You’ve decided to do it. You are going to become a full-time influencer.
However, you’re now looking at the business aspects of it.
How will you be able to make money? Before even looking at that, we need to assume you have a well-defined audience that is regularly engaging with your high-quality brand-safe content.
If you don’t have this audience, be patient and grow a genuine following (meaning, don’t buy followers), develop your voice (or eye, depending on the medium), and stay true and authentic to yourself.
We will discuss content and topics in another post. Anyway, your audience is engaging, it’s growing daily, your fans can’t get enough of you.
Great, let’s show you the money and #letyourpassionpayyourbills.
Brands pay influencers for posts where they talk about their brand and how it plays a personal role in their lives.
Our sponsored content marketplace, Cooperatize, reports rates between $100 to $1500 per post.
Most influencers with less than 10,000 followers charge about $100 per post and this scales up to about $700 – $800 for up to 1 million followers. Upwards of 1 million followers yields around $1500.
Brands do look at engagement on your social posts or, with more advanced platforms like Cooperatize, look at views and the buyer’s journey so ensure that your audience is truly engaged.
Brand Representative or Ambassador
Sometimes brands want a longer-term relationship with influencers than just a single post.
That is where the brand representative or ambassadorship comes into play.
Typically a brand will provide influencers with free products to allow them to photograph or experience the brand’s products in their day to day routines.
While free products are great, depending on the size of the influencer, there is usually no additional compensation although some influencers are able to also capture sales that they are responsible for like an affiliate program.
Marketplaces for brand ambassadors include sites like PrepReps and Reppr.
Display or Video Advertising
Display advertising, while one of the oldest forms of online advertising, is still growing.
From banner ads to text-based contextual advertising, to video ad formats, there are a variety of advertising formats that can be placed on an influencer’s blog and be monetized on an impression basis. (These ads are paid for on a CPM basis, that is, advertisers pay a set rate for every time an ad is shown 1000 times).
The prior argument was that these ads were very intrusive and annoying to the end-user but with many more formats to choose from, influencers can find the best ad format to pay the bills while maximizing audience engagement.
Speaking of an affiliate program, this method of monetization is the best way to demonstrate to a brand how effective an influencer is.
Brands pay a percentage to influencers if the sale was generated from their content. The amount influencers make here is obviously dependent on how effective they are and on the products that are being sold.
More expensive products offer smaller percentages while less expensive ones might offer a higher commission.
Let’s take ASOS, a new fashion brand, for example, offers a 5% affiliate rate while Amazon, which has its own affiliate program, has a roving rate from 1% – 15% depending on the products being sold.
To help influencers find the best offers at the best rates, Cooperatize offers tools that integrate with your blog to help you find affiliates in one easy to use dashboard.
Influencers are now becoming their own “country clubs.”
By offering memberships to their fans, influencers can create and offer special content for various tiers of membership.
On the other hand, influencers can have a simpler offering by just letting their fans put “coffee money” into their virtual tip jar.
Leading the charge here are companies like Patreon.
One of the oldest business models is trading products; online branding has added a new twist to it.
The fastest growing influencer industries are beauty and fitness.
Big influencers like Kylie Jenner are able to have the clout, audience, and capital to start their own cosmetics business, but smaller influencers like Bunny Meyer (@grav3yardgirl) for example, are able to partner with Tarte Cosmetics to build a makeup line.
However, not all products need to be physical goods.
Kayla Itsines, for example, leveraged her audience to launch Bikini Body Training Company, alongside a number of eBooks and her fitness app, Sweat with Kayla.
Outside of beauty and fitness, PewDiePie is able to sell nearly 6m a month in self-branded merchandise from tee-shirts to baseball hats to sweatshirts.
On social media, influencers have taken to direct selling. On Instagram, for example, a business account would let you add product tags and stickers to your stories and posts so that fans can buy directly from the app.
Sell Your Pictures
Instagram has showcased the eyes of a number of influencers and thus, digital images are a special form of merchandising.
A number of platforms let influencers find buyers for their photographs: Snapwire, Mobile Prints, and Twenty20 are good places to start.
Freelance Writing / Consulting
Similarly, your blog is a showcase for your writing.
With content marketing on the rise, companies are always looking for smart, witty, engaging content for their own blogs or for internal white papers, or a myriad of other content disseminated to their customers.
Selling books is similar to merchandising digital goods, or freelance writing, except that you now have a publisher to report to and you are the main product.
Publishers love influencers that come with built-in audiences to help de-risk the costs that they invest to bring a new author to market.
We might still be inside and six feet apart, but that doesn’t mean that virtual events can’t continue on.
Influencers host or participate in events and either get an appearance fee for participation or become a full-on event producer and receive higher compensation.
Many influencers use their niche but fully engaged audiences to push relevant events, speakers, and topics to their audience.
Some influencers already vlog but the ones that have fully jumped into it can leverage YouTube’s efficient monetization system to make money.
Some of the unboxing videos out there for a variety of products earn their creators upwards of thousands (usually more than the actual product that they are opening).
Email is one of the oldest forms of communication online.
However, this is why it makes it one of the most effective ways to reach audiences that are hard to get to.
Everyone that is online needs to have an email address and thus in theory you can reach everyone.
A variety of tools like Mailchimp, Sendgrid, and Constant Contact make email marketing simple and easy.
Whether you are a new creator or influencer, it is important to know the different methods of monetizing your content so that you could #amplifyyourfameandfortune.
Did we miss a way to monetize your influence? Or if you have any other money-making ideas, comment below and we’ll add it to our list!