influencer marketing

Stop Taking Free Lunches: An Overview of Influencer Marketing

This post is dedicated to anyone who is looking to turn their blog into a business.

So we’ve been in the blogging game since January 2015.

– We grew @melotones IG account from 570 to now 50K followers,
– Blog traffic is growing 30% MoM
– Partnered with over a dozen awesome brands to help tell their story

The grind is real.

For instance, Melis was nervous when I wanted to share more about our shooting techniques/gear because it’s one of our competitive advantages to this blog.

But if Melis and I are to throw our sweat, tears, and time into blogging, we hope to leave it in a better place than when we came into it. Blogging/ influencer marketing is a big part of brand marketing’s future, but it still has a lot to prove, particularly to venture capital. You can probably only find a few that were handpicked onto the IPO track (WhoWhatWear, Hello Giggles, PopSugar etc.). There will be a bifurcating effect in this space, just like how it’s unfolding in startups right now.

In our experience, blogging is still a passion of love, and a long con for ROI. A huge blog/big IG account needs to parlay its brand equity into something that makes a consistent, recurring revenue stream, whether it’d be affiliate links, accessories/clothing, or consulting arm.

And do you know what would help all of us move along to ramen profitability? If you stop letting partnership companies take free work from you in exchange for products. Allow us to show you a look into one of our collaboration projects, Nespresso, who were an amazing group to work with!

– 8 hours totals, 4 for running a prep before the actual shooting for recipe testing,
– $40 of ingredients and OOS materials, which came out of our own pocket,
– 2 hours of photo editing,
– 3 hours for copywriting/editing

And this was all outside of the communications/feedback we kept going between Nespresso. There is only downwards pressure as you attempt to scale the business side, so why are we all handicapping each other by racing to be the lowest bidder? Isn’t our creative capital/audiences deserving of more than just a free lunch?

If you’re looking for some resources on what to charge for a post, here’s a helpful link here. Also, as always don’t forget to pay it forward!

* Image source: Pinterest.

27 thoughts on “Stop Taking Free Lunches: An Overview of Influencer Marketing

  1. This is an amazing post, I love the business insight provided!!!! Unfortunately, many do not perceive blogs as “businesses” and brands take advantage of free advertising possibilities. Beyond that, a bigger problem is that a blogger undervaluing her/his efforts for the sake of “fame” or not getting behind at a no-regulation, free entry/exit market.
    It is great that Abel wrote about this. The more people know, the better it will get for all!

  2. Hey Melis,
    are you interested in analysing and monitoring the value of your IG account? Seems like you have a small affection to numbers :). A quick research displayed a worth of a couple of hundred US$ increasing since November. You’re welcome to get more insights by analysing your tremendous work on If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to contact me. And if you might think that this is spam – just erase my comment.
    Greetings from Münster/Germany,

  3. Melis and Abel! Awesome posts lovelies!!! You both are one power couple and Sooo incredibly dedicated to your business/blog. Love the insight and I completely agree with your point of view here. I have learnt Soo much in the one year that I started blogging and every few weeks things changes. I my self no longer accept gifts for posts. I made that transition a few months ago as I feel that time is money. It takes time to curate an outfit, shoot, edit and posts to all our media chanels and of course engage with your followers. I’m so glad you have raised a valid point that all starting bloggers need to know. Congratulations on 50k babes!!! I know you both worked incredibly hard and deserve to celebrate this amazing milestone. Lots of love. Ash

  4. Awesome post guys! And congrats on all your hard work and success. Growing your Instagram to 50k in one year is amazing! You guys are a great team and thanks for sharing your tips with us. And also for shining a light on how much time, effort and work it takes to run a blog.

    Xo, Jackie

  5. Cannot believe you started this only a little over a year ago! You’ve been so successful and love this post as I just started with Instagram seven months ago and will soon launch my blog. It’s always wonderful to see other bloggers helping each other with their tips and insight. Thank you for this post as I am such a big fan!

  6. I read this post back in March when you first published it and here I am reading it again. And it’s in regards to this post as to why I am browsing through your inspirational entrepreneurial posts – I need them! Feeling blessed to have you here! Sending you huge hugs and lots of love! Xox

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