When I heard about Mode Media shutting down so abruptly I felt so bad for the bloggers who had been left in the lurch. But it also reminded me of my own experience with networks; and I don’t have a high opinion of them.
— Crissy Page (@Crissy) September 16, 2016
Networks really started becoming a thing about 5 years ago, back when people were first starting to see Youtube and Blogging as an income stream. Yes we all had Adsense but these networks gave us credibility. Brands took them seriously and by proxy took us seriously.
To be part of a network was seen as having made it. These networks were selective and you had criteria to meet. My application was rejected by then Glam Media because traffic on my site was too low (maybe I dodged a bullet). My Youtube channel was part of the Style Haul family for a couple of years. I was draw in by the illusion that they’d push my channel, set me up to collab with other Youtubers and brands. But unless you had over a certain number of subscribers they weren’t inclined to do anything to help you. In the two years I was with them all I got was single shout out on Twitter (which I had to fill in a request form to get) in return for 30% of my monthly earnings. I’d go as far to say a significant number of creators don’t benefit from being part of a network.
And as readers we should click affiliate links, Buy merch, Support their business, Buy songs on iTunes, Purchase ebooks.
— Lily Melrose ✌️ (@llymlrs) September 16, 2016
YUP! It costs you 0p to buy through an aff link but you’re supporting bloggers who bring you content for free! <3 https://t.co/iXl30YOlP4
— Helen (@thelovecatsinc) September 16, 2016
So what is the alternative? Ditch the networks and go it alone. Most of us have basic income streams such as Adsense or selling our own on site ad space. Affiliate links are also a user friendly, unobtrusive tool. But Direct Networking is the answer. Yes this will take a lot of hard graft and will be scary as hell, but it puts you in control. Put together a kick ass media kit and reach out to brands on your own. It will be a lengthy process and you may not get any response; but once you get your foot in the door you can build up a stable relationship and work up to sponsorship opportunities.