In today’s episode, Jenna shares 10+ ways to make money blogging, her own income percentages from the previous year, and how to diversify revenue streams!
- Display ads
- Affiliate commission
- Sponsored posts
- Virtual assistant & offering services
- Digital products & physical products
- Online courses & workshops
- Paid subscriptions
- Creator funds & bonus programs
In today’s episode I'm going through the various ways to make money blogging, plus breaking down my own blog’s revenue streams!
There are several ways content creators and bloggers can make money. The options I’m including are for both beginner bloggers and those more seasoned creators wanting to add an additional revenue stream. Let’s dive in!
Display ads on websites are probably the most well known way that bloggers earn money. You’ll see them pop up at the bottom of your browser, along the sidebar, and within the content itself. Most people join an ad network and the requirements to join will vary. A few popular ad networks include SheMedia which currently requires 20,000 page views per month, Mediavine which currently requires 50,000 sessions in the last 30 days, and AdThrive which currently requires 100,000 pageviews each month. I’m currently with Mediavine, but I’ve been part of a couple ad networks in the past. It’s a nice way to earn a passive income on the work that you put in weeks, months, and years ago! If your blog isn’t quite there yet, there are plenty of ways for you to still earn a nice income.
Commission from affiliate links is a great way to earn revenue from your blog or social media. This is an especially lucrative income stream if you already have a large audience. Even if you don’t, with a decent commission rate, the earnings add up to a nice chunk at the end of each month. Amazon affiliate links are incredibly popular through their amazon associates program but there’s also rewardstyle as well as direct affiliate programs with brands. I personally mostly use amazon, just because it’s easy to use and user friendly. The amazon storefront as part of the amazon influencer program is continuing to improve and makes sharing your favorite products even easier! You can group products into idea lists, share images and videos with tagged products, and go live to feature specific products with your affiliate link included. In addition to amazon’s storefronts, you can link products in blog posts and on social media. For my food blog, I typically include affiliate links for products I want to feature like my air fryer or a special ingredient like nutritional yeast or an egg replacer. I’ll highlight these either in their own section within a blog post or in the recipe card.
Working with brands on sponsored posts is one of my favorite ways to make money blogging! I love it so much because it’s full of potential and if you find great brands to work with, it’s a truly collaborative and creative experience. I know some of the downsides include having to hunt the brand down, negotiating a fair rate, the back and forth, plus ya know doing the actual work, but in general I still think it’s all worth it because you can get paid big bucks to talk about brands and products you already know and love. Sponsored posts can take on many forms, but a handful of common types of campaigns include a blog post featuring a certain brand and their product that typically includes an honest review, some brand messaging, branded images, and possibly promoting the post on your social platforms. Other types of campaigns may be social only, where you share a static image, video, or story to Instagram, Facebook, TikTok, Pinterest, YouTube, etc. I’ll do a dedicated podcast episode chatting all about the intro to pitching brands and what goes into a sponsored post from start to finish, so subscribe and stay tuned for that!
Related to sponsored posts, there are two additional common ways to work with brands that typically don’t involve you sharing on your platforms. These are great options for creators and influencers just starting out, as negotiating a fair rate isn’t based on your following, but rather solely the content that you create. The first being providing content for them to use, whether that’s for their website, social media, marketing materials, or wherever else they may need content. And the second is UGC, which stands for user generated content. It typically involves a product review or unboxing video that a creator creates and sends to the brand for them to share on social media or turn into an ad. Both of these are similar to sponsored posts, but have their own defining characteristics. These two types of content creation are great for those wanting to start working with brands, as it allows you to get a feel for collaborating, without the pressure of posting to your own accounts.
An area where I don’t have much experience is offering services to other bloggers and influencers! This is oftentimes referred to as a virtual assistant but it can really encompass a variety of different tasks. You can provide social media management services, write emails, outline blog posts, coach other creators, or really assist in areas where you excel and others want to offload.
If you find that fellow creators are coming to you asking for advice or help on something, consider that an indicator of a service or product you could offer. That’s how my ultimate guide to pitching brands initially came to be. I was working with brands and constantly getting messages about how I landed the deal, or how much I charge, and so on. So I decided to put all my thoughts, step by step process, pitch templates, examples, and more together in a cohesive ebook. Now I’m able to make a passive income from people who purchase the guide! If you’re a food blogger, a recipe ebook that directly solves a problem for the community members of your niche can be a great way to earn additional money. You can also create physical products like a traditional cookbook, merch, etc.
If you want to take it a step further, you could also offer online courses or workshops! These differ from digital products and ebooks because they often come with a higher price tag and involve some ongoing admin work.. Memberships could also fall into this category, as they’re also a way to provide immense value to creators focused on learning a specific skill. Common courses, workshops, and memberships revolve around starting a blog, photography, and monetizing.
Another way digital creators are earning income is through paid subscriptions. This can be done through a variety of different platforms but we’re now seeing Instagram and YouTube roll these out as well. I’ve played around with these in the past and can see how they could be very beneficial but it definitely requires a loyal audience, as well as user education. You have to be comfortable sharing that paid subscriptions are an offering to support you, and continue to remind your audience.
Last but certainly not least, creator funds! These are also sometimes referred to as bonus programs, but I lump them all together as they’re essentially the same thing. Basically different platforms will pay you to post certain content and the more views or engagement it drives, the higher your payout will be.
Alright, now I want to share a peek into the revenue streams that make up my blogging business.
Last year 43% of my income came from working with brands on sponsored posts, 25% came from various creator funds and bonus programs I participated in, 17% came from ads on my website, 10% came from freelance writing, and a small amount came from affiliate commissions as well as sales of my digital products.
Last year was my first year with Mediavine after being with SheMedia for a year and different platforms before that. My goal is to increase ad revenue so I’m able to take a step back in other areas.
The next episode will cover an intro to working with brands including pitching them directly vs working with platforms, what is involved in a brand deal, the anatomy of a media kit, and much more but I wanted to note that over 40% of my income from last year came from sponsored work and I have under 10K followers on Instagram. I actually started working with brands when I had 1,000 followers. So if you’re interested in partnering with brands but concerned your follower count is too small, just know that there are plenty of brands out there that see the value in micro-influencers, so shoot your shot!
I was surprised to see the income percentage that came from creator funds, but it was a really great reminder that each month those numbers add up. So even if I let off the gas for a bit one month, the overall piece of pie was still growing.
Another goal of mine for this year, along with increasing income from website ads, is to increase income from affiliate links and sales from my digital product.
These are both still a work in progress but to encourage additional affiliate link clicks and conversions, I’m including more links throughout blog posts and linking my most used products on social media. I’ve found that amazon works best for me, so I’m focusing my efforts there. Like I mentioned earlier, I have a new section on each blog post for equipment, so I created a reusable block where I can pop in 1 main product I want to feature. And then throughout the post, I’ll link to additional products that may be helpful for the user.
As for increasing sales on my digital product, I once again updated it with new information, additional pitch samples, and a handful of brand new templates. I heard from those who were going to purchase the guide that the templates being in photoshop rather than canva was a sticking point. So I created new templates all in canva that don’t require a membership! And I’m hopeful that this will make them more accessible. I also increased the number of templates to include everything you’d need to work with brands including a media kit, rate sheet, invoice template, influencer agreement, and campaign overview report. I’m excited to continue to provide this information and help others reach their goals of working with brands. So if you’re interested in brand deals and pitching brands, I’ll have that linked in the show notes!
Whew, we just covered 11 ways you can make money as a blogger, influencer, or content creator! If you’re ready to start monetizing, here are two tips I have for you.
- Treat it like a business! That may include forming an LLC, getting a business bank account, or using an accounting software to keep track of income and expenses. But also be sure to have a business mindset!
- Diversify your income. You don’t need to be managing all of these income streams, but 2-3 is a good goal to work towards.
If you found value in this week’s episode, I would really appreciate you leaving me some feedback through ratings and reviews. And feel free to reach out, I’d love to connect and chat with you!
Thanks so much for joining me, Jenna Urben, in this episode of Bloggerbytes.