I mentioned in my AWBU conference recap that I had the opportunity to present a session with the PR maven Natalie Ghidotti about the Business of Blogging. I thought I’d post up some of the info that we presented. Given that our presentation was only an hour, we did our best to give a general overview of ways to generate income from blogging.
First, this big statement in bold:
There is no quick and dirty way to make money blogging. Blogging is hard work, and it’s very difficult to make a living doing it (much like any writing-related career).
Second, do not run out and do all these things all at once. Pick one or two that suit you best and start slowly. Also, please educate yourself on the FTC rules for bloggers.
Then, five ways you can generate income on your blog:
1. Ads – You can either sell ad space on your blog directly to companies (you have to have enough traffic to justify this) or you can join an ad network that will pay you based on either how many times their ad is viewed (CPM), how many times ads are clicked (CPC), or how many times ads are clicked and converted to a sale. There are TONS of ad networks out there, but here are a few to get you started:
2. Affiliates – From Amazon to Zappos, nearly every online company has an affiliate program. These programs allow you to earn a percent of every purchase that your blog readers make with a company. You’ll be most successful if you choose affiliate programs with companies you love and that make sense in relation to what you are already blogging about. You can also go through an affiliate network to work with multiple companies at once.
3. Sell Something – Whether you are selling something directly on your blog, like an ebook or printables, or are directing your readers to another site to buy something, you can use your blog to increase your income. You have to be careful to be subtle and not sound spammy, and whatever you are selling should be related to what you are blogging about.
- Books and ebooks
- Crafts and other Etsy-ish items
- Services – are you an interior designer, photographer, organization guru, writer, or public speaker? You can sell services on your blog too. If you’ve been blogging long at all, chances are you are better at social media than the average small business owner. As Natalie pointed out, those small business owners can’t afford a PR Firm, but they can probably afford you! Use your blog as a portfolio to show your expertise and as a launchpad into other paid gigs.
5. Brand Ambassador – More companies are moving toward working with bloggers on a long-term basis. From the PR/Company perspective, Natalie said that she feels this is the best way to go when working with bloggers. As a blogger, I would certainly rather put my energy into working with a single company in more meaningful and relevant ways than nickel and diming my way through affiliate ads and sponsored posts. Natalie stressed the importance of being genuine (there it is again!). A company is more likely to pick you as a brand ambassador based on what and how you write as opposed to how many monthly site visits you have. But! You also have to have a decent amount of traffic to do this type of work. Here are some example brand ambassadors:
If you’re interested in discussing this topic further with some fellow bloggers, we’re planning a Google Hangout on Tuesday, September 11 at 9:30am CST. You can come on over and get in on the discussion, or just hang out and listen in. Leave a comment if you want to join the hangout, and I will send you an invite (make sure you are on G+ and add me to your circles!)
I also created a Pinterest board called “Monetize Your Blog” with other monetization articles and resources.