So you want to earn money from your blog?
It's a lot easier than you think to earn money from your blog. However, make no mistake that it isn't hard work. The reason I say it's easier than you think is because the amount of marketing companies and brands that search for bloggers to work with on a daily basis is constantly growing, there's so, so many. Sometimes it can be luck, as in others may get to the opportunity quicker than you and brands don't exactly have a magic budget that never runs out. Other times it can be mainly down to stats, some big brands are only known to work with youtubers with 100k on instagram but you may be surprised at how many now work with much 'smaller' bloggers and influencers. A lot of the time it's just a case of different campaigns, different PR packages and different budgets. Today I'm going to chat a bit about how I started making money from my blog and try and give some advice on what I've picked up over the past couple of years. It doesn't matter if you never plan on being a full time blogger - you can earn money from your blog as a side income and it has the potential to pay for things like a holiday once a year so that you don't have to do as much budgeting or saving up. If you blog because you love it like I'm sure the majority of us do, then there's nothing wrong with accepting money to do something you love. If you do want to become a full time blogger, then I hope that you pick up a thing or two from this post as it's possible for anyone to do!
You can't blog solely for money.
The first point that I can't stress enough is that you cannot just blog solely for money. I'm sure there are bloggers out there that do but from my experience it won't get you very far. Blogging starts out as a hobby and the passion has to be there for you to actually take it off the ground. You need to work hard on your own content in order to grow and you need to produce content the same quality as you would for a paid collaboration in order to attract brands to your blog. When a brand approaches a blogger about a potential collaboration, the first thing they do is check out their blog and social channels to see what they've already done and if their style is suitable for the job. If they see a blog with only three posts in the past month, all sponsored, they're immediately going to be put off. You need to be constantly producing content (obviously within reason, even if that's only twice a week, cool!) that's off your own back. If your passion and commitment to your blog shines through then you instantly become 100 times more attractive to a brand or PR.
Patience is a virtue.
Just like I was saying above, you can't start a blog and expect it to become a money making machine straight away. It takes time to build up your stats and audience and you should make sure it's a hobby before it becomes something more than that. Without blowing my own trumpet or anything, I think that's why my blog has gotten to where it is today. I started it with no intention or even knowing that I could earn money from it, I just wanted a platform to write about beauty products as it was something I always wanted to do. I think my passion for it shows and is how I've built up such an engaged audience as well as a network of brands who always come back with more work. There's been so many times where I've felt like giving up with it all and I've lost my mojo and inspiration but honestly, this is where being patient has come in. I've stuck it out and waited until I got back on track and it's always worked out in the end. I've gone through weeks of having no PR parcels or any brands getting in touch with me and it felt like the end of my blogging career but it wasn't! I just focused on producing content that I loved and wanted to produce and everything soon ironed itself out.
I think a lot of bloggers are under this illusion that you need to wait for brands to come to you, and this is why those people will never be able to earn a full time income from it. You can't have that attitude with blogging, just like any career in life, you have to work for it. Approaching brands isn't as scary as you think, I've been there at the beginning not having a clue so I completely understand why it seems it but it's honestly a piece of cake. Brands are so used to emails from bloggers, they'll be inundated with them on a daily basis, you just need to try your best to make yours stand out. I wrote a post all about sponsored content where I touched on this topic but I've gained a few more tips since then. Generally a good pitch email starts off with who you are, where you blog at and why you want to work with the brand. If it's not a specific brand and it's just a marketing company with several clients then I usually just say that I'd love to work with them and ask them if they have any opportunities that would be a good fit for my blog. I then list a few of my best stats that are of relevance to the opportunity and mention that I'm attaching my media kit for more info. Sign it off with something friendly and polite and you're done! It's honestly that simple. If it's a big brand that you've been desperate to work with for ages then you can add in something about why you'd love to work with them or link to any blog posts you've done on their products in the past - this always gets brownie points in my experience! Don't be afraid of rejection, it's part of life and a bit of rejection is healthy now and again. It gives you something to work on and you can always try again in the future.
Asking for budget.
A lot of people have mentioned to me that they're scared of asking for budget when a brand gets in contact with them about an opportunity. Again, this is as simple as just replying with a friendly email to say that you're really interested in working with them and could they let you know if there is a budget available for the campaign. The brand will generally reply saying yes or no and if it's a no then you weigh up whether or not you still want to work with them. If it's a yes then you give them your prices - it's as easy as that! If you're not interested in working with a brand or their budget is too low then just send a quick reply with a polite email to say that you're really grateful that they got in touch but it's not for you. As long as you're friendly and polite then you'll be absolutely fine.
Another popular question I get a lot is how I find opportunities. I find that once you get to a certain stage in blogging where you have a fair few thousand followers then opportunities land in your inbox a lot more. Especially if you're active on platforms like twitter and instagram - I get so many opps from being discovered through those! It's not always as simple as this though and now that I've taken it full time and have a wage to earn every month, I have to hunt down the opportunities a lot more. As someone who barely uses facebook and knows how downhill it's gone, I can't stress enough how useful it can be when it comes to finding blogging opportunities. Join every group you can find and participate in any created by other bloggers. I'm so grateful for the groups that I'm part of because they have lead to so many opportunities that I never would have got otherwise. One of my favourites is 'UK Blogger Opportunities' if you're looking for one to join - most people know about this already but they're constantly posting campaigns in there and I've got a fair few jobs through it. I've even got on with the PR's so well that they've come back the next month with more work for me. Utilise twitter too, so many opportunities are posted on there through the hashtags #prrequest and #bloggersrequired - sure you have to fish through the tweets from the idiots that use it to promote themselves but you're always sure to come across a genuine opportunity. One of the best things you can do to earn money with blogging is do a basic google search saying something along the lines of 'blogger network' and join as many as you can that look decent. I'm joined up to so many of them and brands find me through them as well as opportunities coming up through them that I've been able to apply to. One of the other things I do is google 'marketing company' and I find companies that specialise in connecting brands with bloggers then find their contact email and introduce myself. I've got so much work through doing this so I highly recommend it! If you put in the effort then the work will come in I promise. Different brands are looking for different things in a blogger, certain campaigns are targeting specific types of content so they will only work with bloggers who produce content that fits, there's something for everyone. I spend hours and hours every week just sending out emails advertising myself to brands - it can become exhausting!
What you should be charging.
This is probably the biggest question of all when it comes to sponsored content and working with brands. It's so hard to answer because there isn't a 'one fits all' it's all down to so many things like your stats, engagement, content. It also depends on the type of work that you're doing, like I charge way more for a blog post than I do an instagram post as it requires a lot more of my time and work put into it. I also charge different amounts based on the effort required, so for a backlink I accept a lot less than I would a product review as it's only taking up a fraction of my time. I now usually charge £300-£400 for a sponsored package which includes a blog post and instagram with other social media coverage like twitter and pinterest - I think it's a really good deal for the whole lot and brands usually snap it up so a handful of those a month and I'm already on a decent wage. If I know a brand has a big budget I will go in even higher than that and I recently got accepted for my biggest paying job yet so that was exciting! Sometimes I will accept less if work is slow as I have bills to pay and can't afford to turn down a job if I'm not getting much in as it is. Some brands will gift me £100+ worth of products too so I will charge them a bit less since I'm getting lots of goodies on top! I do have my limits though and if a brand is trying to take the piss then I will turn it down as I know my worth. I think it's all about taking a step back, looking at what you do and asking yourself what you deserve to be paid. Some bloggers really undercharge which not only is bad for them but it's bad for the rest of us as it then makes brands think they don't have to pay as much and we all lose out in the long run. Others overcharge and from what I've seen, those that do don't seem to get much sponsored content so in reality, you need to be charging a decent amount of money but you also need to be reasonable about it. I think my prices are pretty good for what the brand gets in return and as my stats increase so will my prices. It's all about negotiation too, in my experience you should charge £100 on top of what you'd be happy to accept so that when the brand tries to negotiate your prices down you're still receiving an amount you're happy with. Business tactics work well when it comes to negotiation - Emily has taught me so many fab tips she's a genius!
Accepting other forms of work.
I feel like a lot of people are under the illusion that money you make from your blog is solely from sponsored blog posts/paid reviews and it really isn't at all. I'm sure most full time bloggers will be aware that there are a lot more things that build up your monthly income and backlinks are a huge one. The higher your DA (domain authority) is, the more you can get paid for a backlink or a guest post and these can make up a good 30% of your income most months. As long as you make sure you declare them then you're all good. I try to only accept ones that fit in with my niche and that are trustworthy sites but some marketing companies will give me numerous ones a month so it's always worth getting in their books. It's not bad for your blog to have follow links, it's actually healthy to have a mix of follow and no follow so don't believe the bullshit about that. I use them all the time and my DA is now at 31 so it's clearly done me no harm. Have a read up on DA if you want to know more about it, there's lots of ways in which you can improve yours and you're more likely to get well paid jobs in if yours is a good number. Other forms of work can include things like product photography for brands, I've earned quite a lot of money through doing this but don't really have any tips on approaching them as they've contacted me. I know some bloggers also do things like video footage and reviews for brands (not YouTube, just instagram story type stuff) and that pays really well too.
Build a network.
My last tip for creating a business out of your blog is to build a network of clients. Keep in touch with PR's, send them a friendly email every few months and ask them if they have any new opportunities for you. I've become friendly with so many PR's which has lead to regular work and therefore making up quite a large amount of my yearly salary. Avoid being rude and always keep things light, polite and friendly. I save every single one of my emails from brands in a folder, I have a category for each type of work and it enables me to fish through them and contact some of them again if I'm struggling for work one month. They're less likely to come to you first as they're so busy with other bloggers and they can't remember everyone but a friendly reminder that you're there could lead to your next big job!
Do you find it easy to earn money from your blog? If you have any questions that you'd like me to answer then just pop them below 🙂