Making money online... This is what y'all really care about right?! I will say it's not that simple. A lot of people start blogging for the sole hope of making money. I will tell you it's a part/full time job and you will be investing your time, and occasionally money, before you start making money.
As you know, I started my blog for fun and to update family, and then it turned into this where I share weekly posts about my life and motherhood. It takes a lot to write a post and you have to be willing to put in the work.
From my previous part of this series you already know how to make your Instagram stellar, which will really come in handy for this post. Your instagram has a lot to do with how successful your brand is if you choose it as your main other social media source. It's also super important for one of the programs I will be mentioning, because it is solely dependent on your Instagram. Now, how can you turn your amazing content into profit?
Sponsored posts are my secret. A sponsored post is where a company or brand will send you their product(s) and sometimes a monetary compensation as well in exchange for you writing a blog post about it. I am always transparent in when a post is sponsored, but a lot goes into it before your post even goes live. I have control in what companies I work with, and make sure it's always a genuine relationship. I never want to blog about something I don't support or agree with, or something that doesn't fit my blog's brand.
I work with three websites majorly that have been a huge contribution to my blog's income. I will break them down on how each of them work. I will not disclose how much I make because that's awkward to talk about, so don't make things weird.
Social Fabric may be my favorite because I've worked with them the most and they've allowed me to work with brands like John Frieda, Playtex Baby, Walmart, HP, Coca-Cola, and the list goes on. How it works is you sign up and enter all of your information about your blog and other social media channels.
Then, based on your niche and demographic there will be "shoppertunities" available that you apply for. I love this process because you are selling yourself to the brand and sharing your idea on how you would incorporate their product in a post. You fill out a few questions, sharing why you want to work with them and also a breakdown of your idea. (So if you are doing a recipe, you would list out the ingredients and steps.) You see how much you would get paid when you are applying which is great to get an upfront pay and it stay the same across the board. You can apply here: socialfabric.us and please put me as the referred by! Tips for being successful in this are to really have creative ideas. Think about what your blog demographic is and who your audience is. For example, I worked with Playtex baby for their bottles and worked in into a what's in my diaper bag post, while another blogger may have shared a DIY baby blanket and tied in the baby bottle. There is so much you can do, usually the brands will have a general outline and direction, but you can get pretty creative with it.
Linqia is a bit different because they come to you. You sign up on their website and fill out everything including your topics you have on your blog. Then, you will receive an email inviting you to different campaigns they think you'd be interested in and you say whether you're interested or not. If you are, it'll be evaluated again depending on if there's still openings and then you're accepted. Please note, it's not a consistent once a month email, it literally happens at random as they come. So don't feel discouraged if you go months without anything, but you can always reach out to them and see if there's any campaigns you could be considered for. In this blogging business sometimes you have to take the first step and reach out, there's nothing wrong with that!
From there, it will open up the campaign and you'll see its description, what needs to be included in the post, and also how many clicks you need. Yes, clicks. This sponsored post isn't guaranteed upfront money and you have to reach a certain number of clicks to get a certain number of money. The upside is, you get money for your clicks, even if it's under the target amount. Say you need 50, but only get 20; you will get paid for those 20 clicks to the link they provide you and are tracking. So even if you have a high number of blog page views, you need to have a good audience that will actually be clicking your links within your post. It sounds bad, but it's honestly a lot of fun and I've been able to work with brands like Hello Fresh. Sprouts, and ThredUp and had a great time making those posts. You can sign up here: Linqia
The good thing is if you exceed the number of clicks they set for you, they will generally bump up how many clicks you need for your next campaign, which means more money for you. Also, if you do a video (like I did for Hello Fresh and more recently Hill's Science Diet) they give you a flat fee on top of the potential pay.
Social Native is a more recent program I've signed up with and is quickly growing as my favorite! This one is for Instagram posts. I LOVE the opportunities they provide because you can literally work with anyone. One of my first posts was a promotion flyer for a movie where the image was provided, but since then they have all been where I take my own photo which I enjoy more because hello, themes are important!
With Social Native they email you campaigns, and tell you what the brand is looking for. So sometimes it will say what needs to be included, which hashtags and who to tag, what you can't say, etc. Pretty straight forward. They normally provide product or a budget to purchase the product, and then give you payment on top for posting. It's super easy to work with and I enjoy all the different opportunities there. I have worked with Vans, Rachel Ray's Nutrish, and Makeup Forever. This is a great opportunity for those that may not want to start a blog just yet, or if you are still working on it, and want to just get your feet wet. If you want to apply I can invite you, so shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and write your email so I can easily copy it to invite you.
This is why it's important to have a good Instagram, BUT you also need great social media channels across the board because Linqia and Social Fabric both require you to share it on all of them. So, if you don't already have an Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest... Set them up now! ha ha They will help your overall social media reach, and I also recommend trying to have the same name across the board if you can. Unfortunately with a name like "The Strattons" it was taken on a few of the platforms, so my tip for you starting out is get your name on all of them now if you can. I am just not creative and couldn't think of a better blog name, but I still wouldn't change it even now.
There are a TON of programs out there, but these are my top three and what I can tell you the most about based on experience. I'm signed up with a few others that have been great but these are the most popular and successful for me. What you need to remember is, you need to have amazing content and really build up your blog/Instagram before you can expect to be chosen for these sponsored posts. Try to only mention brands and companies by name on occasion, because a lot of the times they will be competitors and you want to keep things as simple as possible if you plan on doing sponsored content for companies.
Also, keep in mind that sponsored posts are just one avenue to making money from your blog. Affiliate networks, ads, guest posts, and so many others are all ways you can bring in money but I have found most success with sponsored content based on how my audience responds.
Another great thing, is you aren't restricted to just working through a third party to get these sponsored posts. You can go out and hustle yourself by contacting companies you want to work with and having them send you a product and/or payment for talking about them on your blog or Instagram. If you would like to see a blog post all about how I reach out to brands, and have successful email conversations with them, please leave a comment below and I'd be happy to give examples! This blogging world is so fascinating even now to me, and I feel like the possibilities for success are limitless. I love sharing what I've learned with others because I feel like there is room for everyone! I wish I had someone giving me tips and not having to spend 1-2 years figuring it out on my own ha ha!
I hope this gives y'all a good idea if you are in the stage of monetizing your blog and or Instagram. I definitely don't recommend striving to have sponsored posts until you've built up an audience and your content. The brands do look at your blog to make sure you are a fit and you have to have some sort of establishment already for success. I'm not saying you need to have a million followers at the moment, but definitely have good blog content and an audience that is active in your posts. If you guys would like me to take a step back and do a post on building up your blog and Instagram please let me know and I can definitely do a run down on the basics!