The Business of Blogging

So I’m taking a momentary break from the outfits and sale gossip for a quick come to Jesus with you all. It’s about the business side of things and after last week’s almost week full of sponsored posts, I felt like I needed to pull back the curtain for a second.

When I started Lou What Wear, in what feels like decades ago back in 2011 (if you want a laugh, do check out some of those posts… woof), I didn’t anticipate ever turning this into a business. It was a passion project where I could share my creative side and love for all things Louisville. Since then, I’ve been extremely lucky that you all keep coming back which has, in turn, allowed me to go to some fun events, work with some really cool brands and most importantly, meet some really interesting and wonderful people – including many of you. It’s been the definition of the most annoying hashtag ever, #blessed.

But all of the fun stuff you see comes hand-in-hand with a lot of less than exciting stuff and backend bulls**t. Nothing that’s overly difficult, just a lot of random crap to keep up with – including things I’m not entirely well-versed in  like accounting and website coding. It also involves a lot of smoke and mirrors to create pretty pictures. And while the pictures may be staged, and I usually let you know when they are, all of the sentiment in the posts are truly my opinions.

To keep all the content coming your way, and to keep the proverbial lights on, I regularly partner with brands. They are always brands I either love or ones I find interesting and want to try (like when I was dying to check out HelloFresh and got a chance to try it out). It may sometime look like I’ll try out any offer that comes my way and I can 100% tell you that is not the case. More times than not, I don’t apply for opportunities (more on that in a second) that don’t fit this space or politely decline offers that come my way because it’s just not something I’d ever do, try, eat or wear. My goal in working with brands is always to provide you all with some valuable insight on whether something is or isn’t right for you. It may seem like it’s always positive reviews but that’s because I try not to be a big old Negative Nancy and would rather share things I think you’ll like than talk about something that’s not so hot.

Last week, I feel like every sponsored post I’d worked on for the last 3 months just happened to coincide. Honestly, it was poor planning on my part but I feel like it opened up the chance to give you a little look at how I generate income from the blog in an effort to be more transparent with you all.

  • Sponsored Posts: 
    This is the big one for me. Since I love writing and I am somewhat of a human guinea pig – I’m big on trying out new things and talking about them. It could be food-related (if they deliver it, I’m trying it), some new beauty products or a new online service. Some of my most popular posts have come because of the prompts I’ve received from brands as well. Times when I’ve attempted to throw together a party or put together health and wellness tips, have often been prompted by a brand partnership.These types of posts come about in two ways:
    1. Direct Partnerships – where a brand reaches out to me specifically and we figure out the best way to partner on a post.
    2. Collaborative Agencies – where an agency reaches out with an opportunity and you decide whether or not you are interested in applying to be a part of the collaboration. After applying, the brand decides whether or not they’d like to work with you. If chosen, you’re provided with a outline – including a timeline and details on requirements. These often include topic ideas for you to work within.

    Working on sponsored posts, while sometimes tedious, has challenged me to step out of my comfort zone (you would have never caught me in a bathing suit on here without a push but it was well worth it) and have given me the chance to incorporate new types of content while also working with brands I really really love and could have never imagined working with before. They also tend to be some of my favorite posts. Sure there are some that have been better than others and I treat those as a learning experience.

  • Affiliate Links
    If you read a lot of blogs, you’re probably familiar with this but either way, here’s the gist of it. When I put together an outfit post, the majority of which are totally not sponsored, and I link to a specific top or pair of jeans I use an affiliate link.If you click on that link and ultimately purchase something from the retailer, I make a commission – for some retailers it’s as little as 4% and others it can be up to 15 or 20%. This is why you see bloggers going crazy-bananas for the Nordstrom Sale now or the Shopbop annual sale when it hits.

    Because of the nature of my style, this isn’t a huge money maker for me. I tend to wear less of the “I need that EXACT dress” type of pieces and do more of the type of outfits that you might be able to recreate from pieces in your closet or inspire you to pick up a similar {top, belt, dress, etc} next time you’re out shopping.

    That being said, it’s still a nice perk and it’s extraordinarily helpful when you all click my links. There are also pay-per-click links, that I use occasionally, for higher priced items or items that may be low in stock. I use these types of links in gift guides too when I think you all may be more interested in just checking out the item than actually buying it.

Personally, I lack the hustle (and time and a dependable instagram husband) that many bloggers have to really make the most of affiliate links. Feel free to correct me, but I feel like I do the best with these when I’m letting you know about a big sale or fun find. Oh and with Derby. Derby is my jam.

So that’s basically the one-two punch of how I make money over here. While it would be cool to make this a full-time gig, it’s still more of a passion project that became a fun side-hustle. And even though it’s not my full-time gig, I still put in a considerable amount of time behind the scenes keeping things up and running – which mostly means keeping up with emails and juggling slightly embarrassing photo shoots in my schedule. It’s also been really valuable in the interim time between leaving my full-time job and starting up a new company (more on that this week too – I promise).

Sorry if this post was long-winded but it’s really important for me to share all that goes into creating content over here as well as be transparent about the rush of sponsored content recently. I’d love for you to give me your feedback (both good and bad) on posts and let me know what you like, what you hate and what you’d like to see more of. It’s beyond helpful and I take all of the feedback to heart.

 

6 Comments

  1. Reply

    Amanda J.

    July 31, 2017

    I love your honesty on this stuff (and am so excited to hear about this new biz)!! 🙂

    • Reply

      Danielle

      July 31, 2017

      Thanks so much Amanda! I need to do it more often for sure!

  2. Reply

    Paige Rhodes

    August 1, 2017

    I love your transparency! I can’t tell you how often I get asked this question and it’s so difficult to explain. From now on, I’ll just point them in the direction of this post! Hahaha.

    • Reply

      Danielle

      August 1, 2017

      Thanks Paige! I feel like it’s long overdue! Yeah, you and me both. It’s so hard to explain concisely and I know there’s so much more to it but at least it’s a start!

  3. Reply

    Christin

    August 8, 2017

    can everyone be like you?

    (ETA: i did addition instead of math on the captcha and had to re-do it. thought you should know)

    • Reply

      Danielle

      August 9, 2017

      well i’m just trying to be like you so there’s that.
      #loveyoumeanit

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