“Can you make money from a blog?” has to be one of the commonest questions I get asked and the answer is … not straightforward. SOME people are making money DIRECTLY from blogging but it is still a relatively new commercial arena and there are currently few guidelines. What is interesting is that advertisers, PR companies, sponsors and business partners are approaching bloggers as potential platforms to connect more with their customers.
The 2011 Travel Bloggers Unite Conference in Manchester brought Travel bloggers from all over the world to share ideas, discuss latest trends in blogging, learn more about developing blogs and to network. Also attending were some of this country’s most influential travel PR agencies and travel businesses
There were a number of ‘How To’ sessions, including talks on how to make your blog a magnet for possible income generation. Some travel bloggers are succeeding in making money and they shared their experience and views. Here are some tips that came out of discussions during the day:
- Do your research – check out demographics, trends, business year ahead
- Stay up to date with latest technology, social media, business direction
- Be consistent – identify your brand, style, voice, persona that you feel comfortable with and stick with it
- Tell a story – make it compelling. Don’t just do the obvious – find an angle that will appeal
- Write for other bloggers, especially those who you admire, respect and value
- Get other bloggers to write for you – Guest Posts share the word & generate more exposure
- Develop relationships with PR companies, advertisers and business-related contacts – it’s about people not commodities
- Use Social Media ie Face Book, Twitter, StumbleUpon, YouTube, Fickr, LinkedIn to promote your blog – and be generous about promoting others
- When sponspors/advertisers approach you, think carefully about pricing and what you want from it. Ask for advice and don’t undersell your blog
- Have a Rates Card so you can send it to potential advertisers, sponsors
- Be reliable in your delivery. Get a publishing schedule and deliver the goods on time.
- Work hard – it will only happen if you stay focused and put in the hours
This just gives a flavour of some of the ideas generated by the event. Keith Jenkins, of Velvet Escape gave an insight into his journey to financial success and an expert panel of travel bloggers shared their knowledge and answered questions on how to monetise a blog.
If you want to find out more – check out these guys …
Keith Jenkins www.velvetescape.com
Melvin Boecher www.traveldudes.com
Kash Bhattacharya www.europebudgetguide.com
Matt Preston www.travelwithamate.com
Karen Bryan www.europealacarte.co.uk
The answer to the question ‘Can you make money from a blog’ is most definitely YES but, as with everything, it takes time, effort and commitment.
Zoe, my post tbu11 article covers some of the issues of making a living from travel blogging:
A very special thank to Oliver for organising the Travel Bloggers Unite Event. It was such a pleasure to meet up with so many talented and passionate bloggers.
it’s very important to know what integrity and money mean to you – I am happy to make money from my writing but it must be with like-minded partners.
Do share your views and tips here …
Excellent article Karen and another valuable resource for anyone looking at this relatively new income stream for travel writers.
Is there likely to be another travel bloggers event? – would love to attend.
Hi Suzanne – the next one is at Innsbruck in the summer – keep an out on the website http://www.travelbloggersunite.com
I wanted to chime in as this the first time I’ve visited your site. I started my travel blog last year and in reality I made about $30 directly from advertising and about $20 on Amazon all year. That’s not a lot. However, I made about $3,500 from opportunities that were the direct result of the blog, mostly consulting and photograph sales. Already this year I’m looking almost $1,000 worth of income that is indirectly related to my blog, mostly freelance writing. On top of that, I’ve landed most of my gigs in the last couple years based on the content of my site. I wonder how much of this is being brought up at the conferences and such. How do we put a value on exposure?
sounds like you all learned a lot – what a GREAT event!
Hi Brandon – thanks so much for sharing this with us. The indirect financial benefits of having a blog were touched on but the main area for TBU11 this time was aroudn how to make a little (or a lot in some cases) directly from the blog. Many bloggers are now being directly targeted by advertisers, sponsors & PR companies and it is still a relatively new area. One of the big issues is around integrtity and voice – how to decide if/who to go with to ensure that readers are not put off reading/viewing…
Your point about value on this exposure is so pertinent … and you are an inspiration to us all 🙂
It certainly was a real education Jessie – and I was only there for one day! Lots of good info also about using Word Press, the craft of travel Writing, working with PR agencies and using Social Media. It will take time for it all to sink in …
I think there’s certainly money to be made in selling articles, and a blog is a shop window for that. Whether people think advertising is appropriate or whether it will interfere with their message and objectivity is up to them.
As we all know, most people will only earn ‘adult pocket money’ at this, so it’s usually a case of ‘keep up the day job’ unless you’re exceptionally talented or dedicated.
I am slightly concerned about ‘amateur’ bloggers being offered incentives to support products – the most recent two I’ve heard about are snack bars and pants (Yes. Pants.). The bloggers are supposed to slip them unobtrusively into their content. Only it’s never unobtrusive, and always looks like they’ve sold their soul. For pants.
A really interesting debate. The presence of PR & advertising agencies at the event says it all: bloggers have influence! It will be interesting to see how this develops.
So agree Caroline – it is new territory for us all but it’s definitely going somewhere 🙂
Everyone on the panel are friends / colleagues who have proven to the industry that blogging WORKS!
So true Jen. I think one of the interesting points is how well travel bloggers collaborate and share. Re income, there are so many ways that money comes in indirectly from blogging. Whatever, we love it don’t we!
Blogging really does take a long time to get the ball rolling, I agree. I think just constantly putting up great new pics of your travel spots is the best way to generate buzz. It will obviously take a long time but the rewards are worth it. Good stuff.
Thanks for your tip TripGirl. One good thing is that blogging is becoming a lot more acceptable as a form of writing to be taken notice of -and of course video and photo blogging are growing rapidly too.
This a really ueful thread. Some great ideas and comments. I must add to the theme of ‘hard work’ and ‘day job’. I still need my day job four days a week to keep my life on track and I work most evenings writing and researching. BUT I can now go hiking and travelling as much as I want – as I am working then too.
Thanks for addition Alvina. The discussion is ongoing but well over two years on from that first TBU event the answer is ‘yes’ but you have to be very flexible and creative.