I’ve noticed that many bloggers are hush-hush about how they make money. Blogging is a ton of fun and I love what I do but it requires a ton of work and takes years to establish. I know a lot of people are interested in learning the ropes so I figured I would share the ins-and-outs of how I monetize my blog and pursue this as a career. This is my 4th post of my “How to Start a Fashion Blog” series. Here are the topics we have already covered over the last 4 weeks.
- How to Start Your Blog – A Complete Guide
- 10 Tips for Curating Content For Your Fashion Blog
- How to Grow Your Instagram Following in 2017
- How to Make Money Blogging & Establish Brand Partnerships
Side note. It took me 3-4 years before I felt comfortable to blog full-time. My income used to be chaotic. No stability. I would wait by the computer for sponsored deals to come my way. It wasn’t till this last year that I opened up to my business to another stream of income, affiliate marketing. Keep reading to learn how bloggers make money and build brand partnerships! All of my outfit details are also down below.
PS This top with split bell sleeves is $45 and quite the stunner!
Monetize with Sponsored Posts
Sponsored posts are my favorite source of income because when a brand you ALREADY love and use religiously wants to pay you to use their product, how can it get any better? I don’t commit to as many sponsored posts as I used to because I’m really only interested in creating genuine authentic content. That means, if I haven’t heard of, used, or liked a brand’s product (regardless of how much they are offering to pay) I won’t work with them. Building trust is the most important thing you can do as a blogger and I would hate to ruin it for a sponsored post.
Half of the time I work directly with a brand and the other half, I am connected to a brand campaign through an influencer network or agency. For example, I just finished a campaign with Adidas through an influencer network. I did not speak to a member of the Adidas team the whole time. The agency I was working with handled all the communication, negotiation, and logistics between me and Adidas. When it comes to working directly with a brand or through an agency, I don’t really have a preference but I assume working through an agency is a safer bet. That way, no bridges are burnt incase something goes wrong. When working with an agency, logistics are handled in a more professional manner. For example, when I agreed to work with SKII, I asked my contact at the agency if I could try it out before committing. I ended up LOVING SKII’s facial treatment but if I wouldn’t have, it may have been kind of awkward to e-mail SKII saying I didn’t like their product and that I am not signing the contract. Ya see?
Here are some of the influencer networks bloggers can sign up for to start connecting with brands.
Revfluence – Just think Tinder for bloggers and brands. If you “like” a brand and they “like” you back, a match is made and both are sent an email suggesting further communication. I have been on Revfluence for years. The platform is very easy to navigate and I love that brand’s actually respond when you pitch yourself for a campaign, even if the answer is no! #respect
Tap Influence – My current favorite. Tap Influence allows you to create an in site media kit that showcases you to brands, and you set your price. Their interface is a touch confusing the first time you do a post for them, but after that it’s super easy!
Izea – Izea is a fantastic network that has only gotten better. They offer an open market for bloggers where you can apply for campaigns.
Fohr Card – Coolest brands but eh, the response time is pretty awful. I’ve pitched myself to like 10 brands on their site and only heard back from 2.
Fame Bit – Brands choose from a variety of social media platforms, the type of content they’d like to create, and finally the campaign details. This includes a drop-down menu listing price-range options starting at $100 all the way up to $10,000+. I find the platform to be pretty impersonal though and don’t use it anymore.
Collective Bias – Application required. These campaigns are called “shoppertunities” and you must apply for each one individually. You share your ideas on how to feature a specific product or service and then are chosen based on your ideas, your reach, etc.!
How To Establish Brand Partnerships
Just like anything in life. Blogging can be all about who ya know. In fact, I’ve had opportunities WAY bigger and more successful bloggers weren’t offered just because I had an in or knew someone working with the company.
Here are some of the ways you can start to get noticed by brands.
Start talking. Make an effort to start featuring and talking about the brands you want to work with in your content and on social media. Anything to grab their attention!
Engage. Comment, like, and engage on a brand’s social media. Brands want to work with people who genuinely love their product.
Source a brand’s email. Find that contact you have been searching for through LinkedIn, Facebook, or press releases. Introduce yourself via email. I always reach out via email and then ask to set up a phone call. I find a phone conversation to be so much more valuable.
Media kit. Send over a media kit with your rates, past collaborations examples, audience demographic, and a little bio about yourself.
Ask. PR and Marketing contacts need to know if your brand offers what they are looking for. I recommend asking what they are needing before throwing a huge pitch. Everyone wants to be heard and understood.
Attend media events. Networking at events has been insanely helpful for me. Once you attend one event, you’ll connect with someone that will invite you to another. So many opportunities and collaborations have been established in this way for me.
Whatever you do, don’t let your gifts dictate your content. Create content about what you LOVE. Not about what brands are sending you for free. No one wants to read that…
If someone offers you clothing, that’s great! But don’t be afraid to ask for payment anytime a brand wants a sponsored or promoted piece—promotional pieces should be treated like advertisements, even if they’re integrated into your everyday posts. Just like magazines earn money from their advertisers to stay in business, your blog will eventually have to earn money as well. I took gifts until I hit 10K followers on instagram. I still take gifts to this day but I always tell the brand that there is no guarantee I will post anything for them. Only if it easily fits into the content I am already planning for that month.
If you already love and wear a particular brand, don’t just ask to be added to the monthly gifting list—also let the agency know why your blog would be an excellent fit and send links of posts where you’ve worn the brand before. I usually try to pitch specific ideas. For example, if Smashbox is offering to send me their whole lipstick collection I will respond with an idea where I can incorporate the content into a big project I have coming up for summer and see if they want to be involved. Never hurts to ask and show interest!
Sponsored Content Requirements
Campaigns can have numerous amounts of asks. Typically, a blogger is required to write a post involving the company’s goods or services and promote it through their social platforms in exchange for a flat fee, free product, or a percentage of the sales driven from the campaign.
Approval for you content can take a couple of days or up to weeks. I actually have videos being approved right now that won’t go live for another couple of months which means I had to plan “back to school” content in May when everyone is thinking about summer. A brand can (usually does) come back with a list of edits. I’ve had brands ask me to take out a shot of another product that was in someway a competitor, shorten the length of a video, but usually they want you to add something like text overlay, a link, or more FTC disclaimers.
Monetize with Affiliates
Affiliate programs changed the game for me. What’s SO great about affiliate links is that you can incorporate them in such an organic way! I no longer feel the pressure to take on every single brand deal because I can get a kickback talking about things I already own and love!
There are two types of affiliate networks: pay-per-acquisition (Reward Style) and pay-per-click (ShopStyle). Reward Style in particular changed my life. I prefer Reward Style because I don’t have zillions of people visiting my site everyday but the people who do visit, like to shop (like me, hehe).
Monetize with Ads
Ads can go in the post or on the sidebar, header, or footer. I personally do not have ads on my page. I find that they clutter things and I don’t make enough from them to actually matter.
Google Adsense – You can run ads through Google Adsense like I do on my Youtube videos.
Blogher – Blogher will accept new bloggers!!
The Blogger Network – I was planning on trying the blogging network but still haven’t pursued it.
Sovrn – I have only heard good things about them! This is another one that I don’t have experience with, but bloggers I trust have said great things.
Speaking Fees & Hosting or Attending Events
If you become a pro at a certain subject and there are conferences around that subject, you can pitch yourself as a speaker. Low level gigs might comp your ticket and thus you can attend the conference for free. At the higher level, you’d be making money from your participation. Some of the events I have attended or been on panels for are VidCon, BeautyCon, Playlist Live, IMATS, Capitol Factory, and Create & Cultivate during SXSW.
I could go on and on about this for forever. If you have questions, leave them down below and I will make sure to answer!
Scroll down for my outfit links and deets. :)XO Dani