Volunteer Writers

February 10th, 2014 by Dylan Leave a reply »

An interesting offer from New Zealand’s national air carrier – write for their website in exchange for… nothing.

We’re searching for creative and interesting writers in the areas of Aviation, Travel, Health, Tech, Education, Lifestyle, Music, Film, Fashion, Food and lots more.  We have re-launched and expanded Flying Social to offer even more interesting lifestyle content from around the Air New Zealand global network and from interesting people all around the world.

In return for writing for the Flying Social team you will be featured as one of our contributors with a contributor profile page that has links to your social media channels and your content will be shared across Air New Zealand’s social media channels.

Air New Zealand

Encouraging people to contribute free content for your blog isn’t such a bad thing, but it’s a little difficult to stomach when you’re a very large and high profile airline. Unsurprisingly the offer wasn’t well received online…

Now it’s fair that Air NZ might not have a cash budget to source content for their blog, but there must be a better option?

Here’s some ideas for the team at The Flying Social Network (these are offered for free!)

  • Pay in Airpoints – The Air NZ loyalty scheme is great… Airpoints dollars are worth the same as standard dollars. So much simpler than the insane air miles that many carriers offer. How about 50 Airpoints for each published article?
  • Discounts and upgrades – Why not let your valued contributors travel more often and in comfort? What about some simple discounts, maybe special offers for them? A complimentary lounge pass?
  • Exclusive offers/competitions – Going to offer a special on travel to Singapore soon? Why not open up a chance for one of your proven contributors to win a complimentary weekend there!

These simple offers would cost very little and allow contributors to be rewarded for their work (and it is work!) while also building a stronger sense of community.

UPDATE: Air New Zealand has taken the criticism on board and say they’re reconsidering to come up with appropriate compensation… Good! Fingers crossed.

  • Lynda Royal

    “Now it’s fair that Air NZ might not have a cash budget to source content for their blog…..”

    Do you think? I pay writers to write on my tiny blog. It costs me money that isn’t necessarily spare and my blog runs at a loss, but my writers deserve to be rewarded for their efforts. Why on earth would it be fair for one of the country’s biggest companies not to have a cash budget for writers? Other than that, agree with everything you’ve said. Boy this has made my blood boil….thanks so much for giving this issue some attention….:-)

    • http://dylanreeve.com/ Dylan Reeve

      I don’t think it’s fair that they don’t pay their writers at all.

      I do understand that the Flying Social Network website might not have an actual budget with which to pay freelance writers. Things like blogs and social media are still a bit hard to quantify in hard marketing terms for many companies (although they’ve had no problem publishing magazines for years).

      That’s why I’ve suggested alternatives that Air New Zealand could (and should, I think) consider if they aren’t able to pay actual money.

      The reality is there are plenty of people who will be happy to write for exposure, but regardless of that I don’t think a company like Air NZ should take advantage of that and offer no payment at all. There are plenty of non-cash options they could explore. They have a lot of resources.

      • Lynda Royal

        Agree there are other options….but did they pay their web devs in contra? Their PR people? Their social media consultants? Their graphic designers? Their web hosts? Why expect the writers to even take contra? Why not pay them as you should do as a bonafide expense of running a website? ( On second thoughts, maybe they should get a refund off their PR people….)

      • Lynda Royal

        AirNZhave just tweeted that they are going to rethink….good on you for bringing this to light! Yay!

  • Kiwi_Duncan

    You missed out the bit that said the first blog to be signed up is Karen Walker. I guess she wants more publicity. But for bona fide writers this is just a bloody insult. By comparison, how much does our flagship carrier pay (or exchange) to be the official carrier of the All Blacks? You can see where the CEOs heart is by following the money.

    • http://dylanreeve.com/ Dylan Reeve

      For a brand like Karen Walker there probably is actual value in exposure. For more people that’s not the case.

      They certainly should find a way to show they respect the value that contributors add, even if it’s not actual money.

  • Kiwi_Duncan

    I’m guessing they though this would work like Amazon where the public contribute zillions of lines of thoughtful review copy. But this is different. This was a naked invite to writers – to contribute copy for free,

    I understand on twitter that Air NZ are reconsidering their offer. No doubt they’ll apologise “in case anybody took any offense.”

  • Robyn Gallagher

    I’ve given up writing for publishers that don’t pay because – without exception – every experience has been disappointing. The big problem with a publisher who doesn’t pay is they have no vested interest in your writing. If there’s money on the line, the publisher is more involved. If there’s no money, they can happily forget about you and focus on the stuff they’ve paid for – which seems more valuable.