I talk about blogging often here on this personal finance blog of mine, and that’s because blogging has completely changed my life for the better—mostly financially speaking. Lately, I’ve been consistently bringing in an income from my blog. Not only that, but when I first started my blog, I landed a ton of freelance writing gigs and even got my full-time job because of my blog. Since then, though, the blog itself has been making money, which makes me incredibly happy and thankful that I started this blog just 1 ½ years ago.
Today, I want to talk more about how you can increase your income as a blogger. For the first year, I relied solely on ads (Google Adsense and Media.net, specifically) and an occasional link here and there. A “link” is where a company would email me and ask me to insert a link on one of my posts to their site. It’s sort of like a sponsored post, except there are no requirements other than to insert the link. I’ve done this roughly three times and for about $75 per link. While the links did fit within my post, this is something that I no longer do as I’ve learned there are much better and more honest ways of making money.
Enter influencer marketing.
Influencer marketing is where brands and companies will hire bloggers and other large influencers to get the word out on their brand. According to Forbes, influencer marketing is getting hotter by the minute, which is a great sign for bloggers. Another word for influencer marketing is sponsorships. Writing sponsored posts on brands that you truly believe in, use, and love can be a fantastic way to make a full-time income. Yes, that’s right. You can make a full-time income from your blog strictly off of sponsored posts.
How to Get Sponsored Posts
There are three ways you can get sponsorship opportunities for your blog: Brands find you, you find brands, or you use a media company that will connect brands to you (this is personally my favorite way).
Brands find you. Once your blog starts to gain traction, brands are going to find you and reach out to you directly. If a brand reaches out to you, first ask yourself if you a) like the product/company and b) if it fits within your blogging niche and would resonate with your readers. If you answer yes to both, start negotiating on a price. Smaller bloggers might start out making $50 per post; large, extremely influential bloggers can easily make thousands off of one sponsored post. Look at your traffic and don’t undermine yourself!
You find brands. This is currently something on my to-do list. I’ve made a list of several companies that I love and think my readers would love, and over the next few weeks I plan on reaching out to them. Most companies have a media page where you can find the person you need to get in contact with. Don’t be afraid to reach out via Twitter or social media, either. Keep your first email short. Simply introduce yourself, your blog and that you’re interested in working together. Share your blogging stats and wait for a response. If the company responds, you can share more details on what type of post you want to write and negotiate a rate.
Sign up with a company that connects you to brands. Like I said above, this is actually my favorite way to get sponsored posts because all you have to do is sign up and wait for offers to come your way. You can pick and choose which sponsorships and brands you want to work with. My absolute favorite media company is Socialix, formerly Moms Affiliate. I signed up with them when my blog was small and was accepted right away. While there are dozens of media companies out there, a good amount requires hundreds of thousands of readers per month. Socialix is good for blogs of all sizes! It’s super easy to use, and your offers will come directly to your inbox. I currently receive a few offers per month, but again, you’re not required to accept any. And – you can always negotiate your price. If your blog has been seeing growth, counteroffer a higher rate! Socialix has connected me to wonderful brands that I am more than happy to share with my readers, and make some money while doing so!
Tips on Influencer Marketing
While sponsored posts are a fantastic way for bloggers to make money, you don’t want to become strictly a blog that reviews brands. One way to avoid this is to seamlessly weave your sponsored content into your post. Offer your readers a valuable, well-thought out post while mentioning a brand that you love.
Let’s look at an example. Say Kleenex reaches out to you via Socialix and wants you to write a post mentioning the product. Instead of writing a review on tissues, think of how you can weave Kleenex into a post that your readers will enjoy (because, really, no one wants to read a review on tissues!). You might do a post on keeping your kids healthy in the winter or a post on creative crafts you can do with kids with items you find around the house. If your post is interesting and valuable, your readers most likely won’t even know it was sponsored!
Another tip on influencer marketing is to provide a good mix of sponsored posts and regular posts. There are a few blogs I can think of off the top of my head that I used to love to read, but as of lately they pretty much consist of only sponsored content. Well, guess what? I stopped visiting those blogs on a daily basis and now check in maybe once a month. People come to your blog for you; don’t lose sight of that just to make a few bucks.
Have you ever written a sponsored post or worked with any brands? What has been your experience?
Harmony @ creatingmykaleidoscope saysat
Thanks for the tips and useful information. I just received my first inquiry about including a link in a post. I had no idea how much to charge. After reading this post, I’m wondering whether or not to accept the opportunity. We are trying to get out of debt, so making money from including a link seems like a no-brainer. Is it really dishonest? Do you think it would upset my readers?
Also, I will defnitely be checking out Socialix.
Sarah Brooks saysat
Hi Harmony! I would counteroffer with double the amount they offered you. If they agree, I personally would probably do it. I’m guessing they want it in an older post, anyways? So most likely your regular readers will never even see it! If you can weave it in, go for it!! (Just try not to make this a regular thing – I think I’ve added in about three links throughout my site for money!) Good luck!!!
Kalie @ Pretend to Be Poor saysat
This is very helpful information, Sarah. There are so many vague posts out there about how to make money from blogging, and then detail how to sign up for a domain name or a WordPress site. That is not what people really need to know! I agree that sponsored posts that don’t fit with the overall purpose of a blog will lose readership, but if it’s something that fits and make sense or coupled with really useful tips, it can work well.
Sarah Brooks saysat
Yup, sponsored posts can be a great way to make money if done correctly. To me it’s similar to freelancing, in that you get paid once and are done, so I try to do it sparingly. Plus, I don’t want my blog to just become sponsored posts!! Thanks for the comment!
Abigail @ipickuppennies saysat
I’ve started accepting sponsored posts on a very limited basis. Out of the 15 times I’ve been emailed in the past few months I’ve worked with exactly one. Usually, most would-be sponsors have nothing my readers will want and/or want to write the content themselves (a no-go for me) and/or want do-follow links. Some demand that you not disclose that it’s sponsored. Eesh.
I’m definitely going to check out Socialix!
this is a really great post! i started my blog about a month ago, and have just started the search for freelance work as well. I’m a mom of 1 with a 2nd on the way and I’m using this downtime to initiate my career in writing. thankyou for this post 🙂
Jessica @ Citrus Blossom Bliss saysat
These are awesome tips on how to start making money with your blog. I have also been blogging for a year and half but put it on the back burner for awhile so I haven’t seen a lot of growth. Getting a sponsored post is on my to-do list for sure!