Would you like to make money from your blog? Perhaps you harbour dreams of making the move from amateur blogger to professional writer or journalist?
Because the question and answer are exchanged via email, I thought it would be great to ask a question that you all might be interested in, and to then reproduce the answer in full, so that you can get an idea of exactly what you get for your money.
My expert was Joycellyn Akuffo, a journalist and online business coach, and founder and editor of Mothers Who Work. I asked Joycellyn this:
What advice do you have for ‘mummybloggers’ who want to turn their hobby into a job? How can someone go from being a blogger to a paid writer, earning a living while at the same time working flexibly around their family?
The answer came back to me in less than 24 hours, even though it was a weekend, and Joycellyn’s answer was very thorough. I would have perhaps liked to have seen some further sources of information included – it was an email, so it would have been easy to include hyperlinks – but then to be fair my question was fairly broad. I guess too that the experts want to leave scope for further questions!
Here is what Joycellyn said, so you can decide for yourself. Do let me know if you find it useful.
Writing and blogging – these days you could be forgiven for thinking that they are all the same. Some bloggers really know their stuff and they have a natural knack of getting the point across to thous ands of people every day or month.
But the two specialties differ, and with it does the training involved or required, and the income can vary too.
Making money from a blog
Let’s start with blogging. First of all a blog can be run by someone who isn’t a writer – most of them are owned by non-professional writers. Some are run by professional writers, journalists and editors.
There are a number of ways to make money from a blog, but they all require one basic thing – traffic and lots of it. So here goes:
1. Search Engine Advertising – this can be using the age-old Google Adsense ads. You would have seen text ads on some blogs, with Google Ads written on them, and sometimes banner ads, again with the Google branding on them. These won’t make you rich, but if your blog gets lots of traffic, you could probably pay for your hosting or a handbag and shoes three or four times a year. How much you make will depend on the top ic of your blog (these ads are keyword based), and the cost that advertisers are prepared to pay for each click in the sector. Some keywords cost as little as a penny, others cost a couple to a few pounds.
Other search engines like Yahoo and Bing also have their own advertising programmes that basically do the same as Google Adsense.
2. Affiliate Marketing – this is when you promote other people’s products and services on your blog. You can sign up to affiliate platforms like Tradedoubler.com, Affiliatewindow.com and Clickbank.com and start adding links and banners from well-known brands to your website.
These can bring in commission as little as 5% per sale to around 20% per sale. Some schemes (though few and far between these days) will pay per click like Google Adsense, but they are mainly cat per action (this can be per sign-up for surveys, for example, or a purchase).
Many people like promoting relevant products on Amazon th rough their affiliate programme, but like all of these schemes, it won’t make you a millionaire.
3. Direct Advertising – this is when you deal with a brand or company directly. Either you call and speak with their marketing department or they contact you. This form of advertising could be a sponsored post, where they supply you with an article (or you can charge a little extra to write a post yourself).
A lot of advertising agencies do this and will contact blogs offering a pittance to put a post up to see if the blogger will either be too inexperienced to know they are being ripped off, or are too desperate to tell them where to go!
Sponsored ads can bring in from say £50-£500 per post, and will depend on not only your website’s traffic, but also your page rank.
If you’re interested in this form of making money, you should really create a media pack. This is usually a PDF which you can send out to advertisers when they request it (or when you’re trying to get advertising off your own back), and will contain details about your blog’s traffic stats, the type of people who visit your website, a rate card (cost of advertising) and contact details.
4. Selling Products/Services – if you can sell products or a service (like webinars, membership or other service), you can start to make ‘proper’ money. You will basically be providing something that your website visitors need and want and keep them coming back for more. It doesn’t have to be lots of products or services – sometimes just one or a handful will do the trick.
To move from being a mummyblogger to a money-making mummyblogger, you could use a mix of the above, or option 4. With a product that people want and need, and with enough promotion, your blog could become a business run by you, in your own time, generating the income that you need to sustain the right work-life balance that your family needs.
Without teaching a chicken to suck eggs, a writer is usually a person who writes books, or may come from say a medical background and is seen as an expert, so starts writing a column or a regular feature for a publication or website. Journalists are sometimes (incorrectly) lumped into the same group – especially freelance journalists, but clearly they come from a media background and have had the training and experience looking for a story and crafting it etc.
Writers of books and novels may not necessarily be trained. Some may have taken a creative writing course, if their interest is in books.
Journalists, like I said earlier are trained. They would usually have done a media writing course, a media law course and have worked on various publications – some have a specialty and some don’t…a journalist is trained to be able to write about any subject, you see.
If you are a blogger who is an expert, you could make money spiriting books. These days, you don’t need a great big publisher to succeed – thanks to Kindle and just having the ability to sell your own ebooks from any website. How much you make really depends on how much interest or need there is for your subject area, and how much promotion you can do. A lot of these types of writers often get a break with one good media push and then they get in a bestseller’s list and start raking in the cash!
Journalists usually pitch an idea to an editor. This is a small proposal of a few paragraphs which details what the article is going to be about, plus an idea of case studies/expert quotes etc.
What they are paid will vary – smaller publications can pay as little as £250 for a 1,000-word article…maybe less if the journalist has less experience. Larger publications like the nationals can pay up to and in excess of £1,000 for an investigative piece or a good celebrity interview. Again, it depends on the experience of the journalist and the editor’s budget.