When I go to events, there’s one question I am asked more frequently than any other…and it has nothing to do with jewelry.
“But…how do you make money blogging?”
The delivery varies. Some people ask aggressively because they’re uncomfortable in the face of something they don’t understand, or they can’t accept the changing times that my business represents. Others ask the question with awe or hope, and I wonder if they’re holding a blogging dream in their own hearts.
Most of the time, they’re just genuinely curious. They don’t understand how Diamonds in the Library can be my full time job, and they want to learn.
I’m a big fan of understanding things, and honestly, I also think blogging is fascinating – why else would I have been doing it for nearly 5 years? So I’m going to satisfy your curiosity and just lay everything all out here for you to see.
Here’s how I make money blogging:
The short answer is that I do a whole lot of different little things which – most months – add up to an income. Keep reading for all the details!
If you’ll look to the right of your screen, beneath the search bar, you’ll see a selection of beautiful ads for jewelry stores and brands. These are my beloved advertising partners. They pay a monthly or yearly rate for the space. In exchange, I display their lovely, on-brand banners, which will take you to those businesses’ websites if you click on them.
I choose my advertisers very carefully: if I accepted everyone who wanted to advertise with Diamonds in the Library, you’d have to scroll for a considerably longer amount of time to see them all.
Sponsored content is when a brand hires me to feature them: either here, as a sponsored blog post, or on Instagram.
I’m extremely selective as to which partners I accept for this kind of collaboration. I’ll only say yes to sponsored content if I genuinely admire a brand’s work and think that you will, too. If I don’t have something honest and positive to say about a brand, I turn them down.
Even though I’m proud of all of the content I produce, I agree with the Federal Trade Commission that it is your right to know if I’ve received money to write about a particular topic.
I’ve never published unmarked sponsored content on Diamonds in the Library and I never will. All of my sponsored blog posts have a disclaimer at the end, naming the company who sponsored the post, and all of my sponsored Instagram posts have the hashtag “#sponsored.”
Sponsored content is an important part of how I make money blogging; I wouldn’t be able keep Diamonds in the Library going without it.
The post-internet world includes fewer and fewer entities who think that writing is a skill worth paying for. It’s common for writers to be offered “exposure” instead of money, which is usually worthless to those of us who aren’t independently wealthy. That doesn’t mean that freelance writing is hopeless as a source of income, but it isn’t easy, either.
Many months, freelance writing is 0% of my income. Other times, it’s 50% or more.
If you make a few solid contacts and develop a reputation as a good freelancer in the right circles, you can eventually find work. For me, it’s generally jewelry companies looking to beef up their blogs or websites, or in-house publications for jewelry stores. I’ve also been lucky enough to establish a recurring freelance gig with Instore magazine, and I’m really enjoying that.
After nearly five years of Diamonds in the Library, I have all sorts of random knowledge about the jewelry industry – especially the social media side. From time to time, a jewelry brand, store, or other industry entity will hire me to share my knowledge with them or to use my knowledge and opinions to help them figure out a decision they’re trying to make.
This is one of my newest gigs and it’s totally fascinating. I’m really enjoying it and the new experiences it brings.
Social Media Management
When a brand wants more than my thoughts on their social media presence, they can also hire me to take over one or more of their social media accounts: either to help revamp their image, achieve a specific goal, or to cover their online presence while they’re on vacation or need a break.
This particular sort of work demands a lot of time and attention, so I generally only work with one or two clients at a time. It’s incredibly fascinating to get behind the wheel of someone else’s social media accounts; I love getting to know new audiences, learning what they love, and giving them the content they crave.
An affiliate link is when I link to another website that will give me a financial reward if you buy their product. I use affiliate links when I write about books (you know this if you read to the end of my book posts, where always I include a disclaimer about said affiliate links).
A few of you have bought books through my affiliate links over the years, which has prompted Amazon to give me a few pennies each time.
Affiliate links don’t work as well for Diamonds in the Library as they do for, say, fashion blogs – for the simple reason that most of the products I feature are for sale by entities who do not offer affiliate link programs. But I still use them, because every little bit helps.
So there you have it: that’s how I make money blogging. I still can’t afford the vast majority of the fine jewelry I write about, but I keep up with my car payments and still treat myself every once in a while.
Turning Diamonds in the Library into my full time job is incredibly difficult sometimes, but I’m doing exactly what I want to be doing, and I’ll be proud of that my entire life, no matter how long Diamonds in the Library goes on.
I hope you found this peek behind the scenes interesting! If you have any questions about how I make money blogging – or about anything, really – please feel free to ask in the comments.