This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of IZEA. All opinions are 100% mine.
I’ve been blogging for almost five years and while I am sometimes still surprised that this has actually turned into a career for me, I am what many in the blogging circle deem a “successful blogger.” Sure, the first few years were not lucrative – I only made about $12,000 in the first three years TOTAL. Something magical happened about halfway through my third year in blogging: I learned how to turn my blog into a business. I started working with blogger networks, and one of the very first was Social Spark, which is now IZEA. I think it began with my searching the internet with the phrase “How to Make Money Blogging.” One of the first search engine results was what is now IZEA, and the rest, as they say, is history.
IZEA was the pioneer of social sponsorship, established way before I started searching for ways to turn my hobby of blogging and love of social media into a business. Established in 2006, IZEA has grown and evolved into the largest sponsorship ecosystem in the world, with several money-making opportunities bundled into the IZEA Exchange.
What Exactly Does IZEA do?
IZEA serves as a platform that connects content creators with the leading brands who are searching for sponsorship opportunities. In the ever-changing world of digital marketing, brands realize and appreciate the value of online influencers – their biggest problem is finding the right people to hire! That’s where IZEA comes in, and they match the perfect influencers with the right brand.
How to Make Money with IZEA
There are several ways to receive sponsorship opportunities after you sign up with IZEA: sponsored posts on WordPress and Tumblr blogs, sponsored Tweets, sponsored Instagram posts, and sponsored videos on YouTube. Even if you are not a blogger, you can earn money with sponsored posts on the other platforms!
When you sign up with IZEA, you’ll connect all of your blog and social media accounts in the system, as well as fill out information about yourself and your online presence so that you can be matched with the appropriate brands and topics.
There are two ways to receive sponsorship: you can bid on available campaigns, or receive direct offers through the system. When a brand specifically wants to work with you on an available campaign, they will send you a direct offer through the IZEA Exchange, and you can either accept, decline, or negotiate the payment.
How to Bid on an Opportunity in IZEA
I really appreciate the bidding option because there are many times when a brand just isn’t aware of a topic that might suit your social channels – the bidding process allows you to “apply,” for lack of a better word, and provide a short summary of why you think you’re a great fit for the campaign.
You simply click on “BID” and read over the opportunity details and requirements as well as what they think an Ideal Candidate is to make sure that you are a good fit for the opportunity. Enter in the amount of your bid – this is how much you want to be paid for the assignment – and write a short “pitch” to tell the brand why YOU should be hired!
There are three different plans in the IZEA Exchange.
The FREE plan costs you absolutely nothing, and you can receive as many direct offers as you qualify for as well as bid on three opportunities a month. At any given time, there are between 5 and 30 opportunities available, so I personally use the Standard Plan, which is only $1 a month. Remember that fees like this are a tax-deductible business expense if you report earnings and expenses on your annual taxes. You can’t go wrong with $12 a year – it’s entirely affordable and allows you the opportunity to earn a lot of money!
Once you’ve received a direct offer or your bid is accepted for an opportunity, you simple login to the IZEA Exchange and read the Overview and Requirements.
How to Write a Blog Post in the IZEA Exchange
Your opportunity will tell you when you must turn in your draft, down to the hour! You can either write your post in the IZEA platform and click and drag the required elements into the post or you can write the post in your own platform (I use WordPress but you can use a Google Doc, Word Document or whatever it is you use to write blog posts) and then copy and paste it into the IZEA platform, then add your required elements. You’ll submit your post directly to IZEA using this platform and they send it to the sponsor for approval.
You’ll notice that the IZEA blog post writer is very similar to that of your own blog – it’s really easy to use!
Once your post has been approved, you’ll receive an email advising you that your post was approved and needs to be posted. Simply log back in to the IZEA Exchange, grab the HTML coding and then create your blog post in your own platform, publish it, and then come back to IZEA and submit the blog post URL for verification.
NOTE: Many blog posts require a certain amount of social media shares once they’ve gone live. Make sure to grab the submission link that will appear in the Requirements before you submit your draft – once you submit for approval, you’ll no longer have access to grab it.
How to Make Money on Social Media with IZEA
As I mentioned, you do not need to be a blogger to earn money with IZEA! You can earn money for sharing sponsored posts through Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr and YouTube as well! The process works just as it does with bidding, accepting and writing a blog post, only when it’s a social media opportunity, they will provide you with the Requirements and sometimes show you an example of what they’d like you to post. You write the social media post in the IZEA system and they will automatically publish it for you when it’s been approved.
I absolutely L O V E IZEA! Whenever a newer blogger comes to me for advice and guidance on building a business out of blogging, I always tell them to sign up with IZEA. While I am a member of quite a few blogger networks and work with many PR firms, IZEA is my favorite for a few reasons. IZEA opportunities are always straightforward and they provide detailed instructions, they provide opportunities to work with high quality brands that I can be proud of advertising and in my opinion, they pay well. One quarter of my entire blogging/social media income for 2014 has come from working with IZEA, and it has been HALF of my income for the months of September through December! I have also been invited to sample and review awesome products, travel to destinations with my family to write about on behalf of IZEA – the possibilities are endless!
IZEA also treats their bloggers and social media influencers with respect and show their appreciation, which is something I don’t see a lot of in this line of business. As a freelance writer, you rarely get the same “Great job!!” from your business contacts that you would from a supervisor or employer in a regular job. I can’t tell you how many times I have opened an email from IZEA to find a personalized “I just wanted to tell you that you did a great job on the XYZ post, the sponsor loved it!” It makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside.
If you are a a blogger or just an active social media user who has struggled with finding ways to earn money in this online world, go sign up with IZEA!