If I had a nickel for every time someone has asked how we actually make money on the blog, I’d have a pretty substantial source of income! It’s probably my most-asked question, and I totally understand why. So here’s a super transparent breakdown to our most common FAQ: How to we make money?
How Do Bloggers Make Money?
Whenever someone asks me this, I use what I call my “billboard analogy.” Bloggers make money on advertising dollars from larger companies. But, instead of the large companies spending money to put a generic ad on a billboard or on a page in a magazine, the companies are seeking out bloggers to weave their brands into an authentic conversation on their blogs. These companies know that bloggers have real, living, breathing audiences — that’s YOU! And they know that we, as bloggers, work really hard to gain and maintain the trust of our audiences by being authentic, by sharing ourselves and our stories, and by only recommending things we truly love and use.
Also, when companies advertise with bloggers instead of somewhere like a billboard or a magazine, they know the audience of the blogger that they’re working with. They seek out bloggers with an audience that is already tailor-fit to be interested in their brand.
How Do We Make Money?
All that being said, there’s a breakdown of that advertising income within the structure of each blogger’s business. And the same is true for Lovely Indeed. So here’s exactly where all of our income comes from.
“Sponsored content” basically means anything that I share here or on our social media feeds for which I have been paid, and it makes up about 65% of my income. This means that a brand or a company will approach me (or sometimes I will reach out, if there’s a brand I really want to share) and inquire whether I think their product would be a good fit for our readers. Right here is where I consider the brand, and decide whethe sharing about it would actually add value to YOUR life. I ask myself that every time I’m considering a brand partnership! I think it’s hugely important to only share the things that I truly love and that would be useful for you.
If the answer is no, I decline and pass on the opportunity. If the answer is yes, I connect the brand to my management team, who negotiates a price for the campaign based on the scope of work. Does the brand want a blog post? Supporting social media posts? Any video content? A DIY? All of this is nailed down and included in a contract, which both parties sign. Then I execute the content, share it here, and hope you love it! Afterwards I share the results with the brand, usually analytics of how many people saw and/or engaged with the post. Obviously the more engagement, the more a brand is excited!
There is, of course, so much that goes into the crafting of a piece of sponsored content. What message is the brand trying to convey? How can we efficiently and authentically address that message and help you get it? What’s the timeline? What hashtags are we using? How many images does the product need to appear in? And on and on. It’s so important to hit all of these points and more, and make sure that both the brand’s needs and YOUR needs are being met, as a reader.
Digital Courses, Speaking, and Hosting
Last year was the first time that speaking and digital courses came into the mix for our income, although I had done some event hosting before. This section makes up another 12% of my income. Last year we launched The Productivity Tool Kit, and I love the fact that this income source is not dependent on any other brand or entity. It’s purely something that I created, marketed, and sold myself. Along with that came various speaking engagements as well.
On the hosting side of things, this means that brands will hire me to come to their event and act as a host for their brand. I did this last year with Method, Cricut, and a few more. These in-person events are actually one of my favorite things to do! I love being in-person with people and helping the brand teams showcase their product. The events are usually super fun, and it’s great to be off the screen and in real life. These events often come with requirements that I also share on my social media about the event, to pump up interest and help include anyone who can’t be there in person.
This accounts for the next 10% of my blogger income. Display ads are what used to be known as “banner ads,” and chances are you’re looking at some right now. They’re the ads that appear either on the sidebar or within the posts on Lovely Indeed, advertising things to you that you might have once upon a time Googled. These have become so common on the internet that I almost don’t see them any more. But basically I get paid a certain rate based on how many times those ads are seen or clicked on. So the higher the traffic on my website, the more money those ads make. These are a kind of set-it-and-forget-it passive income for a blogger.
I don’t publicize it much any more, but I do still contribute as a freelancer for a couple of other large DIY sites. That means that I create DIY content for them to publish and own on their sites. This makes up about 8% of my income. I have hung on to these positions because often in this world, income can be uneven (because it basically is a freelance lifestyle). You can make a huge amount of money in Q2 and then nothing in Q3, or vice versa. So those contributor positions are a way for me to know that I have something steady coming in every month, whether or not the sponsorships are coming in.
The final 5% of my income is from affiliate links. These are basically like little commissions that I get any time I recommend something with a special link and someone makes a purchase using that link. It’s a small chunk of money, but another simple way for bloggers to make a bit of income off of the things that they recommend.
And that’s that! It’s certainly a hustle, patching together all of these different streams of income into one business. But diversity is good. In fact, I’m always on the hunt for ways to diversify our income so that I don’t have to rely heavily on any one type. That’s one of my big goals this year.
Feel free to ask any questions in the comments and I’ll be as transparent as I can with my answers! xoxo
P.S. Read a ton more info about blogging here.