Next to “where should I go on vacation?” the question I get asked the most is “How do you monetize your blog?” And if you’ve been following my series JP’s 3-P Perspective on Blog Profitability: Passion, Program, Platform, then you know the answer is a little more complicated than people hope. But today we’re pulling into the homestretch with a little thing I like to call Platform. After you’ve decided to blog on a topic you’re Passionate about, and not just relied on advertising for revenue but also created Programs for brands, it’s time to think broad about monetization. I’m asking you to consider income from your blog as not just money directly related to what’s happening on the screen, but to count all the off screen activities and opportunities the blog qualifies you to pursue. And that’s what I call a Platform.
Think of your blog as one big advertising opportunity for you. It becomes a calling card of expertise allowing you to pursue a wide range of possible consulting, teaching, even speaking opportunities. In my own case, the fact that I run a successful blog gave me instant credibility with companies looking for help in the social media world. Because I have a background in marketing communications, brands started to approach me to see if I could help them develop a strategy to harness the power of social media. Now, that type of consulting income isn’t directly related to the blog as in I don’t write and post about it and gain advertising revenue from clicks. But I certainly wouldn’t land those gigs without the blog. Poptimistic then became a Platform from which I launched myself into those moneymaking advisory roles.
Similarly, because I am a travel & food journalist and a blogger, I get asked—and paid—to speak at a range of public relations conferences and organizations about topics like the differences in working with print and online writers. Combine that with my marketing communications background, and travel organizations and companies hire me for lectures and workshops on using social media tools effectively in reaching consumers and bloggers. Again, other than this column, I rarely write about those topics for my blog—I derive no direct advertising income from them—but nonetheless the blog provides me the Platform and credibility to take on those gigs.
Whatever topic you are passionately blogging about, I’m sure there are associations and groups that are looking for guests or speakers. There may be even companies and small businesses looking for consultants to help them manage their Facebook sites or Twitter accounts—a new job called “Community Manager” has popped up. These are people who have knowledge of the brand’s subject area—say wine or fashion—and can interact with their customers in an engaging manner. Who better than someone with a blog focused on that same area?
One great benefit of broadening your platform through speaking engagements and consulting is that you gain credibility with brands. And that means they are more likely to talk to you about potential Program opportunities on your blog. It all comes full circle.
So while many dream of quitting their job and instantly become an overnight blogging sensation—with income to match—I believe it takes a little more time and dedication. It’s really like any other small business operation, just instead of opening up a shop on Main St. USA, your blog is hanging out a shingle on the Internet superhighway. Like any small business, success takes patience, perseverance and creativity to be successful. It also takes Passion, Programs and Platform to be profitable.