It is no news that bloggers make money through a variety of ways, with sponsored posts and product reviews, being a very popular way of making money in the blogging world. I for one, make majority of my blog income through sponsored posts, with product reviews coming close behind. So it comes as no surprise that there is a lot of huffing and puffing about bloggers selling out; publishing everything and anything, regardless of whether it is beneficial to their blog readers, as long as there is some money involved.
The truth of the matter is, many pro bloggers depend solely on their blog’s income, and they work tirelessly to earn it. I am not talking about a regular 9 – 5 weekly job. Pro bloggers work crazy hours everyday, including weekends and evenings, to keep the blog and their social media profiles active. There is a lot of work going on behind the scenes you don’t get to see. I know I am always working on my blog whenever I have a moment, and when I am not working on Fashion and Style Police, I am thinking of working on it. In any other job, this would be pathetic, but it is not for me because I genuinely enjoy what I do, and I will keep doing it even if I no longer get press samples or sponsored post opportunities. But then again, Fashion and Style Police is more than a job for me, it is part of who I am.
Many bloggers publish multiple quality posts a day, with amazing photography shared on social media. Many of these blog posts are informative, engaging and entertaining, so it is only fair for us to be paid for our time and effort in publishing these posts. Having said that, I do believe many bloggers have sold out and I will tell you why.
It is so hard to reject unrelated sponsored post opportunities these days because great opportunities that do come are few and far between. So many bloggers will grab almost anything offered. So if you are reading a beauty post, and the blogger is all of sudden blogging about life insurance or pets, now you know why. Does it make the blogger a sell out? Yes kind of, but if beauty brands are not interested in collaborating with this blogger, but pet brands are, I won’t blame or judge her for accepting such offers. A girl has to eat…
However if you want to make money blogging, and not look like a sell out, follow these 5 tips:
Focus on More Than 1 Niche
Sticking to 1 niche may do you more harm than good. Instead, go for related niches to open more doors of opportunity. Related niches like fashion and beauty, health and beauty, pets and lifestyle, fashion, beauty and lifestyle, are all good examples of how you could position your blog for a variety of sponsored posts and product review opportunities.
I see a lot of bloggers not disclosing press samples and sponsored posts and they wonder why no one is reading their blogs. Transparency and honesty will attract blog fans, so you not disclosing is killing your blog. I know some of the famous and hugely successful bloggers do not disclose, but you have to remember they started their blogs back in the day, when blogs were few. They have established their blogs already so they can kind of get away with not disclosing. Their readers may not know any better or may still idolise them regardless. But as for you that started a year or so ago, think twice before you decide not to disclose.
Limit your Sponsored Posts
I sometimes struggle with this as I usually have loads of sponsored posts request at the same time, but when you can, try not to have your sponsored/collaborated posts back to back. So maybe out of 10 posts, you can have 2 or 3 sponsored, but published days apart. I see a lot of bloggers publishing sponsored posts (even when some are not disclosed) day after day, and I wonder what they are thinking.
Review Products Honestly
Now this is a very important tip, so I need you all to take notes.
Regardless of whether I am paid for a review or not, or whether I am sent press samples, or they are products I bought, I always write my product review posts in the same style. So short introduction, product description, pros, cons, and if I would recommend said product or not. You won’t know the difference between a review that is paid for and 1 that is not on this blog because they are ALL written honestly, and that is what my readers really care about. However I had to work to earn my readers’ trust, and I did so by reviewing products I bought with my own money as well as press samples. So every week I review a press sample sent, may be paid or unpaid, and then I review a product I bought myself, to balance out. And I still do this.
The main reason why I review press samples and products I buy, is just so my blog is not all about press samples, but products I buy myself because I have interest in them. For instance, I bought these Boots No 7 Quick Thinking Wipes and Oil-Abosorbing wipes with my money, I was sent this Premae Face Wash to review, and I was paid to review this VITASTIK Vitamin Vaporisers. As you can see, my review style is the same, I always list the pros and cons for each product, and I make sure I state any negative or cons in the most polite way possible. I don’t believe in slating brands, so I check the tone of my review, but I make sure I don’t mislead my readers in thinking a product is great if it’s not.
I see many bloggers reviewing only press samples and I wonder what they are thinking. Don’t you buy products? Why don’t you review them as well? I realised I can’t trust a blogger that reviews only press samples because I am not sure how you will review products you buy yourself, and I also cannot trust a blogger that writes only glowing reviews, with no cons whatsoever. All products cannot be that great. For instance, here is a positive product review of 2 Acquablend Bottles I was sent some weeks ago, this review had no cons. Now, here is a not so positive review of MeMeMe Cosmetics I was also sent.
Blogs are not magazines, our readers expect to read real life reviews and posts, they can relate to, so having only positive glowing reviews will bore your readers. There is a very thin line between positive every time, and being a liar.
Be a Story Teller
If you are strapped for cash and you are keep getting offers unrelated to your blog, you may still be able to accept them if you have your story telling cap on. Think outside the box, and develop stories that can incorporate the brand in question. So if you blog about parenting and fitness, and you get an offer to write about a fashion brand for example, create an outfit post, and show off your style, or include the brand in a mummy outfit wishlist. There are many ways to include slightly unrelated niches if you think outside the box and let your creative juice flow.
May the forces be with you.