hobby blogs verses paid blogs
By: Grace Cross
Owner, The Baby Spot
You have decided to start a blog but you don’ know where to begin! The whole process can seem overwhelming and it is a new industry that you have decided to jump into. Do you decide on design? A blog name? Where do you begin?
When starting your blog, the first question you must ask yourself after you have decided on the concept of your parenting blog is should this be a hobby blog or a blog you want to make into a business? Will this be something that you want to make an income from eventually or something that you enjoy for yourself and your readers? A hobby blog would be posting for fun, sharing your posts about parenting, your family, products you love and places you visit. You may share this with your extended family and friends and you may welcome new followers that find you on the way. A hobby blog is not for profit, may occasionally work with brands and businesses in exchange for free products, or they would just review products that they themselves have bought and tell their audience about them. These blogs are lighthearted and fun and make a great keepsake for your family to look up and read for years to come! These blogs are like online journals.
Hobby bloggers who notice that they are getting a lot of new organic followers can change their hobby blog into a profitable one. But that involves some work and a new perspective of running a blog.
Profitable blogs can be started from scratch or be the end result of a transition from a hobby blog. A profitable blog makes relationships with brands, businesses and PR companies and makes their money in a variety of different ways. A few ways a successful blogger makes a regular income at their blog is through:
ADVERTORIALS- AN advertorial is an editorial with ads built into the article. An article that would be hypothetically called “Top 10 potty training tips for boys” would mean one of the tips may recommend a special type of potty. The company that produces the potty would pay you a sum to give them a follow link back to their site or to a store where the potty can be purchased. Advertorials are common in today’s world of writing. However, it is integral that a blogger only endorse products that they truly believe in and have tested. Your audience will be aware that they are reading your advertorial. But they will give it the same attention as they would read an editorial and they trust your good judgement. Many countries are changing the laws that an advertorial written by a blogger must contained the words “sponsored” so that all readers can see it and read at their own discretion. Be aware and educate yourself on the laws in your country. The best advice would be to speak to a lawyer and be aware of what is acceptable.
TWITTER CHATS- A company, expert, celebrity or movement may ask you to join them in a twitter chat. Whether you are talking about breastfeeding in public or you are speaking on a topic that you are the expert in, these twitter chat organizers can pay you to promote, show up and participate in a one to two hour long twitter chat.
If you are hosting a chat, you will be required to do a lot of promotion and to bring an active engaging audience who is going to ask questions to the expert. If you are the expert, you are required to answer all questions quickly.
If you are asked to show up at a Twitter Chat, you have to get your audience to participate. They want you to bring in more visitors. This means you are advertising ahead of time for your readers to attend. It may look something like this:
5 more days until the #Pottytraining Twitter chat with @pottytrainme! Chat starts at 7pm! #excited #babies
It would be best to include a picture to catch your readers attention. You may always want to reach out to big key influencers that follow you to attend.
No matter what your position is in the Twitter Chat, you have to be quick, follow the relevant hashtag and post often to engage your followers. These chats are a great way for your audience to engage with others, meet some new followers and often times, win some great prizes.
PAID SOCIAL MEDIA POSTS
Companies who want a message about a product, service or event to go out quickly will pay you to share this message (often multiples times within a time limit) across your social media. Paid social media posts in most countries must contained the words “sponsored’ or ‘spon’ for short so the audience realizes that you were paid for that message.
PUBLIC SPEAKING ENGAGEMENTS
As your blog gets bigger, you may find yourself becoming an expert in a niche market of parenting blogs. It may not come as a surprise that eventually a blogging network group or a network representing your niche market may invite you to speak on a topic or about your blog.
I have seen bloggers speak to Universities or get flown to a destination to speak about a topic that concerns their blog or about their blog itself! Be sure to be a good public speaker and not be afraid of crowds. You would have to also put together a presentation and practice public speaking! Don’t take on a job you are not comfortable doing.
This is a vast avenue where you place products on your blog, sometimes with a blog post and sometimes just as a link that takes readers to the selling site. Whatever is sold from your blog, you will retain a percentage of the profits for. If a product matches your niche market and you have a highly engaged audience, then this may be the avenue for you.
Many successful bloggers become authors. They author a book based on their blog posts or persue a fictional book that their audience would enjoy. A great book with a popular blog can lead to even more purchases. Bloggers go with either a literary agent, a direct publisher or they self publish their book! Each has their pros and cons and in some instances, some avenues are better than others. It is up to you to make the choice what is best!
A company may ask a seasoned blog if they want to be sponsored. For a few thousand dollars a month, a blogger would have banners across their website about a product, service or event. They would also be writing regular blog posts, host chats or vlogs or private chats and more. Sponsorships vary from business to business. Again, it is important that you believe in the product before you say ‘yes’ to a sponsorship.
If your blog is paid, you have to register it as a business. You may find if you’re making over a certain amount that you will have to pay taxes. As it grows and becomes very successful, you may pay a third party company or another person to control your social media or help you with your posts. Your focus may change and you may have staff. This comes after a lot of heart work and success, but it is good to have an idea what you want to do with the future of your blog.
A paid blog takes time to come to fruition. Many companies are waiting to see if your blog will stand the test of time on the internet. A company does not want to invest thousands of dollars into a sponsorship for a blog to see it fold in six months. Usually, bigger requests come after the six month mark and even more so after the year mark.
There will come a time that as a blogger, you will become very resourceful. For example, if you are a “Thrifty Parent” who finds all of the great deals who keeps a beautiful home with little investment, there will come a time where people would like you to attend events and tell others what you have learned. Yes, organizations, businesses and events will pay you to speak for them. That is, if you are comfortable with public speaking.
Make sure if you agree to this to get what is expected of you. Having a 45 minute to an hour presentation with slides about what you do would be expected. Give the presentation to the organization to review. Speak to other people who have spoken at this event or with this company and get some insight.
Watch TED talks and other public speakers. Find your rhythm and practice in front of family and friends. Make your topic engaging. People are there to learn your story.
Find the messaging behind the event itself and incorporate that into your speech. If it is empowerment, speak about how you were brave enough to get into blogging. Talk about your setbacks as candidly as you would talk about your achievements.
Remember, all of these ideas are just to get you started. You can tweak them and make them work for your blog or come up with new concepts. We recommend you start with one at a time and see how your audience responds. Since time is of the essence for most bloggers, it is integral to plan ahead before choosing to become, for example, a dedicated twitter chat co-host. Is your audience engaged in twitter chats? You should do a test chat to see. If not, maybe advertorials is where you should start. Whatever the case is, do not put your hands in every pot at once, it will be overwhelming, especially for someone who does not have the time.
Growing a blog means giving up other things. Especially if you are doing this for business purposes. Try to give up habits that you have found are holding you back. Can you cut back on television? Can you stay up a half an hour later? A successful blog does not come easy and those people that you see who have widely successful blogs got it by trying hard and making some sacrifices. Like an athlete or the person who is trying to get their Masters Degree or finishing an apprenticeship, it involves sacrifice.
Your blog can be a huge success , a moderate success with a steady paycheck or a great part time income. You may even choose to keep your blog as a hobby blog, which has so many benefits. Whatever it is, try to picture you and your blog in every scenario so you know what you want. The blogging world can change quickly and you may have the next big must read blog on your hands! It’s important to have a map of what you would like to do with it.