When I first starting blogging, I did it more as a hobby. My blog wasn’t even fashion and lifestyle focused when it first was created. It was actually just a space for me to share my creative writing, mostly poetry, as I navigated through my master’s program. But as I began delving more into styling and photography, I did a little research and flipped my blog to set it on the path to what it is now. At the time, it still was a hobby and I didn’t even know that there was potential for income. Eventually, over the years, it developed, and now it’s a business that I own, run, and I’m the CEO of that brings in another full-time income into our household. Honestly, it may even be at the point where I could leave my day job and have my blog be my full-time job. But I’m not quite ready for that yet. So if you’re someone who is looking to start blogging or is at the point where you want your blog to bring in a full-time income, then you’ve come to the right post. I’m going to share my tips on how to take blogging from a hobby to a business.
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BLOGGING AS A BUSINESS: ORGANIZING IS KEY
The first thing that you will need to do when it comes to taking on blogging as a business full time is making sure that you’re overly organized. At the end of the day, you are your own boss, and though you can outsource certain tasks depending on where you are in your business, you’ll be the one responsible for it all. So keeping yourself organized in every facet is absolutely essential.
There have been quite a few instances where I have coached or mentored other bloggers and the main problem that was holding them back is that they didn’t have organization to give them an efficient process flow. Essentially, the disorganization was causing them to burn time that could be spent focusing on the creative and fun part of blogging – the part that we are all in blogging for.
For me, I keep myself organized in a number of ways. I have a planner, where I keep my day to day meetings, due dates for partnerships, and events, as well as a calendar that syncs to my computer and phone. I also have a task management system that I use that allows me to keep track of when I need to complete tasks, what stage those tasks in and create reoccurring due dates. Honestly, having these things keeps me accountable and ahead of due dates rather than behind.
When working with brands, creativity and organization is what they adore. I’ve had multiple brands reach back out for more partnerships because they appreciated how organized I was about getting in drafts, implementing changes, and having tasks go live on time. When you have brands recognize how well you partner with them, it opens the door for them to reach out to you for more partnerships. And with PR companies, they’ll put you at the top of the list for recommendations because they enjoy working with you and know their clients will love working with you too.
BLOGGING AS A BUSINESS: HAVE INTENTION
You also need to have a good intention behind the work that you’re doing. If you are ready to turn your blogging into a business, then you must be in it to create valuable content, connect with a community, and share stories and experiences. If you’re blogging just to “get free stuff” then you won’t last long or push forward to make this a full-time profession. There are going to be days where blogging is a lot less fun and causes you stress, but like any other job, you have to get up and get the work done.
I am one that has been told many times by people that they could blog too. To them, they think it’s just writing, taking pretty pictures, and getting all the perks. But that’s not it. There is so much more to full-time blogging and, honestly, for a while, I didn’t really want to grow much as a blogger because of the imbalance of workload that blogging was adding to my life. I soon got to a point where I was able to start outsourcing, which has made my life so much easier and has given me the ability to focus on creating. But if your intentions for blogging are wrong, you won’t get yourself to that point.
BLOGGING AS A BUSINESS: THE KEY TO PITCHING
Here’s the big thing about going into blogging as a business – brands and PR companies won’t always come to you. Yes, there will be times that you’ll receive invites to campaigns directly via email and there are influencer networks where you can link your channels and upload your stats and apply right there, but those won’t be as frequent as the ones that you’ll get from pitching.
Pitching is difficult right from the beginning. You have to find the contact for the brand that you want to contact and hope that the email is the right one. Sometimes you’ll find luck in the general email or the public relations email on their website, but the direct email to an actual person is the one that you usually want. My first tip on that is to start with their social media channels. Follow those pages and then send a DM giving a short introduction, letting them know you would like to partner, and asking for their PR email address. You’ll find some luck getting an email between the social media channels and some research.
After that, it’s time to send a killer email. Rule of thumb – make it a captivating email but don’t make it too long. Remember, the person on the other side gets a lot of emails, so you want to make sure that it’s captivating but also that it’s not so long that they open it and exit right out of it because it’s too long to read. Here are the main paragraphs that I include that have landed me brand deals from cold pitches:
- Short introduction of who you are, what your blog is, and what makes you unique
- Talk about your love and experience with the brand
- Share 1-2 short, concise and unique ideas for what the partnership with you would look like (make sure to focus on them)
- Close with asking about whether they have any initiatives where you could align your ideas and even ask to jump on a call to talk them out
The other thing to note is to try to make each email unique – use their names and create a diffe3rent story and idea with each email. It’s okay to use a frame of an email as a template but don’t have every email read exactly the same. You may be contacting brands who are using a PR company which may forward your emails to one person who is the manager for multiple clients you are emailing. You don’t want that person to keep seeing the same email because it makes it look as if you aren’t genuinely interested in the brand.
BLOGGING AS BUSINESS: LEVERAGE YOUR VALUE
When you are offered brand deals, applying for them, or pitching them, make sure you are valuing the work that you are creating. There are a lot of bloggers and influencers out there who settle for the rates that are offered to them. I used to be one of them before I started figuring out what my value was, and up until a few months ago, I was lowballing myself. It is my agent that recently helped me to determine my true value.
It can be daunting to negotiate a higher rate with a brand. There is that fear that when you come back with a higher rate than you will get turned away and you’ll lose out on the deal altogether. I have learned that it doesn’t happen as often as you think. Many brands and PR companies are reaching out to you because of who you are and the content that you create. They are already valuing you. When they offer a rate with a certain about of deliverables, don’t be afraid to come back and share what your rate is for what they are asking for. And if they state that they don’t have the budget for that, ask what their budget is and then negotiate your deliverables down. Brands will appreciate that you are still trying to make it work for them, and they respect you for how you are professionally going about it.
There are various ways to determine your rate and multiple calculators to use to determine your rates based on readers/followers, engagement, reach, etc. But my biggest tip is to not guarantee posts for free. Once you do that with a brand, they may be coming back for you to do more work for free and when you say ‘no’ they may just move on because you’ve already given them content to use. Establish your relationships with value to yourself as well as valuing them.