How to Monetize Your Blog
Working in the blogging industry as an influencer has truly evolved over the years. I remember, at age seventeen when I started my first blog, the world was new(er) and fresh. We weren’t saturated by over thirty million blogs, we didn’t have instagram or affiliate networks as lucrative as shopstyle and rewardstyle. Rach Parcell didn’t exist and being a blogger was scoffed at. I mean, what even was a blogger anyways?
Fast forward to 2018 and being a blogger is considered just as much a full time business as any other creative. Let’s look at one of my favorite bloggers, Amber Fillerup of Barefoot Blonde. What started as her hobby and a way to keep family members up to date with her newlywed life, turned into a multi million dollar blog, millions of followers, a massive fanbase for herself & her family, and now an incredibly lucrative hair extension company, Barefoot Blonde Hair.
We once would’ve answered “Heidi Klum” if we were asked about important fashion icons of today. Now, we answer with bloggers by their first names as if we’re best friends with them. The world has changed so much in the last ten or so years. And while it would’ve been less of a subject to worry about affiliate marketing & sponsorships for bloggers in 2006 and 2007, it certainly is a huge subject now.
When I began any web design project for a blogger, I want to ensure I’m effectively ensuring they can monetize effectively - if that’s something they’re interested in. I train my clients on using affiliate networks, on updating them, and understanding them. I work with the community on best practices for monetizing and have learned the best (and the worst) affiliate networks out there. Today, I wanted to share nine amazing ways you can monetize your blog and tips on how to effectively do so!
1: Instagram Stories
If you have over 10,000 followers on Instagram, you’re allowed to use the swipe up feature in Instagram Stories. I always tell my clients to take full advantage of stories by linking their products in the swipe up feature. I think a lot of people feel like instagram stories is “one more thing to do” but it’s much more simple than posting to your feed. The need for perfection is pretty much non-existent so you can have someone snap a quick #ootd photo, post it, and have your followers swipe up to shop the look. Make sure you use an affiliate link, though - that's how you'll make money from it!
2: Your Instagram Bio
Any affiliate network you belong to offers an affiliate link. Take advantage of your Instagram bio link by implementing it. Now, if you have a website, I wouldn’t entirely remove that from my instagram bio link. Instead, try creating a custom page on your website specifically for Instagram. The ones I create for my clients usually have links to their blog, their latest post, their shop page, and their contact page. Then, you can post the link to that custom page in your bio. So, no matter what, your website is still gaining traffic instead of sending it to a third party like linktree.
I think one of the questions I get the most is this: “how in the world do I reach out to sponsors?” I think the answer to that is much more simple than most feel it is: just do it. I highly recommend getting a media kit developed and emailing whoever you’d like to work with. Here are a few tips of mine: keep it short & sweet, be personal & authentic, always use a media kit & let them know your interests, and try to dig and find the PR or press email address. Larger companies usually list these on their contact page, but you can always google things like “Saks Fifth Avenue Public Relations” to find that more personal contact info.
You can work with sponsors for blog posts, social media posts, instagram stories, snapchat stories, and so much more. I highly recommend signing up with Fohr Card so that you can garner high quality sponsorships that seek you out instead of the other way around.
Curious about why you need a media kit? See this post!
4: Host an Event
This is something that will be a little more feasible if you live in or near a larger city, but small towns can work somewhat as well. If you find that your city has a small number of bloggers and very minimal events at your local stores, reach out to them. For example, say you realize you have a local Madewell but no events happening, reach out to their marketing or public relations team and let them know you’d be interested in hosting an event. My clients host events for movie openings, product launches, store openings & holiday sales events, public speaking events & workshops, fashion shows, and so much more! You’ll be able to effectively get your foot in the door with each company while growing your local reach. Someone who is really good at this is Jennifer Palpallatoc at Haute off the Rack. She even sets up local pop-ups to sell her clothing and raise money for charity!
5: Use your sidebar!
Kind of lost on what to add to your sidebar? Create a simple graphic to let readers know you offer adspace. The rate will vary, depending on your demographic & traffic statistics, but it’s always a great option to pull in some extra cash. You’re also able to dictate what the ad looks like and who you’ll work with. Hey, not everyone will be for you and your readers so it's up to you to define your target market beforehand. If you're signed up for RewardStyle, they offer pre-designed sidebar graphics that are embedded with affiliate links.
6: Affiliate networks, of course.
I will always think working strictly with affiliates will be the number one way to effectively monetize. I love them because they make life so much more simplistic for influencers. Shopstyle & Rewardstyle will always be my go-to options for assisting my clients but there are so many more. Amazon, Walmart, and tons of larger companies offer affiliate options.
I always suggest using affiliate links to link words in your blog posts, in widgets underneath your blog post, in widgets on your sidebar or footer, on social media, and even in your newsletters. I would say newsletters would be the one spot most bloggers don’t take advantage of..and they should.Which brings me to number seven...
7: Your Newsletters
Imagine if you sent an email out weekly with your Instagram outfits & where to shop them. Your readers could shop directly from that email.
If you've been using newsletters to promote recent blog posts and notice you have a higher open or click rate, it's important to offer it as a spot for advertisements & affiliate links. While I don't suggest over-saturating it with those items (emails are personal - not spammy), I do think it's important to take advantage of the space you've been provided. You can offer adspace or showcase a new sale - all with affiliate links. But please, beware of the balance between helpful and spammy.
One of my favorite newsletters to receive is from Grace at A Southern Drawl: it's full of her latest posts & workout tips plus any sales she's sponsoring.
8: Write an Ebook!
This is an option I recommend for those with a good bit of followers simply because your customers are technically already there and you won’t have to search for them. If you’ve effectively gained a larger following and know that you have a lot of information to offer, try and offer an ebook. I’ve seen food bloggers create ebooks that teach how to go vegan, fashion bloggers write capsule closet ebooks, and mom bloggers write parenting advice in an ebook. The good thing about them is once you’ve finished the design, your work is done. Just upload, market it, and voila! If you do decide to sell an ebook, ensure you have an advertisement for it on your sidebar or as a popup on your site.
9: Start a course or coach other bloggers.
Once again, this is something I only recommend to bloggers who have a lot of experience with being an influencer. If you’re going to be a coach or start a course for other influencers, you’ll want to ensure you truly understand and know the ins and outs of the topic. However, you can absolutely coach other influencers. I know a lot of influencers who get so many questions on a daily basis that they started offering one-on-one coaching sessions to effectively offer advice without taking too much time out of their days.
While a lot of these options tie into one another, it's important to effectively take advantage of the ones that suit your blog niche best. And before ever reaching out to potential sponsors, always ensure your social media accounts & blog are void of anything that may be a turnoff and anything that's just unprofessional in general. Remember that in any situation, your being sponsored to promote brands in a good light.
So, what ways are you monetizing? I'd love to hear!