How do you earn an income as a blogger?
“How do you earn an income as a blogger?” has got to be the most popular question I get asked. Oh wait, “How do you get free stuff?” may be stiff competition for the top spot lol. But on a serious note, this is something that I feel many seemingly ‘established’ bloggers are not really that educated on. I have made it no secret that my blog earns a good income; and that as bloggers we should be paid for the work we do for brands. There are tons of ways you can earn an income as a blogger, but I like to speak from experience, so I will be sharing with you some of the ways I earn money through my blog.
Even though I started blogging in 2010, it in 2014 that I saw my blog ‘status’ increase, & with that I started to get more work from brands. I worked with some of my favourite brands including:
- Moscon Optics
- Blackcherry Bags
- Lucky Brand
- GAP Denim
- Catrice Cosmetics
- Steve Madden
- Call It Spring
- Daniel Wellington
- Cotton On
2015 saw me working with even more brands locally, & even some international like Necessary Clothing. The point I am trying to make here is that you can absolutely go from earning R0.00 to earning thousands of Rands (and some Dollars on the international work). I could name more people I’ve worked with, but this list is already a little too long for a blog post anyway! So, how did I work with these brands? And how did I earn an income from it?
Sponsored Blog Posts
This is probably the most common way I earn an income. Brands will come up with an idea around a certain product or campaign launch, & they will utilise the people who can get it out to the public (their target market). And if your readership happens to be the people the brand is targeting, then you may find yourself being approached by a brand to work on the project. A sponsored blog post could be a tiny mention or it could be a full write-up on the product/campaign; it really just depends on what the client is looking for.
Sponsored Social Posts
Social Media is another great way to earn an income. You’d be very surprised how many posts you see your favourite bloggers posting are actual being paid for by a client. It could be anything from a tweet, Instagram picture or Facebook post; & I’m sure there are many people working on Snapchat now too, although I have not ventured into that as yet.
I love running a giveaway, but it takes time & you guys have no idea the BTS management it requires. There are tons of emails, messages & comments you have to manage & answer questions people may have etc. I am always glad to share giveaways with you guys, but I feel like when it requires work from me (as in management of the competition & entries) – then it should be paid for. I might add that many brands are very happy to do so, but not all. In my experience 1 in 3 brands will pay you to host a giveaway. The others will either flat out say no budget; or they will try to negotiate with you. I was recently asked to host a giveaway which included obviously posting on my blog, social media etc (to promote it), & the payment offered was chocolate. I literally kid you not. Worst part was seeing 2 blogger friends of mine actually do it for the chocolate hamper. Scary stuff.
This can be very fun. In 2014, I hosted a trend talk with MANGO which was so awesome. I love talking fashion, style & trends so it was just up my alley.
One of my biggest projects for 2015 was working with SKIP on the My Fabulous campaign. It really was such a great campaign which allowed me to represent Durban in a fun, creative way. While the campaign had many aspects which included social & blog posts; part of the campaign did include me hosting an instawalk in Durban, & also attending the SKIP My Fabulous fashion show in Johannesburg.
Banner Ads on your blog
Banner ads are not something I do right now, as I do not feel it fits in with the current look of my blog. However, in the past I have had several paid banners on my blog. You can feature these anywhere you want on your blog, that’s the nice thing about having a space that’s your own.
In Summer 2016 I worked as a brand ambassador of sorts for JET, another big project I have worked on. The exercise included monthly blog posts, social media, brand exclusivity (I couldn’t work with their competitors during the period), writing content for JET digital & print media etc. It really was awesome, & I had lots of fun working with the team at JET.
Example: Below are some examples of the work I did for JET. You can view more here.
‘Model’ in Ad Campaigns
I will always state that I am no model. I love to take pictures & share my style on my blog. But even saying that, as a blogger you can be featured in ad campaigns even if you’re not a model. I featured in the LEGIT AW14 campaign which included fellow blogging babes Baked The Blog, Fashion Breed, Talya Goldberg & Raya Rossi to name a few. I also featured in the Sassychic summer campaign in 2014. It’s quite fun playing model for a day, but it’s very tiring. I remember the LEGIT shoot call time was 4 or 5 am. I almost died!
Now that I have given you an idea of how I earn money from my blog, I will be very frank with you. In my experience, there are brands who understand that we need to be paid in the form of money. However, there are also people who will either try to get you to do something for free or in exchange for product/gift cards. It’s really up to you what you are willing to do work for. I have worked for free. I have worked in exchange for a pair of jeans. I have worked in exchange for a gift card too. But, as I have grown my readership & seen the value in it, I have started to look at this as a business. However, I do like to look at each situation individually. If you feel you can gain something in the long run by working with a brand for free, then I say go for it. But don’t make it a standard that you work for free. When you’re starting a blog, it’s easy to just be excited that brands want to work with you. But, don’t forget that if you want to make this a career & earn an income – you’re not going to do it by working for free.