The Number One Lesson You MUST Learn As A Blogger

One of the most common questions and Facebook group posts from new bloggers often seem to be those who are very unsure of what is good, what they’re allowed to do, and what is “normal”.

 

Don’t get me wrong, asking questions in supportive forums is a fantastic way to learn. I know it’s a terrible cliche, but there is no such thing a stupid question. This isn’t a traditional or overly regulated industry – asking questions is a form of digital apprenticeship and I highly encourage it.

 

But, there’s always a but… one part of this knowledge seems to always be left out.

 

The Number One Lesson You MUST Learn As A Blogger:

 

The Number One Lesson You MUST Learn As A Blogger

 

Here’s the thing, new bloggers: You are now working for yourself.

 

You are not beholden to rules from your employer, your family, your friends or anyone else.

 

Your considerations are now: what your audience needs from you and what the market will bear. That’s pretty much it.

 

Lets take an example based on sponsored posts:

  • Blogger A gets 10,000 unique views per month and charges $400 per sponsored post.
  • Brand B tells Blogger A that 10,000 unique views isn’t much in their book and they would only pay them $50 per sponsored post.
  • But, if Blogger A was signed with (for example) The Remarkables Group (back when they did this kind of work), they would be on at least $1500 per post.

 

This is just a vague example; the only ‘real’ information in it is at the link I’ve included.

 

I’ve written it out to demonstrate that even for experienced bloggers, it’s  hard to know where you stand. It’s even harder as a new blogger. SO FREAKING HARD. Heck, even experienced bloggers wonder about this stuff – it’s the type of question you’ll probably always be thinking about now.

 

When you start, you have no idea what a “good” anything is. What are good unique views? How many comments should I get on each post?

 

I know it sucks but good is relative. Some people hear about other blogs that get tons of comments, but theirs get few.

 

If you really don’t know where to start, start wherever you like. Because that’s better than not starting.

 

If you’ve been reviewing products for free but want to stop, then stop. Tell brands that your fee is this, or that. See how the market responds. Set your rate depending on the brand. Try a few different rates to find your sweet spot. Review your rate regularly to make sure it’s in line with others.

 

This is your permission slip to go for your blogging goals.

 

Why?

 

Remember what I wrote up the top?

 

You are now working for yourself. 

 

There is no boss to say “as of this date, you now ask for this”. You have to make those decisions yourself.

 

It’s not rude.

 

It’s not wrong to ask for more money.

 

It’s business.

 

It’s not personal if you choose not to work with a brand that you’ve worked with before.

 

So ask those questions. Learn from other bloggers. See what others are doing.

 

But then analyse how it works for you and make your own decision.

 

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21 Replies to “The Number One Lesson You MUST Learn As A Blogger”

  1. I think it’s important to realise there are no clear rules and bloggers should follow their own paths.

    I was at a conference years ago when huge figures were tossed about for sponsored posts so I got up and said explained I was paid $75 for this and $120 for that and that was through a legitimate blogging agency. I wouldn’t usually speak up quite so bluntly but I was conscious of newbies there getting the wrong idea.

    My key advice to beginners is to start as they plan to continue. So many people start thinking they’re going to blog every day or do this or that… slowly slowly would be my advice and to make sure you can sustain any expectations you set up.

    1. Well said, Deborah!

      Thanks also Vanessa for starting the discussion. We all blog for different reasons with different goals so it’s nice to be able to hear from lots of different perspectives about things like the financials and how important ‘influence’ is when writing / engaging in SM according to one’s own personal blogging aims.

      SSG xxx

      1. I started out charging only $50 for a sponsored blog post! I was very naive and just excited that somebody would pay me 🙂

      2. Thank you SSG for raising that we all blog for different reasons. I blog for the pleasure of writing as much as for my desire to influence others to be more thoughtful about how they live their lives. Good to hear some insights about sponsored posts etc.

    2. Vanessa Smith says: Reply

      I love that you shared the reality with bloggers – yes, some people command great money and good on them. But there are years and years of work behind that and “two figure” sponsored post doesn’t have quite the sexy ring to it as other stories newbie bloggers might hear.

  2. Great post! My number one blogging rule is never to compare myself to other bloggers. What works for me might not work for them and vice versa.

    I vary what I charge depending on the circumstances and the brand. On one of my very first sponsored posts however when the company asked me how much I’d charge them I naively admitted to them that I hadn’t done too many sponsored posts and I’d accept whatever they deemed reasonable. To my surprise they offered me a lot more than I would have ever asked for! I was just lucky it was a fair person I said this to and that I wasn’t taken advantage of – lol! Although this approach worked well for me on this occasion I haven’t used it again and don’t really recommend it.

    Ingrid
    http://www.fabulousandfunlife.blogspot.com.au

    1. Vanessa Smith says: Reply

      That’s very important – because everyone has different goals, what one person does or charges or whatever might not be relevant at all to you!

  3. Great post. I went to blogging conferences early in blogging life and was sure I could get some paid work as I had an ‘expert’ view of education for both families and teachers. Alas, not everyone felt the same! I did get quite a few invites back then to attend PR events (no money but some goods were on offer) and wrote about them. When I attended some of the conferences and heard the spiel I recall thinking ‘how on earth does that happen’ ….it turns out, from my limited knowledge, that a lot of money is earned by having affiliates and programs which people sign up for. None of what I was doing was actually feeling like my voice when I wrote about a product, so 3 years ago I re-started the blog and blogged for me and making connections with readers and fellow bloggers. I could not be more pleased with that decision. I love the blogging community which has given me insight into more about life that I could not get within my specialised career in education.

    1. Vanessa Smith says: Reply

      I don’t think I’ve ever actually met many bloggers who make much money from affiliates, they’re so little income per click that 99% of the time you have to be quite big for that strategy to work at all.

  4. I agree totally. I think too many bloggers are concerned with their stats instead of writing consistently good posts. I work with a media agency and although I didn’t think my stats were that great, they assured me they were good (a big surprise to me!) I blog because I enjoy it rather than making a huge income from it. The sponsored posts and freelance writing gigs I get are just a bit of cream on top. My advice is to work on improving your writing skills and photography skills to produce good quality content, then the rest will fall into place. #TeamLovinLife

    1. Vanessa Smith says: Reply

      My stats have been broken for nearly a year now so I literally could not tell you how many people come here!!

  5. It’s very difficult to get paid sponsored posts with blogging. I guess it depends on what niche you are in or if you are in a niche at all. So many brands want it all for nothing … or maybe a free product if you’re lucky. I have had brands contact me wanting to work with me and once I say yes I will for $XXX I have never heard from them again. It’s very disheartening because it is such a low amount for such a big investment of time. Time to write, time to take photographs and edit them, time to share on social media etc etc. People have a right to be paid for their time. In saying this though – every blogger determines their own rules. The only rules that are across the board the same, and very important, is blogging etiquette – something I learnt in the early days am always mindful of. #TeamLovinLife

    1. Vanessa Smith says: Reply

      I think there was a sweet spot for a year or two where sponsored posts were somewhat easy, but that went away quite fast. I’ve barely ever done any becuase I don’t really like what comes my way. I don’t really shop or want for tiny things, so there’s not much that I could promote authentically. I also do have a problem with brands wanting to charge on pageviews as a primary variable and not ‘caring’ about the time it takes to craft said post.

  6. I’ve received gifted items for review purposes and while I’m not knocking it, it’s not all it’s cracked up to be. Sometimes it is something I would never use/wear in a million years left to my own devices. But I do it for my audience (don’t you love my dedication LOL). It has some positives too – eg I’ve had no need to buy clothes this winter! I’ve definitely gotten fussier about sponsored posts, and put my prices up too – and yet I still don’t think my price reflects the amount of time and effort that goes with them. I don’t think non-bloggers realise how much work it is, doesn’t matter if you love it or not, time is money x

    1. Vanessa Smith says: Reply

      It really is a lot of time to create a decent sponsored post. I was researching for a post once, where I’d be mentioning brands. But I will only do it for products/brands I’ve at least trialled. One asked me if I’d trial it then post it back. I can’t remember what it was but it couldn’t have retailed for more than $30. So yeah… I said no to spending time in a post office queue!

  7. I think as Janet says, ‘time is money’ and if you have an established blog with a good domain authority, and you’re writing considered and helpful posts for a reasonably targeted demographic then it’s not unrealistic to work out an hourly rate for yourself (as your own boss!) and apply this to whatever work/sponsored posts or whatever it is you are doing on your blog. Sponsored posts don’t come dropping out of the sky and relationships with brands should be nurtured, but there should be a win-win situation. Open dialogue with the brand – be honest – state how long the post will take you to research, photograph and write – tell them what’s in it for them – negotiate your fee – then deliver way above expectation.

    1. Vanessa Smith says: Reply

      Very well said, Jo!

  8. I’ve never done or sought a sponsored post – not because I have an issue with that, but because I create content for my blogs – especially the astro and author ones, to drive traffic to my product i.e. books and astro. They are my marketing sites, so to speak. And anyways and my Sunshine Coast blog are purely for my rambles. You’ve raised good points though, for those who do choose to earn from their blogs. Value your time and effort – you are your business. #TeamLovinLife

  9. Such good advice here Vanessa and thank you. I agree trying to strike a rate is hard and for me how far I will go depends on how much I want to work with a brand. I have a ‘fixed’ rate but I will vary that depending on what I think the value is to my blog and my readers. I have tiny stats but I have had some sponsored posts.
    I actually prefer to work with brands doing social shout outs, that is much easier and as I am interested in fashion it is fun. However I won’t work with just any brand, I have to feel credible and so the product must be one I would use/wear in any case.
    I love that Deborah stood up and spook on behalf of smaller bloggers, it can at times feel as though one is a failure if not earning big bucks.

  10. I’m a newish blogger and I too have been stumped by these questions, it’s hard to know if what you are doing is good or not. In reality I often think it is less about how many people are viewing your posts and more about who is viewing them. For example if the brand is local, you need a local audience.

  11. This was interesting reading, both the blog post and the comments. It’s a bit step to take to approach someone to ask for work/collaboration, but unless you do, nothing is going to fall into your lap. Do bloggers actively seek out opportunities?

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