After having dozens of conversations with women wanting to embark on their blogger dreams, I think it’s very important to understand that although blogging can lead to a significant source of income, blogging does not start as a business. I had a decent following when I started The B Werd and I’ve been fortunate enough to create a modest additional source of income from my brand, but that didn’t come quick or easy. I blogged for nearly a year before I received my first collaboration opportunity amounting in $500 even though I was averaging close to 20,000 monthly views. I didn’t begin this blog with the intention to blog full time or replace my full-time income so I was OK with not having an overwhelming amount of chances to monetize, but if the opportunities are there I encourage you to seize them.
Blogging will cost you a lot of money before it will make you any. You’ll pay for domain names, blog hosting services, equipment, and a handful of other expenses as investments to be able to eventually qualify for the chance to bring in some money. As a blogger there are ways to bring in extra dollars at every level, whether you’re a beginner or averaging 100,000 monthly views. My main goal with The B Werd is to teach after I learn – so I’m going to break down the different options for potential earnings as a blogger. Refer to this blog post at any time, even as your blog grows to make sure you’re exercising your options to monetize at every level.
Big money comes with big numbers, meaning followers, views and interaction. But don’t fret – even for those of you only pulling in a couple hundred views a month, there is a way to make some money. My first suggestion is to create an account with Google Adsense. Google Adsense is much more lucrative if you get a lot of blog views, but this is what I call the simplest form of passive income. Put an ad up, and if someone clicks it you make some change. Be careful not to put ads up that are too distracting or cause readers to leave your website before they get to indulge in whatever content you created.
Affiliate programs are also a massive form of blogger income, meaning you make money when someone makes a purchase from an item you linked. Amazon Associates allows you to include product links in your posts, whether it’s hair products or your favorite office supplies. You can link what books you’re reading this month, or your favorite things to pack in your carry-on. The best part is, you earn on the total of their purchase – so whether they buy one item or 10, you’ll get a percentage of everything included in their check-out.
Affiliate links will play a major role for you because there are so many different programs you can be apart of. Amazon Associates is still a great one, because they have no viewer or analytic requirements that many will have. Many companies that you already spend your money with have affiliate income partnerships. For instance, Google “JustFab affiliate” and the details of their program will come up. Although I don’t use ShareASale, it is a giant affiliate program that partners with hundreds of brands to create links and banners you can use on your own site. They have available partnerships with every niche, so if there is a brand you use often for travel, business, or fashion, search them on the ShareASale website and see if they’re available. For fashion, beauty and lifestyle bloggers, ShopStyle and RewardStyle are what they likely use to link home, fashion and beauty items. I use RewardStyle, which are the @liketoknowit links you all see on my Instagram posts but they do require an application, where they review your analytics (site views, social media followers, etc.). It’s easier to get approved through RewardStyle with a referral, so if you need one, email me and let me know!
It may not be money, but free stuff is nice, especially if you would’ve purchased the item for yourself anyway. I’ve gotten some of my favorite products for free by agreeing to talk about them, which saved me money. I have a one-page rate sheet that I use to pitch to brands with an email explaining who I am, who my audience is and why I’m a good fit for collaboration. Get very specific about what you’re looking for and what you’re willing to exchange for whatever product you’re interested in. You can Google most press contacts for the brands you’re interested in. If you’re a curly hair blogger, reach out to some of your favorite brands for a care package. If you’re a travel blogger, who makes your favorite travel accessories? If you need help pitching, Melyssa Griffin has a blog post that taught me how to successfully pitch to brands. If you need a one page media kit, Creative Market has some of the best and inexpensive options that are very user friendly.
Once you build a nice size following and have remained consistent with blogging for long enough, you will begin to get offers for gifts in exchange for promotion because some companies simply don’t have the budget for paid sponsored posts. It could be boutiques, beauty products or other items particular to your niche. Be mindful not to accept any and everything just because it’s free. It’s important to only agree to talk about things that are in line with your brand.
Outside of Google Adsense and specific brand ads through ShareASale, you will eventually have the opportunity to pitch for ads once your readership increases. Making money with ads is always going to work better when you have more visitors. Once you start generating an impressive amount of traffic onto your site, you can begin to offer ad space on your site for certain rates. I have a one-page rate sheet that I use to pitch to brands with an email explaining who I am, who my audience is and why I’m a good fit for collaboration, all while making what working with me will cost them very clear. The most important details are how big the ad will be on your site, who will be seeing the ad and how often, along with how much it will cost the brand.
Heavy Weight Bloggers
Affiliate Links + Ad Revenue
The opportunity for big and steady money is available at this level, but do not overdo it so heavily that it takes away from the value of your content. Nothing is worse than suggesting your followers buy something every time you communicate with them, or having to click out of 10 ads before being able to read a blog post.
Paid Sponsored Campaigns
This is the part of blogging that excites people; the part that everyone daydreams about. Working with major brands you love. My paid campaigns have been an equal combination of brands finding and contacting me, and me applying through influencer networks. The tricky part about influencer networks, is that many of them require a certain amount of monthly views, and many of them require you to login on a weekly basis and apply for the campaigns that you’re interested in. I made the mistake of applying for 30+ influencer networks when I first began blogging and it made it very difficult to keep up with whether which ones I’d been accepted into, which I needed to apply to at a later date with larger numbers, and which ones had the opportunities that best fit my audience. Applying for sponsored campaigns can be a full-time job, so make sure you organize your network memberships on a spreadsheet with login information, campaigns you’ve won, and which platforms you like best. A few of my favorites are Tapinfluence, Clever, Social Fabric and Massive Sway. There are dozens to choose from, but find the ones that best fit your brand.
Another benefit of sponsored campaigns are the fact that you’re able to negotiate them. Sponsored posts can require a lot from influencers and can also be incredibly time consuming, from getting the product, to shooting the content, then editing and putting the posts together. Some require multiple posts with very particular instructions, so always gauge what amount of work you’re comfortable doing for the amount of money being offered. Some posts will be much too complex for $100. This is when having other influencers in your network will come in handy. We’re usually open to sharing what we asked for in campaigns
I did a handful of free campaigns (but not many) before I was offered a sponsored one. This was useful because it showed brands that I knew how to successfully put together an influencer post as well as the type of interaction they could expect. Sometimes we have to show them we can do something but they give us the opportunity to do it.
Products and Services
Creating a product or service is the ultimate goal for many bloggers because it brings in money 100 times quicker than working with brands. I mentioned Melyssa Griffin earlier, who is one of my favorite bloggers because she’s so informational. She went from blogging for fun, to creating courses that turned her blog into a multi-million dollar business. They trust her expertise because she gave away so much information for free prior to creating a business. I recently purchased a $1000 course of hers, so that I can continue to create content that best serves my audience and believe me, my $1000 is one of hundreds.
Once you can create and sell products and services (webinars, an app, coaching, an eyelash extension line, etc.) that people buy because of who you are, you don’t have much reason to work with brands anymore. You’ve become your own! You’re making money off of yourself, and not off of another person’s product with a cap on your earnings. You pocket all of your money and aren’t waiting on brand campaigns to come in to make money. The only thing I would suggest with this, is not to make your readers feel overwhelmed with selling to them. You don’t want to quit offering value in exchange for money. I’ve unfollowed a few bloggers because they were trying to sell me something in every single post. Once you prove the value of what you have to offer, it will promote itself.
My first sponsored campaign involved attending a Macy’s event. I was paid for my presence and to promote it beforehand. Brands need influencers to talk about what they’re doing. Once you become an expert in your niche, you will have the opportunity to speak at conferences, occupy booths at different events around the country, or even attend beauty, fashion or tech events. When events you’d like to be apart of are coming up, Google the contacts of who you need to reach out to in order to see where you may fit in.
There are so many other ways to make money as an influencer, but these are what I know best and have all worked for me. Comment below with any questions you may have and let me know what level you’re currently at. I’d love to know how you’re monetizing your current position!