Today and tomorrow I’m teaming up with some amazing bloggers as a part of BlogHop Blog Conference at Home. To see the full agenda of learning sessions visit Blog Conference Newbie.
One of the things I get asked when I tell people that I’m a professional blogger is, “Do you make any money doing that?”
The short answer of course is yes! The longer answer is that it took me almost five years to make money the kind of money I foresaw for family and I had to climb a few mountains in order to get there.
I think there’s this perception that we’re all rolling in money and laughing all the way to the bank. That might happen for some (Dooce) but for many of us, while we’re blogging what we love and what we’re passionate about, we still have to pay the bills, because they won’t pay themselves and you can’t really pay the mortgage with review copies of DVDs, toys for the kids, or discount coupons.
So what do we do to keep the lights on and the mortgage paid? We hone in our skills and put them to use of course!
Writing for Dollars
For me this means Freelance Writing, I often contract with small businesses, private webmasters, news outlets, and even large media companies to blog or freelance write for them. But my previous career background is in communications and customer relations so I’ve been able to pull from those skills. It’s always a bonus if I get to talk about family and parenting (which is ironically what I went to college for, childhood development and education) because then I feel like I can pull from all aspects of my past to write the kinds of content that the people want to read.
Freelance writing isn’t the only kind of writing available to bloggers. Many sites like suite101.com, hubspot.com and associatedcontent.com allow you to submit your own articles for revenue share. Although for revenue sharing as a means of earning money from writing, I prefer UntrainedHousewife.com and Typeaparent.com and not because I know Angela and Kelby, but because they don’t have a lot of hoops for writers to jump through in order to write for them and the writers maintain the rights to their articles.
But freelance writing isn’t the only writing option there is for bloggers.
Write an Ebook – There really isn’t anything better than being the author of your own work and owning it outright. This is something I’m looking into more of this year for myself. There’s a twofold benefit to writing an ebook:
- You can incorporate your passion into your ebook. What this means is that you are essentially taking your blog, your passion and putting it into ebook form. Know about gardening, knitting, homesteading, SEO, Freelancing? Take what you know and put into ebook form that people can learn from. The best example of this is Darren Rowse of ProBlogger.com. He has taken his knowledge of blogging and created a number of ebooks from it.
- You’re creating a residual income for yourself. Every time someone buys your ebook, that’s money in your pocket. It’s a win-win, you get paid for writing about something you’re passionate about and you’re providing valuable information for other people. Besides, you never know when the day might come along to turn that ebook into something much bigger.
What if I just want to blog about my passion?
There’s nothing wrong with wanting to just focus on your passion and blog about it. Think about the ways you can share your knowledge with others and start marketing yourself as the knowelegeable person you are. Dream it, then Own it!
Knitters and crafters are taking their crafts and handmade goodies to Etsy.com. Many of these crafters started out blogging about their designs and crafts and the love of the craft and then opened an Etsy store to showcase their creations and sell them to a much larger audience than their hometown.
Educate The Masses
Social Engagement. Many bloggers are aligning themselves as consultants, speakers, ambassadors or community managers (self included, I’ve worked with a number of online communities as a community manager). They take what they’re passionate about and put it to a greater purpose. By using their blog as their platform they are able to work with brands and organizations to speak about what they know and educate or help others. These are all paying opportunities that you can market yourself for all while talking about and sharing what you care most about.
In each and every example, bloggers are creating their own businesses and/or branching out from their skills and knowledge to create a sustainable and livable income for their family.
Sounds Great! How do I get Started?
Know you passion. If you’re thinking of creating an income around your blog, around your passion then know what it is your voice is saying and what you want to convey to others.
Blog. Blog. Blog. For others and for yourself. Ask your bloggy friends if you can guest post on their blog. Contact other blog sites or online news outlets and ask if they accept guest bloggers. Have something in mind that you want to talk about. If there’s something relevant on the site that you’re approaching, ask if you can offer a difference of opinion or expand on a topic that they may have only scraped the surface of. The important part is to get exposure for yourself.
Now Market! And then Market some more. This is key; build a media kit and start linking to what you’ve done, where you’ve been and who you’ve worked with (or for). Pull your stats from your blog and take a look at what people are searching for. Don’t forget to include your contact info and rates (this is a personal option. Some people chose not to list rates but maybe you want to sell advertising space on your site – another way to pay the bills – so it’s worth considering). If you’re not listing your rates, make sure people know you have options available. My media kit includes a bit of personal information as well as statistical information, advertising rates and where to connect with me. Connect with local businesses and companies as well by attending chamber of commerce meetings and joining the local organizations where you can do the most good with your voice.
Join in on Social Media. This is another way for you to market and connect with others. You never know when a friend might have a blogging lead that you’d be perfect for (true story) and they pass it along to you. Or when a chance meeting online and in skype can turn into a dream position (another true story). IT HAPPENS. It happens all the time but it won’t happen to you if you’re not putting yourself out there so people can get to know you, your blog, and what you’re about. I still believe in the power of Twitter and Facebook for making great blog and brand connections.
Of course this isn’t everything you need to know but it gives you a basic idea of how you can turn what you love into a money making, bill paying career.
Now it’s your turn; What’s your passion and how can you use it to pay the bills?
*come back tomorrow when I talk about mommy blogging and growing kids*
image credits: stock xchng stock xchng