Is it actually possible to make money as a blogger?
First of all, let me warn you: if you are not a blogger, you will probably find this post tedious. Unless you are wondering whether it is quick and easy to earn thousands through blogging… Go on, keep reading, you know you want to know how bloggers make money!
When I started blogging, I had no idea you could make money as a blogger. Of course, I had heard of famous bloggers getting book deals, but until I met a few ‘real life’ pro bloggers a couple of years ago, I did not even know you could make a decent income though blogging.
I have been blogging over two years now and I do make money out of my blog. I could make more, but I have four young children, two of whom are not at school yet, and they are my number one priority. I am the one taking them to school, playgroups and I can even attend plays, assemblies and fun events at school. What a privilege! I work from home when they are asleep and I love it.
This morning, I led a session about ‘monetising your blog’ at Manchester conference Blog On. If you are reading this, you might be thinking of making money from blogging. Maybe you are earning money through your blog already but are hoping to take it further.
Most bloggers, should they wish to do so, can make some form of income, no matter how little, through their blog.
Let me get a couple of burning questions out of the way first…
Can you make money out of your blog? Yes
Is it quick and easy? No
BUT brands want to work with bloggers.
It is a flexible, remote way of working around our families and that is worth so much.
How do you earn money as a blogger?
There can be various sources of income, some of which can even be passive once they have been set up.
– Sponsored posts – getting paid to blog (woop, woop!)
– Affiliate links – by being an affiliate, you pick brands you want to work with and promote a company’s product in exchange for a commission. To make this very simplistic, if you make a sale, you get a commission.
– Ad placement on your blog – selling ad space on your website directly to brands
– Ad networks – potentially lucrative if you get a large number of page views
– Presenting for brands (talking at conferences, cooking demos, etc.)
– Blog ambassadorships – long-term working relationship with a brand. Just make sure you read the contract carefully and agree on everything it involves. If the brand is asking for exclusivity, you can charge more as you could potentially lose work with other companies.
– Writing and selling an ebook like Ciara who blogs at ‘My Fussy Eater’
– Writing an e-course like photographer Emily Quinton
– Creating and selling your own products like Vicki and her ‘free from’ flour
– Social media management
– Photography commissions
– Writing articles as a freelancer
How do I get chosen for a campaign?
Here are 20 ways that will help you stand out from the crowd:
– Innovate, over-deliver, make sure you get remembered
– Keep a list of posts you are proud of so you can link to them in a pitch
– Be professional at all times. PRs talks to each other and they tend to move jobs a lot.
– If possible, go self-hosted – owning your domain will give you more flexibility
– Engaged audience
– confidence: pretend you are the person you want to become until you are that person
– Network and learn from others but do not compare your beginning to someone’s middle! That would be disheartening.
– Think of yourself as a brand, have a logo
– Your site is your portfolio
– Credibility – If you want to monetise your blog, you have to look at the way in which other people look at your blog. Be wary of what you write and how you write it, how you engage in social media, and remember that PRs talk to each other.
– Niche audience – targeting a specific audience
– Tell your story, be a real person, a friend to your readers
– Quality – content is King
– Promotion is Queen
– Useful content will arouse your readers’ interest. What are your skills? What can you teach others?
– Make your content shareable
– Don’t be afraid to pitch to brands
– Work with the brands that are right for you
– Look into SEO and build your traffic
– Gather testimonials (after working with brands, saving complimentary Tweets from fellow bloggers, etc.)
How much should I charge?
Always have a figure in mind when talking to a client or PR company, and ask for their budget rather than giving them your fees, then you can negotiate up with them. To decide what my minimum fees are for one blog post valid for a year with a no-follow link, I simply do this: Domain Authority (find yours here) x 6, so if you use this formula and your DA is 23, you should charge upwards of £138 per sponsored post. This is only a guide and you can use it maybe as the minimum you will accept. My average fees are 10 times my DA!
Whatever you do, make sure you register with HMRC and complete your tax return.
10 golden rules
– Believe in yourself – start by pretending and after a while, you will believe it! Vicki at ‘Honest Mum’ could help you find that ‘more confident me’
– Publish useful content – unless you are a celebrity or you have an edge, readers will not stick around if you can’t help them – Grace, who blogs at ‘Eats Amazing,’ helps her reader make food fun for their children
– Images are worth a thousand words – your blog is your portfolio – if you can’t take a decent photo, learn by practising or take an online course or attend a photography workshop
– Build your ‘brand’ – consistency across social media, blog, etc. makes you unique and recognisable. Check ‘Croque Maman’ for example.
– Be professional at all times & honest – your readers trust you. Lose their trust and you’ll lose them – integrity is key
– Find your tribe & help other bloggers
– Be a good role model – avoid getting your blog associated with gambling sites or loan companies
– Network, network, network
– Disclose – When receiving payment or gifts, always disclose on your blog post as well as social media
– Always remember that whatever you post online is there forever. Ask yourself that: “in 10 years’ time, will I be proud of what I am about to publish today?”
Fancy a little bit of homework to get you started?
Here are 3 tasks for you.
- Know your worth and never work for nothing. How is thin air ever going to pay for your food bills? Repeat after me, “I will not work for free. I will not work for free. I will not…” (there you go!)
- Be picky! Say “no” more often so you have more time for the right opportunities.
- Pitch to the brands you love. Think of 3 now and pitch to them by the end of next week. Tip: on Google, just type the brand name and PR to find who looks after them, or ask for details of their PR company on Twitter. You might only get a review opportunity or a dead end now, but make sure they do remember you.