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December 17, 2005

Making Money Because of Your Blog as Opposed to Making Money Directly From Your Blog

Posted in: Miscellaneous Blog Tips

This afternoon I had a call from a guy and the topic got onto how he wants to make money from blogging (as it seems to quite a bit these days). He was all excited by the potential but was a little muddled with his thinking about how to do it and asked my advice.

One of the questions I sent him away to ponder was this:

‘Do you want to make money directly from your blog or because of your blog?’

Here at enternetusers I talk 99% of the time about how to make money directly from your blog using advertising and affiliate programs - but while this is legitimate and the way I make the majority of my income it is really only half the picture when it comes to making money through blogging.

While there are many bloggers experimenting with this ‘money directly from a blog’ strategy there are also many other bloggers who make a decent living BECAUSE of their blog in indirect ways. They often don’t have a paid advertisement or affiliate program in sight but still are really pro bloggers. How can this be so?

There are many ways to indirectly make money because of a blog. Instead of selling other people’s products or ad space most of these ways are through the blogger selling themselves. Here are a few ways of making money because of your blog that come to mind. It’s no an exhaustive list so feel free to add your own:

  • Consulting - If there were three of me I’d dedicate one of the me’s to do consulting work. After a year of blogging here at enternetusers on the topic of blogging for money I have people come to me every day asking for advice. Some are willing to pay good money for it too! Unfortunately I don’t really have the time and so only take on consulting work if it’s on a larger scale or a very interesting opportunity. There are a growing number of bloggers in many different fields that offer consulting having built up a profile and perceived expertise through their blogs.
  • Recruitment - In a similar way, I’ve heard of a few bloggers over the last year or so who have landed jobs in non blogging fields after their prospective employers found and liked their blogs. Write on a topic well enough and eventually others in your industry will find your blog and in the process hear about you. You never know what opportunities might come out of this.
  • Business Blogging - Some businesses actually employ people to blog for them either as their main role or part of their role. As a result in effect they are being paid to blog.
  • Books - I’ve had a number of offers from publishers in the last year to write books on a variety of topics after they have found my blogs. Once again it’s about being seen as an expert in your field - if you can achieve this you will find publishers are more receptive to having an idea pitched to them and at times will even seek you out. This is becoming more and more common with publishers as they are seeing not only some great writers but that many of them already have large amounts of content on their blogs ready to be pulled together into a book!
  • Offline Writing Gigs - Manolo from Shooeblogs recently landed a writing gig in the Washington Post Express after he was discovered via his wonderful blog. Offline writing gigs can be in the shape of newspapers, magazines, trade publications etc.
  • Online Writing Gigs - A number of enternetusers readers have recently told me that they have been approached to write for a variety of online sites as a result of being discovered from their blogs. These positions have been paid quite well.
  • Selling e-resources - this is close to the idea of making money directly from your blog but is a little different because instead of advertising someone else’s product you’re selling your own. E-products could include e-books, teleseminars etc. Once again the success of these products is often directly tied to the profile of the blogger (or to their sales network/affiliate program).
  • Launch a Product - This is similar to selling an e-resource but is perhaps a little different in that the product could also be a service of some kind. I’m aware of a number of start up companies that have started blogs that they will later launch paid services from. The blog becomes the launching pad for something much larger through building profile and creating interests.
  • Partnerships - One of the cool things about building a name for yourself in an area of expertise is that people often start pitching you ideas for you to partner them in.
  • Speaking Opportunities - I was asked to speak this week at a blogging conference late next year as a result of the organizers of this conference reading enternetusers. This is a bit rare for me as I’m stuck on the opposite side of the world from most of the relevant conferences I dok now of quite a few bloggers who are regularly speaking in a paid capacity at conferences in a variety of industries.

As I said above - this is by no means a complete list. Feel free to add your own suggestions.

As I’ve written this list I’ve been struck by how that in each case opportunity comes out of some sort of a perceived expertise and profile. The book deal, job, writing opportunity, speaking gig, consulting work or selling of a product only really come about if people think you have something worthwhile to say or offer.

Building this type of profile doesn’t just happen overnight. Making money because of your blog is a long term proposition and will probably happen increasingly overtime as a blog and it’s blogger mature and become more well known.

Where as with making money directly from a blog we often talk about skills like SEO and ad placement the skills to making because of a blog probably revolve around:

  • providing useful content that shows an understanding of a niche.
  • networking within a niche and knowing and interacting with key players
  • using a blog not only to report and rehash news but to also show initiative in proposing solutions and taking topics onto new ground

These can be important in running a successful ad blog also, but are especially important for building profile.

Lastly it’s worth nothing that it is possible to go with both approaches and make money both because of and directly from a blog. In a sense that is what I’m finding with enternetusers at present. Ad revenues are a little higher these days and affiliate programs do reasonably well - but in more recent times it’s the indirect opportunities that have come out of this blog that have probably taken enternetusers to a higher earning capacity.

My hunch is that for many bloggers the short term gains often come from the direct earnings (advertising etc) but that the indirect opportunities come in the longer term and it’ these that often have the larger earnings potential.

I’ll finish with one example that I’m unable to give details of. I was told this past week of a blogger who had been blogging about a particular product category (a technical product) for a couple of years. He had become very well known in his industry and had made reasonably good money from AdSense and other ads. A month ago he was approached by one of the manufacturers in this industry and was asked to come on as an ongoing consultant. The fee they offered him per hour was double his daily AdSense earnings. This week he was asked to write a book about his niche. After two years of building profile things have certainly gone into a higher gear and the direct earnings are starting to look quite small.

Interested to hear what you think on the topic.

‘Do you want to make money directly from your blog or because of your blog?’


Return to: Making Money Because of Your Blog as Opposed to Making Money Directly From Your Blog


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