Update: 10/20/16 Since writing this post I have launched an Ecourse for Bloggers – Mastering The Art of Working with Brands where I teach the strategies that have helped me make thousands of dollars every month from sponsored posts. Check out the course here.
I mingle and meet a lot of new moms all the time. Whether it’s at my daughter’s dance classes or swim lessons or randomly chatting with a mom at the grocery store and whenever the question comes up “So what do you do?” and after my response of “I’m a blogger”, I typically get one of two things. Either I get a strange look then a quick change of subject or a follow up question like “What is that?” Most people I come across these days don’t actually know what a blogger does, let alone the fact that you can actually make an income from it. Up until just recently even some of my closest friends didn’t realize I was making income from my blog, but I do. Blogging is my job.
Blogging is the reason I was able to leave my full-time job and not return to a corporate job after my second daughter was born. I work everyday and even on weekends. I work around the clock, sometimes early mornings or late into the evenings, sometimes both. Blogging has become my main source of income and has surpassed what I was making from my photography gig.
So what is a blogger and a professional blogger? A blogger is someone who has a website (blog) and publishes posts. This can be about anything! Advice, tutorials, recipes, lectures and is usually done just as a hobby. A professional blogger is a blogger who is earning a living as a blogger, either through advertising revenue on their sites or getting paid to write posts about products or services for brands. What this means is that the blogger is not only getting a product to review or feature, but they are also getting paid for their time to write and review the product. I rarely trade products in exchange for posts because to put it simply – products do not pay the bills. However, I won’t say that I will never accept a product in exchange for a post. It all really depends on the product and company and my workload at the time. The great thing about being a professional blogger is that you are your own boss and you can decide each and every time what is going to be right for you and your current situation.
Most bloggers will do a little of both. Although I get paid to write posts and product reviews, I also have just as many personal posts with recipes I love, DIY projects or crafts or activities I’ve done with my little ones.
How To Find Blogging Jobs
A professional blogger’s income can vary greatly depending on what they are writing about and the companies they are collaborating with. It also depends on just how many jobs they are getting in. Jobs can come in a number of ways. Here are some ways to get blogging jobs.
1. Sign up with media companies
There are many media companies that are hired by brands to find bloggers to work with. Some are small brands, while others are big national brands. Media companies are the way I get about 50% of my jobs.
Example: We recently worked with Disney to promote the new and first Mexican Disney Princess. 🙂
2. Dealing with brands directly
I would say this is where a good 30% of my jobs come from. This means that either I am finding brands to work with and pitching to them or brands are finding me online through my social media accounts or by coming across my blog and are reaching out to negotiate terms with me directly. Most of them are from the latter. In this case there is no middle man like there is when you use media companies. You can probably guess what that means – no middle man = bigger paychecks.
Example: Here I worked with Owlet to help them promote their baby vitals monitor.
3. Affiliate Marketing
Affiliate Marketing can be HUGE. When I first started blogging I had no idea what the term ‘affiliate’ even meant. I wish I had gotten into affiliate marketing sooner than I did. Basically affiliate marketing is when a company shares a commission with you from sales made from unique links you have posted in your blog posts.
If you’re not earning money through affiliate marketing, then you are leaving money on the table. I recently took THIS affiliate marketing strategy course that shows you step-by-step how to increase your affiliate income and within just a few days of implementing some of the strategies I started seeing results! You can read my post about that here: Can You Really Make $50K Per Month Blogging?
4. Ad Networks
There are ad networks that companies use to keep ads on your site. You basically don’t do anything here except to keep a section for the ads and get paid!
5. Social Media Posts
Recently I’ve had a large number of companies contacting me about sponsored Instagram posts. I didn’t always offer sponsored social media posts as an option but when you’re a blogger you have to be flexible to the changing times and demands of companies. Although I typically like to keep my Instagram feed personal I will say that 20% of my sponsored posts are Instagram only promotions.
Example: Here is an example of an Instagram only post that I worked with Nestle Toll House on.
I have my first heading to her first Kids Day Out this year. We did the whole back to school shopping and it was fun! It’s going to be such a change when she starts but I know she’s going to love it. Back to school season means a change to our current schedule, it means early mornings and early bedtimes. @Nestletollhouse has a variety of amazing products that are the perfect solution for the busy Back to School season. I rely on my coffee to get me through the days with the littles. My favorite iced coffee recipe is a Latin-blend coffee with Nestle @Coffee_Mate creamer. Mix in some cinnamon and piloncillo or brown sugar, add some ice and you’re ready for the day. Here’s a tip: If you don’t like your iced coffee to get watered down, make some coffee cubes and use those instead of regular iced cubes. YUM. From July 25 to September 15, when you purchase any two (2) 30 oz. or larger Stouffer’s products and at least one (1) refrigerated Tollhouse cookie dough product at a participating Walmart store you can get a $5 Walmart egift card! #BackToSchoolReady #ad
How Much Money Can One Make Blogging
The money a professional blogger can make can vary greatly. Personally I have a rate for each type of post that I write, whether it’s a product review, a feature and a giveaway or just a social media post. I typically write multiple sponsored posts each month that pay anywhere between $150 – $600 per post. The range is big because it varies by company, the requirements, if there is a product or service included and whether or not there is a middle man.
As far as the pay schedule is concerned…this varies greatly too. When dealing with brands directly on sponsored posts or social media posts, you typically get paid either – upfront or as soon as your post is published. When it comes to large media companies, those payments can take anywhere from 30-60 days. So if you are relying on the majority of your income to come from large media companies, it’s best to continue to work and apply for jobs regularly to keep a steady flow of income coming in.
How To Become a Professional Blogger
When it comes to being a professional blogger there are a few KEY things to remember.
Treat This Like a Job
First, you need to treat this like a job and NOT a hobby. How do you do that? Ask yourself, would you work at a corporate level job for free? Of course not. You’re time is valuable, especially if you have a family and kids. When you’re a blogger it’s easy to mix your home life with work life. Your home is your office, so it’s easy to say yes to everything that comes your way because at first it may not feel as if you’re actually working. But trust me. YOU ARE. You will soon realize that you’re spending hours of your day photographing products, making recipes, grocery shopping for what you need for those recipes, editing those photos and finally writing the post. It doesn’t stop there though. Then you need to be sure you’re promoting your posts on social media. I work even when I’m not writing an actual post, whether it’s keeping up with my social media posts, returning emails, negotiating future posts and keeping up with invoices and payments – I’m still working. I was working from my hospital bed while I was getting ready to have a baby. I had a last minute social media post that needed to posted by a specific date and time while I was in the hospital getting ready to have Lennon. So there I was in my bed, hooked up to monitors about to have my baby and on my phone posting to Facebook and then submitting my link to the company. I met the deadline.
The best advice I can give a new blogger is – Know what your time is worth. Don’t work for free. If you start treating this like a job and can quote a rate that is appropriate for the amount of work required then you will soon start having a consistent stream of income coming in.
Get a Media Kit
Have a resume to send companies when they contact you and when you pitch companies. Your media kit is your blogger’s resume. If you don’t have one, get one, you NEED one. I made mine myself and I actually give my template away for free in my eCourse Mastering The Art of Working with Brands. Your media kit is a way for companies to get to know you and see why you are the right person to represent their brand or product. Don’t post your rates on your media kit though. Tailor your rates to the job, just as if you were negotiating for a corporate salaried job. Take into account the work required, the benefits and the perks when throwing out a number.
A Few Final Tips
1. Make it easy for brands to contact you – Be sure you are including every which way a brand can contact you on every single social media account you have and on every single email you send out.
2. Take good photos – I’m a professional photographer but you don’t need a DSLR to get blogging jobs. However, brands do want to see nice, clear photos of their products. You don’t need an expensive camera to get jobs but you will need to learn to use your cell phone to take good photos. I recently wrote a post here – My Photo Editing Secrets || Tips From A Professional Photographer on how to get the most of your phone camera.
3. Don’t be afraid to throw out a rate – I was guilty of this for the LONGEST time. Too Long. You don’t need to wait until you hit a specific number or follower count to start making money. I was scared to start asking for compensation for a really long time and guess what? I made no money. Throw out a number, even if you aren’t sure of where to start. Everything is negotiable and you can always talk details later, but at least it gives you a starting point.
4. Join blogging support groups – There are so many blogging support groups on Facebook that have been so helpful for me when I was first starting out. I have my own blogging group that you can join HERE. It hasn’t been as active lately but I have a couple of things in the works that I plan on announcing in this group soon so feel free to join us!
I hope this has been helpful, it’s what has been working for me the past few years. I hope you take something away from it and it can help you in some way reach your family’s financial goals!
Don’t have a blog yet?
Blogging has such a low start-up investment at just $3.95 a month. Start a blog with Bluehost here and get a free domain too! Check out THIS post to see a tutorial once you have your domain. You will see just how easy it is to start a blog!