Ever been asked the question ‘How exactly do you make money blogging?’ Despite the amount of articles focusing on six-figure salaries and bought followers, most of the general public is pretty confused as to how you can turn taking selfies into a viable business.
Like most new industries, there is no straightforward answer. However there is a huge opportunity, with influencer marketing spend projected to grow to $5-$10B annually by 2020. The number of ‘influencers’ registered by HMRC in the UK is currently 27,000 and also set to rise to 100k.
We’ve created an overview of the key income streams for bloggers in 2019 plus resources if you’d like to diversify. It’s important to be agile, understand the bigger picture and constantly keep innovating.
There have always been marketing campaigns on billboards, TV and in magazines and now bloggers have been added into the mix. Brands can tap into an influencers following and credibility rather than use a model and products are usually incorporated in a more natural, relevant way.
A brand will typically get in touch with a brief, deadline and deliverables and you have to decide whether it’s the right fit or not. You can also pitch ideas if you have an existing relationship with the brand and it fits into their marketing strategy.
With a rise of Instagram, some brands may want a mixture of blog posts, Instagram posts, YouTube videos, Instagram Stories or just one element. Other campaigns may require bloggers to take on a traditional ‘model’ role, so being featured on the brands website or in print media, as well as bring contracted to promote across their channels.
With the rise of podcasts and newsletters, there’s also an opportunity for advertorials to be placed in these formats. The most important thing is that each post has to clearly be marked as advertising, usually with ‘AD’ prefixing the caption.
Swot up by using the Fohr ‘A Drink With James’ series for an insight into campaigns on the brand side and industry trends.
Affiliate links are a way for a publisher to earn a commission when a purchase is made through a certain trackable link. Basically a ‘cookie’ is embedded in your computer once you click on a link and whilst it’s active (usually for 30 days), anything you purchase from that site will result in a commission for the blogger.
Purchasing through affiliate links is a great way for your followers to support you as it doesn’t cost them any more. They can also help you gain insight into what your audience buys and arm you with data in order to pitch to brands. These links can also be used on newsletters and Instagram Stories.
The main benefit is that you have another source of income to rely on if brand partnerships are a bit slow plus it’s a chance to really nurture your community. There are ways of creating courses on Udemy or Teachable.
Freelance content creation
This is ideal if you have a smaller following and a distinctive photography style. You may be approached to create a series of images that brands can use across their own channels. Fees for this can be lower than one-off Instagram posts and many influencers choose to charge a day rate.
A super-influencer who’s really stepped this up is Chriselle Lim. She’s launched her own production agency Cinc Studios that creates content for brands in her polished style.
There can also be numerous public speaking opportunities at events, conferences, internally for brands and via traditional media outlets. This can come about by positioning yourself as an expert in a certain area or pioneering something that you’re passionate about.
Is sustainability your thing? One way to stand out is by starting a podcast or creating a regular feature speaking to camera on Instagram Stories. Research key events throughout the year (e.g. Stylist Live, Glamour Beauty Festival) and reach out to brands and production agencies ahead of time.
If this doesn’t work, then consider combining income streams and pitch your own event to a brand. The more you put yourself out there and appear to be doing something different, the more that others will notice.