Blogging is commonly viewed as an easy job. After all, you just need to start a blog, write a few posts, and wait to hear from brands who want to work with you.
Unfortunately, that’s not how it works. While you can set up a blog in a 5 quick steps, it takes longer to build a reputable website and start making decent money from blogging. Working with brands poses a lot of challenges, and many newbie bloggers might struggle to find companies that are willing to compensate them fairly for their time and effort.
Beyond the pretty Instagram photos and sleek websites, there’s a writer who is expected to put together a high-quality post in exchange for a small gift, or a blogger that has been waiting months to get paid for a successful campaign.
In this post, I highlight the main problems of working with brands as a blogger. I also offer some tips for finding blogging jobs that pay and establishing your worth as a blogger.
Three types of brands to avoid
1. The ones that offer free gifts and discounts
Once you set up a contact form on your website, expect an influx of emails from dubious companies offering free gifts and discounts in exchange for a review on your blog.
While getting free products may sound appealing to some bloggers, this type of collaboration normally requires a lot of work and little results. Quite often, the free product or generous discount turns out to be worth much less than the professional post or video that you put together for the brand.
Another thing to bear in mind is the value of your post/review in the long run. Being offered a gift that is worth £20 in exchange for a short post that only takes you 1-2 hours to write may sound like fair compensation at first. However, as your blog grows and your monthly visitors increase, so will the value of that permanent post that you wrote in return for a freebie worth £20.
In the meantime, you would have had to pay the bills to keep your blog running – free gifts don’t cover the costs of your website’s hosting service, domain renewal and other blogging necessities.
2. The ones that expect you to publish a post for the price of a cappuccino
One way to make money as a blogger is through sponsored posts. Some companies pay bloggers for a post that contains a link to the company website, either by contacting the blogger directly or by submitting a post via a link building service or SEO agency. Normally, companies that approach bloggers directly pay better than SEO agencies, who act as mediators and therefore take a cut.
Every month I get dozens of emails from writers representing companies or SEO agencies who ask me if I accept guest posts or sponsored posts on my website. Once I send them my rates (which are quite reasonable), they normally reply with the same old excuse: ‘My budget is very low because I am trying to build my portfolio and therefore I can only offer you $10 for a sponsored post.’
Many companies will try to haggle and they will keep nagging you until you accept their offer. Others will promise to send you several articles per month (don’t buy it.)
My advice: Establish the value of your blog and set your prices accordingly. Do not accept content from parties that pay much less than your normal rates – such companies normally provide poorly-written articles and do not pay you in a timely manner.
3. The ones that think they’re doing you a favour
Occasionally, I get an email from someone who wants to provide me with a high-quality article… for free. Yep, that’s right. They actually think that they’re doing me a favour by submitting an article free of charge. The best part is – these emails are normally riddled with typos and errors. Sometimes these individuals try to represent themselves as bloggers, but in reality they work for SEO/link-building agencies.
If you are unable to publish posts on a regular basis, collaborate with other bloggers in your niche. Guest posting on blogs is a great way to attract more visitors to your blog and build your domain authority. Many bloggers will be more than happy to write an original post for your blog in exchange for a link to a page on their blog.
How to work with brands that pay
1. Sign up for affiliate programmes
A great way to make passive income from your blog is by joining affiliate programmes that offer high commission rates. This means you can write posts about your favourite topic or recommend a product or service that you love, while generating income through the use of affiliate links within your post.
Start by making a list of services/products that you use, or that fit into your blogging niche. For instance, if you have a travel blog, look at booking platforms, tour providers, car rentals, etc. Many companies have their own affiliate programmes.
You could also sign up with affiliate marketing networks, such as Awin, to gain access to hundreds of affiliate programmes offered by companies in different industries.
2. Join blogger networks
If you are looking for blogger opportunities or want to connect with brands that work with bloggers, set up a profile on a blogger network. A good blogger outreach company helps brands find the right bloggers to work with, while also connecting bloggers with brands that pay well.
Make sure you set up a complete profile and list your skills to increase your chances at landing blogging gigs. Most brands publish their budget for a campaign/gig in their ads, so you can apply for opportunities that offer reasonable payment. Getting work via blogger networks also means you are more likely to get paid on time.
3. Approach brands directly
Not all bloggers want to sit around and wait for brands get in touch, and that’s totally understandable. If you want to be more pro-active, reach out to your favourite brands and pitch your services to them.
While this approach may sound a bit intimidating, some brands will be happy to work with you if you can show them that your blog is the right fit for their marketing needs and goals, and that you carry out your work professionally and efficiently. Worst case scenario, they say no (or they never get back to you).
Top tip: Before contacting brands, put together a professional media kit – a document or graphic that highlights some basic information about your blog (niche, audience demographics), your skills, and links to samples of your work.
This post contains affiliate links. This means that I may receive a commission on any purchases made through the links in the post at no extra cost to you.