The most common question I get from aspiring bloggers (and anyone who asks about my job) is, “How do bloggers make money?”. While for some this can be a touchy subject, I am more than happy to spill the beans! If you break it down, there are basically two categories of revenue streams: marketing campaigns and e-commerce.
But before we get into the details, it’s important that, no matter how you generate revenue to your blog, you stay true to yourself, your style, and your brand. It’s very clear when bloggers participate in campaigns just for the money and it’s a huge turn off to readers. Since your readers are top priority, it’s important to maintain your relationship with them. Now, let’s walk through these opportunities in more depth.
1. Brand Sponsorships
The most popular form of revenue for bloggers is brand sponsorships. This could mean an array of things: sponsored blog posts, social posts, video, event coverage, etc. A brand (i.e. Gap, Anthropologie, L’Oreal) will pay a blogger to promote their products by authentically integrating them into their content. In return, the brand gets exposure to thousands of loyal and engaged followers. This is also called content marketing.
In order to make a decent amount of money through brand sponsorships, you definitely need a large following to back you up. What does “large” really mean? Typically, as an aspiring blogger, your initial goal should be to reach 50,000 unique visitors a month and about 10,000 total social followers. Once your numbers hit around that threshold, you should be able to start generating revenue. Of course, every brand and media agency may have their own requirements, but those numbers are typically what I’ve seen.
2. Banner Ads
Of course, there’s always old school advertising. This is when you have banner ads on your site, coming from various advertisers. You make money based on the number of impressions your banners receive. You can also make money from users clicking on the banners. The revenue for banner ads is not super substantial, but it directly increases as your site’s page views increase. It’s a great way to generate passive revenue (you can focus on other things and allow the ads to bring in revenue for you). Typically bloggers will sign up with an ad network who has their own ad server and clients. Examples include Mode Media (Glam) , Federated Media, AOL Stylelist, Google Adsense, and more.
3. Product Collaborations
A fun and creative way to generate revenue is to collaborate with a brand on a line of products. They may ask you to help with the design process, to be a brand ambassador for the products, or to simply attach your name to the product line. Brands tend to want to work with bloggers who have strong followings (sometimes celebrity-like followings) on projects like this. Why? Because they want the name associated with their line of products to be recognizable to a large audience.
4. Affiliate Links
You’ve probably all heard of RewardStyle and LiketoKnowIt by now. These are companies that allow bloggers to generate affiliate revenue. When you recommend products to your readers, on your blog or on Instagram, and this leads to readers purchasing, you get a commission (anywhere from 2%-25%) from the sale. It’s important to only recommend products that truly fit your style so that you can be authentic and true to yourself.
5. Speaking Engagements
Finally, many bloggers participate in speaking engagements to generate revenue. Once you have a strong enough following, people may want you to speak at their conferences or events. You can earn revenue for not only speaking at the event, but for traveling and taking time out of your schedule as well.
If you’re wondering how much you should be charging for these kinds of opportunities,
shoot me an email with some information about your site
(including your number of monthly visitors and page views), and I’ll help ya out!