#AskSCB: Do you generate your income from SCB? You always talk about working but aren’t specific as to what you actually do.
Super fair question, and I’ve gotten many similar ones over the years.
“How do you make money blogging?”
To keep it simple – let me clarify something… I do not generate a “real” income from SCB — this blog does not pay my bills (yet). I am an editor by day as well as a digital consultant so I have side projects with brands to provide strategy/content/management, etc. I hope that in the next year or two, as I build out my vision to expand SCB, that it will… and I also plan to write a book or fifteen, which hopefully people will actually buy – HINT HINT!
SCB is a passion project for me… It’s a phenomenal creative outlet and place for me to connect with others, share about what I love, and create a community of amazing people who are about it too. It started with one lonely anonymous Twitter that I started 4 years ago as a means to escape from a life I didn’t enjoy living.
Now, roughly 3 years later… I do make money blogging, and to some degree lessen the cost of my other expenses because I’m gifted products or items/tickets/experiences as a means of exchange for social content or a blog mention.
Also: I always call out sponsored content or collaborations on my site because I also buy a LOT of what you see with my own money because I want to create what I want. I don’t have a stick up my ass and feel like I deserve everything for free just because I have a blog. Yes, I may be getting makeup for free NOW but that is because I have spent the time, money, and effort in years past proving myself… I get to collaborate and have the opportunity to work with a brand that I truly like and believe in, and I’m proud of myself to be able to do that, so I want to call it out.
Unfortunately, the way you’re supposed to is using #ad or #spon, but those have such a bad connotation that no one uses them. The FTC requires influencers/bloggers to disclose paid or sponsored posts using those hashtags… Of course people hate feeling sold to, on social it can be like an invasion of your personal space – not to mention it makes me feel like an internet whore. I try to do it as legally and clearly as possible, but leading a post with #ad is just not fun and makes me feel awkward about sponsored content. Most people just omit any mentions of disclosure between influencer and brand in their captions or posts… Kind of a problem if you got free product, travel, or were paid hundreds of thousands of dollars for the promo. Stay tuned, because there’s about to be a social shitstorm!
Anyway, back to me and the betch blog. I guess I could make “more” money if I produced more sponsored content (but see above) or introduced sidebar advertising or allowed guest postings on my site, but I still want the focus to be on the content I’m creating, so it’s just not a priority right now… It’s hard for me to be truly creative when there are dollar signs dancing in my imagination instead.
One of the things I didn’t want to get in the way of my vision with SCB was the pressure of “making money” doing it. I didn’t want to lose sight of why I do what I do by rushing to find a way to make money from it… Trying to monetize my blog too early felt like a disingenuous way to sell out my followers and readers who had stuck with me through some shit. I never intended to hustle my followers and sell them stupid shit, I didn’t want to have to answer to brands demands or filter my image or censor myself just to get more clicks and better traffic. I knew creating content that was compelling and authentic and unique would eventually connect me with the right readers, products, brands, and experiences over time.
I don’t think people realize that in the age of social media, developing trust and credibility and loyalty and a community and a readership is not an overnight thing. We all want instant gratification, but it just doesn’t work like that… I think you have to do a LOT of work (or get very lucky) to launch and maintain a successful, profitable, big-time blog. Most of the ones you hear about getting paid hundreds of thousands of dollars have been blogging for 10+ years. I feel like I am just getting to a place where I have enough street cred that my brand speaks for itself, which is something that took years to achieve.
There are a few main ways that bloggers make money just by blogging, or social influencers make money just by posting – paid/sponsored content, affiliate links and on-site advertising. Of course, there are more avenues to monetize than this but I’d say these are three primary ways to do so in the space. Doing too much of this will turn your readers off because nobody is so stupid to not realize people are click baiting, saturating their posts with affiliate links or only posting sponsored content in exchange for all the free stuff… Too many ads on your website and no one will want to read an article. We all know these kinds of offenders… The worst part is they’re probably not making much for how hard it looks like they’re trying because they don’t have the traffic or clicks or conversions to generate any revenue.
I know this was a super long winded response, but I wanted to clarify if I make money blogging as well as explain the grittier aspects of the HOW to make it. Basically, right now the money I make from blogging comes from compensation for social mentions/postings (blog, IG, Twitter, YouTube, Snapchat/Periscope, etc). I’m also in the process of redesigning SCB, so with a richer and more interactive experience I plan to introduce a small amount of advertising space in the next iteration.
I hope that answers your question and anyone else who has similar questions about blogging or how to take your blog from a side project to a full-time, money making career. I have another #AskSCB in the works about my work and how I really got started and launched my brand, so keep an eye out for that in the coming weeks.
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