One of the most bold questions I get about blogging usually comes from those who I’m really close to or complete strangers, because they’re the only ones typically brave enough to ask it. 😉 They’ll ask “So how do you actually make money from your blog?” They say that they occasionally see me put a disclaimer at the top of a post that it’s sponsored, but they “just don’t get how it all works.”
Totally valid question, in my opinion! This influencer marketing is hot right now, and in my opinion, it’s the advertising method of the future. People aren’t watching commercials as often anymore because they’re watching Netflix instead. They’re not listening to radio ads anymore because they’re listening to XM instead.
So brands are realizing that reaching out to individuals who have blogs, podcasts, big Instagram accounts, etc. is how they are really going to reach an extremely engaged audience. In my opinion, this is absolutely a win/win for everyone. Here’s why.
Three Common Blogger Revenue Streams
Take this story about one of my close blogging friends, for example. She recently worked with a well-known brand on a campaign advertising one of their new kitchen sink faucets. They paid her “x” amount of money, flew her to NYC to learn about the product, she installed it in her home, hired a videographer to film/put together a short video about the product, and finally she wrote a post about it as well.
I know how much they paid her (since we’re fraaaaans and I love her), and if I were getting paid what she got paid, Jamie would have attempted a backhandspring right in our kitchen, I swear it. It was a decent amount of money to her, but to a company that’s as big as this one is, it was surely a teeny tiny drop in a bucket.
So this was a win/win for everyone.
It’s a win for her reader/viewer (me!) because I now know that I really, really want this faucet.
It’s a win for her as the blogger because she just made a great chunk of cash for her family that allows her to stay home with her two children and pay for their private education.
It’s a win for the videographer because she got paid work out of the deal.
And finally, it’s a huge win for the brand because they received a television-quality video to use however they want (as well as the blog post they can spread around if they chose) for a relatively tiny portion of their advertising budget. Wow.
So this, my friends, is why I think this influencer thing is great for so many people, not just the influencer his/herself.
So, with all of this said, this sums up the first major revenue stream for bloggers, which is sponsored blog and social media posts.
The second common revenue stream is website ads.
This is my personal preferred revenue stream because it’s completely passive. The more hits on my website and clicks on the ads my site receives, the more money I make. The reason I prefer this revenue stream is because I can continue to blab all day long about whatever the heck I want to, and if people come read it, I can pay our bills. Pinch me. What a time to be alive. 😉
You may (or may not?!) have noticed that I have more ads on my site than I used to. That’s because two weeks ago I switched ad networks from BlogHer to Mediavine. I am thrilled with my experience with Mediavine so far (I was happy with BlogHer too). If you consistently have 25k sessions/month on your blog (check your Google Analytics for this), I’d highly encourage you to apply!
And to my readers, I truly hope you don’t mind the ads. The way I see it is that I’d rather be paid to have a few more ads on my page than to have to write sponsored posts more often.
For example, I had the chance this week to write about Gillette Razors and Cheetos. I have used this type of razor for years and years. I genuinely love it, but I know y’all don’t want to read about that. I could have also done a little ad on Instagram about Cheetos. We all love Cheetos, but I know that a picture on Instagram advertising Cheetos is absolutely not what my readers and social media followers want to see. So, as aforementioned, I’d rather be paid to have a few more ads and continue to share content that you all consider entertainment. You’re a loyal bunch, and I’d like to keep ya around. 🙂
You’ll still see me do sponsored content of course, but it’ll only be with brands that I personally love and that I’m also dying to share with you, not “just another sponsored post”.
The final common revenue stream is affiliate marketing.
You know how I often have a link that’ll take you write to a product I’m raving about? If you click it and make a purchase, I make a small (SMALL!) commission. You don’t pay any extra; The commission comes from the website. Think of the blogger as your shoe salesman. They’re introducing you to products, telling you all about them, giving you an honest opinion, and then giving you a link directly to purchase. Brands are generally more than happy to pay a commission to influencers because that’s less advertising that they have to seek out and do.
For example, were you around when I put out somewhere in the ballpark of 14 gift guides last November/December? Good gravy, I was in over my head doing that one! Ha! I loved it though, and your purchases helped make my time worth it to put those together (I collectively spent about 45 hours on them.) You received gift ideas and links to make purchases (effectively crossing that recipient off of your list) and I was able to make a little bit of money to afford presents for my own family. Again, this is a total win/win for the reader, the blogger, and the brand.
Did you learn anything new from this post? Is there anything about influencer marketing that bugs you or that you don’t trust? If you’re a blogger, what is your preferred income stream?
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