*Affiliate links are used in this post at no additional cost to you.
Before jumping into this post, I first want to say that it’s no secret that I make a bit of money off of HTC. It’s been an absolute joy and pleasure to see something that I love and am so passionate about actually put a little bit of fun money into my pocket and help me grow my space here. That being said, I hope you all know that ANY time I get paid, it’s for the right reasons (as in, it’s in collaboration with a company I love and trust and would recommend to you regardless.) Your trust and my relationships here are far more important to me than making money off of my blog. However, I want to thank you for supporting me and allowing me to monetize HTC and for supporting the brands that support me; it’s what helps keep the lights on my site and helps me get my eyelash extensions filled every few weeks. 🙂
I remember when I was accepted to my first shopportunity on Social Fabric like it was yesterday. (For those new to blogging, Social Fabric is a blogging network that connects bloggers and brands for sponsored posts.) I had been blogging seriously for about 6 months and had finally hit the minimum requirements to join the blogging network. I had told Dustin that my goal was to start making money to support my blog within 6-8 months of starting so that I could start paying for my hosting by myself and was anxious to show him that I was going to hit that goal.
That first sponsored post (which included a tutorial for making popsicles for dogs) was the first time I made real money off of my blog. I was so excited that my passion project was bringing in a small income and couldn’t wait to continue to grow my blog. However, after about 6 months later, I realized that I wasn’t a fan of how I was monetizing my blog. I was relying too much on Social Fabric to give me sponsored opportunities and on months when there weren’t many, I was trying to figure out how to make certain sponsored posts fit within my brand so I could pay my blog bills. Not ideal. But, I felt cornered and like I had no other options because I wasn’t a big blogger.
Now, SoFab is an awesome platform and I still love working with them. In fact, I have a whole eBook on how to get sponsored posts with them! I just didn’t want to rely on them solely for monetizing my blog.
This is one of the many reasons why I decided to go back to work part-time at the end of last year. I needed to take the pressure off of myself to monetize my blog and to go back to the drawing board and figure out what I was going to do to next. I sat down and came up with a plan to make sure that I would no longer have to rely on anyone else for monetization opportunities. I was going to monetize my blog on my own terms and have been using the following techniques to grow my income to higher than ever before.
Before I jump into this, let me just say: I am NOT a huge blogger. Compared to some, my pageviews are tiny and my follower count is minuscule. However, micro-influencers are becoming more relevant and important to the world today and it is possible to successfully monetize, no matter how established or small you are.
How to Monetize Your Blog on your Own Terms:
Diversify your Income
Like I mentioned above, the main way that bloggers monetize their blogs is through sponsored posts. This is still one of my favorite ways to monetize, but, this doesn’t mean it’s the only way, It also doesn’t mean that bloggers should just rely on sponsored posts to keep their blogs afloat. Sponsored content ebbs and flows – I have some months when I have five projects execute and I have other months where I have none. I currently have two collaborations in the works that won’t be paid out for a few months – most of these projects don’t just happen overnight and may not get paid out while you work out the kinks.
Diversifying your blogging income is one way to monetize your blog on your own terms. You can place ads on your blog (where you get paid per click) and/or you can use affiliate links (where you get paid when someone else clicks on it and buys something through that link.) You can also sell a product or service to your audience. I know a lot of bloggers think: “Only bloggers who create products about blogging are successful with that” because that’s what I used to think, too.
But then I bought a pack of beautiful Lightroom Presets from a photography blogger last week. I paid a monthly subscription fee for a workout program from a fitness blogger. And, I paid for some budget printables from a finance blogger to help me keep track of my blogging expenses. So, lesson learned – it is possible for any kind of blogger to create and sell a product or service!
How am I using this technique to monetize my blog on my own terms?
I just enrolled in the highly acclaimed affiliate marketing course called Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing. I’ve heard nothing but amazing things and am excited to learn how I can incorporate more affiliate links into my monetization scheme.
And, I’m in the process of getting ready to launch my own service/product at the end of the summer! I mean, hopefully, people will want to buy it, but it’s fun to feel like I’m in complete control of my next steps.
Know your Worth – Don’t feel Pressured to Say Yes
Once upon a time a REALLY expensive watch company (that shall rename nameless – but no, it wasn’t JORD) reached out to me and asked if I was interested in collaborating with them. They sent me a list of requirements that they expected from me in exchange for a free watch. Let me tell you, the amount of work that they were asking of me was about twice the amount that I normally put into a sponsored post (and I put a LOT of work into sponsored posts.) When I emailed them back and asked them about real compensation in the form of money, I got a response saying that they would love to pay me in the future, but wanted to start our relationship with this collaboration first.
At first, I felt like I was being ridiculous for even asking for them to pay me. But, the more I looked at the requirements they were expecting of me, the more infuriated I got. NO WAY WAS I GOING TO WORK THAT MUCH FOR A FREE WATCH. Free watches do not pay my hosting bills, free watches do not pay for my internet and free watches sure as heck do not pay my photographer. I decided that I was worth more than that and I wasn’t going to be bullied by this big brand to do their marketing for free.
It’s so important to know your worth as a blogger and an influencer – YOU are marketing their product for them. These companies and brands already pay other people to come up with marketing strategies, but the truth of the matter is that YOU as a real life person are far more influential than an ad on the sidebar of Facebook. So, know your worth and don’t let big brands bully you into doing free work.
***I do want to say that this isn’t the case with all brands. I have partnerships with several brands (some a bit smaller) who truly can only offer a free product. If I really love that product, I am more than happy to come to an agreement to make sure we can help each other out, even if that doesn’t involve actual payment. However, when a big box brand wants free marketing, don’t be afraid to put your foot down and say NO WAY, I AM WORTH MORE!
Pitch to Brands Yourself
I had always heard of bigger bloggers doing this, but I never thought I was a big enough blogger (as in getting enough pageviews or had enough followers) to this myself. I mean, who was I, to approach big companies that I already loved like itCosmetics and Nike and tell them that they should pay me for sponsored work? I had convinced myself that I wasn’t going to
And then, BossPitch entered into my life and everything changed. What is BossPitch? It’s an online eCourse designed by my good friend Erica of Coming Up Roses that teaches you the step by step process how to pitch yourself to brands and get paid your worth. When Erica first launched this course last year, I had never reached out to a brand before on my own, never mind ask them to pay me money when they approached me. This course is more than just pitching; Erica applies her knowledge of branding and marketing and teaches you why branding is important to pitching and how you can make sure you are branding correctly. AND! Not only does this course talk about WHO to pitch and HOW to find contact info so you can pitch; it also includes exact email templates so you can ACTUALLY pitch without feeling like a ninny. It’s basically the bee’s knees.
I have paid over 1,000 dollars in blogging courses and I can say hands down that BossPitch has been the best investment I’ve ever made into my blog. It has completely changed the way I approach sponsored content and has given me the confidence and power to monetize my blog on my own terms. Instead of relying on sponsored post opportunities to pop up in blogging networks, I reach out to my dream brands on my own. I cut out the middle man, convince the brand that I am worth what I charge, and have tripled my rates in the process. In fact, I made back the amount I spent on BossPitch within the second month of taking the course.
BossPitch just opened for enrollment again and will only be open for a short time! If you are serious about monetizing your blog on your own terms and learning how to pitch brands yourself, I would suggest that you jump on this course quickly (especially because it’s on Early Bird pricing right now until Wednesday.)
STOP LETTING OTHER PEOPLE DICTATE HOW YOU CAN MONETIZE YOUR BLOG AND TAKE IT INTO YOUR OWN HANDS.
This is your vibrant life, your blog, your biz – don’t let your fear turn into regret. Fear is temporary. Regret is forever. Go PITCH YO’SELF!
P.S. Because I believe in the value of this course so much, I’m going to add on my own little deal. Anyone who signs up for BossPitch will get free editing/proofing on your pitch emails and blog posts BY ME for a month after you complete your course. There is nothing worse than realizing minutes after you sent an email that you spelled a word wrong or wrote a run-on sentence. Actually, there is something worse. It’s writing a whole sponsored blog post and sending the link to the company and having them ask you to edit the post to spell the brand name correctly.
I have a bachelor’s degree in English education and used to teach high school English before transitioning into my role in HR. Editing and proofing are one of my favorite hobbies (gross, I know) but I guarantee that I will have your back and support you in your pitching efforts! It’s always good to have a pal in these kinds of things, ya know?