As my husband would say: “If it ain’t making dollars, it aint’t making sense.” (get it? cents? ahem.) It is important, however, to realize that not everyone’s goal is to make money from their blogs, but if that is your goal, you’ll need to consider the money-making possibilities that professional blogging presents. So, let’s get to it.
Can blogging actually be a lucrative business?
And the answer IS…
Sorry! But it does. And here’s why: there is no cookie-cutter, magic formula to earning money through blogging. The good news is that, there are several tried and true paths that you can consider when looking to make blogging a profession:
Advertising Drives. Hopefully this isn’t news to you. Advertising is what fuels content everywhere and the blogosphere is no different. The difference comes in what format the advertising takes. Bloggers with substantial traffic and stats may be accepted into an ad network (and there are several); others can independently accept ads for their sites; and still others can join affiliate programs. Many have had success with programs such as Google’s AdSense, but in my personal experience, the best opportunities lie in…
Brand Relationships. Once you develop your sea legs as a blogger, you will begin to encounter brands through receiving press pitches, being invited to events, meeting PR reps in person at blogging conferences, and networking either IRL or on sites like Twitter. My best piece of advice is to nurture those relationships! Stay in touch, provide value and maintain a dialogue. Most importantly, create great content for your blog. When it’s time for these brands to launch a new campaign, you just may be top of mind and land the gig. Brand ambassadorships, “spokesblogger” contracts, editorial sponsors, and advisory panels are just some of the different constructs that I’ve had the fortune of participating in. This type of “advertising” is my favorite because it feels personal, genuine and is more meaningful to both you and your audiences. And, truth be told, it pays the best. More on brand ambassadorships in another post!
Collateral Opportunities. Another avenue is to use your blog to generate opportunities outside of your blog. For example, your blog could turn into the basis for a book that you could get published (or self-publish) down the road. Moreover, there are countless opportunities to secure a freelance writing contract for other sites or even print publications. Some bloggers have been pegged by traditional media as content creators for television channels. Others have been hired as community managers for online forums or editorial communities. Still others have had success in using their blogger “cred” to launch offline events, such as conferences. The most popular job arising out of blogging however, is the rise of the social media consultant. Having clients that pay you to develop, hone and execute their social media strategies is quickly becoming one of the most attractive ways to parlay social media experience into a paycheck. Be careful with this one though.
In short, with some serious commitment and strategic relationship building, it is entirely possible to generate income through blogging through either one or a combination of the ideas suggested above. But what are some of the downsides to blogging for money? That, my friends, is a question for tomorrow.