So How DO Bloggers Make Money?
This post has been a long time coming for two reasons:
- It was the question we were trying to answer when we started Chicks And Salsa.
- It is the number one question we get asked.
When we started this journey, it was more about curiosity and what was behind influence and what that meant. In a very small part of the internet where Chicks And Salsa has lived for three years, we are starting to reflect and put the pieces of the puzzle together for people who may just now be thinking about starting a blog.
So lets get right into the knitty gritty of how Chicks And Salsa has managed to stay out of the red since we started.
Once we gathered a small, but meaningful audience, we were starting to get some interest from brands who were interested in our niche. When I say small, I mean about 300 followers on Facebook and nearly 2000 followers on Instagram. We developed a media kit based on industry standards as set by FOHR and moved forward. Here is a look at our very first sponsored post, . We are so grateful to all of the brands who have taken a chance on Chicks And Salsa. We have learned a lot along the way and could not have done it without those opportunities.
To date sponsored posts make up 75% of our annual income. Since our Instagram following has grown (thank you so much for 20K) we have also started getting Instagram exclusive sponsorships, like this one.
This topic is very complicated and if there are some specifics that you would like from us, please feel free to leave a question in the comments below. Generally speaking, Chicks and Salsa started out with two affiliate platforms, Amazon Associates, and RewardStyle (aka LikeToKnow.it). There is a wealth of information about both of these available on YouTube and if you are interested in a referral to RewardStyle, shoot us a DM and we will be happy to put that in.
Amazon Associates generally has VERY low commissions, but since everyone shops on Amazon it is a quick way to capture data about what your audience likes and what price points are most effective.
Rewardstyle is the GO-TO destination for all your favorite bloggers. Also known as LikeToKnow.It, affiliates can create links for most top brands, and commissions can be up to 20% during peak seasons. They have many tools that make posting looks to Instagram and your blog (and Pinterest!) super easy. Inserting affiliate links into pins on Pinterest, is a pro tip to getting more likes on the app and hits to your website. Since joining RewardStyle I have made over $2000 in commissions- that definitely helps me offset some of the expenses associated with running the blog.
If you are looking for something easier for your followers to shop, consider joining RewardStyle. Referrals can help you get in the first time, so email me at firstname.lastname@example.org for a referral!
Via Share A Sale, Chicks and Salsa has become affiliates for a lot of amazing brands which basically means that we have been vetted and approved for high commissions from these brands in particular. We will be attending Think Tank next month to learn more about the affiliate marketing space and what is next for influencers.
We make about 25% of our income from affiliate links which is kind of crazy in retrospect when I think about all the time I have spent chasing down commissions.
Note: I just wanted to add a personal note about commissions; bloggers in all content areas work very hard to give you ideas that are of value to you. So if you like something you see on a friend/blogger, given them credit for that idea or purchase, it does not cost you ANYTHING to be supportive. I recently wrote a post about my favorite work out gear and rightfully credited a fellow blogger for the introduction.
This is the fun part right? Truthfully, Sonia and I do not have boxes flooding our doorstep, but over the years we have had dozens of companies ask for feedback and shares of new products that have been fun to check out. As our platform continues to grow so do the opportunities. Lately it seems like we are being approached by more companies which feels great after creating thousands of pieces of content over the past three years week after week.
Also we are in the top 1% of reviewers in Chicago for TripAdvisor, so we have found ways to convert that into what I call ‘elevated’ restaurant experiences. I never ask a restaurant for anything, but I do let them know who we are and that we are coming to check them out and sometimes that translates into little goodies- why not!?!?
The time it takes to create content is the true cost of blogging. The cost of hosting my site costs me less than $300/year, business registration for Chicks And Salsa LLC is $390/year, and I do use about $600 for Facebook Ads per year.
Answering What and Why?
In my case, I left my full time job to go all in on Chicks and Salsa and in doing so realized some things that I was missing. Last year, I started a social media management company, Digital Chicks Media, and have been fortunate to help out small businesses and brands deliver consistent content on their channels. Most recently, Sonia and I have also launched an e-commerce store , ChicksAndSalsaStore, to help get our followers good deals on practical fashion finds.
I hope you found this post to be interesting a thorough, I know I have wondered what all of this was really about and even though the money is important and feels good, the connections and friendships are why we blog.
I have shared before that I live in a small town, but thanks to social media, my reach is so much greater and I can learn so much from my phone every day.
Thanks for checking out this post!
**These are all observations made purely by me and there are so many ways to ‘blog’ so everyone’s hustle may vary. The bottom line is, share what you love on ANY platform and you will get out of it what you put in.**