My Tips on How to Make Money as a Blogger and Brand Influencer
We have been brand repping for years and while I have loved working with small shops and offering pictures and promotion in exchange for items, I had to finally accept that if I wanted to do this full-time, I was going to have to do something that brought in some money. As awesome as my girls wardrobes are, I can’t pay my rent with awesome handmade threads or the tons of compliments we get while they are wearing them. One of my insta-friends had been telling me about her success as a blogger for a while and I put it off and put it off because I just didn’t think I had what it took. And while I was hesitant, I can tell you that it was the BEST decision I ever made. My only regret is that I didn’t start sooner! It’s been a wild 7 months and I’m more happy than I’ve been in such a long time. I can finally share my tips on how to make money as a blogger and brand influencer!
Now that I’m finally making money and have made this into what has turned into an actual career, I want to share my knowledge with everyone and anyone that is interested in turning this passion into something that will pay the bills. I have gathered the most asked questions from people and will be answering them here for those of you that are ready to take the leap. I also want to share some of the platforms that are working best for me. I do want to mention that some of these links are affiliate links, but I would never share any service or product that I don’t personally believe in!
What is the Difference between a Brand Influencer and a Blogger?
First and foremost, there’s a lot more writing involved for a blogger and that’s super scary to some. But… if you think about it, when you post on social media, you are coming up with words to describe the product and your experience with the product, right? Imagine taking some pictures and writing just a little bit more (minimum of 300 words), including links to the product, maybe a code and voila! You are blogging, baby! It’s really that easy. If you don’t want to create an entire website, you might consider starting off as a brand influencer and using your social platforms to advertise for companies. Either option can bring in extra cash and eventually, turn into a legit career! So don’t put this off any longer! If you were waiting for a sign, this is it!
What if No One Wants to Read What I Have to Say?
When I approach people who I think would be great bloggers, I’m often times met with this question… and I have to tell them that we all asked that question. No one wants to spend time pouring their heart out only to find that no one really cares. But listen, if you have something to say and you present it in a way that’s interesting and shows off your personality, people will read it! At first, it may just be your friends and family, but eventually, and probably sooner than you think, people will share it and you will begin noticing an increase in views. You won’t be a superstar overnight, but stick with it and you definitely could be! Anything is possible if you believe in yourself.
Where Do I Start?
The first thing you need is a blog! You can sign up for a free blog through WordPress.com BUT.. I highly recommend WordPress.org. When I first created my blog, I had no idea that there were two different sites. While they both offer free templates and are very much the same in the backend, I learned that WordPress.org is preferred by most agencies and some brand influencer platforms. I wound up setting everything up on .com, only to find that they charged me over $250/yr plus the cost of my domain and when I realized I needed to move it over to .org, they refused to refund my money. Wordpress.com is hosted by WordPress. Wordpress.org is your own site and requires that you set up hosting yourself which is an extra step, but totally WORTH IT!
I am currently hosted through Site Ground and I LOVE it! Depending on what you need, their hosting starts at $3.95/mo plus the cost of your domain. If you already own your domain, there is a $15 set up fee to move it over, but that will extend your domain registration for an additional year I believe. It’s very easy to set up and their support chat is always available to help and are very knowledgable. Switching over was the best decision I ever made.
While WordPress does offer templates, I found a ton of amazing templates on Mojo Marketplace! Templates will run you roughly $49 or so. You can view their live demos and see what your site will look like. Now, installing can be a bit tricky but they do offer installation for an additional charge. You can also hire a designer (I do that on the side, wink) to put together your entire website for you, but of course that would be a bit more pricey. If you’re up for the challenge, you can do it yourself, but I have to warn you that it’s super time consuming and a process to learn.
How Do I Know How Much to Charge?
I LOVE Social Blue Book. This FREE site allows you to connect all of your platforms and then tells you what your posts are worth, based on your following/traffic. Keep in mind that this doesn’t include production/photography costs, so make sure to add $100 or so for that, depending on the amount of time it takes for each project.
Do I Need a Media Kit?
Assuming you know what a media kit is (and if you don’t, don’t panic… you will!) After speaking with various successful bloggers and brand influencers, there is a consensus among them that you must have a media kit if you plan on contacting companies directly. Not only is it going to provide companies with demographics, rates and stat info, but it makes you look so much more professional. Don’t you want to make the best first impression possible? You can check out our media kit for an idea. If you are just starting out, you can put together a one page informational sheet which is just as effective! Sign up for Fohr Card and connect all of your platforms and they will provide you with demographics and stats! It’s fabulous! PLUS, they can connect you with some pretty huge brands such as Clinique, Bare Minerals, Kate Spade and Henri Bendel (just to name a few). You can even create a press kit through their site if you don’t have the funds or resources to create a media kit!
What Should I Sign Up For?
Ok, so this is where the fun begins. The first thing I signed up for was Ebates. Why? Everyone shops online and everyone likes to save money. Right now they are offering $10 cash back with your first $25 purchase! Put their button on your new website and you are paid per referral, PLUS, you are helping them save money! Win, win! You earn $5 for each referral, plus additional bonuses. Bloggers and power referrers can earn $25,000+. Crazy, right?!
There are SO many platforms that you can sign up for and they will connect you with companies that are looking for brand influencers and bloggers but these are some of my favorites:
Heartbeat: Heartbeat is a great one to start off with! They pay you based on your following (some include free product as well) and I’ve gotten the most paid opportunities from them up until now. Most are super easy – they send you a video or image, you post for a certain amount of time (72 hours I believe) and they pay you once that period is up.
Linqia: I recently signed up for Linqia and was chosen for two opportunities almost immediately. In addition to offering some great opportunities, including the opportunity to raise money for charity, they also offer a referral program. You get $5 for each accepted referral, plus 15% matched commission on their first program earnings which is fabulous!
Social Fabric: I signed up for Social Fabric about a month ago and while I haven’t been chosen for any opportunities yet, I love the easy of their application process! There is a list of opportunities, which you can read through and decide which you’re best suited for and then apply.
Social Native: This was one of the first sites I signed up for and kinda forgot about it. I just logged in and found 2 opportunities and applied for both.
Of course, there’s always Google Adsense and Media.net who offer the ability to place display ads throughout your site and pay-per-click. This can be great if you have a lot of traffic. While you don’t want to overpower your site with ads, it’s good to have a few, relevant ads. If there are companies you love, check out whether or not they offer affiliate opportunities. Then you can place their banner on your site and get paid per lead.
Contacting Companies Directly
And finally, don’t be afraid to reach out directly to your favorite companies! Put together a little email explaining why you want to work with them and what you think you can provide them and attach your media kit/press kit! You may not hear back from them, but what if you do? Don’t be afraid to get turned down… because eventually, they will say yes and it will be the best feeling ever! I find that reaching out to companies through social media gets the best response. They will usually respond with an email address to send your info to. Some will want to chat on the phone, others will communicate solely through emails/social media.
I sincerely hope this has all given you a starting off point if you’ve been interested in making the leap. I didn’t want to overload you with info, so I will put together more of these as I learn. If you have any questions or need some direction, I’m always happy to answer questions! I can’t wait to see you become a successful blogger/brand influencer!
Thanks for reading! Don’t forget to comment, follow, and share!
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Heather is the Mom of three and a marketing professional. She enjoys graphic design, writing, photography and making new memories with her family.