How Do Influencers and Bloggers Make Their Money?
How do influencers and bloggers make their money? Can bloggers really make a living off blogging? We get into all of it here on IFB!
It seems pretty crazy that we're living in a time where bloggers can get paid around $15,000 for a single Instagram post, and it doesn't seem to be stopping any time soon.
Blogging, especially fashion blogging, has come a long way. Fashion bloggers have the ability to utilize and monetize their blogs, as well as their Instagram accounts to generate revenue. Heck, there are even some individuals that solely refer to themselves as “Instagram-Bloggers”. These digital influencers earn their income entirely through Instagram.
If you've been wondering how you can start to increase your revenue in different ways, this post is for you! Because, here at IFB, we know it's tough when you're a beginner blogger and are faced with blogging-related challenges. Below, we'll go over a multitude of ways on how bloggers are making money. We will look at different ad networks and influencer networks you can use to get some inspiration if you're not already utilizing these methods. So, if you're wondering how do influencers and bloggers make their money, check out the below.
But before that, let’s look at some blogging stats on how much money bloggers are pulling in:
- Single Instagram posts can range from $5000 – $15,000 depending on the number of followers
- Top bloggers like Kylie Jenner gets around $100,000 – $300,000 for a single sponsored post
- ShopStyle’s top influencers earn six figures per month, making $1.2 million in annual gross earnings
- Top bloggers can bring in $50,000 per brand event.
- Rachel Parcell, one of the star players for RewardStyle brought in $960,000 in 2015 with affiliate marketing
WHOA… That’s lot of dough for posting on Instagram and doing sponsored blog posts.
But why do brands keep doing it? Is it worthwhile for them?
- Rachel Parcell of Pink Peonies drove $1 million in sales for Nordstrom in 2014, during the holiday season.
- Christine Andrew of Hello Fashion, caused 107% increase in ‘likes’ and 465% increase in comments when she contributed to Neiman Marcus’s Instagram page.
- Shopstyle’s top bloggers are causing 315% increase in sales for its brands, year over year.
Looks like brands are benefiting equally by paying bloggers for advertisements.
Is this trend slowing down? Doesn’t look like it:
- Industry estimates say that brands currently spend more than $1 billion per year on sponsored Instagram posts.
- Forrester Research predicts, in 2016 spending on affiliate marketing will reach up to $4.5 Billion
As you can see, there is a lot of money in fashion blogging and it doesn’t look like it’s going to stop anytime soon. So, what can you do to get a piece of this pie?
Based on my research, bloggers are making money via:
- Affiliate links
- Sponsored content
- Guest Posts
- Brand collaborations
- Marketing campaigns
- Product sales
- Speaking engagements & event hosting
Let’s look into each of them in detail…
This is a no brainer and the fastest way for bloggers to start generating cash. You can leverage your skill set as a blogger to consult on topics, such as:
- Social media management
- Brand management
- Content marketing strategy for brands
Lots of bloggers at the beginning, leverage consulting to make money until their blog gets hundreds of thousand followers.
By now, you've probably already heard about bloggers making thousands of dollars using affiliate links. While this is true, one of the key requirements for making good money with affiliate links is that you need decent traffic to your blog. By decent traffic I mean, you need at least 100K monthly visitors before you can make some serious cash.
However, that shouldn't stop you from still signing up for affiliate sites and programs! There are multiple sites that allow you to become an affiliate at no cost or barrier to entry. Just make sure you understand how their affiliate commission works before signing up (eg: are you getting paid for sending traffic to a brand's site? OR are you getting paid only if user you sent, purchases an item?). Depending on how any respective affiliate program works, you can devise your marketing strategy accordingly.
Here are a few of the popular affiliate networks:
- Commission Factory
- Share a sale
- Affiliate window
- Commission Junction
This is extremely popular amongst bloggers and you can utilize this very well as you build traffic to your website and your email list. Brands will pay fashion bloggers for a sponsored blog post, Instagram image, Twitter/Facebook shoutout. Most of the time, its combination of all. (Psst! IFB has you covered. Wondering how to get sponsored as a fashion blogger? We've got all the tips and tricks to landing a sponsorship on the blog.)
When you're starting out, you might not get big bucks for it, but brands might pay you with free clothing items or beauty products. My suggestion: accept it in the beginning and build a relationship with the brand. And as your blog gains more traffic, you can charge a fee.
As mentioned earlier, popular blogs and Instagram accounts with hundreds of thousand followers can charge from $500 – $5000 per post. Bloggers with over 6 million followers charge from $20,000 – $100,000 per post, per Harper's Bazaar.
Bloggers often will collaborate with fashion brands or retailers that have similar style. Marianna Hewitt collaborated with House of CB last year for a collection that was seen on Jennifer Lopez, Gigi Hadid and Kate Hudson. A great place to start would be collaborating with local brands and establishing your name.
Each city has plenty of local boutiques, local designers who would be happy to collaborate with a fashion blogger. You can also visit fashion schools and see who is the new and upcoming designer & collaborate with them.
This overlaps with idea #4 as you can be part of a marketing campaign for various fashion brands. If you are a new blogger, working with local brands would be great place to start. Bloggers that have at least 500,000 website visitors and over 1 Million Instagram followers often end up working with big brands as Clinique, Sephora, Gucci etc. for their marketing campaigns.
Top bloggers often create their own product line or they collaborate with bigger brands. eg: ipsy, created by Michelle Phan is doing extremely well. She used her success and popularity as video blogger to launch Ipsy.
Speaking engagements & event hosting
Brands would make use of popular bloggers by listing them as key speakers, celebrity guests, and/or invite them to host an event. This is a lucrative partnership because brands know that bloggers name would drive them targeted traffic and bloggers benefit by charging for hosting the event.
Big name bloggers can often charge at least from $10k – $50k per event. But if you are starting out, I would suggest do few of the events for free, to get your name out and then start with $500 – $1,000 to host an event until you become popular.
Ads on your blog
Last but not the least are targeted ads on your blog. Top bloggers make big money from targeted advertisements. They either get paid per click (which can translate in to affiliate dollars) OR they get paid per 1000 impression, which is known as CPM model.
Each ad network and brand pays differently. Please note that lot of advertising networks would have minimum traffic requirements. Some will work with you if you have 50,000 or some require at least 500,000 page views per month.
Here is list of few ad networks you can explore:
Please note that there are lot of ad networks out there. The ad network you choose should resonate with your content. Top bloggers make sure that ads don't violate or degrade the value of their blog and they cherry pick accordingly.
As you can see, there is a multitude of ways in which bloggers can make money. Most of these means require you to have good web traffic or a heavy Instagram following, but few can be utilized even when you are new to blogosphere.
If you are shy in contacting different brands and pitching to do posts for them, there are influencer networks that will do all that work for you. They charge a small percentage (usually to the brand), but it's a great place to start as you build your own brand connections.
A few examples of influencer networks are:
If you want to build your own profitable blog, just make sure you're in it for the long run. Blogging is not something that comes as a success overnight. It takes awhile to build steady and consistent traffic, as well as generate a sustainable (and liveable) revenue, but it's all worth it in the long run!
Still wondering how do influencers and bloggers make their money? If you're a blogger or influencer and feel like sharing your tips on how you earn your keep, let us know in the comments below!
Editor's Note: This post was originally published on June 14th, 2017 by Vishal Kalia. It was updated on May 23, 2023 by the editorial stuff.