It is no secret that there is money to be earned in blogging. In fact, many people have recently started blogging because they realize that you can make money today curating a website about something you are passionate about.
Yet, when it comes to blogging, bloggers seem to be stuck thinking that sponsored posts are the only way to go. They spend hours beating their heads up against virtual walls trying to get noticed for campaigns…and then some of those campaigns don’t even pay.
So, as we emphasized at our ProBlogging MiniCon, be sure to diversify your revenue potential on your blog.
Here are 11 ways to make money blogging:
1. Sponsored Posts.
Apply for programs – Massive Sway and Be Everywhere are two of the biggest with some high-level clients. Acorn is gaining traction, and, of course, once you grow your numbers you will get direct pitches from PR agencies asking for your space and reviews. Some of these will come with compensation, some will come with free stuff, some will come with both. Determine your goals, what price you charge for your real estate, and stick to your guns. Also, don’t forget that you can go directly to brands you love with a nice media kit and a well-crafted, creative pitch.
Apply for ad networks – Google AdSense is the bigger winner in this category. These networks take time to cultivate and there is a learning curve to ensuring you get your value out of them (watch our Blogging411 shows on AdSense to learn more). Or, again, go direct to brands you love and offer them a package they can’t refuse. If doing this, be sure to target your local businesses. Remember, as we said in our 6 Basic Twitter Tips for Bloggers, local matters and shouldn’t be undervalued. Also, include an ad in your newsletter to sweeten the deal. Direct-to-inbox marketing is a big selling point when it comes to ad sales.
3. Affiliate links and programs.
ShareASale and Amazon’s affiliate program are popular. Don’t think of affiliate programs as “selling out” but think of them as earning money for stuff you recommend anyhow! Creating a gift guide for the holidays? Affiliate link that! It is no additional charge to the buyer, they don’t even notice, but as a thank you the companies provide you a little return. Kayla Aimee is a master at affiliate sales and she will frequently contact companies whose product she intends to promote simply because she loves them and ask for an affiliate return.
4. Sell e-Books.
Do you write 3-4 blog posts a week? Guess what?! You’ve got a book in there somewhere. Think creatively. Even if the information is already offered for free on your blog, people will pay a small amount for the convenience of having the content packaged for them and then it is theirs to keep wherever they want. Think recipes, series, crafts, how-tos, anything you’ve done that can be put together and marketed as one beautiful e-Book. You don’t need to go create a book publishing account on Amazon if you are going small. Deliver a wonderfully designed, easy to read product in Publisher or Adobe, save it as a PDF, create a good price point and a compelling description, then email the product to those who PayPal you the money. Don’t be daunted.
5. Grow your YouTube channel and sell “opportunities” to businesses to support you there.
Yes, that’s right, there is money in YouTube. As we stressed in our post “How to put the You in to YouTube” vlogging and your YouTube presence matters these days. While you can’t officially have sponsors in the YouTube world (they have strict rules you will want to follow) you can get money for your show. Wade Harman is the master at this and Wade offers a class on how to get paid for Google Hangouts and, while it might not seem cheap at first blush, it is a great investment to realize the amazing potential of being an online personality. All of the official rules for YouTube are located on Google’s Partner Program Policies.
But don’t forget indirect ways to make money blogging:
6. Get a book deal.
You don’t have to be a novelist these days to get a book deal. You just have to write well and have a niche. Don’t be afraid to sell yourself. Is there another “For Dummies” book that the world needs? You could be the perfect candidate for writing it!
7. Get paid to write for someone else.
If you are a great writer or are really well-versed on certain industry topics, set yourself up to be a ghostwriter for businesses. They are always looking for content. You can start with a content mill like Content Runner or ODesk and/or sell your own services from your resume to companies that would be a good fit.
8. Sell your knowledge.
Consult! Everyone wants to know what you know. Just think about all the lessons you have learned during your time as a blogger. Someone will pay you for your knowledge and experience. Believe in what you know enough to offer your services as a consultant.
9. Speak at conferences.
Ok, admittedly, many conferences do not pay speaking fees, but many will pay for accommodations for their speakers. So you could at least get a free night’s stay at a hotel as well as amazing public exposure as an expert to sell all your other products.
10. Sell products.
If you are a crafter, make sure you are using your blog to sell your wares. Send people to your Etsy shop, allow people to order what you craft, give them a venue to pay for and download your amazing printables. If you don’t have products such as that you can always get on to CafePress and make an industry-related product that your audience will love.
11. Be a virtual assistant.
If you just absolutely adore social media, being online, and helping with blogs, consider getting paid to help others manage theirs. While you won’t be the face of the blog, it will give you the cash in your pocket to invest back in your own blog.
It Takes Hard Work
Note that nearly all of these ways to monetize your special web space require hard work and networking. You can’t do any of these in a bubble. In fact, most indirect revenues from blogging come from engaging with people in real life, allowing them to know the face and talent behind the online profile.
Of course, we’re happy to provide inspiration, motivation, community and networking opportunities here, but tell us in the comments below: What ways do you monetize and where do you find opportunities?