In 2016 I made the necessary change from Wix to WordPress and changed the design of my blog. Midway through 2016 I began to feel the burnout. I was spending part time hours on my blog and social media but for what to become popular? Blogging for free things or exposure was no longer enough. In September of 2016 popular financial blogger, Jason Butler challenged his followers to participate in a 1K Side Hustle Challenge. This challenge provided different ways to make $1,000 or more per month in addition to your full-time source of income. I didn’t make 1K but the challenge made me realize I didn’t have the tools in place and until then was focused on the wrong outcome.
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I started to be intentional and only seek or listen to opportunities that would provide income for my time creating blog posts and social media content. Starting in October of 2016 I worked with my first company to pay me for writing a blog post. Since October I’ve made thousands of dollars and worked with National brands such as Uber, Lowes Hotel, WeTV and Church’s Chicken to name a few to provide content. A lot of people think ads are the only way to make money with your content. A lot of ads are often ignored and some people even use chrome plugins to block ads. Here are a few ways to make money from your digital content.
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If you are unfamiliar with how to use ads on your website. Google AdSense is a popular and the most standard program. You have to apply to use google ads on your website, YouTube Channel or blogger.com site. The approval process is not easy if you are just starting out. It is best to wait when your site has a decent amount of content and has been around for a few months. To sign up you need a Google account, original content and valid contact information.
Affiliate programs allow you to receive a % of a click or sale (depends on the terms) from sharing urls and /pon social media or your website. There are many networks that provide a directory of available companies that provide compensation for publishing their links on your website. You have to apply for each company. It is important to be strategic and select companies that apply to your audience. If you don’t know which network a company is a part of you can google “Affiliate program+company name” or reach out and inquire. Popular networks to sign up for affiliate programs are:
A global affiliate network that brings together the Affiliate Window and zanox networks. Made up of over 6,000 advertisers. There is a $5 application fee bu you will recieve a $5 credit on your account after approval.
High-performance publishers (affiliates) around the world choose the CJ Network to promote top brand advertisers and maximize advertising revenue.
ShareASale has been in business for 17 years, exclusively as an Affiliate Marketing Network. Their technology receives accolades for speed, efficiency, and accuracy.
Connects over 2,000 leading brands with publishers all over the world opening new revenue streams.
Partner with recognized brands and earn commissions directly from your site.
Travel Affiliate Program
Sponsored Blog Posts
If you own a blog you can make money by allowing sponsored posts on your blog. A company can provide the blog post or will provide a link for you to create a topic relative to the link. For the most part, you will run into the latter option. It can be challenging to determine what your rate is when you are first starting out. After a while you will know how long it takes you to do a post and you can divide your hourly charge by the amount of hours and even a step further divide by the amount of words required in the article to get your per word cost. It is important to make sure the link is not a spam link and from a reputable company. Also be sure to make it is relative to your brand so that you continue to provide value to your readers. Be sure to have a contact form on your website and be sure to join the sites mentioned in Influencer section for leads. After a while don’t be afraid to pitch companies in your industry regarding sponsored posts. In the beginning, it can be tempting to blog for free things or exposure. It is ok to do this initially (short time) to have content on your site and create relationships and let other companies know that you are open to partnerships. However, as you progress in your blogging journey be sure to transition to a profitable model.
In addition to sponsored posts, you may be required to share the post on social media. If so you should consider this when figuring out your fee. You can also get paid for stand-alone social media posts.
- Paid posts on Instagram-Get paid to share either a company provided or a photo you create around the campaign parameters to your followers.
- Twitter Parties- If you already use Twitter this is an easy way to make money. Companies may provide free stuff or cash to participate in a Twitter party which is essentially a chat around a topic and hashtag to help create a buzz and have a product trend.
- Social shares-Some companies will pay you to share a link to their content on most all of social media channels.
So where do you find sponsored posts and paid social media? There are many websites listed in the next section that offer a platform to connect brands with content creators and influencers.
Influencer and Campaign Programs
Depending on your amount of followers and statistics of your website, you may be eligible to participate in campaigns. Companies will work with bloggers and influencers to help carry out marketing initiatives. These can come in various forms from sponsored blog posts or sponsored social media posts. There are various websites where you can sign up to create a profile and have access to campaigns.
Popular sites are:
For Instagram and YouTube Users, Social Native is a technology platform for high performing branded content. If you’re a content creator you, you can sign up to be matched with companies to perform campaigns. Payment can range from free products, features on Instagram pages or money.
Connects influencers with brands and provides you with a digital media kit. Opportunities range from sponsored blog posts or social media post on all platforms including Pinterest! A media kit is a summary of your audience, social media numbers and engagement. It can also include details on your blog, opportunities you look for and past campaigns.
Another platform that connects influencers to brands but has a certain criterion to join.
- The primary channel is a blog, forum, Facebook, or Youtube.
- Have 2,500+ visitors or followers on Facebook or Twitter.
- Demonstrate healthy engagement from members.
- The audience is primarily based in North America.
For Travel Bloggers and Influencers-In addition to social media campaigns. Crossroads in a subset of Cooperatize that offers access to sponsored blog post opportunities. To view crossroads opportunities you must be a blogger and/or influencer who has above 1,000 monthly unique visitors to their blog and over 1,000 followers on Twitter. Also, you need to have integrated Google Analytics and Twitter on your Cooperatize profile.
Another platform to connect with brands. Once you sign up you will receive monthly surveys to further qualify you for campaigns. The setup of your profile is similar to a media kit.
Social media campaigns for Instagram and Pinterest. You must have one account with at least 5,000 followers.
Pay Per Post connects influencers with Brands to provide sponsored posts or social media posts. This format is different as you bid on campaigns. The type of plan you have determines how many campaigns you can bid on. Once you connect all of your social networks and Google Analytics, a suggested amount to bid is given per platform.
As a BraVoMark community blogger, influencer, or creator you will be provided with periodic opportunities to apply for work based on brand requirements
Think about what your website and/or social media is about. Think about what it took to build both. Are there things you learned during the process that you can offer consulting services to other. What do your friends know you best for? Think about how you can turn your skills and passion into content and services you can monetize.
Think about some of the content you produce on your blog that can be turned into a training program, E-book or guides. Check out your most popular content that you can turn into a profit and sell it on your website. You can sell your digital goods on your website with PayPal integration or check out the following:
Shopify+Digital Downloads Application
To create and sell courses, check out:
Apparel and Products
You can sell products on your website such as tees or other creative items. To do so you have to use an e-commerce partner such as WooCommerce, Shopify, SquareSpace or Teespring. You can test out Shopify with a free 14 day trial!
An Amazon Store
As a part of the Amazon Affiliate program, you can create an Amazon astore filled with products relative to your blog’s niche. For example, if your blog is directed to K-8 students and parents, you could create a store around educational products by selecting the appropriate category. You can customize the store’s layout and colors and embed it into a blog post or a separate page for your readers to shop.
Surveys and Case Studies
This is rare but depending on your industry once you establish a presence you may be approached by companies who need to do research on a topic. This may come in the form of a Skype interview or document or forms to fill out. I’ve worked with some companies that will pay a few hundred dollars for this.
With all of these methods, be sure to follow FTC rules when posting to let your readers and followers know that it’s an ad or sponsored content. #ad #sponsored
I’ve listed the ways to make money but remember it is also important to develop quality and consistent content and optimize your content to appear in search engine results (Good SEO). This will help attract companies who want to work with you. You need to build a following and engage with readers and followers. Understand your audience with Google Analytics so that you partner with companies that fit your audience. Also don’t overkill by working with every product and company. Only choose the opportunities that fit your brand and audience. Be ready to provide quotes and develop a pitch that you can tweak based on the company and product. There is no right number to quote. It should be based on your following and engagement but also determine the time it takes to develop sponsored posts and content and how much you need to make for it to be a profitable venture and wise use of time. The investment of less than $150 a year to maintain my blog and domain is minimal compared to the return.
What are some ways you use your content to make money? Comment below!
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