This is a post I had been wanting to write for a little while, I told you how to set up a blog a couple of months ago. And now I thought I would share how I (and you) can make money from it, should you choose to. The images have nothing to do with the content.
I started blogging in 2009, blogging was still kind of in its infancy. Pinterest and instagram didn't even exist yet and I think I had about 20 twitter followers. I started So You're Getting Married when I first got engaged to share my wedding plans with my friends and family as I had moved up to Leeds and knew no one. After a while (years) someone sent me a link to an article that said you can make money from blogging. What witch craft is this? And how do I do it?!
Enough of all my OG hype. TIME TO MAKE SOME DOLLAR. Entry to making money is so much easier now and I would definitely take a slightly different route than I did with SYGM. You could interchange the words blogging with instagram and I will add a little segment about that at the end. When I first started it was all about ad placement in the side bar. I got rid of that in 2015 and moved to mainly sponsored posts with the occasional bit of freelance work but there are various other avenue you can take.
Affiliate links - This is your starting point. There are a variety of affiliate programmes (have a google but I like RewardStyle, Shopify, ShopSense, Affiliate Window and if you use it a lot then Amazon Affiliate), you simply sign up and they show you how to do everything. You get a certain % of a sale made through the blog. So if you bought a White Company winter candle, blogged about it and told everyone that it is the greatest god damn candle in the world (because it is) you get a small % of every candle sold. A lot of brands have their own networks so if you want to blog about something just have a search on google to see if they have an affiliate scheme.
I have always used SkimLinks on SYGM and now on here, purely because it generates the links automatically so you don't have to find specific brands to type in. The rates are lower than others though.
Here is what I have made so far on Simply Weekend since it started in May. As you can see there has been over £5k worth of sales, but I personally have taken home £214.07. However, I don't actively publish posts that are affiliate link heavy. I probably only link to one or 2 things a week. You could do a whole post on '50 best jumpers to buy this autumn" and could end up earning £214 just for that post. There are some brands within the networks that have excellent earnings per click, others don't.
With the 'swipe up' (or actually, just in your bio) feature being added to instagram you can now add your affiliate links in there too, if you see a cute dress out shopping, take a photo then find the affiliate link for it. Add. And you may earn a little bit for doing some basic window shopping!
Sponsored posts (or collaborations) - This is how I make most of my money. A brand contacts me, they have new products to show my readers. I send them my rates pack (would you like a blog post on creating one of these?). They choose their preferred package (1 post, 2 post, 6, etc you get it) and I invoice them. They usually don't pay me for a million days then I spend the next eon chasing money. With this option, they always want stats first to justify how much you charge. So you may start off charging £50 a post because you have 1000 hits a month BUT you have 10k instagram followers. Social media and blog posts hits are usually combined to give an overall idea of your reach.
Directories - This option is quite common in the wedding industry but it can be used in others. For example, if your blog is about vegan food. You can have a directory of all your favourite brands and charge for them to feature. This option is quite a lot of hassle to organise and keep on top of as a lot of brands will want to pay monthly, you end up chasing £30 here and there which in the long term may not be worth it but a good starting point. If you can get them on board yearly (usually charge 5-10% of monthly views) then it is SO much easier.
Social Media Ads - I have been contacted on the Simply Weekend insta by the usual watch/flowers/food brands that often circulate and I turned them all down. Not because I am turning my nose up at the money or brands, just that it doesn't currently fit with where and what I see Simply Weekend doing. If you have a clearer, more strategic goal then definitely utilise your social media following. They say as a rule you can charge 5% of your following. So if you have 1000 followers you can charge £50 per post. If you have switched you instagram to a business profile you can see your engagement/reach etc which will help when pitching brands (more on that in a bit) because even if you have 100 followers, if all of them engage with what you are talking about then you can charge good money!
Sell something - finally, you can use your blog to sell. Seems like an obvious one really, but if you have a product you can easily set an e-commerce site. In saying that, it doesn't need to be anything tangible, it can be workshops, knitting templates or digital goods such as music, software or photography. You can also sell other peoples stuff, and this is where affiliate links can fall back in to it. You can set up a "shop" on your blog but its just a load of links you love, with affiliate links behind it. You can see a good example of it in use here. Which means you can simply link to your shop on social media.
I know talking about money is crass but I feel it is necessary for the post, and I don't mind being transparent with you at all. I tell you about all the other aspects of my life and because you interact with me/SYGM you technically help my stats which I put forward to brands so I kinda owe you!
How much I earn from blogging - I didn't start to earn money from blogging until 2013. Like I said, it was a lot harder then. I also didn't start a blog to earn money, it has been something that has happened organically (hate myself for using that phrase) over the years. In 2013 I earned a grand total of £650. August of 2017 I brought home just over £5k. In saying that, in September it slumped down to £750 and so far in Oct is has been £0 due to unpaid invoices. The perils of self employment. I have overheads of Emily, Rebecca and Laura but that is about it. I would say on average I earn about £3k a month. I could push for more but I am quite content with that as I don't feel the blog is spammed with sponsored posts and I don't usually advertise on my social media so can keep that free of adverts.
If I were to monetise this blog - I am going to lay out for you exactly how I would get the ball rolling to make money from Simply Weekend:
- Put together my media pack - this contains all the stats you could shake a stick at, what makes Simply Weekend wonderful and the overall vibe I am going for and how their brand would fit. How much it would cost and what they would receive. Plus some nice images.
- Contact Brands - this is what I did when I decided I wanted to advertise on SYGM. I emailed all the brands I loved and told them I was now accepting advertisement. It would cost £25 to place an advert for 3 months. I would contact the brands I love with content ideas for collaborative blog posts or instagram campaigns.
- Watch the money roll in. So joking. Graft my arse off to produce excellent branded content to add to my portfolio. Which I then add to my media pack, making my brand more coveted and can attract larger brands and charge higher prices.
- I would use my social media (got a blue tick on twitter and everything) and the blog as my main platforms but would be willing to open up the vlogs to sponsored content if it fit.
- I'd publish blog posts which could include more affiliate links. I do a lot of online shopping so to keep it authentic it would probably be round up posts such as 'monthly favourites' ' favourite winter dresses' of things I have actually bought so I could give genuine reviews.
- Post 4-5 times a week. Content is king. Consistent regular content is even better.
Blogging has been something thats given me many many highs (my first award win in 2014), and lots of lows. It's hard work which sometimes requires 12-14 hour days and people still think you sit at home in your pjs tapping away SJP style. It has changed so much in just 5 years and you can genuinely carve a good career out of it now, or even just out of social media. It is something that can be done on top of a 'normal' job you just have to manage your time wisely. I was exceptionally lucky that I was quite young, had moved up to Leeds and wasn't required to get a proper job just yet and Michael was earning enough to keep us good whilst we lived with his mum! Ah pre marital bliss.
There will of course perhaps be bloggers reading this who earn plenty more than I do. In which case please feel free to add in any advice I may have missed. If you have any questions please message me on here or instagram. If it's do with how to price yourself or how to put a media pack together, my knowledge is yours!