Want to make a living blogging? Check out the pros and cons of these paid blogging platforms!
I've talked about how I've monetized my blog and how I view it as my small business. I still get a surprising amount of questions from new bloggers or soon-to-be-bloggers on HOW to monetize and WHERE to find these paid opportunities. We know that ads and affiliate links take time to build up a solid income, and if you don't have a robust social media following, that also need to be built up before you can do social media campaigns. But sponsored posts are a fantastic and lucrative way to build up your blogging income right now! The question remains... Where do you find those sponsored posts and what are the pros and cons of doing sponsored content? I'm laying it all out for you, company by company.
These companies provide me about half of my sponsored content. They're the "middle man" between you and the brand. As with all "middle men" there are pluses and minuses - some more so than others! There are more companies than these to secure paid/sponsored content, but these are the few that I work with most. I've linked their names directly to their sign up pages so you can get accounts with them if you don't already have one: \
PROS - You fill out a "community profile" and they send you opportunities. I've gotten every single one they've ever sent me so they really only send you things that are excellent fits. They do a pay per click payment model, so you're in charge of how much you make per post! I really like that. If I want to work hard and hustle, I can get paid way more. Their staff is also super friendly and open to negotiations. I've increased my earnings per post every time simply by talking with the campaign manager and asking for a higher click rate ceiling. Literally, my email reads, "Hey, you quoted me 200 clicks for $xxx.xx but I know I can do better than that and would like more clicks for more money. Is that ok?" and they respond, "Sure! Here's your new rate. Good luck getting clicks!" Most of their opportunities are for mom blogs and food blogs, so if that's you, get on this platform! They pay FAST. I'm talking within a few days of campaign closure. As you'll see, that's insanely rare. It's also via PayPal, which is handy for tax time.
CONS - I have several blogging friends who are on this platform and haven't gotten any emails of opportunities. It took me nearly a year before I got anything from them too. I think they really like the bloggers they work with to be niched down, and like I said, if you're a mom/food blog, you're golden. The one huge turnoff I had with Linqia initially is that your click rate starts low, which means you don't get paid much. You have to over-preform on your clicks to get paid more money. So in the beginning, you're working for peanuts until you prove that you're delivering results. Also, I don't get many clicks from my blog post. I get them from social media. But they still require a blog post. I wish I could just use my tracking link to get clicks via social media and omit the blog post all together. I'm hoping they'll consider that in the near future.
PROS - Lots of opportunities, and a wide range of them, meaning all niches are represented. You fill out your profile and select your interests, and they send you paid opps to your dashboard and also send you emails about them. Most of the applications I submit get accepted, so there's a high acceptance rate. The application is short and sweet - you don't need to plug in your social media stats every time, which annoys me to no end with other companies. They pay via PayPal which makes your life easier at tax time, too.
CONS - Their posts don't pay exceptionally well, although I will say I've noticed an increase recently! Some of the opportunities are for product only, so you're only getting something shipped to you in exchange for a post. I no longer only accept product, because product isn't paying my bills. Read the opportunity prompt carefully; I accepted a post and was surprised to learn that because I didn't select the "include a video option" in my application, I wouldn't get paid the rate I saw on the opportunity - I was only going to be shipped the product. That was a bummer! Lesson learned.
PROS - Really great, competent, quick to respond staff! You get in on their Facebook group page and also get a weekly email to apply for the post opportunities they have listed, so there's excellent communication. They offer social media only campaigns and blog posts. You have to have a minimum page view count to be accepted and use large, high quality images. Some posts pay well and they always ship the product to you (no need to spend your own money or go shopping). Their official payment policy says 30 to 45 days after the campaign wraps up, but I've always gotten my payment via direct deposit (you'll get a 1099 tax form from them) within two weeks or less. THAT'S RARE! And a huge plus.
CONS - There are only about two or three opportunities a week, and they're all going out to every member of Pollinate, so if you don't know how to write a pitch, good luck landing a post! Many weeks there's nothing that fits my niche or that I'm interested in. Their social media campaigns must require a lot of followers because I've never landed one despite having over 6100 Instagram followers and 2400 Facebook fans. Their application makes you re-state your social media stats EVERY SINGLE TIME which is annoying like no other.
PROS - Out of all these companies, Clever Girls has the most opportunities that are PERFECT fits for my niche. They have a lot of organic/wellness/yoga posts, which are hard to come by. It's an easy application process. If there's product involved, they ship it to you. Every campaign manager I've spoken with has been quick to respond and super awesome. I've just started working with them and am really pleased with the opportunities they have for bloggers! Their paid posts are on the medium to high end of the pay scale - perhaps because of some of their more unusual niche work. I'll take it! Their reporting process is super quick and easy.
CONS - I have a few blogging friends who can't seem to land anything from them. The posts that I've gotten are SUPER niche specific, and it's a narrow niche in the blogging world. I've noticed for their social media campaigns, they require a lot of followers - I'm talking 50k Instagram followers, at least! They also don't have a defined payment term. All I could find was that "if it's been more than 60 days since the close of your campaign and you haven't been paid, contact your campaign manager." I haven't yet been paid by them for my posts, but having something that loosely defined is a bit odd to me. Hopefully it works out because I'm loving the opportunities I'm seeing from them! They're also picky on who they accept. I was rejected on my first application to their platform, then reapplied several months later and got in.
PROS - There are TONS of opportunities posted each day. Even on weekends. And all niches are covered, from beauty to moms to crafting/DIY. It's also REALLY easy to land a paid opportunity! The application process is simple. They keep track of your blog stats via HTML coding you install in the header of your blog. They pay 30 days after the close of the campaign, which is decent, but it's direct deposit, so it's convenient. They'll give you a 1099 form at the end of the year for taxes. Once you're accepted, they have a SoFab University, which has tons of great information for bloggers in it via podcasts.
This is an excellent place to start when looking for sponsored posts! My recommendation for beginners who are just starting to monetize their blogs. I made great money with them right after I monetized, and the posts are super easy and clear for beginners! Get your feet wet with Social Fabric.
CONS - These posts don't pay well. Most are $50-200. Also, you have to do the shopping and that comes out of your pay. So if you get a post that pays $170 but you need to buy $30 of product, you now really only netted $140. They make you take a weird, in store photo. I think it's to prove you shopped at the retailer you're promoting but it's just awkward! There's no way to make it look authentic to your blog or brand. Anyone can apply to be a campaign manager (you or I could right now) so some people are horrible and clueless and others are great - it's hit and miss.
PROS - Just like Influence Central, you have an account and they send you opportunities based off your account, interests and niche. They email them directly to you, and if interested, it's a quick application process. I've landed every opp they've ever sent my way, so it's good and targeted: if they send it to you, they want you! There's also multiple ways to get involved with different pay scales. The lowest paid is just doing social media promotion for the brand, then there are two levels of paid posts with various requirements. Some of my best (read: highest) paid work comes from Acorn!
CONS - You have to wait for them to send you opportunities. I've been with them for several months and have only gotten a few. They also take FOREVER to pay you, with a payment schedule of net 60. This means you'll get paid 60 days after the campaign ends. Usually, the campaign is 6 weeks and you get put on a post date schedule, so it's very feasible that it's almost 4 months between the date your post goes up and the day you get paid. In fact, the only company to have a worse payment method is SheKnows Media. Speaking of...
PROS - I'm honestly not really sure. I know if you have a large blog following you can get some really lucrative posts, but I've been offered none. I do get a lot of paid work for my Twitter via SheKnows and it pays well, especially since I can schedule all the tweets at once. I'm netting about $250/hr on those campaigns! So if you have a good sized social media following or a large blog following, this would probably be a good fit for you. Otherwise, skip it.
CONS - Their net 60 payment is terrible! Not only is it net 60, but it's net 60 from the last day of the month the campaign runs in. So if you did something that ended June 2, you wouldn't get paid until September. Ridiculous! I even cancelled my contract early with them for the ads that ran on my blog because I just wasn't getting paid. I spoke to their accountants weekly and they didn't understand why I wasn't getting paid either. After spending last summer (the whole summer!) chasing down six months of ad payments, I simply removed them from my blog, cause aint nobody got time for that.
iSway (SITS Girls)
PROS - Again, not really sure. Out of all of them, this one baffles me the most. I've never gotten ONE opportunity from them, even when I've gotten private application invitations directly from the campaign manager! They have insanely high social media following standards - 50k Instagram, 50k Facebook and 20k for Twitter, so perhaps that's why. But if that's the case, why did you accept me to begin with?! I did go to the SITS Girls Bloggly Bootcamp and thought it was an awesome conference! Full of great content. They also got a last minute sponsor for the conference so all of us attendees got our registration fees refunded - they didn't pocket the difference, which I thought was cool.
CONS - Impossible to land campaigns. Also, from what I've seen, their payment is all over the place. They require 20,000 twitter followers but only pay $100 for 10 tweets. I make that and I only have 2,650 twitter followers. Those numbers seem off to me! Some posts pay poorly but have high page view requirements/social media following regardless, and some pay well. Who knows. Maybe one day I'll land a campaign!