Hi hi lovelies! I was recently invited by my adidas family to come on board with their Performance (fitness) team as a guest speaker at their Boost Bloggers day. They hosted sport/fitness influencers and bloggers from around SA, flew them to Cape Town and hosted a mentorship workshop day where myself and a few other speakers shared our advice for growing all of their platforms, covering everything from starting up your actual blog, creating content, SEO, marketing and more. As always, it was amazing unexpectedly meeting some of my readers there! I didn’t expect that (or to get gifts, thank you for that) considering fitness itself is hardly my area of focus.
I spoke for a full hour on how to monetise your blog, so along with sharing some images, I thought I would also answer some FAQ’s for making money that I discussed on that day, since so many of you ask me to.
I know I’m hardly the most followed person on social media in my industry in South Africa, but I’m without a doubt one of the few fashion/beauty bloggers working non-stop with a solid base of clients, the majority of which return for more business. This all comes down to the simple reason that I approach and respect my brand as the honest oxymoron it is: a casual, truthful, relatable but real serious business, reflective of the hardworking goofball that is me!
So here are those FAQ’s, answered.
How important is a large following?
“Large” is a very subjective term. Influence can’t be measured. You could have ten haters who don’t follow you and stalk you but internalise or incorporate your ideas anyway. Your following is important as a testimony for your reach and it determines the rate you are paid, but this doesn’t mean you can’t earn money with a smaller following. If you have a large following but you aren’t presenting yourself as the kind of personal brand worth working with, well then, that isn’t very good for business either, is it?
Why should we still blog when Instagram can offer so much?
Being an Instagrammer-only is possible for sure and some people do this very well. However, the more platforms you have, the more you have to offer, and the more money you can make. No one reads long Instagram captions – I give you 4 lines max, until you lose your audience’s interest. If you want to offer a brand a write-up, you need a blog for that. So when it comes to making money, contrary to what some people think – the blog is most definitely not dead.
How do bloggers make money?
Sponsored blog posts, sponsored social media posts, campaign collaborations where you are the talent or “model”, appearances and event MCing, guest-writing, advertising banners, advertising and influencer programs or networks. They also make money off their initial profession outside of blogging, i.e.: using the blog/following to gain clients relating to their initial expertise. So for example, perhaps they’re a personal trainer who posts about fitness and that way gets personal training clients, but having a following opens them up to other fitness-related endorsements too. The possibilities are endless!
How do I as a blogger and influencer begin to make money?
Either you have to approach the brand, or the brand approaches you with a job in mind.
You have to build up a solid body of work. Even if it isn’t sponsored in the beginning, other brands don’t know that. Make yourself look like the kind of person who makes the big bucks off others. You have to fake it till you make it – and you’re the only one who truly knows what’s happening in your bank account.
It’s all about relationship-building, and often you have to make the first move. My client base is broad and we are professional, but I often get to the point where those who issue out the work become my industry friends – and when they move jobs, they take me with them which opens me up to more clients. Lisa/Malick and I make sure we are a dream team to work with, offering a high standard of written and visual work, being on time with deadlines, and always ready to go the extra mile. I voice my objections, but I’m never a diva.
What is PR and how does it work?
Medium to large scale brands are represented by PR companies, if their marketing and branding isn’t done in-house. The brands pay these PR companies a monthly retainer to create an awareness of that brand among consumers. The PR company often runs the brand’s social media, sends the media (ie: all press including yourself) updates about the brand, and they also often organise the brand’s event launches. Following an event or new release by the brand, they send out a press release, which is essentially a formal statement giving the media all the official facts and images about the announcement.
In South Africa, the unfortunate reality is, we’re still at times a little delayed and stingy where the power of online media is concerned. Less than 50% of our country’s population has internet access, and many people still believe that print has the strongest power. Don’t let that discourage you though! People are realising more and more though just how powerful online media is, and as a result they are willing to direct greater portions of their marketing budget in our direction now.
However, in a skeptic attempt to test the waters, many brands still try and get away with a mutual promotion and payment only in product to market themselves. If you really really want the product and are comfortable with that, if you are looking to begin a working relationship with them or if it was your own suggestion, then that’s fine. All bloggers also start out doing this kind of thing to build a body of work, but eventually it becomes “not okay”, and payment for your services needs to be discussed. It’s your time, your petrol, your talent and your followers – and that is worth something! There is nothing wrong with asking a brand if there is budget for the proposed work, or even negotiating a higher rate.
How do I know what to charge people?
There are quite a few things to consider here as this answer varies for everyone. You have to factor in the following:
How many followers you have – don’t aim too high nor too low.
All the services you are offering.
Are you a qualified/certified individual in all/part of the services you are offering?
Rates for assistants/photographers helping you.
Your time and the amount of work being put into the post(s).
How experienced you are in creating content – if it hasn’t been too long, you still need to gain clients’ trust with the caliber of your online work.
Realistically, you also have to ask yourself what you would like to get paid, and offer content that amounts to that.
Do you ever turn down brands who offer you money?
Absolutely. Almost every day! I would be nothing without my readers. I would be in a miserable desk job without them! I truly honour and value that loyalty, and I show them/you all that same respect by being myself, and working with brands that I truly believe in, and brands that relate to my content or my readers’ interests. As tempting as money can be, you need to take the high road at times.
I hope this helps a bit, for those of you starting out and not knowing what all of this business-shmizness side of blogging means. I’m so passionate about growing this industry in South Africa. One more thing I want you to know at the end of this post – this girl over here who spent a damn long time writing this, believes in you :) So go out there, chase what you want and be amazing!
Photographs by Luigi Bennett