The topic of how bloggers make money is somewhat shushed about and I never understood why. I think blogging tips are never talked shared in general because people feel like they are secrets that need to be kept. Or that if they share their tips then other people will get ahead with them.
That is crazy talk! There are way too many bloggers out there now. No one has the exact same personality, same style, same home, same everything. We are all so different!
I think the secret is out. You can google just about anything these days and find out exactly what you’re looking for, so why not have it come from the source? That is ultimately why I started this Tuesday Talks series.
I did not get to where I am on my own. I had loads of help and loads of tips given to me. I am now paying it forward. I would LOVE to see you grow into the blogger you always wanted to be with these tips!
I guess ‘blogger’ isn’t the correct term now. Someone, somewhere, decided that ‘blogger’ was a derogatory term. They wanted to be called an influencer. So here we are now, everyone tiptoeing between the two. I feel like what I am doing right now, in this post, is blogging. So call me a blogger or an influencer- I don’t really care!
There I go getting off topic again…
How Bloggers Make Money
Smaller brands, who do not have an agency to represent them, will reach out directly to us to work together. I accept about 20% of these that come my way based on fit. For example; I don’t wear a lot of jewelry, so I hardly take any jewelry collaborations. I also have to make sure it fits in line with you guys. I am not going to post about a $1000 pair of sneakers if I know that I would never spend that amount on it myself.
PR firms will also reach out to us on behalf of a client! Seeing more and more of this lately! They are usually so great to work with. I accept around 50% of these that come my way. Why? Because these are usually more in line with what I actually do on my blog since these PR agencies have already vetted us and decided we were a good fit.
I did a post on how to pitch to brands or agencies HERE.
A long time ago ( I think 5-6 years), Amber Venz-Box, the co-creator of rewardStyle, was in college and working as a stylist. Once internet shopping became a big hit, she wanted a way to monetize all of the online links she was sending to her clients. She would get paid hourly for sending the links, but she wanted an actual commission on everything she sold. That, in short, is how rewardStyle got started. She was dating an engineer at SMU at the time (who is now her husband and co-creator Baxtor Box) and he helper her find a way to monetize everything she was selling online.
Poof, there you have rewardStyle. I have heard the story so many times that it probably changed a lot from what actually happens… but you get the gist.
Most bloggers are either on rewardStyle or on Shopstyle. Shopstyle is a pay per click platform and rS is a pay per sale. Shopstyle is great for people with TONS of blog traffic and for people who like to window shop rather than buy. I do a lot better on rewardStyle right now, but that doesn’t mean I won’t be switching to Shopstyle in the future. Try them both out to see which is right for you. From my experience, Shopstyle is a lot easier to get into to, so it may be what a new blogger starts with until they are accepted into rewardStyle.
How rewardStyle works:
Do you see the weird URL on the bottom of all of my captions with the @liketoknow.it tag and the #liketkit? LIKEtoKNOW.it is actually owned by rewardStyle!
Basically, bloggers have an app that we log in to, upload our photos to, and tag everything we are wearing to. LIKEtoKNOW.it then takes the information and creates a unique link for each photo (the URL you see in the captions). You can shop these Instagram Photos numerous ways:
- You can download the new @liketoknow.it app (available in the app store). Once you have it, you simply search for my name in the app and allllll of my shoppable instagram photos will be right there!!! HOW CRAZY IS THAT?! You can also screenshot photos you see while scrolling your feed on instagram and the app will also save those photos and you will be able to see the links to everything from the photos you took a screenshot of-also crazy!
- If you don’t want to download the app, I do have a page on my blog you can go to at any time to shop all of my Instagram content. Find it here.
Everything you click on from that generated LIKEtoKNOW.it link is tracked for us and we make a commission on those sales. The commission varies… a lot. Some places offer as low as 3% commission while others are around 20% commission. But, you have to buy the item online after clicking on one of our links in order for us to get the sale. Also, if you click on a dress I posted from Nordstrom, and then click on another bloggers top from Nordstrom and then check out, the LAST BLOGGER OR LINK you clicked on will get the sale.
RewardStyle also helps us monetize our blogs. We have a cool tool on our bookmarks tab called Link Ninja. Basically, we just go to the website where we bought the item, open it to the specific page or item, and hit link ninja. We then see a pop up that lets us generate a link to use on our blogs and we can then save the item if we know we will need the link again later!
RewardStyle also acts as an agent, and will connect us with retailers to form brand partnerships (collaborations). We typically get paid a flat fee to do these + any commission we earned on the post. If you scroll to the bottom of some of my posts, it will show you whether the post was sponsored by a brand or not. I work with Nordstrom a lot through these partnerships. These are my favorite!
In summary, I basically get paid a % of anything you buy from my blog or from my Instagram via rewardStyle! If you end up going to the store and buying it I will not make any commission off of it, but I am so glad you liked it haha!
We also get paid a flat rate from a few retailers when we do direct brand partnerships with them! Or, we get a flat rate + commission when we work with brands through rewardStyle.
We also have a lot of expenses.
-Photography. I consider the photography we pay for and our trips we take to be expenses. I work with two photographers a week and always need a fast turnaround on my photos so I pay extra for that. This turns out to be around $30-50 an outfit. I also bought a nice camera (another expense) so that my friends and I could shoot each other.
-Travel. Travel is usually an expense for us. Yes we get to go to some amazing places, but most of the time we are reviewing a hotel or we need to be at that certain location to shoot for a brand. Anything we pay for on these trips is included as an expense. Also the gas we use to get to all of our shoots and events is an added expense.
-Taxes. This depends on if you are single or married and of course what you are making. I have to set aside around 35% of my income to put away for taxes. So sad!!
-Programs/website maintenance. I pay $50 a month for my newsletter service, $10 a month to make the photos you see at the top of this post, $10 a month for my Pinterest scheduling, etc. It really adds up.
I also pay around $300 a month to have a website team 24/7. They basically do any changes I need on my website, back it up in case it crashes, and they have monthly calls with me to go over strategies. This is when they break down my page views and we go over what worked well and what didn’t. They are called Chloe Digital.
-Education. Any online courses we take or go to is an expense for us. There are always new things out there that we want to learn so we can stay ahead of the game.
-Employees/Agency Fees. I have one new employee I hired last week. I haven’t introduced her yet because she lives in Austin! Her name is Briana and she has been working for my sister and told me she could take on some more! YAY! I went to high school with her (she is my sister’s age) so I know her really well! I pay her hourly so that is definitely a new expense I am getting used to.
-Agents. If you have an agent they will typically charge you 20% of each contract they work on for you or get for you. I don’t have an agent right now, but will probably get one in the future. They typically have you pay monthly (even if you haven’t gotten paid on the project yet).
-Clothes. I don’t write clothes off as an expense on my taxes but I know a lot of bloggers do. Clothes is DEFINITELY an expense for us. We may get paid from a brand to post about a dress, but everything else we get to complete that outfit is an expense.
When I get paid, 35% is put away for taxes, a lot of it is put away for expenses, and then whatever is left is what I consider as my income for the month.
There you have it- how bloggers make money! I am sure there are SOOOO many questions and I would love to answer all of them for you! Please leave a comment below with any you have!