How to make money as a blogger or influencer is such a tricky question, but it is what brought you to this page. It is not a simple answer and will vary from person to person depending on your skills. To be honest we consider ourselves more as content producers than a blogger or influencers, but we still make a majority of our money from our blog and social media channels.
We have found that many bloggers and influencers do not like sharing their knowledge on how they make money or how much they charge. For us, we love sharing our process and helping our community grow and advance as a whole. We struggled for a long time finding the right price to charge for our content and influence only to find out after the fact how often we were undervaluing ourselves.
If you decided to become a blogger or influencer keep in mind that it does take endless hours of dedicated work before you might even see your first dollar coming in. This is no different than any other startup, but with proper goals and determination you can find yourself in the top of your field.
Blogging as a business not as a hobby
Being a blogger or influencer has many downsides and fantastic upsides, just like any other business. If you decide to go full time with your blog you are leaving behind your safety net of a steady paycheck but you get so much more freedom on how you work. The freedom that you get is that you get to choose what projects you take on, how much you charge, and how many hours you put into your site and when you do the work yourself.
This does not mean that it will just be up to you how much you get paid and with what brands will ultimately work with you. For us, it is ALWAYS a negotiation with brands, tourism boards, tours operators, and more to find the right fit for both sides. That is why we not only produce content for our own website, but offer those services externally as well. In fact we normally offer two packages:
- Using our website and our social media channels to promote a brand or destination and/or
- Creating quality content for a brand or destination to use.
In the first case we charge for producing the content along with our influence and our readership rather than in the second case that we charge for the content produced and copyright ownership.
The best thing to maximize your profits as a blogger or influencer is never put all your eggs in one basket. sure choose two or three streams to make money and focus on them but never limit yourself. You never know where the next dollar can come from or when one income stream will dry up.
Here is a breakdown of our income streams:
- Affiliate Marketing
- Sponsored Content
- Paid Travel
- Social Media Campaigns
- Content Production/Freelance
Now let’s get a little more in depth about each one of these income streams and what it work it consists of:
Affiliate marketing the smartest way to make money off your blog, as it becomes a passive stream. Once you publish content it all depends on how much your readers trust your recommendations and how many people visit the article. The hardest thing is to build that community.
A good way to increase your sales is by growing the amount of affiliate links. I always say, make sure to recommend what you have tested and what you are comfortable recommending to your friends and family. Not because you want to make money should you recommend whatever is out there. The trust of your community in you is worth more than anything you can imagine, never put it at risk by recommending a bad product or service!
Packing lists are a great way to display affiliate links, where you can recommend must have products you use while traveling. We love using Amazon Affiliates as the 24-hour cookie captures every purchase, even if unrelated to the original click. At the same time everyone is familiar and comfortable with Amazon.
Those who are inclined towards the fashion or lifestyle segment should check out Reward Style / LIKEtoKNOW.it, which offers affiliate commissions on many high end clothes and accessories. If you would like a referal to join Reward Style, send us an email to [email protected].
To be honest we are still trying to figure out the best way to implement affiliate marketing on our own website. Until now, we have been more focused on growing our website and social media content, producing content and other recurring income streams. This year our goal is to grow our income through affiliate sales.
We use Google Adsense at the moment which brings us anywhere from $40-200 per month. We are waiting to reach 25,000 monthly views to apply to Mediavine, which allows for higher commissions and more personalized ad management.
Both programs place different kinds of text and image advertisements on your site of your choosing. You can either manually select the location of the ads or allow them to automatically be added in optimal positions for each user who visits the website.
If you are looking for a set price recurring income, you can also reach out to companies you have already worked with and offer static banner ads. It is the same concept, but you are getting paid a set amount to have the ads displayed for a set period of time.
At first, it might not feel right to add ads to your website, as you think people do not want to see them. We have realized ads are a good way for us to make money and thanks to the intelligence of ad networks, the ads displayed are highly relevant to our content and users.
This income allows us to produce a majority of the content on our site, which is not sponsored. Remember that you need to get paid for the time it takes to write a well written post, edit photos, respond to comments and grow your community.
We are big fan of sponsored posts and branded content, because it allow us to not only get paid but also to the latest and greatest travel products. At the same time, we only look for sponsored posts for products or services we would have bought either way. If the product is not up to the standards we expect, we keep an open dialogue with the company and let them know our experience with the product.
So far, we have not had a bad experience with any of the products or services that we created sponsored content. We make sure to write the post in the most honest way as possible, always including a disclosure saying it is sponsored.
Do not be afraid to mention any shortcomings a product might have, at it will only allow the service to improve in the future. No product is 100% perfect and your audience expects an honest review if they are to trust your recommendations.
This is our favorite stream of income as we get paid to travel. Do not think we are spending our days sipping a piña colada on a tropical beach. In fact a paid more tiresome and harder than a regular trip as you are brought to the destination and paid in exchange to produce an agreed-upon amount of content before, during and after the trip. It depends on the contract you have signed.
When working with a destination or attraction payment does not always include a cash component, rather an exchange of goods and services. This is not ideal, but it has helps us keep traveling and producing content with a minimum upfront expense. Besides for a tourism board, we contact hotels, tourism operators, and transportation companies to offer our services.
There have been times that we rather paying the tour because our time is more valuable than the price of the tour, so at the end it is all up to you and your preferences.
Just remember, for your own benefit and the benefit of other bloggers and influencers, please do not work for free. Keep in mind that a provided service or product should count as part of payment as it might cost the company money to give it to you. At the same time only offer the amount of work product based on the price. You would not want to produce the same amount of content for a comped $20 tour versus a $500/night resort.
Our equation is the following: Our set rate – product or service = minimum payment. We base our rate on the amount of work and hours that we will be putting in on the project. We only use this formula with products or services that we would need to purchase either way. Otherwise we require monetary compensation and if a company want us to return the product we understand, but never recommend something without testing it first.
Social Media Campaigns
Social media campaigns are a big way of making money. Even though we are not that big on social media we have loyal followers that engage in our content and companies are starting to pay more for small and middle size influencers with higher interaction rates.
These campaigns are based on posting a photo, video or stories of you using a product or service promoting it on your social media channels. The campaigns are pretty easy to do, the hardest thing is getting the right campaign and to take a good photo without looking to spammy.
Creating content for other companies is our main secure paycheck each month. Monthly we create a set number of pieces of content highlighting or featuring a brand. This content is not to share on our accounts, rather for the company to use on their own website and social media accounts. We produce videos, photos and written content for several companies around the world.
While it is unique content, we use the same destinations and locations we are already visiting to create additional content for these companies. Most companies need a consistent stream of content to share and since we are already traveling, we can provide better prices than paying a photographer or models to travel to each destination.
Offer consulting in your area of expertise either to your audience or companies. Providing one on one or group sessions at a set hourly rate is possible in person or remotely via video conference. Your area of expertise does not have to be exactly the same as your blog, but should be related to grow your status as an expert. For us, it would not just be consulting on how to be a travel blogger or influencer, but consulting related to trip planning, photography or even influencer marketing.
Consulting is new for us and we are going to start doing one to one sessions this year on how to improve your blog and mentor future bloggers to start of their business. If you would like to be some of our first students, please send an email to [email protected].
Never stop learning, never stop growing
“Life is like riding a bicycle. In order to keep your balance, you must keep moving.” ~Albert Einstein
There are countless ways to make money on your blog and social media channels. We try to highlight the main revenue streams, but at the end it is all up to you, what you feel comfortable with and what works on your own website.
Although we believe these are the best options but all of them require a lot of work and even more patience. Keep on testing new ideas, give new revenue streams a chance as you never know which is best for you and your audience.
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