How to Make Money Blogging Without Compromising Your Values
How do you get paid for blogging without compromising your values and principles? It’s not easy to monetize your blog when you’re just getting started. This is when some bloggers are vulnerable to accepting sponsored post offers that don’t actually align with their personal values or beliefs. It’s tough to turn down money, but sometimes you have to, so that you can keep your blog at a standard that reflects the person you are.
It’s important to have high standards for your blog’s content, your blog as a whole, and yourself as a business owner.
As a blogger, you’re less likely to be vulnerable to advertorial offers that compromise your values if you have chosen a niche for your blog that you’re already an expert in. If you choose a niche that reflects your natural expertise, such as a nutrition and cooking blog because you’re already great at cooking and knowledgeable in nutrition, you’re in a good place. Why? Because most of your content can be written by you, instead of coming from external sources. The external guest posts that end up on your blog can be paid for by brands that match your blog’s niche, thus you’re not compromising your values for a paycheck.
There is a way to make money blogging without compromising your blog’s integrity or publishing content that doesn’t align with your values.
Remember that there are all sorts of ways to make money with a blog: affiliate marketing, sponsored posts, ad space on your blog, and selling your own digital products on your blog. Selling a digital product (such as an e-book or online course) that offers genuine value and that you believe in because you created it? That’s a great way to make money blogging without compromising your values.
Additionally, if you’re producing high-quality content that for the most part is pure value posts and not as many advertorial posts, you could even offer your readers a low-priced ‘membership’ option where they’d receive exclusive content as a member or subscriber of your blog.
Below are some tips for how to get paid for blogging without compromising your blog content, your principles, or your personal values:
Communicate Your Boundaries and Stand by Your Convictions
It’s important to establish your blogging boundaries when it comes to what type of sponsored content you’ll allow on your blog. Make a firm promise with yourself that you won’t bend on these boundaries, not even if you’re bribed with a lot of money from the potential sponsor.
A perfect example is when I was asked to publish a story about a webcam model to promote an adult website. To publish this explicit content, I was offered a tempting amount of money, but I stood by my principles and reiterated my boundaries to the persistent potential client.
Essentially, you are the gatekeeper of your blog. It’s up to you to maintain your blog’s image, reputation, and integrity. You’re the one who decides what type of content makes it onto your blog, and having boundaries established and principles enforced is the best way to ensure you make money blogging without compromising your values.
As a blog owner, blogging boundaries are the rules you set for yourself to maintain a high-quality, reputable, sustainable and successful blog. Your values are vital for you and your audience, and it’s essential to understand them before you start creating content. A small amount of research and self-reflection will help you to create the right boundaries for yourself and your blog. This is useful for creating an online presence that is consistent with your own beliefs.
Remember that your audience will appreciate that your blog maintains integrity as well. Even if you have to turn down some paid gigs that don’t mesh with your values, it’s worth it in the long run. With a high-quality blog, you’ll soon find professional and quality sponsors that love your blog and want to work with you.
Avoid promoting products that don’t align with your values. That’s not how you gain loyalty from your audience or create any sort of sustainable brand loyalty. People trust people, not brands. If your content is genuine and you serve your audience before a company, your audience will love your authenticity and trust you as an authority in your niche.
My blog, The Babe Report, rarely publishes a sponsored post even though I get over a dozen requests per day from sponsors. My goal is to keep it this way, and I sincerely hope I’m able to.
Be Attuned to Your Audience’s Point of View and Understand Their Values
Professional bloggers have a blog that exemplifies their personality, values, unique style, sense of humor, and voice which sets them apart from all other bloggers. That’s why they attract their own unique audience. They don’t just put out the same content as everyone else who is trying to do the same thing they are.
The main objective for bloggers shouldn’t be money. What’s interesting is that if money is not your primary motivator, you end up with a higher quality blog, and you end up getting more paid offers from reputable sponsors. Of course, it’s great to see some money flow in, but the true value comes through providing value to your readers. If your blog posts provide genuine value where you’re educating your readers on an important topic or sharing your expertise in a given niche, people will trust your blog and come back for more. If you start relying too heavily on sponsored posts or advertorial content, you run the risk of your blog’s content becoming spammy, salesy and inauthentic. In order to make a good living blogging, one must avoid promoting random or lousy products. This is why it’s essential to stay aware of all the unfavorable paid opportunities that are available to bloggers today. Learn how to say no to potential sponsors, especially if you know your audience won’t love that sponsored content. That way, you can fight against the temptation of any potentially harmful deals and only promote the type of products you’d actually want to promote to your audience. Be honest to your audience. Understand what you’re willing to sell, advertise, or put out in the public domain.
Only Promote Products You Sincerely Believe in and Believe Your Audience Will Love
The goal of making money can push you to think about higher commission products, especially if you have a repeat purchase program, so you can keep earning month after month. Bloggers should choose products based on what makes sense for their audience. It’s no fun for anyone to write about something they don’t love, but money is a reality of the blogging world. People want to feel that they aren’t just another shill from another website trying to get them to buy stuff. When considering whether or not to sign up with a new affiliate program, look beyond the profit and consider how much trust and credibility you can build with your audience by promoting their product.
Have Your Blog be Mostly Educational, Long-Form Content That Provides Value
Digital marketers seem to be focusing on providing as much free content as the paid version of their product or service. This goes beyond simply offering a free trial. It’s about giving away high-value, long-form content that addresses your audience’s common challenges and provides value to your audience, regardless of whether buying a product is pushed within that content.
Consistently providing educational, valuable, long-form content (for free) on your blog is a great way to build a loyal audience. Your growing audience will be what helps you make money from your blog, so integrity pays off.
There’s no question that sometimes it’s easier to make money through strategic, sales-oriented blog posts with a call-to-action at the end to buy a product. However, try to limit these types of posts. Building a successful blogging business requires more than the ability to sell a product through sales copywriting and sales-oriented blog posts. You need to have good writing skills and provide pure value posts to gain trust, and to continue to avoid compromising your own values.
Let Your Audience Trust Your Opinion by Only Promoting Products You Love, Complete with Product Tutorials
The last thing you want to do is be an affiliate marketer with a thoughtless blog post that contains your affiliate link and a lazy request that your readers “buy this!” There are many ways you can advertise products on your blog without being sleazy, dishonest or compromising your values.
For example, you could try the product out yourself and before you write anything down, ask yourself if you genuinely believe the product works, is valuable, and is something people should know about. You could record a video of you using the product, explaining the best features of the product and why, and showing your audience how to use the product. In your blog post, you can embed this video and also write some copy explaining why you genuinely recommend the product, with a link to buy it if they’d like to.
When your blog isn’t constantly publishing sales-oriented content like this, your audience is more likely to listen to your opinion about a product you’re promoting. It’s clear they can trust you, because you don’t promote products often – not unless you genuinely believe the product was great.
Your audience will therefore feel more confident in your skills as a product reviewer, and will be more willing to buy into anything you promote. When you go to the effort of writing these honest and detailed product reviews complete with product tutorials, your followers will see that you’re willing to spend your time imparting truth and knowledge.
Use a Professional Service to Get Matched With Brands that Align With Your Blog’s Principles
A professional service that matches blogs with brands that fit the blog’s niche is what you need to stay true to your values and avoid compromising your principles. You want brands to sponsor some of your blog posts, so that you can make some money from your blog. However, not just any brand will do. You want these brands to be companies of quality, brands you believe in, and brands that match your blog’s niche and values. Sign up for a professional influencer and brand matchmaking service such as Scalefluence, which matches influencers and bloggers with brands that match their theme, niche, value system and audience.
The Bottom Line
It’s no secret that affiliate marketing has changed the blogging world. Bloggers like yourself can make money simply by recommending products through their websites. Thanks to affiliate products, you can promote your favorite brands and earn commission at the same time. It’s the perfect solution for content-driven blogs. With the above tips in this article, you can make money blogging in a way that’s true to your values and business goals. When you choose products that people actually want and need, and products you yourself believe in that match the niche of your blog, you’re providing real value to your readers and staying true to yourself. This is something that will garner incredible results for your blog’s reputation over time.