Over the course of two years, both my husband and I have earned our living from blogging. This avenue of work has brought us many exciting opportunities from local events, trips abroad, and trying out products — some of which we still use religiously.
Through trial and error we’ve learned what we consider to be the perfect formula for success in monetizing our blogs. Here are some tips to help you understand the process.
Be Willing to Pay Your Dues Before Getting a Paycheck
Don’t expect to write your first blog post and have companies knocking down your door with hundreds of dollars. Think of it like you’ve just graduated from college — you’ll likely start entry level and work your way up. In the very beginning I accepted work for product compensation only in order to grow my “portfolio” with experience to show companies what I have to offer. Once I established myself I began to charge.
Never Accept a Campaign Without Product (or one you don’t believe in)
I have had hundreds of offers pour in from companies who want me to share their infographics or talk about how amazing their products are when, not only do they not offer monetary compensation, but they won’t let me try the product out unless I purchase it myself. This is a major red flag! Seriously, run the other way! If you know nothing about the product, you have no right to give a stance on it and try to sell it to your readers. Furthermore, if you don’t like it, don’t be tempted by the cash. It reminds me of that time in college when I became a waitress and realized the desserts on display used butter instead of ice cream so it didn’t melt and my whole life felt like one big giant lie. Don’t be a blogging butter! Be the delicious ice cream that keeps people coming back for more.
Use Your Gut to Make Exceptions
If I have been using a product or service for a great deal of time and suggest it to my friends over happy hour, I want to suggest it to you too! I mostly subscribe to the idea of getting paid for the time it takes to research, write, photograph, edit, design, etc, although sometimes I make exceptions. My number one reason why? Small business! Countless people took a chance on me when I began blogging and I feel it necessary to do the same for small business owners with even smaller budgets. It’s more of a good will/karma building experience that’s solely a personal choice.
Learn From Your Mistakes
In the very beginning of my blogging career I accepted a campaign for a beauty product with a long deadline lead time to be able to try it out. The product was shipped exceptionally late and my deadline did not move, meaning that I was unable to report on my findings over an extended period of time. To be clear, I was honest in my review and made no false statements, but it made me uncomfortable to be in that situation and I declined to work with the brand and the agency that set me up with them for all future assignments. In retrospect, I should have spoken up.
Pair Up with Agencies You Trust
That said, I’ve found certain companies that work with influencers to pair them with content that fits their brand. They bring offers to you and you’re free to accept or decline. My favorite to work with (I’ve been with them since September 2015) is Linqia. They offer massive amounts of creative freedom which is great for someone like me who likes to tell stories (and not just spit products in your face without cause). Check out the feature they penned on me and Tyler called How to Build a Successful Influencer Partnership and the individual spotlight on my journey to blogging (and how they’ve helped).
Is there anything else about blogging you’re dying to learn? Let me know in the comments below and you might just see it on these pages very soon!
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