The big buzzword among fashion bloggers is “monetize.” They’re always looking for a way to monetize their blog, their outfit posts, their shopping suggestions. They’d love someone to subsidize their vacations. Hell, why not subsidize their entire life? Their blog sidebars are riddled with ads. Some of the retailers are recognizable, others are small boutiques suckered into the big league world of Blog Marketing 101. Affiliate links are everywhere. Their entire outfit might be c/o’d. Is that the big American Blogger Dream?
No one can deny that a few bloggers have basically lucked into a viewership that affords them a decent income per month, but what about the little guys? If you’re in it for the money, does your hard work pay off? If it doesn’t now, WILL IT EVER?
Let’s start with a few case studies:
- What I Wore: Although Messica used to command thousands per monthly sponsorship, she now uses BuyAds.com to sell sponsorship slots. She is currently charging $5 per 1,000 impressions. As of now, she does have one ad on her site, but it’s through AOL’s Styleite service. She has no bought ads displayed from BuyAds.com. My guess is she’s probably making around $1,000 per month in affiliate marketing revenue.
- The Daybook: According to Sydney’s rates per ad and given how many ads she has on her blog right now, she’s likely earning between $4,000-$5,000 per month.
- Bleubird Vintage: A source told us that Bleubird was allegedly pulling in between $100-$300 per ad spot on her site. If the higher of the rates is for a larger ad and the smaller commands around $100, she’s also making about $4,000 per month.
- Using Affiliate Links: If a blogger has no sponsors but uses an affiliate link service such as RewardStyle when they link to products, they earn a commission off every purchase (and potentially every click through, depending on the service). We’ve heard from readers that commission returns vary widely. Popular bloggers (such as the ones on this list) could be making in the thousands, while a smaller blog could be making between $10-$500 per month.
I posted harsh words about popular blogger perceptions a few days ago and I stand by what I said. In reading the above, I have no doubt that there are bloggers telling themselves that they too, with enough hard work and great content, could match The Daybook’s rates and pull in an extra $5k per month. But, the reality is that for every Daybook there are thousands and thousands of lookalike bloggers littering Bloglovin’ and Blogger. They’re mostly indistinguishable and they’ll mostly stay that way. Making money in blogging is more about luck and connections than hard work. Take Messica, for example. She used to make thousands per month in sponsorships, but after a series of unfortunate life decisions and continual reader backlash, she’s mostly faded into obscurity. She still posts stats that indicate she’s receiving over $1 million pageviews a month, but what is that doing for her? Probably not much. She’s still posting every day like she used to, still (inexplicably) getting millions of pageviews but I think you’d be hard pressed to find any evidence of that work and those statistics paying off in her bank account.
Here’s the bottom line: You absolutely may luck into making some cash from your blog. But other than using affiliate linking, brand/retailer sponsorships are a product of luck based on fickle reader preference and unfortunately you can’t control that, no matter how many outfits you wear or how much shit you buy. You can always hope to get picked up by a management firm like Jordan Reid or network like crazy or hope that some bigger blogger links to you, but the pay-off may STILL not come even if those things work.
What does this mean for you if you’re a blogger? It shouldn’t mean anything. If you’re blogging because you’re hoping to retire at 30 with a closet full of free stuff and a bank account loaded with money from online sponsorships, you’re probably doing it wrong. Stop trying so hard to be a sponsored someone and try for interesting or fun or original.