Fashion Lifestyle

How To Monetize Your Blog & Work with Brands | Dani Austin

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.

  1. How to Start Your Blog – A Complete Guide
  2. 10 Tips for Curating Content For Your Fashion Blog
  3. How to Grow Your Instagram Following in 2017
  4. 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!

Split bell sleeves8

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.

Influencer Networks

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.

Gifting

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

Split bell sleeves2Split bell sleeves7Split bell sleeves6Split bell sleeves1 Split bell sleeves3    Split bell sleeve 9 Split bell sleeves10

   

Split Bell Sleeves Top // White Shorts // Wedges // Sunnies //

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29 Comments

  • Reply
    Olivia
    June 29, 2017 at 5:28 pm

    Love this series, Dani! I recently started a blog of my own, and while I have a long way to go, I love that this is helping to inform and educate myself so that I’m not completely lost down the road. When a company contacts you, how do you know they’re legit and actually who they say they are? How do they find your contact info? One of my concerns is making sure that I’m not getting scammed at any point and how to know to actually go for a partnership/sponsorship.

    • Reply
      Dani Austin
      June 29, 2017 at 7:01 pm

      Wow! Thanks for your feedback Olivia! I usually find a brand’s contact info through linkedin, facebook, and events. I talked about that a little in this post. 🙂 When a company contacts me I will do a little research on google and linkedin. I’ve never had an issue dealing with a brand who was faking who they are. I don’t think I’ve ever been scammed because I only work with brands that I know already or have at least heard of or have good SEO on google.

  • Reply
    Sharon
    June 29, 2017 at 5:31 pm

    These are such great tips babe, thank you so much for sharing. Did you only start working with blogs when you had reached a decent following on Instagram?

    • Reply
      Dani Austin
      June 29, 2017 at 7:02 pm

      I started working with brands when I had 10k on instagram. 🙂

  • Reply
    Elizabeth
    June 29, 2017 at 8:24 pm

    Dani, you’re awesome! Thanks so much for doing this. I love reading your blogs.. you really stand out from other bloggers because of your genuineness and heart for sharing valuable information like this! I admire your heart of gold! Keep it up! ❤️

  • Reply
    Bekah Skinner
    June 29, 2017 at 9:03 pm

    Hey Dani, I am new to blogging and all of the info you have shared has been super helpful in getting my blog started. When you first started did you tag the brands you wore in your Instagram posts to catch their attention? Also, did you try to target smaller boutiques first or just the brands you typically wore? Lastly, what is something you wish someone would’ve told you when you first started out? Thanks!

    • Reply
      Dani Austin
      June 30, 2017 at 11:35 pm

      I definitely tried to target smaller boutiques at first. For sure. So i was able to wear Paige Denim from a boutique or nice brands but was not working directly with them at first because it was too difficult to get their attention.

  • Reply
    Rachel
    June 29, 2017 at 9:25 pm

    Thanks for the advice Dani! This post was really helpful! 🙂

    Lots of love,

    Rachel

    http://www.looklovelyliving.com

  • Reply
    Davina Donkor
    June 30, 2017 at 12:16 am

    This post/series in general has been the most helpful, informative thing I’ve ever read about the whole blogging process. I recently started a blog of my own, and if I’m being honest, its been pretty challenging trying to navigate how it all works at times, especially when people are hush hush about what you really want to know about! Thank you for taking the time to fully flesh out each category, it’s been super helpful and much appreciated!!!

    (PS if you happen to get food from Jose in Dallas, please let us know if it’s good! I saw it on your insta stories and I’ve been meaning to go ever since!)

    • Reply
      Dani Austin
      June 30, 2017 at 11:33 pm

      You got it! Still wanting to try the food. I actually may go there tonight. Will keep ya posted.

  • Reply
    Jaimee Scope
    June 30, 2017 at 8:47 am

    This is amazing. Thank you for being SO honest. I am almost at a year from starting my blog and it’s a slow process that can be disheartening. Thanks for sharing your resources & only wanting the best for others ❤️

  • Reply
    Tabitha Faith
    June 30, 2017 at 6:00 pm

    Hi Dani,
    I’m a fairly new fashion blogger on the scen and I have a few questions.
    1. How long was it before you made income off your blog?
    2. How did you network with other bloggers?
    3. How did you land your first brand collab/sponsorship? Along with that, do you feel like you have to have insane numbers to get your first collab?

    Thanks for your transparency and all of your help! Best wishes to your future success!

    • Reply
      Dani Austin
      June 30, 2017 at 11:32 pm

      1. Till I hit 10 K on instgram and about a year blogging.
      2. I would network at events and honestly, just messaging them on facebook, insta dm, or emails!
      3. The first collab was with Neutrogena and they just emailed me! I think brands are investing more into micro-influencers. They care more about engagement and quality.

  • Reply
    Suzannah
    June 30, 2017 at 7:00 pm

    Hi hi Dani! Love your content, especially this series for new bloggers. All is super helpful, thank you for sharing!

    xx Suzannah

  • Reply
    Brittany
    June 30, 2017 at 10:37 pm

    Wow. This is so incredibly helpful! I’ve seen people talk about getting paid but never to this level of detail! As I continue to build my blog, I know I will come back to this post regularly for tips!

    Brittany | thechicette.com

  • Reply
    Katie Hodges
    July 1, 2017 at 7:59 pm

    You are awesome!! Such a ball of joy!! Love love loved this post! Just launched my blog yesterday!!

  • Reply
    Eve Ksabi
    July 3, 2017 at 12:50 am

    Hi Dani
    My name is Eve Ksabi I live in Dallas tx and this article of how to become a blogger is the reason I’m starting my new blogg
    I have an Instagram account and a web site and all the social media props but I never really promoted my slef the way I would love too , you post is so inspiring and motivating and really made me believe I can do it .
    I’m a personal trainer but I also love fashion
    So I want to combine both fit and fashion taking care of the body inside out.
    Show people my life in the gym and out of the gym.
    Would love any more tip it very hard when you have so little following .
    I printed all the advice you gave and going try to implant them .
    Do you all the influences net work will even look at an account so small?
    Thank you for this blogg it amazing , would greatly appreciate any advice sincerely Eve

  • Reply
    Sofia
    July 5, 2017 at 2:01 pm

    Dani,

    Thank you so much for putting so much effort into these posts! It really shows how genuine you are, and it’s so refreshing to see. Being a younger blogger, I do have one major concern that I feel sometimes gets in the way of my blog- online safety. Any tips on staying safe online? Living in a small town, it can be difficult to post about restaurants or boutiques because it makes it very easy for people to discover my location. Is there any way to get around this?

    Thank you again for being so willing to help!

    Sofia

  • Reply
    Sasha
    July 7, 2017 at 12:52 pm

    Hi Dani! Thank you for doing this series, it’s been super helpful for me as I’ve been starting my blog! I was wondering what plugin you use to display the clothing or products at the bottom of your post?

  • Reply
    Friday Favs + Finds - the chicette
    July 7, 2017 at 8:14 pm

    […] READ ||  How To Monetize Your Blog & Work with Brandss (Because she gave so many amazing tips that I’ve never heard of […]

  • Reply
    Kelly Hoover
    July 9, 2017 at 12:44 pm

    YES I love this post! It is all so true and so so helpful. I have been blogging for almost 2 years now…and I try all of these tips but I am still waiting to see true results. You are such an inspiration!

    Quick question: WHO takes your pictures?! Beautiful!!

    xo,
    Kelly Hoover
    http://www.theglamorousteacher.com

  • Reply
    Rebecca
    July 9, 2017 at 10:03 pm

    This is the first post of yours that I’ve read but I have to say, I absolutely love your honesty and talk about typically taboo topics! I’m very new to blogging so I’m definitely going to go back through your previous ‘how to start a fashion blog’ series to see if I can find any tips!
    Also, that t-shirt is beautiful and your figure is amazing!

  • Reply
    Cassie
    July 12, 2017 at 7:00 pm

    Loved this!! So soo helpful!!

  • Reply
    Kyli Raine
    July 15, 2017 at 12:09 am

    Great post and so helpful!! I love blogs and have been wanting to start one for some time but I guess my question is if budget is a thing I have to focus on should I just stick to instagram until I get a good following or would you recommend going ahead and starting the blog?

  • Reply
    Sakeenah
    July 16, 2017 at 11:27 pm

    Thanks for sharing some trade secrets! I have truly enjoyed watching your blog grow and I appreciate your good advice!

  • Reply
    Madeline
    July 18, 2017 at 6:55 pm

    Really amazing post. I’ve had my blog for a year and definitely struggle at times but this post is seriously so informative and helpful. I really appreciate you opening up and teaching other bloggers how to be successful, I feel that not many other bloggers are as open and I think it’s really amazing to truly support each other.
    xx
    Madeline
    http://www.wearweroam.com

  • Reply
    Jamie Rockers
    August 4, 2017 at 10:39 pm

    Hello,
    I have started blogging myself. I am trying to find out the basic problems that my blog is having and looking for solutions. Also, I’m searching for some basic things like themes and other stuff.
    I have read your whole article, I am looking forward to getting a positive result after performing this myself.
    Can you suggest me any basic idea that I might need in the future as a new blogger?
    Thank you

  • Reply
    Dom
    October 23, 2017 at 5:22 pm

    Love all these tips Dani!
    It can be a bit overwhelming when getting started and trying to get your name out there. 🙂

  • Reply
    Nicole
    November 2, 2017 at 4:18 pm

    I am starting to plan a blog and this series has been beyond helpful. I am trying to get all the information I need before starting the blog. I know it is going to be a lot of work while having a full time job but I’m hoping that, with time, I’ll be able to turn this passion into a career! Thank you for all the advice-very organic and refreshing!

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