Blogging as a Business

Northern VoiceThis is the abstract for a speech I submitted to the Northern Voice blogging conference. It summarizes a 30 minute lecture into 500 words.

Update: My speech got approved and I delivered it during Northern Voice 2013, making it my first paid speaking gig. 

Every blogger defines success differently. Some want to spread their ideas, and others are building communities. A tiny minority of bloggers write primarily with income in mind – blogging as business.

I like to sell the idea of blogging as a business to people with my “one dollar per week” thought experiment. A well written article on a well selected topic can easily earn one dollar a week. Like a tireless little digital employee, it’ll earn that dollar a week for you year after year – for as long as the internet sticks around! If one article earns one dollar, 100 will earn 100 dollars. Once you’ve accumulated 1000 articles, you’re earning slightly more sitting on your couch than the average Canadian earns working 8 hour days.

Separating the hobbyist blogger from the business blogger stand the same things separating, for example, a professional chef from a home cook who prepares food for just their family. This article will discuss what I’ve learned to be the 3 three most important factors separating hobby bloggers from profit bloggers – market research, consistency, and monetization.

Market Research

The most important work you’ll ever do on your blog is done before you write your first post. Like in choosing a business niche in the offline world, we want to pick a market with plenty of demand, a product that we can sell or promote profitably, and without too much competition. Fortunately, we can research these three factors for our blogging business completely free in just moments.

Consistent Content

A blogger’s business is content creation, and the blogger with an income in mind must make their blog a priority by showing up regularly to create their product. How long would a bakery last, if someone didn’t show up each day at 3 AM to bake bread and greet customers? You might agree that our proverbial bakery store is doomed. Bloggers have it a bit easier, because the internet is “always open,” but the professional blogger must still show up at regular intervals to “take care of business.”

Making it Pay

Finally, a blog must have a way to turn clicks and pageviews into dollars and dimes. With herds of new people flocking online every day, bloggers have never had so many monetization opportunities. Advertising is still a big slice of total blog income, just as with traditional media like television and print. But unlike these “old media,” the advertising pie available to online publishers is GROWING at breakneck speed.

The blogging profession is still in its infancy. “Professional bloggers” are the butt of jokes and are often not taken seriously. As a result many bloggers may not take themselves seriously either. But blogging CAN be a serious business. You CAN make a living from it if you commit to it and adopt the right techniques. There’s never a better time to start building up your 1000 articles!