Eco Warrior Princess First Ever Transparency Report (July 2016)

Eco Warrior Princess First Ever Transparency Report (July 2016)

Editor’s note: This is a little different to my normal posts, but as a part of my full commitment to blog transparency expect to see these reports each month.

I had a crazy idea while in the shower a couple of days ago as I was listening to one of my favourite business podcasts (The Growth Show interview with Everlane founder, Michael Preysman). It was literally one of those forehead-smacking moments – “Yes I need to do that! Why didn’t I think of this before?!”

The zany idea was this: to be fully transparent and disclose the money I make from this blog.

I value transparency from ethical brands, so surely readers will value transparency when they visit this ethical blog.

Blogging income reports aren’t all that new in the blogosphere. Some people don’t enjoy airing this kind of personal information, wanting to keep private about it. I understand, money is a very touchy subject. But I figured that these reports keep websites and especially bloggers honest.

Since Eco Warrior Princess is a website that is earning some money, as little as it is, I think it only fair that we are transparent with our readers. But I dislike the term “Income Report” so instead, I am calling it a Transparency Report.

It’s a business, but a struggling one.

I didn’t intentionally start this blog to make money with it. As a writer and activist, I wanted to change the conversation, stimulate critical thinking and encourage people to take action to make this world healthier, greener and a kinder place.

But over time, my audience started to grow. And grow it did.

Brands started to gain commercial benefit from my work and I decided that it was only fair that they should pay to access my audience.

So last year I began to treat the website more professionally. I hired some writers, I created a proper email signature, I started sending weekly newsletters, and I created my first media kit.

eco warrior princess media kit example

Eco Warrior Princess is fair trade.

I made the executive decision to pay my core team as I believe that people need to be paid for their efforts and the work they do. It’s all about fair trade. (To learn how I feel about the subject of blogger compensation, read this post).

Some blogs and online publications don’t pay their core staff. While I understand the reasons surrounding this (they basically don’t make any money), this is just an example of how Eco Warrior Princess is different. Because I take it upon myself to pay the team. As Eco Warrior Princess is not a charity, I don’t expect they volunteer their time either.

Now we have an editor, Amanda, who is not only a professional writer and editor, but is also a published author. I hired Amanda last year as she was referred by a cousin. She is our longest-serving team member and she is a blessing. I don’t know how I’d cope without her.

There is Ted, our admin officer, who deals with the administrative burden of emails. He is also the editorial assistant; the first point of call for all contributors and guest writers. Ted also maintains the editorial calendar, and he is responsible for sending out media kits. If it weren’t for Ted, I’d be pulling my hair out trying to keep on top of my email inboxes. It’s no secret I despise emails. He works casually and is in the office three days a week.

Then student trainees (paid interns) Georgia, Steff and to a lesser extent Finn (he mostly works on my fiancé Ben’s businesses) help out with social media research, planning and scheduling. I sometimes allocate them blog posts to complete but realise that they aren’t seasoned writers so give them less-complex topics to write about. They all work one day a week: Thursday.

And then we have our contract writers: Myraine, Polly and Meg. Two of them had been recommended by writers within the team. One we found on Upwork. They bring extensive education and writing experience, as well as backgrounds in politics and development work.

Eco Warrior Princess Traffic Report July 2016

Now that you know the people that help keep Eco Warrior Princess ticking, it’s time to disclose my website traffic. If you’re a brand especially, this information may be pertinent to you.

Here is the Google Analytics report for last month:

Traffic Report July 2016

The data breakdown from the image is as follows:

  • Sessions: 8,757
  • Users: 6,880 (this used to be called unique visitors and measures how many individuals visited Eco Warrior Princess in the month)
  • Page Views: 15,386
  • Pages/Session: 1.76
  • Avg. Session Duration: 00:02:08 (the longer, the better, it means people are reading not skimming!)
  • Bounce Rate: 67.6%

Income Summary (July 2016)

Now if you’re a fellow sustainable fashion or ethical lifestyle blogger, you’re probably more interested in the income the website made.

So just how much income did the website earn in the month of July?

Drum roll please…

Income breakdown is:

  • Side bar advertising: $100.00

Total: A$100.00 

Yup. The big 1-0-0.

People think blogging is lucrative. As you can see, it definitely isn’t.

So why do I continue doing what I do? 

Firstly, my mission with Eco Warrior Princess has always been to positively contribute to the world. I believe that writing and sharing thought-provoking content on topics that matter is essential to creating a world that is smarter, kinder, fairer, and greener.

Now although the website itself doesn’t make much money, the platform has played a crucial role in driving client referrals to my content marketing agency, a business I created to help ethical brands use digital marketing and copywriting to reach more people.

Jennifer Nini mindful boss lady The Social Copywriter

And what’s more, I take some of the profits I make from this business and use it to pay the staff and the contract writers. That’s the only way to keep Eco Warrior Princess going, and more importantly, growing.

The M-word is a part of our future.

To write, research, publish, and coordinate an editorial calendar and team of paid writers and guest contributors requires tremendous effort. Eco Warrior Princess has been a true labour of love but it’s high time that it pay its own way, which is why over the next few months you will see a monetisation push. In the quest for a better world, people who do good (like me for example), are often not paid what we’re worth, if at all.

I want to change that.

I believe that we should be able to offer the world our skills and abilities and original creations, and still get paid for the work we do.

And while focussing on monetisation – in the form of affiliate marketing, banner advertising, sponsored posts, brand ambassadorships – has never been my goal, it is quickly becoming a necessity. Money is not a topic ethical bloggers and sustainable brands discuss and it often seems (and I absolutely blame social media for this) as though all ethical business owners are doing financially well… until I’m speaking to one and they’re about to call it quits. Or I get an email from a reader to say that a website link isn’t working anymore and I learn an eco-friendly brand has folded.

Given that our mission at Eco Warrior Princess is to change and bring depth to shallow conversations, consider the topic of money wide open. Let’s not pretend that our businesses are highly profitable if they aren’t. If we want genuine community, we have to be real. And that starts with admitting that making money doing what we love – not just on a casual or part time basis, but as full-time endeavour – is fucking hard!

Monetisation is not ideal, but I am left with no other options. I am working my ass off in my other business to support a team and sustain a blog that is producing very little return financially. And although I absolutely enjoy the impact it has on the way people view sustainability, politics, and ethical business; and of course I am grateful to give people meaningful work and feel fortunate that the website provides a satisfactory number of business leads, that in itself isn’t enough.

The blog needs to be sustainable. So I find myself in the same pickle almost all publications around the world face:

How do we keep delivering value to our audience and keep the content free, while paying the team for their amazing work, and still make enough income for it to be financially viable and where I can start paying myself?

So there you have it. I’ve bared my soul and now I’d love to hear from you. What do you think about this Transparency Report? How do you feel about the push for monetisation? Do you think I should just focus on my digital agency The Social Copywriter and continue pouring the profits from that business to Eco Warrior Princess? Or do you think my strategy is justified? I value your opinion so please leave a comment below.

*** Update 2/9/2016 *** We’ve now created a Patreon page to help us with the running costs of Eco Warrior Princess. If you would like to make a pledge, even as little as US$1, we will be eternally grateful. Click here to make a pledge and help keep Eco Warrior Princess as ad-free as possible.

Or if you’re keen to work with us, make sure to download our media kit from this page.

Enjoyed this post & want to show your gratitude? Then please support Eco Warrior Princess on Patreon!

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