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5 Ways Bloggers Make Money

When I started blogging making money was not even an after thought. Today I hear high school students say they don't want to go to college, but instead become an influencer....insert eye roll. However you look at it, blogging and specifically how bloggers make money is fascinating to me. There is no guidebook and no rules on what you can or should make. For those who might be interested in blogging or simply want an inside look in to how we make money, today I'm sharing all the details!

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First let me say if you are starting a blog and you think you're going to make money quickly, think again. There are some bloggers who go viral or gain a huge following quickly but it is VERY rare. It's a slow and steady race for most. I started blogging in 2011 and didn't start making money till 2015. I started with product trade and then over time began to get payed for collaborations.

1. Third Party Agencies / PR Agencies
Most of my highest paying collaborations are through third party agencies. They are the middle man between the brand and the influencer. Most brands that higher agencies have budgets to run large scale influencer campaigns. For many of the agencies you sign up to be a part of their website portal, and when a brand has an open campaign you can apply to be a part of it. You enter your stats, your pitch, past work that is similar, and why you think you would be a good fit. The agency will review, sometimes take back to the brand with their top candidates, and ultimately decided on the influencers they want to work with. They will send over the contract, you sign, and you're off to the races! Product will be shipped or you might need to purchase and get reimbursed. Payment is usually made 60-90 days after the campaign has been completed. Agencies are very specific on what they want and include everything in the contract (messaging, hashtags, things not to say, photography guidelines, etc).

PR agencies are similar in a way but there's not a particular network you sign up to be a part of. PR companies will have their blogger lists, and if they have a brand that wants to work with influencers they will reach out to you if it's a right fit. They'll either ask you what your rate is or tell you what they're willing to pay. Sometimes there is a budget to pay and sometimes it's simply product trade.

For both of these know there is always room to negotiate.

2. AFFILIATE MARKETING
Almost everyone has heard of RewardStyle and LiketoKnow.it (see my profile here). I actually heard Amber Venz talk about this little start up in Austin in 2013 and had no idea how big it would become! I'm registered through RewardStyle and can link my outfits, home decor, kids stuff...pretty much anything. When you click my link or swipe up I will make a small commission. Each brand pays a different percentage per item. You might notice some bloggers sticking with specific retailers and that could be because they have a great return when you buy. This takes A LOT of work! You have to share daily and often to really make good money here. Most full-time bloggers have assistants who will link their outfits and products for them. Amazon has a large affiliate program that I haven't used, but you can earn commission even if you aren't a blogger.

Another type of affiliate marketing is through specialty codes given to bloggers via brands. Maybe the brand won't pay you an upfront amount for a collaboration, but instead they'll give you a commisision for every sale you make using a unique code. To be honest, I hate those because I feel like it's a lot of work with little return. However, I once worked with a brand and had a special code and made $20,000 in less than 2 months....you read that right. $20,000!!! I generated over $100,000 in sales for the company, which means they payed out an amazing commission for each sale I made.

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3. WEBSITE ADS
Every time you visit a website you'll usually notice an ad pop up. Maybe on the sidebar or at the top of what you are reading This is where a blogger can make passive income. I have a good friend who has a huge following on Pinterest. She has tons of recipes and crafts that are in the top pins, and every time someone clicks on one and goes to her website an ad shows and she makes money. A small amount, but when you have thousands of readers a day it adds up quickly! I use google ads on this site and my YouTube channel, but might only make a $100 a year.

4. DIRECT FROM BRAND
Sometimes a brand will reach out directly to a blogger for a paid campaign. This is more common with smaller companies who don't have an agency running their influencer program. I actually use to do this when I worked at Big Red, and it was tough. It's a LOT of work to work with bloggers as a brand. Tons of emails, negotiating, contracts, messaging, shipping product, and following up with analytics. They are more passionate about their product and messaging than a third-party but it's also cool working directly with a brand!
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Photos by Madeline Harper

5. EVENT HOSTING/SPEAKING
A new wave of revenue for bloggers is hosting events for brands. For example a brand is having a grand opening of a new store location. They want to attract local moms to attend so they hire a mom blogger like myself to host their friends and moms that following along. Brands will either pay the influencer or provide a gift card to the store in exchange. 

For speaking engagements the majority don't get paid, but have their ticket and travel fees waived if it's around a large scale event such as a conference. 

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Oh, I also forgot to mention bloggers can earn money by being contributors to websites or magazines! This is a great option if you aren't a blogger but love writing and want to earn some extra money or you are just getting started and want exposure. I'm sure over time these will evolve and new ways of earning money will surface. Don't be discouraged if you are a blogger and aren't making money yet. Focus on creating high quality content including photography and writing. If you have any questions feel free to leave a comment!

"Don't worry about making money. Worry about solving people's problems, and the money will come." Ralphie from Simply On Purpose

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