How I Earn Money Off Of My Blog (2017 Edition)
Sometime in September when I have traditionally published them I decided it was rather silly publishing my annual financial report only nine months into the year, so, a few months late today is when we sit down together and I lay out exactly how I have made money from my blog in the past year, both as an exercise in looking at how the trends in blogging are shifting and changing, but perhaps to offer a helping hand to those of you who want to start monetising your sites, too. (You can find my 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2016 posts here.)
As ever, I’m only including percentages and pie charts here rather than actual numbers, and as well as including both 2017 and 2016 numbers next to each other (2017 on the left and 2016 on the right), I also thought I’d include my 2015 numbers again next to that to show the progression of the payments I got from my first book, Student Eats which was published last year. Let us talk about that now. Essentially, when you publish a book your royalty payments get split into instalments, mine were 1/4 on signing the contract, 1/4 on delivering the manuscript, 1/4 on publication day, and 1/4 when I had fulfilled all of my promotional responsibilities that were in my contract. You can see that in purple. In the years where I just had one payment I added another substantial chunk to my income, and last year where I received two payments, it made up almost 50% of my blog income.
I declared in my report last year that sponsored posts as a form of income for small to mid-level traffic bloggers was well and truly back, and this past year only saw this getting stronger. While my sponsored post income in 2016 came from a few high paid collaborations you could not rely on, brands have now truly recognised sponsored posts as an important part of their marketing and advertising strategy and it is now possible to have a regular stream of well paying sponsored posts coming in every month. I also started pitching my own ideas for sponsored posts to brands last year, and this is something I’m looking to focus properly on in 2018 – I’ll let you know how that goes. Some of my favourite sponsored blog posts from 2017: Cheeky Peri Peri Chicken Burgers for Mahi Fine Foods, a Late Summer Soft Cheese Board for the Organic Trade Board, Easy Almond & Apricot Sausage Rolls for Appletiser, Honey Spiced Chicken with Indian-style Veggies for Funky Elephant, Roasted Tomato & Mushroom Pesto Rice for ‘Scala, 10 Minute Ravioli in Herby Nutty Butter for Giovani Ranna. (If you’re a brand and you’d like to team up on a recipe collaboration this year, do give me a shout!)
While I know fashion bloggers count affiliate links as one of their largest chunks of income every month, as a food blogger I only mange to make a relatively small, steady amount each year. However, I have noticed that at times when I make an effort to produce useful product or discount roundup posts (such as The Ultimate Christmas Advent Calendar Roundup 2017, my Bumper Christmas Gift Guide 2017 and my Black Friday / Cyber Monday Deals & Discount Codes 2017 post) I’ve done better, so I’m going to be more intentional about producing those in 2018, though only for things like Mothers Day and Fathers Day that are actually useful – I promise you I won’t spam you!
As you can probably see, 2017 was the year I barely did any freelancing at all, which was unfortunate as it use to be my biggest earner. Partly this was not an issue as I was also working full time from February to September, so I actually did not really have the time. However, after September I’ve noticed that a lot of the places I used to write for have less opportunities available, or are simply no longer commissioning as they have taken pretty much all of their content creation in house. While I’ll still take all of the freelance opportunities that come my way (I really enjoy them as they allow me to work on projects that are sometimes just not quite right for my audience) I’m working on diversifying my blog income, as I think that is where the winds are blowing.
Sponsored Instagrams (using apps like Takumi and working directly with brands and PR agencies) are something that started for me at the very end of 2016, and have really taken off in the last year. Even though I’ve not yet hit 10k followers, brands have recognised the influence of micro-influencers on the platform, and while I have no goals past building my follower base for the coming year on the platform, I can only see this area growing further in 2018. Some of my favourite sponsored Instagram posts from 2017: this light lunch for English Provender, this sunny springtime shot for SPAR’s new proseccos, this cozy fireside bolognese for Oxford Landing. (Again, if you’re a brand and you’d like to team up on an Instagram collaboration this year, do give me a shout!)
My Pinterest numbers are a funny one for 2017, actually. From the pie charts it looks like I pretty much made the same in 2017 as I did in 2016, but I actually made about half of that off of sponsored Pinterest collaborations and Pinterest affiliates. The reason for the discrepancy is, as a trial, last year I took on my first clients to set up and manage their Pinterest pages to promote their blogs and products. I’ll talk more about this in the coming weeks, but for now if you’re a blogger or a brand who feels a bit lost on the platform, or you don’t have time to use it to it’s fullest potential drop me a line about setup, consultancy and profile management at very reduced rates!
Thank you to everyone who has made it to the end of a rather wordy (!) post, and I hope you found it interesting/ useful. I’m working hard at the moment on some of the projects I had planned for the blog in 2018, but for the in between times I’d love to hear more from you all on the sort of recipes you want to see: more weeknight meals or weekend projects? Healthier versions of restaurant and takeaway favourites, or how to make classic home cooked dishes? You can reach me on Twitter, Facebook and by email.