I came back to the blogging world last year. I had taken a much needed year long hiatus from blogging. When I came back I was still very inconsistent with my content quality and creating content. I remember when I came back I started to actually monetize instead of featuring products only. I was so excited when I started getting opportunities to make some money via campaigns!
It started off pretty sporadic and then slowly but surely started getting consistent. I don’t typically like to discuss $$$ because I guess being in HR you see this as a violation. HAHA! However, I know there are many aspiring bloggers or active bloggers that are considering quitting because they don’t see the fruits from all their hard work.
With that, I made about $30,000 from blogging last year. Not too bad for a side-hustle and your passion project. Not to mention I didn’t consistently monetizing until July.
2019 kicked off and finally I understood who I was in my brand, what type of content I wanted to produce, what brands I wanted to go after, and understood how to run my business. I will close out this year with a 6 FIGURE BUSINESS! I share this because it’s not that I have the secret sauce, because there are other bloggers out there also equally killing it. I say this to say, YOU CAN DO IT TOO! Take off the discouraged hat, and use it as fuel.
Let me set the stage: in 2018, I rarely worked with brands. I started sharing my family but hadn’t truly became a mom blogger. Oh and I almost NEVER shared my home decor. It was sporadic. It was a goal of mine that I hadn’t executed. I was producing blurry and overexposed pictures consistently. And my blog was even more inconsistent. No content calendar even existed. I didn’t realize it at the time, but I was kind of a mess.
I finally had to put myself in check… Taryn how do you expect brands to want to put dollars behind you. When:
1. You aren’t truly investing in your business.
2. You aren’t giving 100% with putting out quality product.
I really had to think about how could I be mad at the lack of results when I wasn’t putting out my best.
If you are feeling like you want to quit, OR if you are unhappy with the results. First ask yourself: are you giving 100%? And is your content where it needs to be? I even asked for feedback from trusted people in my space. Sometimes you need outside feedback. The answer for me was that I had some work to do. I was no longer going to put out content I didn’t 100% stand behind.
I know this may seem a lot easier than it sounds. It is still a work in progress for me. I finally know the look I like in all of my images, but there are factors that sometimes make that tough to execute.
Before I had the budget for a new camera: We would make sure we gave ourselves plenty of time to take quality images. Don’t rush it. Sometimes you need time in order to ensure you aren’t producing blurry images. We tried to shoot in the mornings when the lighting was easier to work with. Note: There are many bloggers out here that are killin it without ever touching a professional camera. DO NOT LET IT STOP YOU! Utilize the iPhone portrait mode. And always wipe your lens before shooting. Lighting is your friend so try finding nicely lit area (not harsh sun). I would also recommend watching YouTube for tips.
Getting a camera: We did save the income I made from the blog and did invest in a Canon 6d. Major game changer. I would say the biggest difference was that I didn’t have to work as hard to get crisp images. It definitely elevated my imagery. I would recommend watching some tutorials as this camera is a professional grade camera, and took some time to get used to it.
Hiring a photographer: If your budget allows, invest in a photographer if you are still not pleased with the quality of your images. In 2019 we decided it was time to consistently shoot with a photographer. I still shoot my every day life. However, most of my major brand campaigns are shot by a professional photographer. This investment has paid for itself and then some. I have never loved my content as much as I do now. We typically shoot with her every other week early morning on the weekends.
One of the biggest reasons we decided it was time to get a photographer is that I work full-time and my blog has also become full time. Shooting with a photographer is less time I have to spend editing and when we shoot multiple looks, we get it all done. So we have to spend less days going out and shooting. Not to mention we felt there was other things Rick could be doing to help the business rather than being the photographer. We would like to get our family YouTube channel going too. The reality is you can do anything but not EVERYTHING.
Editing: I do not use presets. I felt I couldn’t get the look I was going for using presets. I do know some bloggers that use them and produce amazing content. Personal preference. I edit all of my images in Lightroom and Snapseed. My photographer uses photoshop. Comment below if you would like me to share how I edit my images.
Brands want to invest money with a blogger they feel is consistent and consider themselves a brand. You decide your consistency. Don’t let what you see another blogger do be your deciding factor. It’s always quality over quantity. So don’t let consistency lower the quality of your content. With that, I would say try to post on your social at least 2-3 week. I do post daily, but this wasn’t always my normal.
To help you get consistent I would recommend creating a content calendar.You can do whatever works best for you. Google calendar, white board calendar, planner. You can also use these Coschedule (i used to but then didn’t want to pay anymore)
I have tried digital platforms, but find that my planner (i’m old school) has worked best for me. Before each month I write in all my partnerships for that month, after that I fill in my own content. I like to have a balance.
Creating a content calendar is so important. Helps you stay consistent, which in turn shows the brands you want to work with that you are serious. Also, as you are increasing your partnerships you want to ensure you are keep them organized.
I have talked about this a ton, but if you want to connect with your audience you have to understand what your brand is. I am not saying you have to stick yourself in 1 category but make sure you understand what your brand represents. I am an example of a blogger that does not show only 1 category. However, I do try to show a balance so you see every aspect of my brand.
Your brand should mirror your passions and truly who you are. I will not say that I am a food blogger when most of my meals do not look Instagram worthy. Just because I see someone else killing it in that space, that’s not my lane. Find your lane and stay in it!
My umbrella is home, motherhood, style, and travel. I rarely deviate out of these spaces. Make sure to share content in each of these categories. If you want a home brand to work with you, well you gotta show that content. I am not going to lie when I wanted to share home it was tough to break into it and have brands give product and compensate. I kept just sharing content in spite of not having home partnerships, because I knew I wanted this part in my brand. Now here we are today where home campaigns are probably the biggest bulk of my blogging income. I still have a lot of work to do in this area, but making progress week by week!
Last year I was on Blogger platform and my blog had tons of aesthetic issues. It was time I spruced up my blog. I made the investment last Fall to move over to WordPress, and have a custom built site. I also, completely rebranded my logo and many other things. A week after I launched my site I had 3 brands correspond with me that they loved my new site! Guys brands DO notice! I am not saying you have to spend a lot of dollars initially. You can even go to Etsy and get a template for $20 and a lot of time the template creator can even install it for you for a few extra dollars!
Of course initially I did not have brands blowing up my inbox so I decided to explore marketing platforms. This is basically a job board for brands to post campaigns they need influencers for. You will have to set up an account, link your social channels, and share a bit about yourself. From there you have access to apply to campaigns your a great fit for. Please note: I would apply to ton and not get responses. Don’t get discouraged.
Here is a list of platforms I have previously used or currently using:
This is great for micro-influencers. Most brands on here are looking for a smaller following which is awesome to give you a shot!
Another great one for micro-influencers. They do work with larger influencers as well. I will say I know longer really use this platform. I am really big on having a story-telling caption and I feel most of their campaigns are more rigid with script and imagery. Also, I have gotten away from doing a lot of product campaigns where you have to display a product. I maybe do only 1 a month, and felt most of them were like product focus. Example: Paper towels or a food product.
I believe this one has a requirement of size to join (i think). I do feel I get better compensated campaigns with this platform. I also, feel brands on her pay out quicker.
Another great one for micro-influencers! I no longer use this as I don’t feel the rates match my standard rates, and the messaging can be very rigid. Which again I like having the creativity to tell my stories in captions.
This platform you do have to apply for, and can be tough to get in. I remember when I applied over a year ago, I didn’t get in. Then I had forgotten about it and tried early this year and got it. If you get accepted the campaigns come to you via email and you have to apply through there. You also can get direct invitations via email. The campaigns that I have gotten from here have been great ones!
Alright so I just learned about Fohr this year. Once I learned about it I created my platform, and then learned about getting verified. I didn’t know what to expect and got verified within a week. After that I soon started getting invitations. They are with great brands and the pay is great. Make sure to negotiate if you don’t feel the rate is high enough! So far this is one of my favorites, but will be honest and say I have heard it is tough to get campaigns through here.
I don’t want to get too much in depth with this as I understand not everyone is on rewardStyle. However, I started regularly getting campaigns on here and they pay well and with some of my favorite brands!
I have gotten some of my highest paying campaigns through here.
I only use this platform for 1 brand, so can’t say I have explored it a lot.
Here are some others that are good for micro-influencers but I personally have not worked on: Social Native, Ahalogy, Whalar.
From my experience I will say working directly in most cases with brands has given me the highest paying campaigns as opposed to working with marketing platforms. However, I do think these are awesome to use. Try to see if you can convert some of these brands to working with you directly on future campaigns. I am very selective now when I work on these platforms.
Last year I realized that if I wanted to work with brands I had to go after it! I started pitching to brands. I wasn’t really successful with it. With that, in May 2018 I decided to sign up for Pitch it Perfect. I did invest in this class, the tools I have learned from the course I believe have given me the part of the success I’ve had working with brands. You can read more about what the course is here. Don’t be afraid to reach out to a brand via dm if you aren’t getting a response via email. I won’t do a full pitch via DM, but I will share a preview about myself and if I can chat further via email, and ask for email.
What was I doing wrong with pitching before? Well, I had a standard script I would use. Which is so not authentic and doesn’t allow you to really share how you will best support the brand. Now are there key introduction pieces I use on every brand email? Yes. However, I do ensure that my email to brands are crafted specifically to show the brand I can support them well! Please note: Make sure you are sharing an idea of how you can work with them. Don’t make it too specific where they could say no just because that isn’t an idea they want to go with. Sometimes brands can say no, but it was really the idea not you.
Create a brand goal list! Pitch to brands that you feel you can really support and that you can add value to them! Tell them why you are an asset, and basically why it will be worth their dollars. I regularly pitch to brands. Go after them! I will also say brands work a season ahead (in most cases), so if you have your eyes on a brand for the holidays reach out now! I already have campaigns secured for Christmas!
Be prepared for NO! This will happen…A LOT! Thank them and keep it moving. Some brands have said no to me and then later reached out to me! Sometimes it is a NOT YET and you may not even know it! Don’t be afraid of rejection, allow that to fuel you. If I hear a no, I then say to myself who’s next.
This is a great way to have another stream of income that steadily rolls in. Affiliate marketing is basically earning commissions on products you promote. It is a small percentage based on brand commission rates. I have been part of rewardStyle for some time now, BUT I really wasn’t using it regularly. There are other affiliate platforms you do not have to only use rewardStyle. I never put really energy into honestly. I started to put energy into growing my affiliate marketing last Fall. Since I have done this it has become a big chunk of my monthly blog income. There are some bloggers that do this majority and rarely do campaigns. I like having a balance. rewardStyle pays out every two weeks over a certain $$ threshold and I get a check every two weeks. With blogging it is great to have multi-streams of income.
Before partnering with a brand ask if they are part of an affiliate program. It’s a great way to get extra income for promoting a product you already love!
I know these blogging tips were pretty in depth and long-winded (as my husband would say). I want to say there are other ways to make money from blogging like having ads on your site. I am only speaking about actions I HAVE PERSONALLY done. This is me sharing my experience with blogging to hopefully help you on your blogging journey!
I will also say, social media and the blogging industry is ever changing. With change you must always be ready to adapt. I still work in corporate, but if IG were to fall off how would you make your money? That is something to consider. If you have a service or a concept, think about how you can monetize that product/service. Work on a craft, and ensure you have multiple streams of income!
Comment below with what you would love to see me cover next on my Blogging Tips Series.