Making Money Blogging: When to Say Yes {And When To Say No}

No matter what type of blog you have, whether you have a purely editorial site where you pour your heart into your writing or you have a product review site, it’s likely that the idea of making money blogging is something you’ve considered.

There are tons of methods for making money through a website, some more reliable than others.

The key is to make sure everything you do fits with who you are and the “brand” you have developed around your blog. If you’re a home decor blogger, then it probably won’t make sense for you to try and sell ginsu knives through a storefront shop. However, if you’re a food blogger, it’s likely your audience will be interested in learning more and even buying the knives you’re using.

Part of what bloggers do is share. We share advice and tips, and sometimes those tips include product recommendations. The trick is to recognize when a paid opportunity is right for you.

Making Money Blogging the Smart Way

We know we are influential, and we don’t want to abuse that power. We don’t want to be seen as product pushers or compromise ourselves. The good news is we really don’t have to. The best brand advocates are the bloggers who tell the best stories, and the best stories are authentic ones.

Stories and a personal “voice” are essential to blogging. If you want to work with brands and get results without feeling like you are compromising your blog, it’s time to hone your craft and tell your story.

making money blogging

When Saying Yes to Making Money Blogging Makes Sense

Not sure when to say yes? Here are a few scenarios when making money makes sense:

  • When the company or product is something you use regularly.
  • When the company or product is a match to who you are and, arguably more importantly, who your readers are and why they are reading your site.
  • When the product is something you are interested in trying: Receiving free product in the mail can be a way to try out something you may not otherwise buy.
  • When making a little extra cash on your blog allows you to cover your household expenses: We have received countless emails from women who are grateful for our sponsored post opportunities simply because it helped them to cover their grocery bill for the month.  That’s amazing.  Don’t get so caught up in the details and being selective that you miss out on ways to make your life a little easier.

When You Should Pass on Working with a Brand or Company

Not all paid opportunities are the right match for everyone. Here are a few examples of when you should just say no:

  • The product is not something you would ever use, purchase, or recommend.
  • The company or product conflicts with the brand you’ve developed for your blog.
  • The company or product has no relevance to you or your readers.

Writing Prompts for Getting Started

If you’d like to get your feet wet when it comes to writing about a brand, consider starting organically! Here are a few writing prompts you can use to try your hand at bringing a brand into an organic conversation with your readers and seeing what happens.

  1. Name three products you’ve used for three years or longer and tell us why.
  2. Describe the most special outfit you’ve ever worn.  Who was the designer?  What made it special?
  3. Say you are going on a trip.  What is the one item you won’t leave the house without?  Why?
  4. Confess: It might be embarrassing, but what is the one item you can’t live without?  Why might someone criticize you for this and what would you say in return?

Remember: Storytelling is our superpower as bloggers!  You will always benefit by putting great content and authenticity before all else.

About Francesca

One of two behind The SITS Girls and Bloggy Boot Camp. Believer that this community is a movement, and not just a website. Currently on a quest for unending free WiFi & stronger caffeine. I'd love to get to know you better: Find me on Twitter @FranBanducci and on Google+.
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  1. says

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  2. says

    I try to work with brands regularly and find that the more personality you can add to a post (and your blog in general) the better the relationship and the better the post! You don’t always just have to stick with a description of the item or pros/cons but actually SAY something about it.

  3. says

    I love these tips! I think I will use one of those prompts soon! I need to lighten my blog up a little bit anyway… been a little dark thus far!

  4. says

    Great post and so very true. I’ve learned not to write reviews based on just a website – instead, I invite them to submit a guest post and link to their site in the bio. I’ve also stopped writing about or accepting guest posts about products I won’t use on our dogs. It’s fascinating when a PR rep won’t accept that. I had a back and forth with a PR person for a day until I finally said that I believed that her client’s product was cruel to animals and I won’t host links to their company. I didn’t want to be blunt, but learned finally that sometimes that’s what it takes. Not rudeness, just being upfront.

    Great post!

  5. says

    These are really great tips. Thanks Francesca. It can be super excited to be approached by a company with a sponsored opportunity, especially if you’re like me and you’re a newish blogger. But you’re right – it absolutely has to fit with me and my readers and what I would normally write about in order to be authentic and genuine.

  6. says

    This is timely for me as I’m at the point where I’m ready to start considering advertising, but only if opportunities are out there with brands that will fit my niche. Thanks for the tips!

  7. says

    This is great advice…I am being much pickier with opps. I’m trying to remember that if it doesn’t make sense for my readers, it’s spam to them (even if I make money on it)

  8. says

    I’ve dipped my toe in the waters on this, but I know I could do so much more. I think another reason to say No is if the brand’s media people are a train wreck. I tried to work with a brand on a product I had used faithfully for more than 20 years. They didn’t respond to my Emails, made promises they didn’t follow-up on, sent me products that weren’t at all what I had requested and didn’t even fit. It was just a mess. I could have written a whole irate tirade about it, but I decided not to. No point in burning bridges, so I just wrote it off as a bad experience. I may contact them again in a year or two when they’ve likely fired these people and hopefully might be working with someone more on the ball.

  9. says

    Couldn’t agree more with this post. Some really great things to keep in mind. Thanks, Francesca! And I also think Keely hit the nail on the head when she said it’s important to remember who WE are in the process of developing relationships with brands.

  10. says

    This is terrific advice. It’s SO tempting to take any offer that comes your way for the sake of money/momentum, etc., but it’s way more important to be true to the brand of You.

  11. says

    Great post! As a Foster care blogger, it can be difficult to bring items into my posts, but, you’re right, telling a story can make it work with my foster care brand.

    I’ve been proud of my sponsored posts with American Cancer Society More Birthdays (losing my dad to cancer when I was young) and Clorox Messiest Moments (having a foster baby with constant diarrhea because we didn’t know he was lactose intolerant).

    See you this weekend in Dallas!!!

  12. says

    These are GREAT tips. I can honestly say that I have not reviewed anything or written about anything that I don’t personally use or love. And I believe it shows when I write about them.