If you’re just starting out as a travel blogger, it can be really hard to work out how much you should be charging for things. How much is too much? What is too little? Are you getting ripped off, under-charging or totally over-charging? These questions are ones I really struggled with in the beginning and found it very difficult when trying to set rates as there wasn’t much out there about it. I also found it awkward to ask other bloggers, feeling a bit rude asking about money.
Today I wanted to share some insight with you on how to set your rates as a blogger, how much to charge for things and how to talk money with potential clients. This detailed guide is a download of pretty much everything I know about how to set your blogging rates. If you want to find out how much money a travel blogger makes, you should read this.
Determining your value
The truth is, when you’re just starting out, you’re going to have to do a lot of things for free. Brands want to work with bloggers who can give them access to their target market. This means you need to establish a blog with a clear niche, so it attracts a specific audience. Your audience is the key to unlocking access to brands. When you’re first starting out, your primary focus needs to be on building your audience because once you have an engaged audience, you will have the ability to earn an income from your blog.
Sadly, your monetary value will depend on the size and engagement of your audience. So, you’re going to need to keep this in mind when you’re setting your rates at the start of your blogging career. You will find yourself doing a lot of work for free, which can hurt the heart and wallet, but it’s important to keep in mind that content = growth. It’s also important to remember you’re playing the end-game here. What’s a year or two out of your life when you’re working toward your DREAM JOB?…. Being paid to travel the world!
Don’t undervalue yourself
Here’s the thing, people are less inclined to buy something when the monetary value set on it gives the impression it’s ‘cheap’. For example, you’d be a bit suspicious if you saw a furniture company selling a ‘luxury, brand-new, leather sofa for $50’. Right? You’d wonder what the heck is wrong with that damn sofa that they’re trying to unload the sucker for $50?! In the back of your mind, you’d label it cheap and convince yourself it’ll break as soon as you sit on it. But, if you see that same sofa for $5,000 you know that price is equal to the quality of it. You’re getting what you pay for. This same principal applies to you and your blog.
Do not undervalue or underestimate the value of what you do. Think of yourself as a business, a marketing tool and an invaluable mainline to a brand’s target audience. Remember, when you undervalue yourself, you undervalue everybody else in the industry too. If we all band together and demand to be paid appropriately, we all earn more because we set an industry standard! Just because you love what you do, doesn’t mean you don’t deserve to be paid for it.
Balancing free and paid work
I don’t get paid for everything I do and all the travel bloggers I know are in the same boat. Don’t be under the impression we’re all paid thousands upon thousands to spend a week on a yacht in Santorini, because that’s not the case. I run my travel blog because I L-O-V-E it and sometimes that means I have to work for no money and consider myself paid in travel and content for my site, which I’m okay with.
I balance paid work with unpaid work. If I’m offered an unpaid overseas trip where absolutely everything is covered free-of-charge (flights, accommodation, food, activities) I’ll take it. If I’m asked to write an unpaid blog post for a book, for example, I’d say no. You have to assess the benefits to you, your brand and your blog. Also, if I approach a hotel, for example, and ask them to provide me a FOC (free-of-charge) stay, I don’t then ask them to pay me on top of that. They’re already doing me a solid, they don’t need to pay me.
Consider who you’re working with
I tailor my rates to different clients. If I’m working with a boutique owner-operated retreat, for example, I would most likely charge them less. I run my own small business and know how hard that can be and I guess I don’t feel ‘cosmically’ right setting my rates high. If I’m working with a big brand I keep my rates as standard. Bigger businesses have budgets set aside specifically for marketing and outreach programs.
You get what you give
I truly believe in the law of attraction and the power of manifesting! No joke, this stuff really works. When I used to accept shitty little jobs for very little pay and repeatedly say ‘yes’ to them, I’d just keep getting them. As soon as I started saying ‘no’ to these jobs, I defined my boundaries. In doing this I sent out some clear limitations for how I wanted to earn money and what I would do, the Universe listened and started to send me more of what I wanted.
In short: Don’t say yes to shit you don’t want to do, cos you’ll just keep getting more of it. Be strong, say no if you want to. It may take a little moment for your world to adjust, but it will adjust. It’s important you learn to stand up for yourself and be tough, right from the start of your blogging career. Don’t accept less than you want to. Never ever.
Develop packages to offer clients
I have developed a PDF document which details a few different packages I offer and the prices for these. My packages are:
- A written blog post/review with social media promotion
- A video/vlog with social media promotion
- A written blog post, video/vlog and social media promotion.
Within this document, I detail what the client gets, like how many social posts, what the blog post and video will include and also give them some examples to look at. I also specify my rates. I send this out with my Media Kit, you can read more about approaching brands and what goes into a Media Kit here.
So, how much do you charge for different things?
Well, now we’ve covered all the variables, it’s time to get an idea of how much you should charge for things. Truth is, you can charge whatever you want! Because let’s face it, you can put whatever price you want on anything.
It’s important to have a clear, defined idea of how you want to earn money off your blog. Remember, you attract what you want, so if you have no idea wtf you want, you’ll attract all kinds of weird shit. For me, I decided early on I wanted to be paid to do things then write about them and share photos of video of them. So, this is how I earn my money.
Here’s a rough guide on how to charge for things:
Blog Posts: The price of a blog post will depend on how many people are going to read it (Your unique monthly views is going to factor into it). When setting a price, I think of how long it takes me to write the piece, what the clients budget is likely to be, how much work is going to go into it, whether or not I’m including images and how much work went into capturing and editing those. I also consider how big my audience is at the time.
- A new blogger might be looking at $200 per written piece. An established blogger might be looking at $500 to $1,500 per piece. A well-known and in-demand blogger would be charging whatever the hell they please, maybe up to $10,000 per piece if their audience was big enough.
Social Media Posts: The price of a social media post will depend on how many followers you have and your engagement. For example, someone who has bought 100,000 followers and gets 100 likes a photo might have a tough time demanding decent money for an Instagram post.
- A new blogger might be looking at $50 to $100 per post on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter. An established blogger might offer a package of $500 – $1,000+ for single or multiple images posted across their socials. A well-known and in-demand blogger may charge $5,000+ per post or offer a package deal.
Video Content: The price of video content will depend on the clients budget, largely, as well as your audience and how many views your videos receive. It’s important to remember that a hell of a lot of work goes into creating a video! So you need to charge accordingly.
- A new blogger might be looking at $250 for a mention in a video. An established blogger might be charging $1,500+ to create a video. A very well-known and in-demand blogger will be charging whatever the hell they want! $10,00+ most likely.
SEO Content: This is a different beast altogether. SEO content is when you’re contacted to place a link in a blog post, to help boost a brand’s SEO ranking (i.e. it shows up higher in a google search). These small jobs are a quick, easy way to get some money coming into your blog.
- A new blogger could be charging around $120+ for one of these. An established blogger might charge $200+ or so. I highly doubt a well-known blogger bothers with this kind of thing.
Attending A Famil: This is a tricky one. There may come a time when you’re asked to attend a media familiarisation (famil) or press trip. If you’re very lucky, you’ll be offered payment for this. Usually, the client will come to you with a package. They’ll tell you they want you for four days, to attend the trip and capture photos and photo which you’ll share on your socials and also to write something on your blog, they usually tell you what they’re willing to pay you for this and it can be anything from precisely $0 to thousands! Play it cool if the thousands scenario happens to you. Be cool, Fonzy.
- The key here is learning to apply a monetary value to your time. While you’re away, you aren’t earning money from anybody else, so keep that in mind. You need to weigh up: your time, what they get from you in terms of deliverables (# of photos, video + blog posts) and what you’re getting from them. It would be feasible for an established blogger to charge around $500 a day.
Advertising: I don’t place widgets, infographics, banner advertisements etc on my site. Personally, I find them to be nasty and cheap and detract from the quality and integrity of a brand. They irk me. So, I steer well clear of them. I couldn’t tell you how much to charge for these. But, I can tell you, that by defining the terms of how I want to work with brands, I’m in control of how they get to work with me. If they want access to what I have to offer, they have to do it my way and that’s good for business.
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Phoebe Lee is a travel writer and award-winning blogger with a love for storytelling. Phoebe creates practical, fun and engaging written content designed to inspire and energise travel-lovers and dreamers. Follow her and Matt’s adventures at home and around the world, right here on Little Grey Box and through Instagram, Facebook, and YouTube.