5 Lessons I’ve Learned from my Top Earning Brand Collaborations of 2019

As I look to 2020, I can’t help but reflect on 2019 opportunities that came to Emma’s Edition. In 2019, my blog (side hustle) income + my full time job in aerospace helped me earn over 6 figures for the first time in my life. My top two brand campaigns brought in $29,000. My highest brand deal came in at $16,000, and my second highest paid blog brand collaboration came in at $13,000.

Today I wanted to share the 5 lessons I Learned from my Top Earning Brand Collaborations of 2019:

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Lesson #1: Long-term brand campaigns are the way to go

It’s no secret that having long term brand campaigns is one way to earn more money/steadier income as a blogger. My top two brand collaborations of 2019 were all 6+ months long. I had to create a set amount of blog + social posts each month.

I loved these longer-term brand campaigns because I knew what content I needed to create the next few months. My blog topics and potential social content was discussed at the very beginning of the campaign. The PR company and the brand already had an idea about what blog topics/brand products/themes I wanted to write on entering the campaign. This made creating content for the brand so much easier throughout the 6 months.

I didn’t have to come up with a brand-new idea at the start of each month for the brand. I could plan out my photo shoots, schedule time to make sure I made deadlines to submit content drafts, and plan my feed cohesively feature sponsored and organic content.

I also loved my long-term brand collaborations because I knew what I was earning over the next 6 months. Both my top two brand campaigns paid me halfway through the campaign and paid me the remainder at the end of the campaign on a net 30 schedule.

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Lesson #2: The more deliverables/channels you can offer, the more money you can potentially earn

One major lessoned I learned from my top earning brand collaborations of 2019 was that the more deliverables you can offer as blogger, the more money you can potentially earn. I learned from a blogger friend that my overall brand and total reach is what I should consistently offer to brands.

Even though Instagram and my blog are my strongest platforms, I’ve learned to offer Pinterest pins, Tweets, and Facebook posts to support all my brand campaigns. I’ve seen other blogger friends leverage their newsletters and YouTube channels to build out their brand/blogger collaborations as well.

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Lesson #3: Diversify your platforms

These last few years, there’s been discussions around the influencer/blogging community about whether or not having a blog was worth it anymore. The question, “do people even read blogs anymore?” has come up over and over again.

I personally believe that having your own platform alongside other social media platforms was the way to go. And when Instagram announced they would be hiding likes in the US starting in 2019, my belief was affirmed. I saw influencers absolutely freak out when that announcement rolled out because Instagram was their only platform.

To be honest, I breathed a sigh of relief when I heard that announcement. I’m so glad I’ve continued to build my blog and diversify my social platforms across Pinterest, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and TikTok. As Instagram continues to update its algorithm and remove likes, I know I’ll be okay because my presence isn’t only on Instagram.  I’ll be able to offer my entire online presence to future brand campaigns – regardless of what Instagram does.

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Lesson #4: Stay true to yourself

My top two brand collaborations of 2019 taught me that brands want me to stay true to myself. I realized that brands were wanting to work with me because I could truly share how their brands/products/services integrated into my life. Some of my favorite blog posts for my brand campaigns this year came from real life experiences and lessons.

I had one friend read one of my sponsored blog posts and tell me “this didn’t even feel like an ad”. It didn’t feel like an ad, because I wrote about what I truly experienced in college. I had another friend tell me she signed up for a service offered by one of the brands I worked with because she saw and could identify with similar needs that I shared on my blog/Instagram.

I realized that the most effective brand campaigns, are with brands that are already a part of my life.  

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Lesson #5: You don’t have to have the biggest audience to learn 5 figure collaborations

In 2019, I hit 30,000 followers on Instagram. While I have built my following over the past few years, I know I’m not the biggest blogger out there. I have blogger friends that I started the same time with over 80K, 100K, and even 150K.

Yet, I’ve still experienced an abundance of brand campaigns as a microinfluencer.

I always thought I needed over 50K or even 100K to earn a living as a blogger. But after 2019, I realized I can earn a living even at 30K on Instagram and 45,000 monthly page views on my blog. Even though I’m still working full time in aerospace/manufacturing, I know I can make the jump to full time blogging in a year and half!

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There you have it friends! The top lessons I learned from my Top Earning Brand Collaborations of 2019.

What lessons did you learn from your blog or social media in 2019?

For more blog lessons and tips, feel free to check out:

4 Important Lessons I Learned from my First 4-Figure Brand Collaboration

6 Major Tips to Build an Online Presence

The 5 Ways I Batch Content for my Blog & Instagram

Thank you for reading!

Love,

Emma

Photos: @madcrayy

7 Comments

  1. January 9, 2020 / 5:31 pm

    Your posts are always so helpful! Thanks for sharing your tips!

  2. January 10, 2020 / 9:53 am

    Last year I learned just how truly important negotiating your rates are. I stopped sending rate cards before finding out the deliverables and goals of the campaign.

    Great article. I loved your lesson #3. I also realized the importance of building up my other platforms.

    https://www.breonnaqueen.com

  3. January 13, 2020 / 4:54 am

    First of all, congratulations! All of your hard work paid off and that is really awesome. Secondly, I love that your partnerships never feel like an ad. It just seamlessly flows with what you are about and I dig that. Lastly, amen to having a blog! If all the social platforms went sideways, I, too, am so glad to have my blog. I hope your Monday is off to a great start and wishing you a new week ahead! See you on IG. 🙂

    Maureen | http://www.littlemisscasual.com

  4. Marissa Pedersen
    January 15, 2020 / 10:03 am

    Your posts are always so helpful! Even being in this business for an equal amount of time, I feel like I still learn new things from you.

  5. January 15, 2020 / 11:25 am

    Congrats on such a great year!! I’m *just* starting to delve into this world myself, so thank you for sharing your lessons!

  6. January 15, 2020 / 3:21 pm

    Your posts are always so great! Pinned!

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