offered a collaboration and ex-deal. This means a contractor will construct the second floor of his property in exchange of video and promotion from him. Simply put, walang monetary consideration.
Okay, I’m not here to bash that person. Rather, I would like to discuss what x-deal is and share my personal experiences working with brands before who “pay me” with products instead of cash.
BUT FIRST, WHAT DOES X-DEAL MEAN?
In its simplest meaning, x-deal is where party A will collaborate with party B in exchange of products, service, or other non-cash tokens. There is NO monetary involvement in this arrangement although there are certain expectations out of this such as blog post, video, or posting of products in social media pages, as in the case of content creators.
This has been widespread and acceptable practice, regardless of what industry you belong to. After all, not all companies, especially those who are just new in the business, have a deep pocket for marketing.
MY PERSONAL EXPERIENCE
I had my fair share of x-deals over the years. When I started blogging, most of the collaborations I had were x-deals. I was just too excited when the opportunity came for me to work with brands, so I willingly said yes. Companies would contact me and send out products worth, say 5k, in exchange of review or blog post. I’m an unheard mom blogger so why would a company pay me x amount, right?
It was okay at first since I needed to build my portfolio. Plus, I really cannot demand that much since I don’t have sufficient number of followers back then. There’s this one instance a few years back when I agreed to work with a company who manufactures vitamins for kids. They sent the package in exchange of blog post and I happily complied with their demands. Sadly, my kids didn’t like it so I ended up giving the unopened vitamins away.
It even came to a point where I accept deals even if I’m not a user of those products. Sayang naman, so I had giveaways before using the products as prizes.
But come to think of it – is this really a good arrangement?
Over the years and as I <do my best to> solidify my presence in the online world, I learned to be choosy. As much as possible, I work with brands that provide monetary consideration. After all, mahirap ang buhay and there are factors to consider such as maintenance of website, props needed for the content, electricity, and most importantly, time. Keep in mind that content creators put a lot of time and effort on their posts so I firmly believe that we should also be properly and reasonably compensated.
Also, the money I get from this goes to my personal fund. I use it to pay for my bills or buy something for myself. I don’t like relying on the husband for my personal needs so whatever I get here is entirely mine.
Sure, I still do and willing to take x-deals from time-to-time BUT…
HERE ARE MY RULES:
- I choose the brands I’ll work with. I make sure that the brand is something we use at home or it is kids-approved. If I believe in the brand’s philosophy and/or advocacy, then it’s a yes for me as well. So even if there is no monetary compensation for it, no issue since we’re users of that product. Once, I agreed to do an x-deal for Head & Shoulders campaign and they gave me 5k-worth of shampoo products. I don’t mind since we use it at home. Plus, I didn’t have to worry about shampoo supply for about eight months. Haha! I also agree on food because, well, I love to eat.
- Don’t be afraid to ask. Some PR companies or brands are upfront in saying that there is no cash involved. If unsure, I make it a point to ask about the consideration for the work I render.
- If the requirements are too demanding, then I say no. There’s no monetary consideration tapos they have unrealistic expectations? Posting in social media is not as easy as it seems. Content creators do planning and conceptualization, too, before we start with the shoot. Please don’t underestimate it.
- Authenticity is key. This is important. I used to say yes to everything before until I realized I got tons of products we don’t even use. When I check my feed, I couldn’t see my personality because I kept saying yes to brands. Now that I’m older and wiser, I value authenticity more, which is why I say yes to products that I can personally vouch for and that’s what brands are looking for.
WHAT HAPPENS TO THE PRODUCTS?
Will the PR or companies get mad when content creators monetize the products they get? Some content creators host a giveaway or share the products to others to minimize the stocks at home. Some sell it so they could convert the products into cash because let’s be real: we need money, too.
For me, I don’t see anything wrong with monetizing the products we got. Again, we have responsibilities and bills’ due dates to deal with, so the money we could earn from selling those products are useful. Just make sure that when you sell the products, be discreet about it. Hold on to the products for a few days or at least try to use them first before posting it in the Marketplace.
SO, IS IT A YAY OR A NAY?
At the end of the day, it will depend on you, the content creator. It’s okay to accept this kind of arrangement from time-to-time since x-deals are good in helping build the portfolio. Still, keep in mind that it’s not always about how many brands you work with.
Also, consider your time and effort before you say yes to this type of arrangement. Being a content creator is not a walk in the park. It will take up a big chunk of your time, depending on the expectation from you, so don’t think that products are enough to compensate you, especially if you plan to do this long-term. Know your worth.
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Ayi is a stay-at-home mom of two. When her kids are in their best state, she keeps up with chores, work, and ensuring that her sanity is intact. Join her as she navigates through this rollercoaster ride called motherhood.