I got this one at many Christmas parties this year: “so Elien, tell me, how can one actually make money by blogging?”. Good question, distant family member! I notice people always ask themselves this, and people tend to be divided in two groups: the ones that have no idea how monetizing a blog works and think all a blogger does is posing for pictures in the middle of the street, only for themselves, and the ones that think bloggers are multimilionairs that get everything for free, make loads of dough and never have to buy a single mascara or pair of black booties again. It’s not so black and white, the mysterious world of fashion blogging, and I’m here to shed some light on the topic. Ready to talk money? Here we go!
First off: My secondary line of work is being self employed. This allows me to collect an income with my own company and pay taxes. I didn’t start blogging to earn money, but along the way it got clear that having a well-read blog and trusted online persona can be a profitable thing. So, I hit up my local enterprise counter, got myself a company number and a cool company name, and started bizzing!
The most obvious way of monetizing your blog is through brand collabs. In this case, a brand representative reaches out to the blogger to collaborate, because the blogger’s style and audience matches the brand or, more often than not, because the blogger has a large audience in numbers. A high following on Instagram, lots of repins on Pinterest, … In some cases it’s the other way around, and brands get contacted by bloggers and online influencers. This partnership can be in the form of a full fledges fashion editorial, but can also be the integration of a product in an outfit post, flat lay, … There are many ways to collaborate, but the most important thing when you do is authenticity. Don’t work with a multitude of brands that don’t fit you, your style, your personality, and therefor your audience. It’s a loss-loss for both parties, because the advertiser won’t be happy with the results, and you won’t be too when you see a drop in your readership.
Up-and-coming but not quite here in Belgium is affiiate marketing. Affiliate marketing is the technique of adding links to your blog posts and getting paid when a visitor clicks on them or when a click leads to a sale. CPC, CPS, CPM, … This form of marketing knows many forms and acronyms. I use affiliate marketing mostly when linking to certain items in my outfit posts – I share my finds and give you clickable links to shop from, and take a small percentage of commission on each item sold through me. This way of monetization is as old as time, but is worth looking into if you’re a blogger yourself. What I would like to now, from a consumer point of view, is how you feel about clicking ad links?
Over the years, the tagline on my business cards went from ‘fashion blogger’ to ‘creative consultant’. Lots of bloggers are expanding their business by dabbling in other fields: a make-up line, shoe collection, novel or clothing collection.. I’ve lend my skills to a few newspapers: recently I wrote about the winter trends in Fokus and last Spring I created a spread about my favourite shopping route in De Morgen. I love writing and am grateful for getting to expand my horizon and do things apart from the blog. My ultimate creative dream? A book!
Appearances and Event Hosting
Jetting off to a divine location overseas, staying in the fanciest hotels in the biggest cities, attending the most fashionable parties and meeting the coolest celebs.. It sounds too good to be true, but it is something I’m happy to say is very much reality! Over the course of blogging I’ve experienced quite a few awesome – even jawdropping – moments, and I’m somewhat ashamed to say that I even got paid for some of them! Most of the cool stuff comes as a free perk of being a blogger, but sometimes there are collabs that make it even more well worth your while.
Even though blogging started out as a hobby and is still my passion, it is so cool to see that I’ve managed to build a small company around it. In 2017, I wish to expand this little business, and take opportunities with both hands. Bring it on!
I hope you liked reading this piece, and am curious about the ways you monetize your blogs! Tell me all about it in the comment section below.