Creating a fashion blog is fairly simple, but making money from it is a totally different thing. In today’s blog post, learn how to monetize a fashion blog and get paid for having exceptional fashion sense.
If these are what you like to research and write about, blogging about fashion is probably for you, whether as a hobby, a side hustle, or a steady income source in the future.
However, “fashion” is a huge niche, and is incredibly competitive. You’ll have to have tons of creativity, a very specific and engaged target audience, connections (or the audacity to create these connections), and an insane amount of luck to break through.
If fashion blogging is super competitive, is it even worth pursuing as a blogger with plans to monetize their blog someday?
The answer is yes, of course.
In today’s article, I’ll tell you why you should start a fashion blog anyway and discuss some of the best ways to monetize a fashion blog.
If fashion is your passion, then why not?
We’ve already covered passion versus moneymaking in an older article about finding one’s niche. If you’re genuinely interested in fashion—can’t stop reading about it, can’t stop talking about it, can’t stop being excited about it—then there’s absolutely no harm in starting a fashion blog and seeing how it goes.
A fashion blog allows you to express your own unique voice, personality, and taste in fashion from your own perspective. It’s this uniqueness that you need to attract your target audience.
That said, you need to remember that fashion blogging offers plenty of opportunities to earn an income, and this is precisely why competition is huge. Recent trends suggest that fashion blogging is going to be even bigger in the next few years, at least.
Fashion is evolving and is slowly but surely (“begrudgingly,” some would say) becoming inclusive in terms of gender, body type, skin color, age, and class. Expanding horizons means an expanding audience, which in turn means you’re likely to attract your target demographic, whoever they are.
So to sum it up, if you are obsessed with fashion, can offer a unique take on it, can research and write on it pretty well, and have the patience to work hard for a while until you gain traction and are able to monetize, then fashion blogging is for you!
So you’ve built your blog, wrote top-notch content for it, promoted it, and now you’re ready to make money from it. Let’s talk about how to monetize your fashion blog. Bear in mind, though, that not all of these techniques may suit you and your audience, so don’t be discouraged if they don’t work and don’t be afraid to try other methods.
Plenty of fashion bloggers, as well as bloggers who write in other niches, have been successful with affiliate marketing as a source of income.
If this is your first time to hear about it, affiliate marketing is when you promote products and services of another merchant and earn a commission when your readers click your affiliate link, or if a purchase or a form completion results from a click on your affiliate link on your website.
We’ve already written about the basics of affiliate marketing in this article, so I suggest reading it if you’re not entirely sure how affiliate marketing works.
Choosing the right products and services to promote is critical to the success of your affiliate marketing campaign, so choose them wisely.
Remember, every time you endorse a product or service, you’re saying to your readers that this is a product that reflects your style as well as your values.
This is the same message for all bloggers who are into affiliate marketing, but it’s a stronger statement when you’re a fashion blogger because the content you would normally put out is highly visual, and visual connections are often more powerful and stick more to people’s minds than written or even spoken words.
Affiliate marketing is a good way to train yourself how to sell in preparation for selling your own products in the future. However, it’s a bit unpredictable in that you can’t predict how much you’re going to earn because it varies a lot depending on the affiliate program and the company you’re working with. It can be as little as $5 per click or $1,000 or even $5,000.
You’ve probably featured a number of products and services on your blog at this point, so revisit them, list them down (with your favorites at the top of that list), then find out if they offer affiliate programs.
List down products as well that you like using but haven’t featured in your blog yet for some reason, and find out if those have affiliate programs as well.
Often, a simple Google search for “affiliate program” + [product/service name] will give you this information. Other times, you might have to go to the company’s website, poke around a bit, and see if they have affiliate programs. If this still doesn’t turn up anything, you can politely ask by filling out their Contact page, emailing them, or even calling them.
You can also research other fashion blogs in your niche, i.e., blogs you can consider to have similar styles to yours as well as competitors for the same target audience, and see what they’re promoting on their blogs.
Another way you can go about doing this is to look at affiliate networks, see which brands are offering affiliate programs, and check if they’re products or brands that you can work with.
Here are some affiliate networks that work with plenty of brands related to fashion:
A few of these affiliate networks require you to apply to be a publisher, so make sure that when they check out your blog that they like what they’re going to see: high-quality text and images, regularly updated, and highly responsive to questions and comments.
They’re likely to go on your social media accounts and check them out as well, particularly visual ones like Pinterest and Instagram, so only post high-quality images and photos on your social media.
Having an email list will also be a huge advantage for you to be approved as an affiliate, especially if you have 500 subscribers or more. As far as they’re concerned, the more people you can display your affiliate links to, the greater chances that they’re clicked.
When you do get approved as a publisher, remember to always disclose your affiliate links to your readers. You want to keep your credibility, your readers’ trust, and your compliance with the law. So it’s a best practice to always, always disclose your affiliate links, whether or not your affiliate program requires it.
This outfit roundup from FiveFootFashion not only has affiliate links but nifty-looking carousels at the bottom of each outfit photoset, with individual photos, prices, and availability. Her Disclosure And Policies page is also noteworthy for its sincerity and detail (she even discloses which affiliate programs she’s part of).
You can also check out this post from The Stylin Educator, featuring a similar carousel under the photoset. Notice as well that her target audience is well-defined and proves that fashion blogging isn’t only for young, single women in their 20s.
While affiliate marketing earns you commissions when your readers click on your affiliate links, sponsored content is content that’s paid for by companies. Sponsored content can appear on your blog or any of your social platforms.
As this is a form of native advertisement, it can look like your usual blog post or social media content except that you got paid for it (or got the product or service you wrote about for free).
Because this type of content has become popular in the last few years, audiences have been increasingly wary of posts raving and gushing about a product or service. They can’t help but wonder if what they just read was sponsored by that company because there’s just a tad too much praise and too little criticism.
Making this worse are content creators who aren’t at all transparent about their content being sponsored. Thus, people are getting tired of being sold to when all they want is to read articles about something they’re interested in.
So if you’re looking to go down this route, make sure you maintain your objectivity when describing your experience with the product or service. Tell the whole story: the good, the bad, and everything in between.
Plus, make sure your sponsored content is still of high quality. What makes or breaks native advertisement is if your audience remains engaged with your content or not, and if your content is sloppy, your audience won’t be engaged.
Honesty should also apply to companies who intend to sponsor your content. Explicitly state that if you’re going to write about their product, they should expect nothing less than a truthful article.
There will be times you’ll get offers to write about products that aren’t a good fit for your readers. There’s no shame in turning them down. Your primary responsibility should be to your target audience. If they won’t find a product valuable, there’s no point writing about it.
Remember: nothing is worth your integrity as a blogger.
First, you need to get noticed by companies who are a good fit for your blog. To do that, you have to do a good job attracting your target audience, which is also their target audience.
Valuable content, plenty of targeted traffic, and an engaged social media following are all attractive to companies looking to sponsor content. Sooner or later, a few of these companies will start to take notice and contact you.
Be ready for when it does happen. Set up a page specifically for your potential sponsors. Include information such as your traffic statistics (monthly pageviews, social media engagement, where your blog visitors come from, etc.), your target audience, and what’s in it for them.
If your resources permit, consider including a dedicated contact form and email address to make it easier for them to contact you if they’re interested. This way, their inquiries don’t get mixed up with other emails that you receive, such as general questions and blog comments.
After you’ve been doing sponsored content for a while, you can level up and start pitching paid sponsorships. Start with small brands and work your way to the larger brands.
This sponsored post from Always Creating Blog is an image-heavy post featuring the watch as part of an entire outfit, in contrast to the usual promotional photos showing nothing but the wrist where the watch is worn.
Plus, note how it’s clear even in the title that this is a sponsored post. The proper disclosure was also given at the beginning of the post and once again in the body text.
Notice that the author, Sabrina Tan, told a personal story in her post. It’s a good way to connect with her audience and dispel the feeling that this post is purely promotional.
Why couldn’t we have covered this in the previous section?
Well, I decided to talk about sponsored Instagram posts in its own section because Instagram is a big deal in fashion blogging.
Proof? According to research done by HopperHQ, of the top ten social media influencers (i.e., non-traditional celebrities) making bank from Instagram last year, half are fashion bloggers.
Note: Before you get too excited, these are the top earners; these numbers are far from the average. It takes years of hard work to get to this point, and these influencers have certainly put in that work. It helps to manage your expectations early on.
Being an Instagram influencer is a natural offshoot of being a fashion blogger, most likely because fashion is such a visual niche that photos shared by fashion bloggers on Instagram attract a lot of engagement.
Sometimes, it even happens the other way around; that is, Instagram influencers end up starting websites or blogs to expand their reach and command even higher fees for their content.
Whichever route you take, the bottom line is companies are willing to pay for Instagram exposure to be able to show their products to a wider audience, and that’s where influencers come in.
The simplest way to impress Instagram users is to post stunning photos that capture the essence of your blog, your style, and your story.
You can attract potential sponsors by simply tagging relevant brands and companies on your photos. Make sure you’re actually wearing or featuring their product or service, otherwise it’s going to backfire.
Ideally, you want to direct sponsors to your blog to see more of you. Since your Instagram bio is the only place you can include a link, make it count. Create a bio that catches people’s attention and convinces them to click to go to your blog.
Make your Instagram a business account so you can add a button so you can be reached by phone and/or email. Be informed that the phone number and email you provide here are public.
You want prospective sponsors to easily contact you, but aside from that, an Instagram business account provides engagement data for your posts. It’s highly likely that companies who want to sponsor you will ask to see this information.
When it comes to Instagram or any social media platform, engagement is what matters. And not just engagement but organic engagement; that is, real people who like and post comments on your photos.
It’s not enough to merely have plenty of followers; these followers also have to naturally engage with your content.
Once you feel like you have enough engaged followers, you can actually start reaching out to brands and pitching a collaboration. Talk about why you think your Instagram is a good fit for their brand and what you have to offer them.
If there’s one platform that makes it simple for you to disclose that a post is sponsored, that’s Instagram. Take a look at the following example from Aimee Song (@songofstyle).
Notice the “Paid partnership with” disclosure above the location tag. That’s a built-in Instagram feature tailored especially for content creators to be able to easily disclose that a post is sponsored.
Here’s another example from Jean Wang (@jeanwang).
Aside from the “Paid partnership with” disclosure, she added a #sponsored hashtag in the caption to make it absolutely clear, just in case there’s still any doubt that the post is sponsored.
The next logical step after creating sponsored content is being a brand ambassador.
Okay, influencer, brand ambassador, what’s the difference?
Influencers can influence purchase decisions, even though their influence may only be limited to the web (through their blog) and social media. Companies usually work with influencers for short-term marketing campaigns to help spread the word about new releases, for example.
Brand ambassadors, by contrast, have deeper, long-term relationships with these companies. Their agreement with the brand ranges from a few months to years. They’re given preferential treatment, often get new products ahead of everyone else, and have access to insider information.
Brand ambassadors promote the brand everywhere: on their blog, on their social media, and sometimes on the brand’s website, social media, and even on their advertising materials. They may even be asked to attend company-sponsored events or as a representative of the company in other media events.
In effect, they’re spokespeople for the brand.
The reason why many companies are minimizing or even shifting completely away from getting celebrity endorsers is that there’s been a change in how customers are influenced to buy.
Traditional advertising, such as billboards and TV commercials, is becoming less and less effective. Customers are becoming more aware that those advertisements are manufactured, and are now more attracted to content that’s less manufactured and more like real life.
Thus, what companies look for in a potential online brand ambassador is authenticity. They want real people using their products or services in real-life situations, who have real followers and convincing these followers to buy these products or services.
Attract the right companies by featuring products and services you actually like using. This is true for affiliate marketing, sponsored content, but especially brand ambassadorship.
Companies are inclined to choose bloggers and influencers who are already supporters of their brand and already like their products. In fact, if a company has previously sponsored your content and saw results, they’re likely to consider working with you as a brand ambassador.
When you do attract companies that are interested, be thorough in knowing all the details, and be very clear about what you’re willing and able to offer them. This is a partnership, so everyone will benefit if everyone will hold up their end of the deal.
Here are some of the questions you should ask (yourself or the company):
Lastly, don’t be afraid to say “no” if you don’t feel it’s right for you or your blog or your audience.
Remember, you have an audience that trusts you, and you have a responsibility to them and yourself to only work with brands that reflect your values.
When you endorse a product or a company, you’re saying “This brand represents me, my personal style, and my values.” Choose well.
Plenty of fashion bloggers are brand ambassadors for many different brands, so for this particular section, I’m giving a couple of case studies from the companies’ perspective so you can better understand what companies are looking for in a brand ambassador.
Note what the brands’ campaigns were trying to achieve and how they selected brand ambassadors who fit those goals.
When you’ve accumulated plenty of high-quality, non-sponsored content on your blog and social media, as well as acquired numerous engaged followers and traffic, it’s time to consider selling your own products and services.
Creating your own products gives you absolute control over product aspects such as its quality, how you want to sell it and when, and how much you want your customers to buy it for, which means you get to decide how much you earn for every item you sell and not have to share it with another party.
Offering your services also gives you control over which clients to take on, whether you charge per deliverable or per hour, and how much your rate is.
If you’ve done everything else on this list, you’d have experienced how to promote products. You also would have experienced collaborating with other companies and brands. That’s valuable knowledge that’s going to be useful when you go into your own.
But don’t fret if you haven’t; it just means you’re going to have to learn along the way and it’s probably going to take longer than it would have if you’ve got the advantage of experience, but you’ll get there if you work extra hard and remain patient.
It’s advisable to begin with digital products because while these require some time to create, the monetary cost isn’t too much. Plus, there are many inexpensive or free software and tools you can use to create digital products.
Start the process by doing customer research to know what type of digital product/s you should create. Answer the question “what do your customers want?”
What questions do you usually get asked on blog comments or social media? What topics do your audience want to read more of on your blog? What photos do they want to see more of on your Instagram? Do they ask you for advice? What problems do they need solutions to?
Here are some ideas for digital products that you can start considering:
For a comprehensive guide on how to get started with digital products, read this article.
When you’ve had experience selling these digital products, or if you don’t actually want to go into digital products, you’ll probably want to start selling physical products.
Here are some ideas:
If products aren’t for you, or you want to offer something aside from your products, you can offer services based on skills you already have.
Set up a separate page to advertise the service/s that you offer, and include all the basics that your potential client would want to know: who you are, what you offer, related experience, packages, pricing, and your contact details. You can also add the option to easily book you or one of your packages.
Arranging to have a dedicated contact form and contact details for services ensures that you can prioritize these inquiries and reply to them first. This also ensures that they don’t get lost in email limbo with all your blog comments, social media updates, and all other queries that you get.
Here are some services you might want to consider offering:
Fashion blogger-turned-mogul Chiara Ferragni has her own clothing and shoe line. This is certainly something to aspire to, but it took years of hard work for her to get there. Her blog The Blonde Salad has been around since 2009. It’s unrealistic to hope that you’ll be able to build something like this in a few months or years.
Another interesting path is from fashion blogger to model. Lyn Slater of Accidental Icon is a unique example. Not only does she have a day job (as a professor, no less), but she started blogging when she was already 61(!).
Lastly, take a look at professional stylist Emilia Staszko’s Services page. She was a professional stylist before she blogged, but you can learn a thing or two from her Services page. All her offerings are there, with the price and how long a session is. Plus, inquiring about her services is as easy as clicking a button right beside the description of the service.
Fashion blogging is highly competitive, but if you have a distinctive style that you can express creatively and an engaged audience that likes it, you can succeed.
Here are the best ways on how to monetize a fashion blog:
Before you get started, I have a few more reminders about fashion blogging.
Normally, when you’re just starting out, I’d say stick to the basic requirements of blog design (font, colors, icons) and then go on focusing your heart and soul on producing content. But for this niche, it’s a whole different story.
More than other niches, fashion blogs thrive on being visually appealing. Your excellent, high-quality photographs won’t be as compelling when its background is unattractive or looks unprofessional.
If you’re at a loss, opt for a black-and-white background plus a bright color for accent so your photographs really pop out. Choose your font and font size carefully and ensure your blog is responsive.
For more design tips, check out our article on it. Or, if you have the budget for it, hire a web designer to help you.
When you’re only starting to blog, you make all the decisions: what niche you’re writing for, who your target audience is, what keywords you’re targeting, what content you’ll post, which social media platforms you’ll focus on.
Once you start working with other companies and monetizing your blog, some of that control will be relinquished. For example, you’ll have to write content about an affiliate product so you can direct your readers to your affiliate links and make some money.
But this doesn’t mean you have to give up all of your control over your content. You can still write sponsored content and promote your affiliate links while being in control of the content. Make sure that the companies you work with give you freedom to write about their products in your own style.
The recommended content mix for fashion blogs seems to be at 80–20 (80% organic content and 20% sponsored content). This is why you should ideally only work with brands you like and use, so your sponsored content doesn’t feel contrived and your enthusiasm isn’t forced.
Speak and show your truth.
It sounds so simple and painfully cliché, but only because it works. Being your genuine self on your blog, social media, and whenever you speak to your readers or to companies will establish your unique identity and what makes your brand you.
The most successful fashion bloggers manage to hold on to their personal values even as their fashion styles evolve.
Have you started your fashion blog? Which idea here would you try out first? Talk to me in the comments!
JoAnne is your average, everyday, sane stay-at-home mom who believes in the power of the internet to make dreams come true. She has an insatiable appetite for chocolate, as well as all things internet marketing. She keeps up with the latest trends in blogging, affiliate marketing, e-commerce, and more.