Whether you are a newbie blogger or a more experienced blogger you may or may not know that it IS possible to make money from your blog. This applies whether you blog a hobby or a purposeful business. In our time, digital spaces are an increasing area of possible income for ANYONE. I have previously shared the 5 things you TRULY need to start a blog. Today we will delve into many of the networks out there that could help YOU monetize YOUR blog.
I have been trying to familiarize and immerse myself in this field and I have found myself at a standstill. A quick google or Pinterest search will give you millions of posts of other bloggers sharing THEIR technique for making X amount of money in Y amount of time. I have read hundreds of these and I have STILL not made over $200. One thing I found all of these posts lacked was providing alternatives to the ones that worked for them. As such I came up with the idea of sharing ALL of the networks I know of that YOU can check them out and see which one assimilates with YOU.
These two are the most popular networks to do Shop my Closet and widgets like the ones you see here on my blog and your favorite bloggers. The two work in similar ways but have very different recruitment processes. Rewardstyle has become a sort of clique-y and “selective” group. It is used by the most known bloggers and YouTubers. Shopstyle is more easily available especially for new bloggers that do not have a huge following. They have JUST started a commission based program so your payout will depend greatly on the sales you make from your affiliate links. If you were a member from before, you have the option to continue on pay-per-click or apply for commission based.
Going back to the recruitment, RewardStyle has certain requirements you have to meet before they accept you into their program. I am NOT a member, so I do not know how it works, but many people aspire to become members, so it’s a matter of preference. They also have certain expectations of your aesthetic and your continuous online presence. They also have an invitation/referral aspect to their recruitment which adds to the selectivity. SO, if you are thinking of applying look into it a bit more and see if it’s worth it to you or if you can find someone to refer you and increase your chances of being chosen. Shopstyle was NOT like that back when I joined last year. It was a more straightforward application and they have made some nice improvements to make it more user-friendly. For more on Shopstyle, check out this post.
Activate is a platform from the ever famous Bloglovin. This platform connects content creators with brands and agencies looking for collaborations. The process of application is very simple, and the campaigns usually work out very well with proper instructions. There are areas in the campaign page where you can submit your drafts and posts for approval as well as a forum where you can connect with others in the campaign. I have only had a few experiences but they have been good and the communications are always open. It’s very reliable and they pay out on time. What I like the most is the diversity of campaigns that they have. You can definitely find something the resonates with you and your audience here.
Like Activate, BrandBaker connects content creators with brands. Differently from Activate, what I have seen the most on BB is samples instead of paid campaigns. The only downside to BrandBacker is that most campaigns have regional limitations so I have not been able to participate while living in PR. They mostly have product samples catered to beauty and skin care with some lifestyle items. Some of the pros of this is that if you want to try new products and meet the brand requirements, you could easily get a chance to try new things. One of the cons in that you need to connect all of your channels and they do not update continuously. As such every so often you need to update your networks to reflect your following. Another con IMO is the lack of diversity in the product selection and the fact that there are barely any paid campaigns.
Heartbeat is a combination of both Activate and Brandbacker, although it is mostly targeted for Instagram. In their Discover section you will be able to find sample and paid campaigns that you will market primarily on Instagram. They have a minimum starting payout of $10 per post and it will increase as your following, engagement and campaigns progress. They also have a referral program that you could participate in. What I like about Heartbeat is the fact that they have a wide variety of brands to work with that offer an array of products. From makeup to clothes and ingenious items, you can surely find something that peaks your interest. In addition I like that by becoming a part of their community you get access to their “University” and get videos and blog posts on how to improve your techniques. I have not yet applied to any campaigns with them due to time constraints, but there have been several that have appealed to me.
This is another popular one and it just has not worked out for me. Amazon has an affiliate program and for big blogs with lots of traffic it seems to work very well. But for a smaller audience I have NOT figured out the magic trick. I love Amazon and we use it for almost everything but for my blog/audience Amazon affiliates is not a great way to monetize my blog. The catch with this program is that you need to get a certain number of orders, I think it’s 3, in a specific time period. They do this because they want to know that you have the ability to pull in those transactions. If you do not get the orders in that time period your account will be deactivated and you will need to reapply. In my opinion, if you feel like Amazon is something you can incorporate into a majority of your blog posts then it could be a great alternative.
Rakuten is one of the biggest affiliate networks right now. They have an enormous platform of brands they work with. This is one that I haven’t completely figured out yet. From what I have gathered you can apply to become an affiliate with a brand and then put ads or banners in your site. If anyone has any experiences or tips feel free to message me or leave a comment below. I think the hardest part about monetizing your blog is finding brands, products and programs that resonate with you and that you truly enjoy and believe in. I am very picky and particular about the partnerships I take into consideration I a refuse to work with someone for money if the product is not something I believe in, have or would try. Since Rakuten has HUNDREDS of brands, I have NOT found the ones that inspire me or impress me enough to get featured.
Many brands, companies, and websites have their own affiliate programs and they usually are great opportunities. These programs are great alternatives because they payout percent is usually greater, usually from 10-50%. If you look for these opportunities you might be surprised at how many there actually are. From web hosting services, to image editors, and even other blogger courses, these specific affiliate programs are an incredible opportunity for monetizing your blog. Other ways to find these specific affiliate programs is to do an Instagram or Pinterest search and look for posts that feature specific programs. You can also sear your favorite brands page at the bottom. It might have a link that says Affiliate Program or similar wording. So, as you can see there are endless possibilities in this specific area.
Similar to the one above, working directly with brands is another way to monetize your blog. Usually, if your blog is still small/starting out this might not be your first choice. But, once you are more established as a blogger, you will begin getting emails from brands wanting to work with you. You could also pitch to brands you are interested in and see if they are willing to work with you. The way it works is either by getting products from a brand in exchange for a blog post or social media campaign or you write something and they pay you with actual money. You can choose which one you are going to accept, but I caution you to stay TRUE to who you are and your own brand. Only work with brands you believe in and that will sync with your content. Like in the category above, the possibilities are ENDLESS with this one!
Finally we have reached the tenth and final way to monetize YOUR blog. Offering a service. For me this is the hardest one to plan for. You need to analyze yourself, your time, your aesthetic, and your abilities. I only recently went this route and it’s been good so far. I decided to offer help to students who are applying to medical school OR residency. This is something I feel confident helping someone with, it won’t be ridiculously time consuming, and it’s helpful. The great thing about this category is that is is personal and only YOU will know how you want to go about it. You decide the prices and the time you want to dedicate to this service. It can literally be ANYTHING at all that resonates with your brand. Going back to my services, it all stemmed from the feedback I received on my Road to Residency Series. So for this monetization strategy you will need to be ahead of the creative process.
And there you have it, my very own round up of blog monetization opportunities. This was quite a lengthy list but I am happy with many of these. Like I mentioned above, I have not made much money yet but I believe you have got to start somewhere. I also wanted to feature opportunities that have worked and ones that have not just because I want YOU to know that they exists and who knows they might work great for you. There are many other networks out there that might JUST work for YOU.
Thanks for reading!
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