Guest blogging can be a great source of income, but as you know if you’ve read this blog before, you have to be careful with it. I’m assuming you know by now how to craft a good guest post, and how to pitch one to a prospective site editor, so what I’m going to do here is offer you a variety of ways you can make money from the whole process.
These methods fall into five general headings.
Sell Attention by Monetizing Your Blog Views
The first way to make money via guest posting is through your website. Every guest post is you reaching out to deliver value to someone else, in the hopes that you pull some of their audience in and get them to do something you want them to do.
In this case, you’re going for the easiest form of conversions, like pay per view ads and simple sponsored content.
- Use PPM Ads. While PPM is not going to earn you a ton of money, it’s still better than nothing. PPM doesn’t rely on the user doing anything more than existing with adblockers turned off. The payout is small, but it’s also almost guaranteed. The more guest posts and the more traffic you can pull in, the better you’ll do with them.
- Use PPC Ads. PPC is better than PPM with one caveat; you have to actually get users to click on the ads. If the ads aren’t compelling, users won’t click, and if the don’t click, you don’t get paid. Again, volume helps a lot here, both so you can test different ads and so you can ramp up the volume on ads that work.
- Sell Ad Space Privately. Rather than go through a network like Google or what have you, you can go through something like BuySellAds and make deals with advertisers directly. Some will be PPM, some will be PPC, and some might just be willing to pay a flat price for the space regardless of performance. Either way, you get flexibility and control you don’t otherwise have.
- Sell Sponsored Post Space. This is sort of like the reverse of guest blogging. You can draw in a certain type of audience, people who have a blog they would like to advertise, and you can convince them to pay for a sponsored post on your site.
- Sell Sponsored Newsletter Space. Similar to the previous option, you can sell space in your newsletter to advertisers. There are some rules and laws you need to follow to avoid a spam flag, but it’s possible to do as long as you have valuable organic content along side the sponsored content.
- Offer Sponsored Reviews. You don’t always have to get paid for your sponsored content directly. Often I see bloggers accept products for free that they then review with a guarantee of honesty. It’s a business model that works well, since bad products won’t want the honesty, and good products will run with it. Plus you get good products out of the deal.
- Sell Membership Content. If none of the above work for you, you can always gate a good chunk of your content behind a paywall. If your free content is good enough, people will be more than willing to pay to see more of it.
Sell Your Own Product or Service
The first set of monetization strategies are all generally passive and, unfortunately, low value. Selling something with a bit higher value will get you more money, if it’s attractive.
It does have the drawback of requiring development and production time, however, and that can throw a wrench into traditional ROI calculations for normal advertising.
- Sell a Digital Product. The current trend is smartphone apps that perform various tasks, though web apps and cloud products work well as well. You can also sell content, like ebooks, that users might want to pay for after they’ve seen your guest posts and free content.
- Sell a Physical Product. Physical products can be developed remotely – these days a 3D printer is all you need for some – or ordered in bulk customized from an Alibaba store. Reselling simply requires the storefront, the interest, and a place to store your product between creation and sales.
- Sell a Content Product. Ebooks, case studies, industry surveys, research data; all of this can be sold, though some will command a higher price than others. Create good enough content and people will be buying it for years to come.
- Sell Consulting Services. Sometimes the best product is your own expertise. You can offer consulting or advice at a surprisingly high per-hour rate, and you’ll have business owners and small brands from around the world begging for a slot in your limited schedule. You can even create a community based around your students helping each other out, and charge for the privilege.
- Sell a Physical Service. Some businesses offer physical, local services. There’s no reason a lawn care company, a paving company, a carpenter, or a furniture restoration artist can’t guest post to get traffic to a website where they get commissions. The only difference is they need to target specific local blogs with their guest posts.
- Sell a Digital Service. Digital services can range anything from graphic design, to website development, to writing, to ads management, and more. Anything you can do on the web for another person can be monetized, and frankly should be. Offering services for free only devalues that service for everyone.
- Sell Your Labor. At the extreme low end, mechanical turk and Fiverr allow you to sell your services for a cheap price, in bulk. At the higher end, you can be a sort of digital jack of all trades, able to do just about anything for anyone, given enough time and enough money in exchange.
Sell Affiliate Products or Services
Affiliate marketing takes the best of the previous two categories and combines them. You get to sell pretty much anything you want, high quality products and services included, and you don’t have to pay to develop them.
The only caveat is that you only get a fraction of the total price of the item, because the actual creators of the product or service are going to get the bulk of the payment.
- Use Amazon Affiliate Links. The Amazon affiliate program is excellent because of the huge array of both physical and digital products. You also make money from anything a person buys via your link, whether you linked to that product or not.
- Use Affiliate Links to Reviewed Products. Believe it or not, not everything is available through Amazon. Often, when a product or service you want to sell doesn’t have a public affiliate program, you can approach them to make a private deal.
- Direct Traffic to Micro-Affiliate Sites. You don’t need to do your affiliate marketing from your site directly. You can refer people from a guest post to your site, and then from there to a microsite dedicated to selling one specific kind of product. You’ll have some link attrition, but ideally the sales are more focused.
- Partner with Someone to Sell Consulting. Some consultants want to get their services out there, but aren’t too keen on doing the marketing themselves. In these cases, you can set up an affiliate or referral system with them directly. All the benefits of consulting without any of the work.
- Use Referral Links to Membership Services. Just like referrals to digital products, you can refer people to services just as well. Often, they even have tiered rewards trees or bonuses you can redeem if you’re a customer as well.
- Send People to Paid Courses. Udemy is one of the big ways you can sell education, and you can often get a bit of a payment for referring people to courses, rather than just running and selling courses of your own.
- Set Up a Drop Shipping Business. Drop shipping is a spin on affiliate marketing where you do a bit more work in the middle, but as a consequence, you make more money doing it. It can be tricky to set up, though, particularly because your best suppliers are hard to track down.
Sell Your Services Writing Guest Posts
Guest posting directly doesn’t always have a way to make money from the link or traffic, and sometimes it’s a means to another end. Freelancers and brands alike can leverage published guest posts as a way to sell their services writing more guest posts.
This is actually quite common as a way to make connections.
- Ghostwrite Content for Content Mills. I wouldn’t recommend content mills for much more than beer money, but sometimes you can make a few extra bucks – or a connection – through them.
- Ghostwrite Content for High Value Influencers. You would be surprised to learn just how many prominent influencers just pay to have their ideas turned into content, rather than writing it all themselves. If you can prove your value, you can leverage it into writing for those people, albeit without your name attached.
- Teach Others How to Write Guest Posts. This one goes back to the consulting or course idea. You’ve proven you can write guest posts by writing them, now teach others how to replicate your success.
- Teach Others How to Pitch Guest Posts. Pitching a guest post is more important – and more difficult – than simply writing one. Getting through to an editor and getting approval is tricky, so once you get a process that works, teach it.
- Partner with Others to Write Guest Posts. Sometimes you can get some fame by co-writing deep, interesting pieces. You do the legwork, they provide the data, you both get citations, and it gets published somewhere high profile. It’s rare, but it’s very valuable when it pans out, and can lead to a lot of additional links and visitors.
- Provide Research to Others Writing Guest Posts. This is essentially the same as above, but in reverse; you provide the data, they do the writing, you both get citations.
- Sell a Course on Guest Posting. Take those “teach others” ideas up there and turn them into an ebook or Udemy course and sell that. You can make a decent chunk of change that way, and since it’s an evergreen topic, it keeps being relevant indefinitely.
Sell Guest Posts to Various Blogs
One of the most direct methods for making money from guest posting is to simply sell the guest posts. A surprising number of website actually pay for the posts they accept, even from one-off guest authors, as an incentive to write good content – and a rationale behind rejecting mediocre content.
If you can get accepted, I’ve seen sites that pay anywhere from $25 for a post to $500.
- Look for Niche Blogs Paying for Content. Niche blogs aren’t necessarily going to pay top tier rates, but the close relevance between the content of their site and the content of yours will mean a higher conversion rate for people coming from one to the other, and a higher congruence between their audience and yours.
- Pitch High Profile Blog Editors. Large, industry-leading sites will often pay top dollar, but at the same time, they’re swamped with pitches and have full editorial calendars stretching out months. It’s tricky, but lucrative and very worthwhile, to get through their system and get something published. You’ll face numerous rejections, but tenacity is worth it.
- Sell Customized Content to Any Site. If you run a network of blogs, or if you’re a generalist or selling your services as a freelance writer, you can customize content for just about any niche and not worry about relevance between their site and yours. Simply hunt for good money and get your payday.
- Sell to Magazine Websites. Magazines often accept far fewer posts than most blogs, but at the same time, they tend to pay more, because they’re used to paying print rates, not content mill rates. Plus, you have the opportunity to network with editors and even get published in print editions.
- Sell to Aggregators. Some content aggregators will pay for syndication rights or guest posts on their sites.
- Sell Listicles. List articles on sites like ListVerse can sell pretty well, though it can be difficult to find the right combination of value and clickbait that makes people want to click through to your site.
- Sell to Anyone on This List. There are, frankly, tens of thousands of blogs out there that will pay SOMETHING for a guest post. There’s always an opportunity if you look for it.