It's cool. I do, too. And you know what? You CAN.
While I would love to sit here and tell you that it's super easy, it's not. I've been blogging for the last 5 years and realistically I didn't start making money - like REAL money (you know the kind that you can actually pay multiple bills with?) - until about 18 months ago. Some of it was realizing that my blog was my resume and even working with my husband so that all the grunt work wasn't on me. It's a lot of hard work, but it's POSSIBLE.
So what's the secret? There is none. #sorrynotsorry. There's no magical wand you wave. There's no super secret make-me-money genie waiting for you in a dark alley waiting to grant you three wishes. It's all about having a plan. And being specific. You know a lot of us are all like, "I wanna make money from my blog, girl. I see [insert famous blogger name here] doing it, so I can, too." And you're so right. You can. But everyone's journey is different.
With that being said, let's be realistic. What kind of income do you want to make? I have a lot of new bloggers who ask me "how do you make money with your blog?" or "how can I work with brands like you do?" It's always hard for me to answer those kinds of questions because there is no one way to doing this. There are TONS of ways to monetize your blog. You've just got to create a plan with SPACE. Yes, SPACE. Get out your notebook, because I've got some notes for you on how SPACE can increase your blog income.
What is SPACE? And how can it increase your blog's income? Well it's five ways - categories - that your blog can be monetized and bring in substantial income with a fantastic plan. Those five are:
What do you do well? What are you an expert on that people value? And can you offer that to others in an organized fashion for a set price?
Most of us are blogging about something specific (style, beauty, food, entertainment, entrepreneurship, etc.) and if your blog doesn't have a niche, it SHOULD. You can't be everything to everybody and you shouldn't waste your time trying to. Trying to write about everything tends to make content generic and mediocre while a niche zeros in on specifics + answers readers' questions. When you answer your reader's questions, THEY WILL COME BACK FOR MORE.
So, if you're writing about food and you're a great cook, you could offer cooking classes. If you're an AMAZING outfit post blogger and have great relationships with boutiques and/or designers, you could be a stylist. Or even a personal shopper.
Open the 'Notes' app in your phone. Real quick. Not later, now. It'll take like 30 seconds.
Now, off the top of your head, list out the things you are good at doing and that you actively mention on your blog. Now, out of that list eliminate the things people would NOT pay you to do. Realistically. And now, out of that list, put a star by the thing(s) you actually like doing. And boom, you've just created a list of potential services to offer from your blog.
This one is pretty simple yet still a lot of work. Sell stuff to your readers from your blog. T-shirts. (You guys seem to really dig my "Queen." tees.) Cosmetics. Stationery. Art. Jewelry. (I'm such a sucker for the cute accessories Ambrosia sells.)
Make it make sense for your blog and your readers. If you're a beauty blog, you probably shouldn't sell kitchen accessories from your blog shop. But even a t-shirt with a saying you frequent that you know your audience lives for is a good start. (Hey, if the Real Housewives can do it, ANYONE can.)
But be smart. Find - or even make - quality products that people would be honored to buy. Do extensive research on everything from sales, running an online store, shipping, packaging and even how to maintain inventory + photograph product. How will you unveil new product to readers? Via newsletter? Instagram? Video? Also, keep in mind that you will have to invest extra time AND money to gain the proper resources to execute this properly and effectively. But don't let that deter you. Develop a blog shop business plan and research how other bloggers do it. When you break down the process, it allows you to see the big picture detail by detail creating a larger opportunity for you to do things better.
Start small and get better as you go along. Set specific (and realistic!) goals and stretch yourself to meet them. But keep in mind, you probably won't become a millionaire from selling jewelry on your blog within the first month. Just sayin'.
ADVERTISING + AFFILIATE LINKS
Ads are how bloggers originally made money when blogs were brand spanking new. And many blogs still make a great income via this route.
I'm not one of them.
For Mattieologie, I thought ads got in the way of my content, even if they were only in the sidebar. Now, I do offer ad space on my blog but for a reasonably steep price just to ensure that if I have to deal with ads, it's worth it.
But you can make a good amount of money from ads from programs like Google AdSense (especially if you have hundreds of thousands impressions on a monthly basis) or you can get your sales game up and sell independent ad space. I prefer the latter route because while I don't get millions of views each month, I have a solid influence on my audience and refuse to just share anything with them. Selling ads independently helps you control what brands you work with, pricing and build relationships with brands - big and small. Reach out to small independent businesses in the digital space or even locally.
Affiliate links can be successful too. You'll notice on my style posts that I use rewardStyle to link the pieces I'm wearing and I also use Amazon's affiliate program from time to time. It's great because I get to share with you guys where I purchase things and then get a small commission if you decide to click on the link and shop. To me, that's less invasive and more effective than ad space. But again, that's how I feel about advertising and affiliate links on MY blog.
I also think that French fries are healthy, so...
I honestly believe that this is where we fall short as bloggers on how we can make money: content. We create these awesome posts that inform and entertain our readers and yet we seldom present it on a silver platter to brands to do business with us.
If you're out here producing great photos and video, you should be finding a way to partner with someone to pay you for doing so. A sponsored post is the first way I made money on Mattieologie. A brand reached out to me to mention their product during a shopping post and they paid me a flat rate to do that.
That rate? $250.
Ah. Modest beginnings. But don't get me wrong. I was beyond stoked that someone would give me money to mention their product on my little ole blog. Five years later, I still have sponsored posts (and I always disclose to you guys when I do) but I just charge more. My audience is greater and my content is a lot more focused. Whatever you charge for sponsored posts, is fine, just have an explanation why. Why is your content worth the dollar amount you're asking? Do you have a large social following? How about the influence over your readers? Do your outfit/lifestyle/video posts trigger an average of [insert magic number here] comments? [bctt tweet="Your content must validate the price of your sponsored post."]
But let me let you in on another secret? BRANDS ARE CUTTING CHECKS FOR VIDEO CONTENT. I repeat, BRANDS LOVE VIDEO AND WILL PAY. Handsomely might I add. It's just because video content tends to be viral and takes more work than the average photo post.
Don't be afraid to build relationships with brands and pitch them your content ideas. If you were planning on doing a cool shoe post, why not pitch an online shoe brand who would have access to your audience and possibly sponsor product for it and pay you for featuring it on your blog + social media accounts?
But keep in mind, it not only has to benefit you, but also the brand. What does your content offer that would benefit them? Your audience of course. Think of your geographical location and even the demographic of your audience. Does said brand want or need your audience to increase sales and/or exposure? Mention your audience's social tendencies and buying power. But, I'll break down pitching brands in another post in the very near future.
Last but not least is events. Blogging has created some really cool opportunities for folks to host in person events so they can meet their readers and join forces with other bloggers. Whether it's hosting a store opening or hosting the release of a new collection in store, retailers can be a great option for hosting events.
You can even get into hosting something modest yet beneficial like a monthly happy hour with like minded individuals. Whatever the event is, figure out what kind of void you can fill and create an event to fill it. I have to say, some of my favorite blogger events that I've attended have been the more intimate brunches or dinners that I've been invited to with only 20 people or so.
But you monetize this option by charging a hosting fee or selling tickets to the event. Now, LOTS of details go into making an event memorable and worthwhile. However, if you're detail oriented, love bringing people together or love the brand/retailer you're working with, this can be an amazing opportunity.
Usually, working with a brand is easier because they care of all the details and have a budget to make the event buzzworthy. And the cool part about hosting your OWN event is reaching out to various brands you have relationships with and having them sponsor product, payment, a certain part of your event or whatever you can think of. Because it's your event, you can do whatever you're able to. Again, the event has to make sense for you, the brand and the people attending. Many times, those details are overlooked.
So there you have it. SPACE. It is going to be the thing that helps you make money with your blog. But keep in mind that if you're blogging or doing any part of SPACE solely for money, you will probably come up short. You have to be passionate about what you're doing because to make money via blogging is A LOT of work and you have to be in love with it. It is possible and I hope this has helped you see the SPACE in your blog.