Happy Monday and an official kick off to April, friends! It’s finally starting to feel like spring around here. Last month was super busy for me and I got the opportunity to participate in two really fun experiences that tapped me to help others succeed at blogging, launching new channels and how to best monetize your blog or Instagram page. How cool is that?
The first event was the InstagramHER Summit which featured amazing bloggers and influencers from around the nation that participated in a week-long event series of online panel sessions, where we shared all of our tips and tricks on how to grow and monetize your blog or IG. I was so honored to participate and honestly learned a ton from these ladies — hopefully the feeling was mutual!
Hot on the heels of that panel was this Muses article where I was asked to give my best advice for those looking to launch blogs of their own. Somehow, somewhere along this incredible blogging journey I’ve been on, I’ve become an authority on what to do. Now that’s kind of mind-blowing, y’all. Talk about a real pinch me moment.
The feedback from the panel and article was heard loud and clear — so many of you reached out and wanted more. I’ve been emailing and trading notes with many of you in the hopes of making the road to blogging success an easier and friendlier pathway to navigate. The questions that were asked most frequently were on monetizing your blog and how to turn your blogging or influencer side hustle into an entrepreneurial venture.
In this post today, I’m sharing my 5 pro tips for how to do just that. With a little business savvy, and some negotiating know-how, you can start connecting posts to dollars in no time.
How do you know if you’re ready to start monetizing? If you’re running a blog or an Instagram, and you’ve been approached by a brand to share, review, or post their product on one of those channels, you’re ready. That means you’ve caught the attention of someone out there that feels marketing to your personal network of followers would be impactful on their business — and you know what, they’re right! So, where do you go from there? Let’s discuss…
1. Create a Rate Card + Media Kit
Monetizing your blog or Instagram means running things a bit more professionally. Think: this is a business, and treat it that way. When brands reach out to you (or vice versa, you reach out to them), a standard request is often to provide a rate card or media kit, so get ready with those! Even if someone doesn’t specifically ask, having it available will only serve to make you look more polished and experienced.
This article on The Blog Maven shares a few examples of what media kits should include and look like. It’s essentially a rundown of your metrics and any neat, share-worthy projects or campaigns you’ve worked on thus far. You can make it as fabulous or streamlined as you want, but do make sure it has the same look and feel as your blog and brand. Everything should stay consistent.
As for a rate card, this is a must-do. It not only gives you a launch point for negotiations, but demonstrates that you have established value and your work is worth something. Many partners will want to start out by offering you goods-on-trade (no pay) for blog or IG posts. If you’re comfortable with that, go for it (I sure did!), but in some instances the goods may not be as valuable as your time, effort and follower reach. If that is the case, your rate card helps you demonstrate that in a concise way. It also gives you an easy out to walk away if a gig doesn’t match your valuation or interest.
2. Marketing Outreach
Don’t wait for brands to come to you! Sometimes all you have to do is ask. Really!
At any given time, I have a laundry list of brands and companies on my radar that I’d love to work with. Reaching out to brands you have an affinity for and sharing that story with them will typically help you get noticed. If the brand knows you love them, working with you feels less risky. Email the brand directly with a positive experience or anecdote you have about their company. Then, include some ideas you have for what a partnership with you might look like for them — creating solutions and a “think tank” environment from the get-go gives that person something to get excited about. Also be sure to include any relevant and recent collaborations you’ve done that might be of interest. Always remember to demonstrate your value and what you bring to the table.
3. Talk to Your Blogger + Influencer Friends
This is a big one. Surround yourself with other great blogger and influencer friends and have some honest dialogue with them about monetizing your blog and what they are doing and having success with. Share tips on what’s worked and what hasn’t.
If you know what other bloggers are charging, it will help you gauge where you fall into the spectrum and what your following reach can garner. What an influencer can command at 10k followers versus 100k followers is quite different. Be up to speed on ‘market rates’ for your level in order to price yourself appropriately. I’ve always heard that a good rule of thumb is $100 for every 10,000 pageviews per month on your blog or followers on Instagram.
4. Stay True to Your Brand
Just because you can monetize now, doesn’t mean you should monetize everything.
Always remember to stay true to your vision, your brand, and what you set out to accomplish with your channels in the first place. I mean, this really is an extension of you and your passions, right? Keep it that way. Just because a brand wants to pay you, doesn’t mean you have to say yes. Stay selective! Your brand and your voice are only valuable to your followers if they remain authentic. Turning your blog into a sales page will turn followers off just as quickly as it may ramp your bank account up. Continue to ask yourself:
- Is this a product I can really stand behind?
- Does sharing this offer value or interest to my followers?
- Is this really something I’d use in my day-to-day life?
5. Ask for Metrics + Conversions
Last but certainly not least, this pro tip is for when you finally do start monetizing – and will definitely help assist in monetizing more.
Ask your brand partners for backend metrics on performance and conversions post-campaign. For example, if a brand asks you to share a coupon code with your followers, or a conversion vehicle like a link to purchase so that they can track your efficacy, you should get a peek into that window, too! Knowing how many people acted upon your partnership will only help you ‘sell yourself’ more into the next opportunity.
I hope you find these tips helpful and put them to work for your blog ASAP. If you have any tips to share with me or others, leave a note in the comments below.