Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Blogging and Making Money

While this course is about writing a blog and gathering an audience, many people have questions and aspirations relating to their blog and money. To be blunt, many fantasize about earning a living from their blog. Is such a thing possible? Well, if you believe, then anything is possible.

OK, now trying to be helpful, here are some points to take on board at this point in the course. We'll circle back to financial possibilities, how to understand them, and how to pursue them later in the course.

1. Traditionally, 7 out of 10 new business ventures fail or are abandoned within the first two years. If you think of your blog as yet another business venture, the odds are 30% that in two years, you could still be at it. Hopefully in the black and harvesting cash flow.

2. There are success stories of people who got very rich through blogging. It's about as likely as you'll turn out to be the next J.D. Rowling (third richest woman in the world, author of Harry Potter). But it does happen and some people do strike it big. (examples: John Chow or Ree Drummond)

3. You won't make any money with your blog unless you have an audience. It's a good strategy to first find something interesting to say, then to win an audience, then to try to figure out how to monetize it.

4. Many bloggers with some talent and dedication, do make some money from their blogs. It can be $25 per month or $25 per day and sometimes much more. Your results will vary. Sometimes it's just enough for "shoe money" (BTW, there's a famous and profitable blog by that name), sometimes it's enough for you to quit your day job. Sometimes, it can be combined with your day job.

5. When you pick your blog topic, if making money is eventually on your mind, you might what to consider the potential financial implications as you pick your focus. I'm deviating slightly from point 3 here by suggesting that you think ahead about financial implications, even as you pick your topic and personna.

The rest of this article will help you consider how to factor this in.

Do you have an existing business which could benefit from increased exposure across the net? If so, supporting and expanding the existing business is a good way to monetize your time spent blogging. Many small businesses and charities have started blogs which integrate stories about their professional work with whatever aspects of their private life that they want to share. And they've effectively won new supporters and deepened their relationships with others. (eg Making Waves, One blog)

Let me share a discussion I had with a hypothetical friend of mine name Mike. Mike wanted to start a blog. He was a poet by nature, a paralegal by day, and he has a messy personal life caused in part by what he calls his "poetic" nature which could not be constrained by social norms such as honesty, living monogomously, and oh yes, living within his means. His initial desire was to write about poetry, something that he lived for and had great insights into. He was thinking: "Metaphysical Poetry & Lyrical Reflections." But, as we discussed it, it turns out that Mike was thinking that this would be a profitable effort and we concluded that pure poetry might be pure poverty. There's just not that many people reading poetry or advertising to people interested in poetry.

We also considered him writing about his personal life but it presented a number of problems and no particular financial hook.

After some reflections on the likely financial implications, he shifted towards: "This poet's unfolding tale of Love, Lyrics, and Looming Foreclosure." This allowed him to both indulge his poetic vision with lyrical reflections on his dilemma while also airing his ongoing lessons on how mortgage companies react when you stop making payments, how a "short-sale" works and whether 'tis better to default on your credit card bill or mortgage. He soon had a readership and some lively informative discussions by people with similar problems, many of whom appreciated his poetry: "Whether 'tis nobler to...etc". Then one day, he posted an "advertise here" button and a rate sheet (traffic count and advertising rates) and several credit lawyers responded.

The other part of the discussion with hypothetical Mike was whether he should bring his messy personal relationships into it but, given how truly messy it was, we all agreed that he should be less public, even in an anonymous form, which his irresponsible ongoing escapades.

Yes, Mike is not real, but it's food for thought to provide you with some thoughts on direction.

You'll hear more form us later in the course about how advertising works on blogs. You'll hear about PPC, CPM affiliates, widgets, Adsense, and rate sheets.



1 comment:

BBat50 said...

I'd like to know a lot more about this. I'm looking forward to it.