The number one question I get after how to go about starting a blog, is how do I make money from blogging. People are genuinely curious because this creative job is so new and still pretty much in it’s infancy when it comes to being taken seriously as a reputable career path. I get tons of DM’s from people who just started blogging or instagramming wanting to know how long before they can pitch to brands for collaborations and paid partnerships. I started my blog back in 2010 and I didn’t land a paid collaboration until 2012. I blogged for fun. I found my voice. I created a space where people came to 2-3 times weekly to read my musings, find out what I was wearing and trusted my opinions. To learn more about How to Start a Successful Blog check out my So You Wanna Be a Blogger? ebook. You cannot start pitching until you have an audience. It’s wonderful to have a blog and your own space on the web! It’s amazing actually but if no one is reading or tuning in to your blog, your instagram, your instastories or your youtube then sadly you have nothing to leverage.
YOU NEED LEVERAGE TO PITCH[one_half padding=”0 15px 0 0″]The bottom line is that you shouldn’t start pitching until you have a solid audience and followers who trust you. That takes an incredible amount of time and usually doesn’t happen overnight. You have to be consistently providing valuable informative and engaging content that people enjoy. You have to create good content that makes people visit your sites on a regular basis and give you page views, impressions on your social media or views on your videos. Your audience and their trust in you is what you leverage when pitching for campaigns. It has to be mutually beneficial for the brand as much as it is for you. That’s why it’s ok to accept product for payment in the beginning because it’s a great way to build your portfolio of work. I didn’t start pitching to brands until 1.5 years after I started blogging and consistently hit between 5- 10K page views monthly on my blog.[/one_half] [one_half_last padding=”0 0 0 15px”]Even then, I was more interested in fashion so all my pitching was geared towards covering Fashion Week. I’ve attended fashion week for over 10+ seasons including New York, Milan and Paris (several times). I even got most of my Paris accommodations compensated with only 8K followers on Instagram at the time using this pitch template. This is the template I use when pitching to cover fashion week. It takes a lot of leg work which includes looking up tons of Public Relations contacts of designers but it’s possible. It’s the work that people are too lazy to do to be honest. My first season I only had 2 show invitations but the more I pitched the more invites I got until I didn’t have to pitch anymore. The invites just roll in now and I can take my pick. It’s all about honing your pitch skills, doing the work and not taking no as a sign of defeat. Keep on pitching.[/one_half_last] [one_half padding=”0 15px 0 0″] [/one_half] [one_half_last padding=”0 0 0 15px”]
THERE’S NO ONE SOURCE OF INCOME
With Blogging (having an actual Blog), Youtubing and Influencing (making money solely from Instagram) there is no one source of income. Most of us (full time bloggers) make our money from a ton of different streams. I make money by using RewardStyle affiliate links on my website, in my youtube descriptions and for swipe up links on my Instagram Stories. When someone clicks that link and purchases something I get a commission just as if I were a sales associate in a store. Trust me that commission is usually pennies to a few dollars. On average it’s about $5 for me at the moment. RewardStyle pays out so slowly though (once a month and payments don’t hit until after 120-150 days!!!!), that I only get a few hundred dollars a month from those sales, about $400 average monthly. I also make money from Youtube, albeit a very small amount, by using Google Adsense on my videos. I take away a few hundred dollars a month but hopefully this will increase as I create more Youtube content. [/one_half_last][one_half padding=”0 15px 0 0″]
I also make money by creating my own products to sell on my Etsy Shop. Over the years, I’ve learned a lot about blogging and influencing and managed to monetize that knowledge by creating my own ebooks, pitch templates and teachable video modules. As a passion project, I also created and sold my own magazine, Steele Magazine a yearly digital and print magazine. My Perfect Pitch Template Packages (with template letters to pitch to Brands, Hotels and Fashion Week along with a Rates Sheet) has been my best selling product to date. My Instastories Pro Ebook (10 Apps to Take Your Instastories + Instagram to the Next Level) is my second best seller. Last year I made a little over $10,000 from template sales alone and had a full-time job as a Physical Therapist at the time. Some creatives sell their ideas, others sell their services, others sell things like pre-sets for photos or physical products such as clothing and jewelry. There is literally money to be made from any side hustle. It just takes a little thought and actually executing the idea.[/one_half] [one_half_last padding=”0 0 0 15px”][/one_half_last]
Brand Collaborations[one_half padding=”0 15px 0 0″]The majority of my income comes from brand collaborations. Brands pay me to write a blog post about their products, post a photo on my instagram/facebook/twitter about their products, do a set of instastories about their products, include them in a video and more. For more details on ways to collaborate with brands check out this Rate Sheet. A Rate Sheet is essentially what you send a brand when they ask for your rates. On my rates sheet, I list all the ways a brand and I can collaborate and my fees for each deliverable. The way you determine your rates is up to you really. There’s no right or wrong rate. Asks for what you want and what you know you can deliver in terms of driving sales and awareness for that brand. But don’t shortchange yourself, take into account the work. Because although it’s fun work, it’s still work.[/one_half] [one_half_last padding=”0 0 0 15px”]If you wanna know how I determine my rates for Instagram Specific partnerships check out my INSTA-GROW EBOOK + VIDEO MODULE: 33 Apps to Take Your Instagram + Instastories to the Next Level. In Video 4, I discuss this very topic. Most of my brand collaborations are Instagram specific. In this blog post I share how I made $3000 from instagram in 1 week. Brands want photos, videos, stories with swipe ups and profile links. I’ve seen influencers with as little as 1000 followers land paid brand campaigns usually for photos, links in their bios and instastories tagging the brand. Anyone with over 10K followers who has access to the swipe up link will definitely land more campaigns. Here’s how to increase your visibility on Instagram + Instastories so that you have something to leverage when brands come a knocking. [/one_half_last]
Influencer Apps and Websites
There are a ton and I do mean a ton of apps that I’ve downloaded who pair influencers (no matter the follower count) with brands for partnerships. There are also tons of Influencer Networks to join that pair brands with influencers for partnerships. I love my apps for making quick cash that pays out in less than a week and my Influencer Networks for bigger jobs that pay well (usually enough to pay my rent for a month). It’s important to be a part of as many of those Influencer Networks as possible especially if you’re looking to be a Full-Time Blogger/Influencer. These are my bread and butter when a pitch from a brand doesn’t just magically land in my inbox. Check out my So You Wanna Be a Blogger Ebook to learn about some of the Influencer Networks to join and free apps to download to make money blogging.
WHY I DON’T PITCH AS MUCH
I did a ton of pitching in 2016 and 2017 because companies were still on the fence about the power of the influencer during that time. Over the last few years though, brands have tripled their budgets for influencer marketing and I find that I don’t have to pitch as much. The brands just seem to find me. This because I am very consistent when it comes to updating my blog, instagram and youtube channel regularly with fresh content so that I stay on top in search engines. 85% of my brand collaborations are from brands who find me (from a google search, hashtags or videos). The point is if you have nothing out there to find don’t expect for brands to magically find you. Now that I consistently get between 5-10 brand collaborations a month, I can be more strategic about my partnerships. I’ve also shifted my pitch strategy to continued partnerships with 3-6 month durations. I’d like to work smarter, not harder.
Please do know that although it is possible to make money from blogging, a lot of that money has to go back into your business like any good business. Thus having multiple streams of income and the ability to make money passively is key.
Drop any questions you have about blogging below. I’ll be sure to answer each one!
Until then check out my Etsy Shop for all my ebooks and pitch templates to help bloggers and influencers navigate their passions.
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