Blog Monetization

Recently, I was in Atlanta where I attended my first BarkWorld Blog Conference. And I had a great time.

I was there, partly, to participate on a panel that discussed how a social media influencer can earn a living through their social media prowess.

The thing is, most can’t.

Being a successful social media influencer is a lot like being a successful, famous actor—there is tremendous work that happens behind-the-scenes but only the incredibly talented and/or insanely lucky ever really make enough money that they can quit their day jobs.

An actor begins by learning the basics of the craft: upstage, down stage, how to apply makeup, how to move in period costume–believe me, you need a certain skill to move naturally in a heavily boned corset while wearing 50 pounds of brocaded fabric that makes up a hooped gown. As an actor matures, s/he learns how to build the backstory of the character they’re portraying creating a believable character. Time spent memorizing dialogue, time spent working with a director, a diction coach, maybe also a choreographer, and with other members of the ensemble to produce a finished product that will capture the attention of the audience. And there are many many incredibly talented actors out there learning their craft, building on their previous work. Success as an actor becomes equal parts hard work, industry savvy, the right connections, and just plain good luck.

It takes a lot of hard work to create a money-making blog. It’s more than writing some stuff, throwing in a few photos and commenting on other blogs. You must know your audience–what they want to read about and how to write it for them. You must know how to utilize SEO. And how to continue building your audience. You need people skills for when you build relationships with the brands who will eventually pay you to communicate their message to your audience. You need to understand those brands so that you can tell them how you’re going to help them sell more widgets–because that’s basically what it’s all about when a brand is paying you to blog.

And even though you’ve been told your blog is the best thing ever, there are many, many bloggers out there, writing in the same genre as you, wearing the same rose-colored glasses, and hearing the exact same message. Blogging is equal parts very hard work, industry savvy, the right connections, and just plain luck. Don’t expect it to happen instantly. Don’t fool yourself by thinking you’re so good you can skimp on the behind-the-scenes work that is the backbone of a successful blog. Don’t minimize the value of good luck and being in the right place at the right time.

And don’t quit your day job.