When I published my stat and income report last week, I received loads of Tweets, DM’s and e-mails about how I make money online, more specifically how I find sponsored posts.
So, let’s make this clear, I don’t make loads of money online and like I’ve said in the past, it’s not my priority. But it has been something I’ve wanted in the past so I understand why so many people want to make some money while doing something they love.
You also need to realise that when you start making money, you need to register with HMRC to declare you earnings. There are also rules around declaring sponsored posts. Google also has rules and guidelines around selling links, while these are not law, they could result in your being penalised by Google and having your blog removed from the search engine. So yeah, it’s not just as simple as write a post and get paid – it can get a tad complicated.
Here’s how I’m going to break this down:
- How long will it take to make money blogging.
- When should you turn sponsored posts down.
- How to find sponsored posts.
- Hints and tips.
How long will it take you make money blogging.
Of course, this isn’t one of those simple answers. How long it will take you will depend on a variety of different things, such as your niche, how fast your grow your following and how good your content is.
We’re not talking weeks or months here, more like years. It took me a year before I first got paid for a blog post, and honestly – it’s something I wish I hadn’t accepted, more on that below though.
It was after around 18 months of blogging when I first made some real money. It was an article I wrote for another website and they paid me £75. Cash flow was inconsistent for a long time. Some months I made nothing, some months just £30 and the odd month I made a bit more. My earnings are still inconsistent today, but the amount it varies between is slowly going up.
I honestly believe that you have to be realistic about it. It’s highly unlikely I’m ever going to make a full time income blogging, and probably unlikely for you, too. Unless you have something to sell. Like an ebook, a service, graphics, blog designs. Or unless you do free lance work alongside your blogging – such as copy writing, being a virtual assistant or managing a companies social media account.
But it is possible to earn a bit of extra cash, that might help you buy a new camera, or that you can put towards a holiday.
I also want to point out that the amount of money you make doesn’t have anything to do with how successful your blog is.
You could have an amazing blog with interesting content and stunning images that doesn’t make much – it doesn’t mean your blog isn’t as good as someone who does make money. I get the impression that some people equate the success of their blog with how much money it makes. There are many ways to measure the success of a blog and they’ll be different for everyone.
When should you turn down sponsored posts.
Much like when you first start getting PR samples, getting offered money to post about something can be exciting and it’s easy to get a bit blinded by it. We’ve probably all accepted things we’ll later regret.
As I said above, I regretted the first time I made some cash blogging. I was paid $10 to post about one of those asian dress sites. I actually still get a lot of e-mails from similar sites. You might have come across them, they usually go something like:
I love your fashion and style so much! I want to collaborate with you and your fabulous blog, I can pay you $10 if you write about my site and put an advert for 3 months. I am looking for long term cooperation.
Don’t do that. Not only are you selling yourself short, but these sites are poor quality and will pay any blogger $10 for anchor text links. They’ll tell you they love your blog, but they just try and flatter you into making it seem like a great idea to work with them. I fell for it and I hope you don’t.
I mean, if you really wanted to do it, you could, but it can really cheapen the look of your site and damage your integrity. I feel proper pants that I accepted one before!
Another time you should consider saying no, is when it doesn’t suit the normal theme of your blog. While it’s good to try new things and switch up your topics, some things are going to look odd. I recently turned down a £100 post because I felt like it wouldn’t ad any value. If I did the post, I don’t think it would do very well or interest many people that read my blog.
The last thing you want is your blog to look like it’s full of adverts rather than being an actual blog.
Another time you might want to say no is if they are quite demanding on things like anchor text links and what’s to be included.
Guest posts are another opportunity that I always turn down. I’ll get e-mails about companies wanting to submit articles to post on my site and pay me for it. This is mostly because they want to tailor the article towards a specific keyword and put some links in it to improve a clients site, or their own sites SEO. I don’t accept pre-written content on my site so always say no. I don’t agree with this type of guest posting as not only are they just doing it for links, but you’ll probably end up with a poor quality article or an article that they’ve had published on other sites.
The general rule to go by, is that if the sponsored post goes against your blogs vision, or gives you an icky feeling because you’re just accepting it for the cash – then you should probably say no.
There’s nothing stopping you saying yes if you really need the dollar, but don’t allow your integrity to come into question or let posts slip through that won’t be a great fit, or as great quality as the rest of your blog.
How to find sponsored posts.
Okay, this is the one you’ve all been waiting for. How do I find sponsored posts?
Most of them contact me, but there are some places you can apply for them.
The one I’ve used most is Bloggers Required. Bloggers Required is basically as site that companies can put up adverts requesting bloggers. While most of their assignments are for reviews in exchange for a product, sometimes they do have ones that offer bloggers money. I’ve had a few decent ones through there, but they get a lot of interest. So to be accepted, do you have to write a pitch with each submission and full out your social media reach.
It’s worth signing up to their weekly newsletter as they tend to have one or two newsletter only assignments which tend to be better than the ones on the main site.
There are loads of Facebook groups I’m on, but the one that seems to have the most paid opportunities is UK Bloggers. It is a closed, private group and you have to be a UK blogger to join. Make sure you read the rules if you sign up, they’re strict on things like posting your blog posts on the main wall – they have threads for you to put your posts and social media links in to stop the group being full of links. It’s much more of a community than a place to just find paid posts, so be respectful of that if you sign up.
Many PR’s will post assignments on there and ask for info, such as email, blog URL and DA and then will select suitable bloggers for paid posts. Again, they usually only work with a handful at time and many people do apply so you won’t get accepted for everything and a lot do require a Domain Authority of over 30.
As well as posting blogger opportunities, it’s a great place to ask questions and blogging and join in discussions with other bloggers.
UK Blogger Opportunities is the same idea as UK Bloggers, but it’s just for opportunities. It’s a way for PR’s to post assignments and bloggers to apply.
As above, it’s a closed group and there are rules you must follow.
There are many blogging groups on Facebook that are based on city or region, too. So have a search and see what comes up.
Just google Blog Networks, or Blogger Networks UK (or similar) and you’ll find a list of networks that aim to bring bloggers and brands together. Generally, you sign up by giving them information such as the type of blog you have and your URL and they will e-mail you with any suitable work.
A lot also have newsletters that you can sign up to and these will often request certain bloggers to contact them
Hints and Tips.
When you get a sponsored post, make sure you stick to your commitments around it. Post it on the agreed date and be clear about the brief of the post. E-mail when the post is live and just be honest if something has come up which means you can’t stick to your commitment.
Being reliable will show the PR that you’re a good person to work with that won’t let them down and make them look like they’re not delivering to their manager or to the brand. This could result in more work, or them passing on your contact details to other PRs. I have a few digital marketing agencies that come back time and time again because they know I’ll deliver my side of the deal.
Because I’ve worked with them before, I can trust them to be reliable with their side of the deal and pay with in a reasonable time.
Be honest about your stats.
Whether you’re applying for a sponsored post, or you’re creating a page with your stats on – be honest about how many views you get. It will be obvious that you’re lying about your stats if your post doesn’t do as well as expected or you have a low click through rate. This will result in the brand not wanting to work with you in the future.
Same goes for buying follows – inflating your numbers in any way is the wrong way to go about things. It might make you look good, you won’t be delivering results.
PR’s are usually the middle man.
This is something to remember. While it’s tempting to be rude when you’re not being offered enough for a post, or just ignore e-mails chasing up your post, remember that PR’s are people too and are generally just trying to do their job.
They don’t set the budgets or KPI’s most of their time. Their job is to find reliable bloggers that will deliver on time. So don’t be a dick.
Be honest with your readers.
It’s not shameful to be paid to blog about something. You can still do it while keeping your integrity.
As long as you are saying YES to the right project, and no to the ones that don’t fit your blog or you don’t agree with, it’s fine. While some people might accuse you of being a sell out, the most important thing is you know your intentions and you know you are only endorsing brands or products you generally do like.
Don’t fake your options for the sake of a few quid. Do you don’t want to influence your readers to buy something that is actually a pile of wank.
Further reading that might be helpful to you:
Hope you found that helpful!
I’ve been getting a lot of messages lately asking for advice. Sorry that I’ve been unable to answer them all, but I’m saving them and plan to write a post on the most frequent ones.
If you have anything you would like me to write a post about, just comment below or e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll see what I can do!