I think one of the hottest topics in the blog world is how people make money blogging. I know I always stop and read each and every one because many times, I find a new site or company that works with bloggers that I had not heard of before. While I’m NOT anywhere near an expert on the subject, I do feel like I can pass onto you my knowledge of companies I work with and how I make a smidget of money or free product off of my blog. I start this post with this disclaimer:
I’m not an expert on this subject and I hesitated even writing this post, but I want to help new bloggers and give my honest suggestions. I’m trying to pass along my experiences in hopes that I can assist you with your blogging goals if you are looking to grow your blog or make connections with outside companies. Additionally, I am not being compensated for any of the companies I will mention below for this post. And lastly, it’s important to note that I make very little money from blogging especially when compared to what I put out for blogging expenses, craft supplies, and time spent crafting, writing, and editing photos. I mean…I probably lose money when it comes to the time I spend…so don’t think that I’ll be quitting my full time job any day now to blog.**Also, if you’re one of those folks that hates it when bloggers make $$, then you probably just need to stop right here. This is meant to help and educate, not make anyone angry**I blog because I love it, not because I have to make $$ off it, but it DOES help to earn a little something for all my time and efforts.
With that said, I’ve actually been blogging for 3 years now. OMG, three years. It’s crazy. I really only feel like I’ve TRULY been blogging for about one year. I made the decision at the end of 2011 to try to really work to grow my blog in 2012. Before it was a “family blog” where I just posted photos and the occasional craft, but getting to work with some bigger bloggers, like Jamielyn of I Heart Nap Time, I found that maybe I wanted to see what I could do with a little extra work on my end and where it could go. This year my site has grown a lot and my statistics have more than doubled since I started my quest. I’m NO WHERE NEAR being a big blog yet, but I think my name is getting out there more and the other bloggers in the crafting “niche” may recognize me a bit more now than they had in the past.
So here’s my humble advice on blogging and some things you can do to make money or get free products from blogging. I feel like I could go on and on about my blogging suggestions, but I think most of you have heard them all before. So right now, I’m just going to focus on where I make money. That’s it, plain and simple. BUT one last thing before I mention these sites…they aren’t a free for all. You have to be accepted into their “groups” and you have to have decent statistics and good content to show them. I can’t tell you what “decent” is defined as just yet, but I read somewhere that once you start getting over 20,000 pageviews per month you’re in a better position to be accepted to these agencies, but you certainly can have less to get accepted (trust me, I know). The good news is that once you are accepted, they are ok with taking some of the smaller bloggers and putting them on campaigns and they do try to make sure that everyone gets a few paid posts. So it’s not just a “big blogger” free for all if you get accepted.
Ways I make money blogging:
Working on “campaigns”, sponsored posts, and product reviews: I work with several different organizations that selectively hire bloggers to do product campaigns and review products. This is BY FAR my most favorite way to make money on my site. They send out emails with different opportunities (it’s like happy E-mail when you get them) and you apply for those you are interested in or that match your niche or ideals. You have to keep in mind here that obviously you only want to apply for those companies that you firmly believe in and want to represent on your site so you’re not leading your readers astray. **Many times with some of these sites, I turn down opportunities simply because I don’t think that company represents what my blog is about—so you do have to be selective if you don’t want to tick off your readers** You’ll be able to tell if a post is “sponsored” because you’ll see a disclaimer at the bottom of a bloggers post along the lines of “I was paid for this campaign as part of BluePrint Social, but all opinions expressed are my own.” I especially love working with these companies because I’ve had the opportunity to receive a good amount of free products for the posts I put together for them, which is a craft bloggers dream. And it’s ALWAYS fun to get free stuff on your door!!! Other times, the campaign is just a brief review of a product or website giveaway…it all just depends.
Here’s some of the companies I currently work with:
Pollinate Media: They do a mixture of product reviews and sponsored posts. They are quick to pay and really good with communication. They aren’t just for the crafting niche, they could cover a variety of blogging topics. I really have enjoyed working with Pollinate.
Blueprint Social: I big red puffy heart LOVE BluePrint Social. They have a great group of gals running the show over there that REALLY know their stuff. They are definitely the crafting niche side of all the companies I work with, so if you’re a crafter this would be a good one to try to sign up with.
Clever Girls Collective: This is definitely one of the better known media agencies and the first one I got accepted to. They have good campaigns that frequently pay well. They do take 60+ days typically to pay, so it’s not an immediate payment type thing, but that’s not unusual. They work with a LARGE variety of companies and campaigns and not every campaign will be a good fit for your blog. They have a great site for members called Fanny where you can keep track of all your campaigns and upcoming ones.
Social Spark: I’m ho-hum about social spark. I am on it, but I’ve really never gotten accepted to any GREAT offers. I’ve had a few I’ve been interested in, but I probably turn down 75% of my offers. I think because Social Spark is so big, they really do target the larger bloggers and kind of skip over the little guys like me. BUT I do recommend it as a starting point if you’re looking to make some dough. You’ll find that some bloggers LOVE Social Spark, so I guess it just depends on the size of your blog and what your time is worth.
SITS Girls: They infrequently have some paid post opportunities on their site and listed in their email newsletters. You don’t have to be accepted to anything, you just need to know where to look and get their emails and apply.
Blog Frog:I JUST signed up with this one and haven’t had any experiences with them yet, but I’ve read lots of good things about their influencer circle, so I thought I’d pass this along to you.
Selling advertising: Another way I make money is by selling ad space on my site. This is my least lucrative form of making money currently, although with more traffic I hope that will change. I do know that there are other companies out there that I could work with, but I really want to focus on just a few ads on my site right now, so I stick with these two.
Rivit Media: The ad in my upper right corner at the top is with Rivit. I’m sorry if it talks sometimes. I need to ask them how to change that. I’ll be perfectly honest on this one…I make less than $5 per month from this one, but $5 covers a treat from Starbucks, right?! AND you shouldn’t have any issues getting set up with them.
Google Adsense: You can set this up with Google. It’s slowly getting better, but they don’t pay out til you hit $100 (and I haven’t yet). I’ve heard some bigger blogs make most of their money from AdSense, so I set it up in hopes that someday it’ll pay off.
Direct Solicitation: I’ve been asked before how I end up working with certain companies and I’ll tell you…there’s no real secret behind it. I directly email companies I’m interested in, give them some info about me and my site, and ask if they’d be interested in a product review/blog giveaway. There’s no rhyme or reason to my madness. If I see them on another blog or online in general and it’s something I’m interested in or I think my readers would be, I contact them. You’d be surprised about how many companies say yes! I’d say I probably have a 50% success rate in this department AND I get to work with some amazing companies that I took a chance on. So don’t be shy, say hello, tell them what interests you about their company, give them some info on your site, and see what happens!
Assisting: The last way I make money blogging is not from my blog at all. It’s from networking with other bloggers and just getting to the right opportunities at the right time. I make money from assisting and writing for other blogs, as well. Some blogs offer paid contributor posting each month, while others ask for contributors in exchange for exposure…either way, apply for contributor opportunities as much as you’re able to. If you’re looking to grow your blog, networking and chatting with other bloggers is key. We’re all here as a community and you’d be surprised at how many people are willing to offer their assistance to you and where networking can really start to pay off!
So there you have it…that’s where I make my “trillions” 😉 LOL I wish.
This list definitely is leaving off some great companies to work with, so do your research and choose what’s best for you. And GOOD LUCK! If you’re ever looking for a blogger to network with…feel free to introduce yourself to me! I’m attending SNAP 2013 and hope to meet some new faces there this year too!
SORRY this is so long and SORRY if you’re bored and not a blogger 🙂
Have a good week!