Making Money as a Blogger or Influencer

**Disclaimer: This post may contain affiliate links. I may earn a small commission if you click on links or make purchases. However, I only post about stuff that I like and use for my family.

As part of my New Years Resolution, I have joined a lot more blogger/influencer groups online to expand the number of blogs I read and also try to increase my engagement (that’s people reading and interacting with my blog and social media accounts). One question I see over and over is from new bloggers, and more and more, new influencers (those who microblog or vlog on Instagram or TikTok but don’t have a written blog like this one): HOW DO I MAKE MONEY??

That’s a valid and important question. I wanted to share some of the ways I make money or get free products. For those of you who aren’t bloggers, vloggers, or influencers this may be an interesting read to see how bloggers actually make money.

I don’t make a ton of money blogging, but it’s enough to pay for any promotions or contests I run, buy crafts supplies for the events I host (in pre-covid times), and my website hosting fees. I don’t blog to make tons of money, I blog to share my journey through parenthood and my frugal skills with others. That being said, it is nice to make a little extra money sometimes.

Most of these links are referral links, so I will either receive a bounty/commission if you sign up through my links.

Affiliate Networks:

  • ShopHer– Formerly MySavings. They have campaigns (pay per click, sign up) that change frequently, in addition to printable coupons and free sample offers.  Sometimes they have sponsored posts available too. Minimum pay out $50.
  • Shareasale– They partner with hundreds (maybe thousands) of companies and brands. Search for a company, apply, and once approved, start posting their deals and you’ll earn a percentage of what you sell.  I post deals from Mabel’s Labels, Craftsy, and Cents of Style. Minimum pay out $50.
  • Massive Sway- A completely different type of network. Massive Sway works with brands and PR companies to bring you campaigns to share on your blog and across social media platforms. Each campaign has it’s own set of posting rules and pay out amount. You apply for campaigns that interest you. Each campaign has either a set price or they let you pitch what you feel the campaign is worth to you.

PR Companies: I work with a handful of local (So Cal/West Coast) Public Relation groups to help local businesses, media ventures, movie premieres spread the word. I also review or share products. It’s a lot like Massive Sway above. Sometimes with PR companies it’s in-kind work, so free movie tickets and concessions, swag, or items to review and some to use as a giveaway.

Amazon: When you are writing about products that you use or like, you can link to the items on Amazon and when people click the link and buy the item, you receive a commission. Sometimes there are also bonus programs where you will receive a flat “bounty” (aka commission) if someone signs up for Prime- It’s usually $5.00

Tomoson: This is a company that works with brands to find influencers to share products (sometimes services too). Mostly social media sharing, but also blogging opportunities. Sometimes you can get free stuff, sometimes it’s discounted (and we’ll talk about this in a minute), sometimes you’ll get paid just to distribute content. BUT- Watch out, there are still companies and brands that want you to buy their product on Amazon with a coupon code and review the item (positively, of course) on Amazon. This is against Amazon’s TOS, and you can get your account wiped. That’s a nice way of saying the remove most or all of your reviews and revoke your ability to leave reviews on anything in the future. NOT WORTH IT!!

HeartBeat: This is a great one- It’s all on Instagram! I’ve done a few campaigns for them, and I have received free products in addition to payment. It’s quick work too. Anyone with an Instagram account can join! They tend to be more focused on influencers in the 18-30 age range.

If you are looking for just free stuff in exchange for social media shout-outs, check out this post on Word of Mouth Marketing. Word of Mouth Marketing is a perfect way to start out when you are dipping your toe in the Influencer world.

Instagram: If you have an Instagram account, no doubt companies have “slid” into your DM’s offering you a discount (usually 10-30%) for one of their products in exchange for free promotion/mentions on your Instagram account. Personally, unless it’s something that I need or have had my eye on for a while a 10-30% discount isn’t enough of a deal to persuade me.

Discounts vs. Free items (also called in-kind) vs. getting paid cash

A lot of people getting started in the blogging world want to make a go of it as their full time job, and I think that is awesome. It’s a lot of work.

If that is you then it is my opinion that you should go to as many gigs that pay cash as possible. Cash pays your bills, keeps your light on, a roof over your head, puts food in your belly.

A 20% discount on a pair of $200 earrings from some company that pitched you on Instagram through your DM’s does not.

I like partnering with brands that can help me stretch my budget. I love talking about cooking and food on the blog and my socials. I’ll work with food companies any day of the week if they can meet what I need. I need to make X amount of money, or receive X amount in their product to compensate. That helps me stretch my grocery budget, gives me content, and helps spread the word about their awesome nummy noms (whatever they sell).

Maybe food isn’t your thing. Maybe beauty products, or clothing. Whatever your niche is, know your price. Know your worth. In the beginning, when you first start out, don’t feel bad taking smaller contracts, smaller promotions. It’s all about getting established and finding your voice. That’s why I like ShopHer and ShareaSale. There are always things I can post or write about and earn money.

And don’t feel like you need to be posting monetized content 24/7. Most of what I post isn’t. It’s recipes, opportunities for my readers to make money, save money, tricks/tips.

If blogging/vlogging/infuencing isn’t going to be your sole source of income, or you just want to have fun and score free/discounted stuff- That’s cool too. Do what makes you happy!

Talk Back: If you have questions about blogging or making money, or if want to share a success, please leave a comment! I love helping and celebrating in the success of other Bloggers/vloggers/influencers!