Since 2004, bloggers have been sharing their favorite topics across the internet with like minded people. Bloggers were the original digital influencer. Though they remain the quintessential online influencer, in some respects top bloggers are quickly being superseded by popular YouTubers, Instagrammers, Viners, and Snapchatters. Some of the best bloggers have transcended the shakeup in the influencer space, while others have evolved and migrated to new social publishing platforms. Incredibly, some of the top fashion bloggers, are among the most followed top Instagram accounts.
Originally, blogging was a hobby and avocation. The most widely recognized bloggers devote themselves full-time to their efforts; however they began their blogging journey part-time until they secured enough sustainable income from their blog to make it their primary endeavor. Now, top bloggers and influencers (like Danielle Bernstein of fashion blog, We Wore What and Emily Schuman of Cupcakes & Cashmere) can command six figure partnership and sponsorship deals.
Read more here to see how bloggers make money:
Aside from superstar bloggers, thousands of others make notable income through blogging. Through a strong platform, adjoining email lists, affiliate links, blogger collaborations, sponsorships, and other social media channel ops, bloggers make money to support themselves as independent influencers. The celebrity-like influence a blogger has over their community is unique because they connect with their audiences through authenticity, voice, personality and charisma. By working with influencers, brands are able to instantly connect with niche audiences online in ways previously unavailable.
In most cases, bloggers first start making money on their blog through affiliate links. An affiliate link is a URL with a unique ID to track traffic affiliates send to a brand. Bloggers then get a commission based on a variety of factors such as clicks, purchases made, etc. Companies like RewardStyle and Rakuten offer programs where bloggers can use affiliate links from a variety of different brands at once. When you see a “shop this post” widget with the ability to click on products featured in the post, you’re looking at affiliate links.
For more detailed information regarding affiliate links, see our post “Sponsored Blog Posts vs. Affiliate Links.”
Sponsored posts, when done right, are the best way to engage users into clicking affiliate links, but the influencer is also given an upfront payment for the post. Brands also contact bloggers on an individual basis for larger sponsorships (see our post on Three Ways to Create Great Sponsored Content). Where affiliate links go out to a variety of brands and work on a commission basis, a sponsored post is where an influener works exclusively with one brand on a post to promote their product. These influencers might have an agreed upon rate for a sponsored post vs solely getting a commission on purchases made by the influencer’s audience.
Blair Eadie “BEE,” the blogger behind Atlantic Pacific recently did a style post about Bergdorf Goodman x New Balance shoes (image above), then urged her followers to meet her at Bergdorf Goodman for a shoe celebration. In this example, Blaire brought her audience to a brick and mortar store for in-store purchases as opposed to the more common use of sponsored posts for online purchases (see our post on Top Fashion Bloggers Hitting the Cover of Lucky Magazine).
In a more traditional sponsored post, Blaire worked with David Yurman to showcase the jewelry line. All jewelry within the blog post was exclusively David Yurman and all pieces were linked in the post for her audience to purchase (below).
Emily, behind Style By Emily Henderson, also recently did a sponsored post with Blue Apron, a company that delivers meals, ready to cook, to your door (below). Emily integrated her Blue Apron meal into a post on how to create a winter table-scape for less. This post expertly integrated Emily’s knack for design with the ease of Blue Apron’s minimal labor, fresh, meal plan.
Some bloggers are able to use their influence to expand their brand into design collaborations. Bloggers like Danielle Bernstein behind We Wore What and Joy behind Oh Joy are experienced in design collaborations. Danielle just recently launched a jewelry collaboration with TopShop and last year, she designed a capsule collection for Addison (below).
While fashion bloggers like Danielle have an avenue for clothing, jewelry, and shoe design, lifestyle and design bloggers like Joy have an opportunity to work in other niches. For instance, last year Joy created a party collection for Target. She had also previously designed diaper bags, bedding and decor, furniture, and wallpaper designs for other design collaborations (below). These collaborations allow the monetary value and income of a blogger to increase.