I received an email today which captures the feelings of many enthusiastic new bloggers.
I move from super-evangelical about the various benefits/values of blog to almost semi-depression that will never be able to make a living with the stuff.
I was moved to offer the following encouragement:
I would not be too hasty about never making a living with your blog. As a citizen publisher, you are building a following and generating a buzz about your talent, your personality, and your abilities that you choose to showcase.
I think the publishing model of yore is slowly crumbling. What comes next is not too clear, but it takes lots of promotion to sell a book, or a product or a service. In the past, you would have had to hire a flack or hope that your publisher would place ads for you. Now you can talk about your creation until you are tired of it or until you drive away your visitors. Hopefully, you will be creative enough that you will be able to reach out and generate interest in what you do.
Nothing happens overnight. There is no magic about communicating to potential customers. You do it well and give them something that interests them and promise more to come.
Try it and keep at it until you see results. If the results aren’t what you want, make the necessary changes and continue.
I am sure that most of my visitors have thought about making money through or from their blog. I think that it is doable, but it is a matter of focusing on objectives and working towards achieving them, which can take some time. The only magic involved is finding a business proposition that works for you.
You might as well say, how do I make a living with my website, or printing press, or digital camera. I think the answer is the same in all situations. You find a need and you satisfy that need in a way that provides you with an income that is greater than your expenses.
Think of yourself as a citizen publisher. How does a publisher make money? Any publisher has to sell product. You either create the product or you sell someone else’s product directly or through advertising.
With a blog, and some expertise, you can be a published expert on a particular market niche that is not being served well. You can sell products, plans, books about the product or area and keep up a running commentary on developments in the field.
It all depends on your ability to write convincingly and create favorable impressions about your expertise and reliability as a provider of these products or services. Whether your niche is catapults, leather masks, marketing strategies for micro-businesses, or pet massage, you can promote it more cost effectively through a blog than you can any other way.
You could promote a bed & breakfast or an entire region of bed and breakfasts with your blog. Craft fairs, vacation spots, anything of interest where there is not much up-to-date information all of these and more make great blogfodder and interesting reading.
I think in time there will be many established ways of making a living with this marvelous tool we are still discovering. In the meantime, I find it to be a great learning tool.