Rewind to February 2015 and I was still slaving away behind a desk at a big corporate. My personal finance blog Mrs Mummypenny was my hobby. I kept it updated once or twice a week and had made a start on building up my social networks. I could not have imagined where I would be just two years later, running my blog successfully on a full-time basis and earning a living from it.
The gift of redundancy gave me the opportunity. It meant our family bills were covered for 18 months, in which time I could focus and build my business up to a sustainable point of earning. So, how did I do it?
1) Sponsorship from brands
This makes up the largest chunk of my earnings. I work with all sorts of finance and lifestyle brands, where I write a post about new products, services or marketing campaigns for a one-off fee. The posts that work well are ones where I explain how a product or service has solved a problem. This is how the relationship with PensionBee started. My pensions were in a mess and PensionBee helped me sort them out, read the post here. I‘ve worked with all sorts of brands from Compare the Market to Disney to Aldi. The more branded work you do, the more you are approached to do!
2) Affiliate/referral revenue
This is a similar type of writing to a sponsored post, but this time your earnings are based on how many customers you refer to the company. This is known as passive income as it can continue to earn you money whilst you sleep. It’s also continual income that will earn for (hopefully) a longer period of time.
3) Testing and reviewing new products
Companies who are developing products related to your niche may employ you to provide feedback on their new creations. This might be before the point of releasing to the public in test phase, or in early release to help with testing, feedback, or building up subscriber numbers. I’ve worked with several companies building new personal finance apps.
4) Advertising space on your website
A blogger can sell estate on their blog, in the shape of things like banner adverts. They can also use ad networks such as AdSense to include adverts within blog posts, in more permanent places on the website. In addition, the revenue stream from YouTube can be significant if you can generate high numbers of views.
5) Appear in an advert for a brand
We’re getting into model territory here! Josh - my middle son - starred in an Aldi school uniform advert last year, and I’ve also done a few wine tasting videos for their YouTube Channel. Elsewhere, I’m doing some filming for an education brand shortly to aid with their advertising strategy. Extend your blog into YouTube and show you’re a natural on camera to get these types of commissions.
6) Event attendance
A fee might be paid for attendance at an event, which you’ll then write about after. Many bloggers are sponsored by a brand to attend blogging conferences.
7) Write a book
Writing a book is something you can do when you become an expert in a niche area - it’s something that I and plenty of others have done. I co-wrote “Blogging Your Way To Riches” with fellow blogger Emma Bradley. We’ve written about everything you need to know to create and grow a successful blog. We cover things like negotiating, networking, pitching and SEO. If you’re thinking of setting up a blog or are keen to monetise it, then you should find it handy!
8) Public speaking events
Once you become an expert in your field you may be approached to speak at events. You can ask for a fee from these events.
9) Writing content for brands to appear on their sites
Many brands have a blog and are keen for fresh and exciting content to be featured. Relationships can develop to the point of being invited to write content on the brand’s website - like with PensionBee and Mrs Mummypenny!
10) Social media
As your social media channels build to significant numbers it’s very possible to be paid for Facebook posts, Instagram pictures and tweets. This is something that requires big numbers though! An Instagram profile with 50k natural (not paid for!) followers is a valuable asset.
11) Blogger outreach
This is a service that many bloggers offer to brands who might want to outsource their blogger outreach. A blogger will organise for sponsored posts to be written by other bloggers and will broker the conversation, ensure quality of posts and pay all the bloggers a fee from the brand.
These media sources are always looking for amazing content, and a blogger can be well placed to produce it. Sometimes, you could even be the focus of a story. More often than not the blogger will pitch an idea to a publication. Elsewhere, a TV show might be looking for a blogger with certain experience to feature in a program.
Is blogging looking a bit more attractive now? If you can find the perfect niche, be an engaging writer and win at social media it could be for you. It’s changed my life, it could change yours too!
Lynn Beattie is a PensionBee customer and CEO/Founder of Mrs Mummypenny, a personal finance website. She is also an ACMA management Accountant, previously working in commercial finance for Tesco, EE & HSBC. Lynn is a single mum to three boys, living in Hertfordshire, and is the author of ‘The Money Guide to Transform Your Life‘ published in September 2020.