This week’s topic is multi-layered in regards to making income on the blog…
Do you belong to any affiliate programs? If so, recommendations? Have you worked with brands (free products, sponsorship, paid posts)? What tips do you have? Have you personally reached out to any brands?
Firstly I want to preface this post by saying making a steady income through blogging is not an easy or simple task. Not that it can’t happen and I think most of us make some income, however, being able to turn your blog into a career is no small endeavour. I’m a believer in following your dreams and if your dream is making your blog into a full-time living know that you will need to invest significant time, effort, money and need to build a strong following to make that a reality. Make sure it is something you truly have a passion for because if you start a blog with the sole purpose of making money it will become apparent to readers resulting in alienating potential followers. You may be one of the people who can quit your job and make enough of an income off of your blog, in fact I know a few people doing just that and I have so much respect for them. Keep in mind that those bloggers more often than not have other products/services they are selling in addition to their blog.
Although I am not blogging to make a living I do make some income off of the blog and below are some ways how.
I am a part of affiliate programs which are rewardStyle, JORD Wood Watches and SheIn. When you join a program you will be given a referral tracking link to use when you create links to products on the company’s site. This is then used to track purchases and/or clicks that are coming directly from your site. You are then eligible to possibly make a small commission on purchases and/or clicks made, see more below on which companies offer what.
I have had a good experience with SheIn thus far and it’s a company my readers do shop from so it made sense to go with this particular affiliate program. You receive commission from them on purchases made from their site. I have also additionally received clothes from them for review on the blog.
JORD Wood Watches Preferred Partner Program pays a commission rate on sales of their watches. This is a company I have grown to respect and their watches are of impeccable quality so this is another individual retailer program I wanted to join. I have additionally received two watches from them to review on my blog.
“rewardStyle is an invitation-only monetization tool for premium style publishers” (taken from their site) and they have over 4000 potential retail advertisers to choose from. Having access to so many retailers in one convenient place simplifies the process of using affiliate links as you don’t have to sign-up for countless affiliate programs offered by single companies. The rates of commission vary for each retailer offered on rewardStyle and you can see a breakdown of this on their site once you are accepted into the program. My recommendation would definitely be to go with programs such as rewardStyle.
I just very recently joined Social Fabric (an agency that connects you to brand campaign opportunities but you have to apply for each campaign) and ShopStyle which is the same concept as rewardStyle, however, they pay a very tiny percentage for the amount of clicks you get on a link whereas rewardStyle only pays on actual purchases. I haven’t had any experience with either of these given I have not used them as of yet.
**Note for Canadian bloggers: You are paid in US currency when working with US and international brands.**
You will be sought out by individual retailers to sign up for their affiliate programs but in my opinion it’s not worth it to be a part of too many individual programs. The more you join means you have to now worry about using different affiliate links for many companies as opposed to using options like rewardStyle where it is all in one place.
WORKING WITH BRANDS (Free products, paid sponsorship & paid posts):
I have worked with brands and this is a definitely a fun aspect of being a fashion blogger. You get to work with some great companies and discover cool new brands to share with your readers.
Some of the amazing brands I have had the pleasure of working with are: eShakti, JORD Wood Watches, SheIn, UncommonGoods, Daniel Wellington, CaseAPP, and Shopbop.
For the most part I have received free products in exchange for a post review and some companies will continue to collaborate with you if they are impressed by your work. I have also done paid posts for companies, you will need a PayPal account as this is how they usually send you payment.
I participated in a paid sponsorship with the online retailer Shopbop. They search out fashion bloggers to enter into a contract for a specified period of time, you generally start with a 3 month trial. If you are doing well they will extend this and I had the opportunity of continuing with this partnership well beyond the trial period.
There are many more ways of trying to monetize your blog such as using GoogleAdSense, reaching out to brands, searching out sponsors to advertise on your blog and requesting only monetary compensation for post reviews or working with companies, this really is a matter of choice and what you feel comfortable with. At this point these are not avenues I have ventured into. I don’t want to become overwhelmed by too many options or be consumed with trying to make money off the blog.
THINGS TO BE MINDFUL OF:
You will regularly be approached by companies to do sponsored posts or receive free products. However, be careful with who you partner with and don’t accept anything just because it’s free. When I first started I did make the mistake of doing one paid post for a company I did not research and that was a lesson well learned. I now partner with maybe 20% of companies that approach me. I have to ensure they offer products/services that I value and would personally use myself. It’s also important to make sure what a company offers is aligned with your blog theme and are products your readers would appreciate. I have to feel confident in promoting products/services to my audience whom I really value.
Also, beware of companies who are soliciting your hard work for free. Yes unfortunately it happens All. The. Time. More often than not if a company approaches you with no mention of any type of compensation whether through a free product, paid post or some type of sponsorship chances are they are not willing to pay for your service. When you respond and try to negotiate a payment, they either will not respond (that speaks volumes) or will tell you they don’t have budget to cover paying bloggers. They have pitches as to why you should collaborate with them such as possibly being featured on their social media for more exposure, being entered into a contest or participating in a fun competition/challenge. As a new blogger this can be distracting and you may be naive especially if it is a well-known company reaching out. You may think that posting for them will give you a level of credibility or they will pay you “next time” but neither are true. Please don’t fall for these well-marketed pitches and sell yourself short. No one should be working for free unless it is charitable work for a great cause but that simply isn’t the case with these companies. Take it from me as I learned the hard way and fell for this twice in the first year of blogging…you live, you learn! I hope this helps other bloggers or bloggers-to-be not to fall into these same traps. If you want to work with a company who has approached you then negotiate a price, free product or service but if they are unwilling to do this I would recommend not to work with such companies. Life is short and all of our time is valuable so whether you have 50 page-views a month or 50,000 working without compensation when the sole intent is for you to advertise for a company for FREE is unreasonable and undermines your work.
This is a blog-hop so next visit Deena from Shoes To Shiraz for more helpful advice.
If you missed the first three posts in this series check them out here.
Thanks for stopping by and reading!
Linking up with these blogs here.