This is a guest contribution from blogger Erin Bender from Travel With Bender.
Similar to the background story of many bloggers, my blog was born into this world because a friend asked me to write one.
In 2012 I commenced a worldwide open-ended nomadic adventure with my husband and two children, and blogging seemed like a great idea. A blog was the perfect vehicle to share our stories to everyone I cared about back at home without the need for endless repetition.
It wasn’t until I met another blogger a few months later that she revealed to me a secret. A secret so potent that I may be strung up for revealing it now. But I have to. I can’t stay silent.
You can make money from your blog. Gasp!
And so for the past three years I have experimented with multiple strategies all stemming from this one spark. Today I want to share with you a taste of the wealth and knowledge I’ve gained.
So buckle up. This is one ride you are going to want to bookmark.
Before I get started: my blog is focused on travel, but these same strategies can work for most industries: technology, fashion, food, finance, kids and more.
These particular strategies I’m sharing are not the typical steps most newbies read about, such as monetizing with AdSense, or the Amazon affiliate program. You really need a lot of traffic to make a decent income from AdSense. I’m talking about making a full-time income without needing hundreds of thousands of visitors each month.
The starting point to monetizing your blog is your audience. Few people will give you money just because you’re awesome (wouldn’t that be cool!). They will do it because you have a decent sized (and relevant) audience and you know how to wield your influence. So once you have built your followers on social media, newsletters subscribers and regular visitors, how do you turn those into an income stream month after month?
5 Advanced Techniques I Use To Make Money On My Blog
1. Content Creation: When A Brand Asks You To Write For Them
Content creation takes place in many forms from freelance article writing, to video blogging, to expert guides, and more. Perhaps you didn’t think about reaching out to those promotion partners you’re working with. Take travel for example – a free press trip as a source of fresh new content on your own blog is great, but when you can also create valuable content for the brand’s blog or magazine, then that’s when you can ask for payment.
Sometimes the brand may be hard to convince up front. However once they see your own blog post, go back to them again. If they’ve loved your work and you’ve developed a strong rapport, often they will be want you to write for their publication.
2. Photography: Offering A Brand Your Images
So this may not be for everyone, but if you are taking killer shots then you should be working it. Offer the brand you’re working a fixed package upfront, which includes 5 or 10 royalty-free images. If you have examples of photos other people have already purchased from you then the sales pitch is much easier.
Most brands are in constant need of high quality photography of their product, service or destination, and your offer can make their life easier. If your forte is in video, then this same approach applies to video editing too.
3. Product Reviews: When A Brand Wants You To Be Honest
Payment for product reviews is not about buying a good review.
So let me start with a few cautions – to make your life easier, choose products you already know or think you will love. Keep reviews honest. Let the brand know of any complications or negatives upfront to see if they have a response and offer to publish those responses alongside the negatives you’re highlighting. Then ask for payment.
You are not being paid for your gushing assessment; you are asking payment for the exposure you are providing to their product or service.
We generally maintain a minimum value threshold for product reviews, and if there is an item value under that amount then we require payment. Think about all the work it took to grow your social media following and now you are receiving delayed payment for that hard work.
4. Competitions: When A Brand Wants To Give Stuff Away
Running a competition is a smart technique for generating new social followers and making your readers feel great, but it takes a lot of time. Time to set it up, promote it each day, and pick a winner. Time you could be paid for.
Similar to the product reviews, there may be a minimum payment threshold of items to give away, but if that is not met, ask for payment. The brand has approached you, because they want to reach your audience that you have worked so hard to build. Don’t feel like it’s worth anything less than what you are asking.
If you’re not sure where to start, take a look at Gleam, it makes setting up a competition a breeze.
5. Brand Ambassador: When Long Term Relationships Take The Next Step
When we started our nomadic journey I purchased travel insurance. I then reached out to them after a year and suggested writing for their website. We worked like that for another year. After two years they approached me to expand the relationship, which we built into a brand ambassadorship.
A brand ambassador role can encompass many tasks, but the main task is to promote the brand you’ve partnered with so you want to make sure it’s a product or service you believe in, and one that is a tight fit for your audience.
Tasks might include writing about them occasionally within your regular blog posts, writing for their blog, social media promotion, competitions, event attendance and more. Some ambassadorships are in exchange for products, others may generate a monetary compensation. Each arrangement is unique and requires negotiation to achieve a win-win situation.
I sincerely hope I am still alive after revealing these secrets of the trade. If you dare to share, what ways are you make money from your blog?
Erin has been travelling with her husband and two children since May 2012. It’s an open-ended, unplanned, round-the-world trip discovering amazing places for families. They have stayed in hostels and 5 star luxury resorts, travelled on scooters and cruise liners, danced with leprechauns and cuddled tigers. Nothing is out of bounds or out of reach for this remarkable Australian family. You can find unique family travel insights at her award-winning travel blog, follow her on Facebook, Pinterest or catch her tweeting on Twitter.