A while back, I decided to teach myself about blog monetization. I should probably say that this blog has been monetized from day one. In fact, I created it as a marketing tool for my then fledgling publicity company. The idea was, I’d write awesome content (tips and tricks) about how to market your theatre company or arts non profit org, and people would read it, and come to see me as an expert in my field. They would, in turn, hire me to do publicity for them when the need arose.
Well, it worked. Like, really well. I had no shortage of work for the first four or so years I was freelancing, but I’ve stopped doing that kind of work over the last few years. My teaching career has been ramping up, and my freelance business has turned into doing more social media consulting, so I don’t do a ton of traditional PR anymore.
This blog was also a great source for marketing my books.
However, I knew there was a whole other world of monetization out there, and I wanted to learn more about it. I did. But I wish I’d had this book and read it first, because it would have saved me a lot of time and research.
How To Blog For Profit Without Selling Your Soul by Ruth Soukup is a great resource for bloggers. If you are starting out, it really helps to give you the lay of the land–what options exist out there for monetizing, and how other bloggers are making it work.
Here are some of the key points I really learned from this book:
There is no substitute for good content. One of the things I liked the best about this book is the Soukup is clear about one thing: if you want to have a blog that makes money, you have to start with good content. Content that adds value, that people are going to come back for over and over again. There is no substitute for this. Blogging is not an easy get-rich-quick scheme. It’s hard work, and that work includes creating fantastic content. There can be nothing more important above that.
Design is important. Make sure your blog is clean, and the design is uncluttered and inviting. Work with someone who knows what they are doing to make this happen. Don’t be so eager to make money that your blog is littered with ads, as, ultimately, that will turn people off (and away).
You gotta be organized and disciplined. I often hear people say they don’t have time to blog, or they don’t know what to say. That’s fair. Especially if you are just writing a blog for fun. But if you want to be taken seriously, and you want your blog to make money, you have to treat it seriously. Soukup talks about goals, building a blog business plan, editorial calendars, and the discipline of writing every day, even if you don’t feel like it.
There is no “one size fits all” method of monetization. Soukup gives quite a few case studies of successful bloggers, and one thing becomes quickly clear: they are all monetizing in different ways. Some make the bulk of their income from ads, some from affiliates, some from sponsored posts. You have to explore them all and see which ones work for you.
I won’t get into the methods of monetization in this post–you should pick up her book yourself to learn those. But I will say this: one thing I really walked away with from reading this book is a renewed desire to step up my Pinterest game–especially in the area of group pinboards. More about that later… 😉