Social Media Club: The new age of blog monetisation

Advertising, sponsorship and affiliate marketing were trumped on the night by reps skilled and able to package bloggers and sell influence.

“The challenge is finding that niche and filling that content”
— Karla Courtney

“I’ve never met a successful blogger who made out to be a successful blogger” — Daniel Kjellsson

The unfilled promise of blog monetisation

Blog writing came out on the night as a loss leader for the majority of “pro-bloggers”. Neither of the two bloggers on the panel professed to making a full time living from their blogs and both maintain their roles as journalists. So it seems that it is same as it ever was, with blogs being a marketing channel to other activities like professional writing in these cases, consulting, workshops, teaching and in some cases store fronts.

Capitalising on readership figures

The blogs represented and cited on the night have healthy audience figures from the tens of thousands to the hundreds of thousands. Despite this, ads and sponsorship do not compensate their writers for the effort involved in creating the quality content that attracts these significant audiences. In an effort to capitalise on the popularity of her blog Karla Courtney will be creating an exhibition related to her photography and hopes to generate some income via this stream.

If you check out Patty Huntington’s frockwriter you will see that she is experimenting with a paywall service. She reported that it provides a small monthly income but that loyal readers still go to efforts to jump the paywall — proving that it’s difficult to overcome the expectation that content online should be free.

An example cited, which I haven’t been able to find (apologies) did manage to parlay their audience into payment by crowdfunding the continuation of their blog on Indiegogo.  The writer raised $11k of their $25k target and stayed online.

Let the writers do the writing, let the sellers do the selling

Advertising is was agreed by all generates modest income.Other mechanisms for revenue, like affiliate marketing diminish the value of the brand that is being built by “giving it away for free”. There was one other means of earning meaningful revenue on the night, and that was through representation. This is where we depart from the traditional challenge of monetising online content by employing tactics used in publishing and music industries – by creating overarching brands and labels. Blog networks, exemplified on the night by Kjellsson from FELLT are a blogger’s best chance of translating their cachet in their chosen fields of expertise into money that makes it worth their while. FELLT is a conglomerate of fashion “influencers”.  Daniel Kjellsson represents 8 fashion bloggers by selling advertising on their behalf. He knows what he is selling too. Not daily or unique visitors, not page views, but influence.

Should you quit your blog job?

What was established was that a strong blog profile should and does translate to increased workplace recognition. Karla Courtney attributes her good workplace conditions (both in pay and flexibility) post maternity leave to the popularity (and audience) of her blog. So, while you still might need to keep your day job, at least you might be able to get paid more for it.

The panel on the night was:

For speaker bios check out SMCSYD’s event Brite listing of the event where you can also sign up to the mailing list.

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