THE BUSINESS OF BLOGGING // SHOPSTYLE COLLECTIVE
Thank you to ShopStyle Collective for partnering on this post.
One of the most frequently asked questions that I receive: How do you turn blogging into a business? I’m happy to help answer that question! I started my site in April 2010 and it has been a wild ride to say the least. Back in 2010 blogspot was the hottest thing online, Instagram had just launched, and the influencer industry was nowhere near the powerhouse that it is today. In fact, the industry was just developing. As it all grew, so too did my following, and I began to focus on how to truly build a stable and long lasting business from Atlantic-Pacific. When it came to monetizing my work, I focused on three areas where I believed I could best generate revenue: affiliate links, paid partnerships, and creating product.
Affiliate linking was the first way I was able to monetize Atlantic-Pacific, and through my partner ShopStyle Collective, it remains an integral revenue channel. I’m able to highlight all of the items I wear, pieces I love, and provide product suggestions using ShopStyle Collective links. Ultimately, I am compensated when readers are influenced and redirected to purchase those products. In addition to using affiliate links, I also participate in paid partnerships and create licensed products. Paid partnerships encompass an Instagram post or site post for a flat fee on behalf of a brand or product. I keep strict requirements in choosing partners, and of course, only endorse products that I use, trust, and love. While more of a rare occurrence, occasionally I find an incredible partner to create product with and bring pieces to market all the way from concept to execution to the sales floor. We will work together to design and produce the goods, and also on how to share the revenue from those sales equitably. An example of this are my limited-edition Atlantic-Pacific collections at Nordstrom! While affiliate links with ShopStyle Collective are a constant, steady stream of revenue (that I focus on daily), paid partnerships occur multiple times per month, and product creation and/or licensing opportunities are much more seldom as they take more planning and dedication. Above all, my focus remains consistent on having a healthy balance of sponsored and non-sponsored content on all Atlantic-Pacific channels.
When it comes to the business of being an influencer, I believe it is an equal balance of art and science. While many readers see beautiful imagery, fun outfits, new products and brands, and entertaining copy (Atlantic-Pacific leans more heavily on imagery vs. copy, but you get the point), behind the scenes there is so much more going on. There is owning and operating a fluid editorial calendar, the tactical work of mastering photography, building out the technical aspects of a website and social media channels, and lots and lots of number crunching to better understand the audience, engagement metrics, and micro and macro trends happening in the industry. Not to mention reading and reviewing contracts, negotiating deals, and countless meetings to review products and upcoming launches. On top of all this, there is usually, lot and lots of travel involved! I am constantly seeking out partners that can help make the business side, or the science of what I do, more efficient and easy to navigate. While I truly enjoy all aspects and sides of the influencer business, I recognize that my strengths fall more on the aesthetic and creative side of the spectrum. The more I can rely on others to help with aspects that are not my strengths, the better Atlantic-Pacific will be set up for future success.
I have been using ShopStyle Collective for years and have found the tools they provide allow me to easily link, track, and analyze what is happening within the affiliate side of my business. I am linking daily, from both my phone and desktop, and their easy-to-navigate and user friendly tools suit my on-the-go existence effortlessly. ShopStyle Collective also sends reminders from retailers on upcoming revenue driving events, highlights top selling categories and products, and shares useful community tips and tricks. All of these actions help and influence my editorial content calendar. While I have personally been blogging for almost 11 years (gulp) and have a strong grasp on the influencer landscape, ShopStyle Collective is equally as suited for those that are just now entering the business. In fact, they have recently launched the Standard Program that helps nano and micro influencers understand affiliate marketing, effective ways to grow an audience, and general best business practices. The Standard Program is a simplified version of the current platform and supports influencers with under 10,000 followers. It offers a straightforward tool set consisting of text links and simplified analytics that cater to new influencers. Standard users can then graduate to the Advanced program, where they gain even more access to tools, analytics, and retailers. Click this link to get started and to learn more!
So many of you have inquired on how to begin monetizing your newer businesses and I believe that utilizing affiliate links and specifically working through the ShopStyle Collective Standard Program is a great place to start. You’ll still control the creative direction of your content, and by simply layering on the ability to use affiliate links, you’ll better understand the purchasing habits of your audience!
I am endlessly grateful for partners like ShopStyle Collective who help me to better understand, grow, and monetize my business. And of course, I am so thankful and indebted to all of the readers and followers who, after all of these years, continue to engage with my content. You have all allowed me to take on incredible projects and turn what was once a passion project into a full time job and career!
If you happen to be a newer Atlantic-Pacific visitor, feel free to read more about my blogging journey here, my career in merchandising here, and my advice on getting into the influencer industry here. If there are other topics or questions you may have, please feel free to reach out!