Most of us get into creating content because it provides us the opportunity to share interests, knowledge, and ideas with people everywhere! It's also a beautiful way to build connections across communities.
However as many of us quickly learn, passion alone does not pay the rent. On top of that, the responsibilities involved in building & running a community are highly time-consuming.
Sooner or later the question of money comes up! Beginning bloggers want to know if it is even possible to make money blogging. Content creators that have been at it for a little while want to know how to better monetize their blogs.
Your spouse (or maybe even your mom) wants to know how do Influencers get paid.
If you’ve been in the game for more than 2.5 seconds you probably know about sponsored content however, in this post I’ll be tackling other ways Bloggers, Content Creators, and Influencers make money outside of Brand Partnerships! Why you might ask keep reading.
This post is Longish. I wanted to give you the most in-depth overview on how you can make money as a creator however it's not exhaustive. Feel free to skip to the sections you are most interested in. Here is an overview of the most common ways:
- Become an affiliate marketer
- Make money from online ads
- Create and sell digital products
- Host a virtual Conference
- Offer coaching or consulting services
- Offer paid membership plans
- Become a freelance blogger
- Sell merchandise
- Ask for donations
✩Before we start the first question you should ask yourself if you are a creator is: Is my business set up to be monetized?
You need two key ingredients powerful content and a dedicated audience. I’d dare say the dedicated audience is integral in order to have a dedicated audience you have to :
- Deliver quality content
- Offer value
- Drive engagement
- Establish your authority
Your content should not only satisfy your audience, but it should also make them hungry for more. After you’ve developed/created a rapport with your audience you should know what their pain points are, needs, and desires. How can you help them?
With this information in hand, you are now ready to monetize. Please don’t feel like you need to have been doing this for years or like you have to have a huge community to do this. 6 months of intentional community building can get you there.
Each section will start out explaining how your content can be monetized and then answer the following questions:
- Who pays the Creator / Blogger
- When can beginning bloggers start making money with that method
- Tips for getting your blog ready for making money via that route.
🤩 #1 Creators make money through Affiliates
Let start with affiliates because outside of Brand Partnerships it one of the most popular ways to make money and any company worth their salt has an affiliate program. Affiliate programs essentially pay you a commission for driving traffic to or making a sale for a business.
✩ Here are a few of the most popular affiliate programs - Rewardstyle | Shopstyle | Amazon Associates | ShareAsale | CJ Affiliate | Rakuten Linkshare
Affiliate marketing works best when both parties involved share the same target audience. Having an affinity for the brand also means that you will be able to promote it better. When you find ways to connect the product’s value with your organic content, you make a stronger sales pitch.
You can become an affiliate directly through the company’s affiliate program or by joining affiliate marketing networks and finding affiliate programs to join there.
Who pays the blogger?
Most of the time, an affiliate is paid through an affiliate network. Even when you find affiliate programs directly through a company’s website, they still typically use a network to manage tracking links and payment. Keep in mind that the commission percentage is typically higher for digital products than physical products.
When can you start monetizing with affiliate marketing?
Affiliate marketing is one of the easiest ways to start making money. You can start monetizing with affiliate links at any point in your blogging journey. Obviously, the more eyes on the links and promotions you do for affiliate marketing the more money you will make.
Affiliate marketing is great for beginners because it's completely free and you just need to establish trust with your audience. You can’t just drop affiliate links and expect to make money. You have to be strategic about your affiliate monetization plan.
🤩 #2 Creators make money by hosting content from others
In order to do this, you will need a long-form content platform a blog like this and the most popular way to host others' content is through ads. The two main ways bloggers get paid through ad networks are per impression or per click.
Popular ad networks for creators include
- Adsense – no monthly minimum to apply
- Adthrive – minimum of 100,000 monthly pageviews
- Mediavine – 25,000 monthly sessions
Who pays the blogger?
In most cases, the ad network a blogger is associated with pays the blogger a monthly income. Occasionally, brands will reach out directly in that case, the brand would negotiate a rate and pay the blogger directly.
When can you start monetizing with ads?
Beginning bloggers often try making their first money with ads and quickly become frustrated when they are making pennies a month.
In order to make real money from ads, you will need traffic. So, while you can place ads on your site at any time, realistically you won’t make very much money unless you are getting around 25,000 pageviews a month. In most cases, you will also need to have an established site before you can place ads on your blog.
Another option would be to create a forum or niche-specific social network using WordPress plugins like BuddyPress, and charge membership fees to join and comment.
🤩 #3 Bloggers make money creating and selling products
Yes, you can monetize your own audience without a third party! Some of the most successful creators these days sell their own products.
Creators sell digital products, educational products, memberships or subscriptions, books, their own physical products, or wholesale purchase products and retail them on their own blog. Here is a quick overview:
If you’ve been on Clubhouse for two seconds youre no stranger to digital products they are very popular products to create and sell. Some examples are printable planners, meal plans, guides, etc.
Digital products have a high earning potential because they usually have little to no costs to create them.
After you create a digital product, you can use a WordPress plugin like Easy Digital Downloads or a tool like Gumroad or even Paypal to sell and deliver the digital goods you create.
After publishing a lot of content on NYFW, MONROE Steele created a guide to getting into NYFW as a blogger.
Courses | Ebooks | Webinars | Workshops | Merchandise | these are all ways you can monetize your audience!
As you build your audience, offer them in-depth, comprehensive angle on your content in the form of an e-book. Your e-book can be an elaboration on topics that you covered, or it can introduce a new theme or question that is highly relevant to your target audience.
On wordpress you can use plug-ins like LearnDash and WPCourseware or platforms like Kajabi to bring your products to life.
Consider it packaging your expertise and selling it to your audience so that they too can learn. Creating and selling a course has a higher earning potential than some of the other money-making methods. You are in control of the price point and you make the full commission.
Lastly, audience size is not as crucial to start making money as it is with ads and sponsored posts. Obviously, the more followers you have the higher your earning potential.
Not only do virtual summits help you earn an income from viewers, but they also are a powerful marketing strategy for generating new interest in your blog. By helping you expand your reach and increase your website traffic, they can generate income short-term while contributing to your blog monetization efforts long-term.
In addition to creating and selling products remember you can sell your skills! Are you good at video editing, graphic design, photography, styling, etc You can sell those services to your audience as well as to other businesses.
Many bloggers make money by selling products inspired by their content. While some of these bloggers are already well-known influencers, internet fame is not a prerequisite for selling merchandise!
Many people use their blogs to showcase and discuss products they create. You can sell physical products on your WordPress blog by using the plugin WooCommerce as I've done. Or use Shopify to create your blog and storefront, instead of WordPress.
Here’s one that doesn't get enough mention, it is a great way to make money online and not have to create your own product. The easiest way is to work with a wholesaler that drops-ships products. This means the blogger sells the product on their site but the wholesale company packages and ships the product to the customer.
Who pays the blogger?
Your Audience! There’s no middle man or network to take part of the commission. Or getting only a commission of the sale. As the creator and seller of the product, you get paid directly from the customer.
When can you start monetizing with your own product?
Technically, you could launch your product when you start your blog. But I would advise against that. Data reports everywhere show that only 2-3% of your email list will buy your product.
Growing an engaged email list should be your top priority if you want to sell your own products. This is the best place to pitch and sell your product.
Don’t feel like you have to go big with your first product. Start out with a small digital product.
🤩Ask for donations
Finally, you can also monetize your blog by simply asking for donations. While you shouldn’t be pushy, you can transparent with your community, leave a note to expressing your appreciation for their readership, and welcome their support.
Note that this is typically only successful when you've built a track record with your community. Basically, it enables your community to thank you for providing them with free, valuable content.
Lord, there are so many more ways to monetize your audience from Speaking to Books to Coaching, etc! Hopefully, you found this post valuable, and if you did make sure to sign up for our Newsletter for more gems! Check out this post on how to get started with making money as an Affiliate on Reward style.