Tag Archives: money

2009 Trend # 1 – Bloggers Make Money, Via Mainstream Media

I have, for over a week now, been trying to complete my India Social Media Trends 2009 piece and not having succeeded in doing so, decided to write them one by one, rather than all at one go. They are NOT in specific order or priority based on impact so request that you read them so. Here’s the first one that I got prompted to write after reading this piece Difficult Days: low ad revenue, pagination by Ashish Bagga, CEO, Living Media India Ltd, in LiveMint’s 2009 Trend Predictions series.
Bloggers make money via mainstream media and micro-publishing.
Making money in print media is tricky business even in normal times. Advertising & Circulation contribute 65:35 average revenue respectively as cover prices are subsidized significantly in most cases. Advertising revenues have to keep pace with circulation growth, as you are losing money for each extra copy that you sell. A slowdown in advertising could make dynamics change quickly. The Mint article talks about the following as an outcome of this:

  1. Higher cover price, leading to lower circulation.
  2. Lower pagination – expect ad driven supplements to come less frequently; city supplements may get thinner; even regular pages may reduce.

The piece also predicts:

  1. Rightsizing of human resource will be another key trend. Both the number of employees as well as the cost of employment will be under review.

Effort would be to cut salaries and infrastructure cost. In this scenario, I would expect:

  1. More dependence on content generated by wire agencies.
  2. For some bloggers, this may clearly mean that over are the days of “loser generated content” – as my dear friend Narayan Madhavan of Hindustan Times refers to blogger/ user generated content, as s/he has hitherto not been paid; has mostly felt grateful to mainstream media if it has chosen to feature her content; in many cases the content has been plagiarized anyway – often, not just without permission, but also without due credit.
    In comes, paid – syndicated content, enhanced recognition & visibility for the blog writer/s. Experiments in this direction (the reasons may be different) have already begun with Kamla Bhatt’s excellent tie-up with LiveMint and ContentSutra drawing content from VCCircle.
    Expect more and more content from blogs to be sought by mainstream media as, even after payments to blog writers/ blogs the costs will typically be much cheaper than staffers. I have always said about blog credibility : credibility has nothing to do with the tool, but with the name behind the words/ voice. This one is a win-win for both parties involved and a trend likely to go North in 2009.

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Making Money via a Blog

Professional blogging and/ or how to make money through blogs are questions that I am asked often. However, most people tend to simply associate making money via blogs to advertising. From where I look at it though, significant or even reasonable amounts of money from writing a blog are for a privileged few who dedicate a considerable amount of time & energy to writing their blogs and cover strong niche/s.
Not all bloggers (or those who write blogs along) are equal…but money can come in many different ways. Also let’s not forget that for ‘many’ earning money may just be a byproduct, or not even a consideration – showcasing thought leadership, seeding & engaging a community, or plain expression might be the simple motives.
Here are a few that come to mind:

  1. Advertising – like I said earlier, this is for a privileged few who have the numbers & the authority to get ad revenues. Though in some categories numbers don’t really play a role – example: a top scientist blogging to reach only a select peer group – different matter altogether that s/he may not take ads but a top scientific research company may want to post a job hoping to reach this blog’s elite readership.
    The hugely popular Digital Inspiration by Amit Agarwal, professional blogger, a term that, to me signifies someone for whom writing the blog is his/ her primary career engagement. DI is a good example of a blog making good money through advertising, amongst others – writing assignments, content syndication, speaking assignments, workshops, insights & focus groups etc.
  2. Consulting – For people like Dina Mehta, Gautam Ghosh, me and others who either have consulting practices or do freelance consultancy and also write blogs for knowledge sharing and as a showcase for thought leadership, the blog becomes the primary outreach tool and consulting assignments and workshops would often happen because a prospect read the blog, liked what s/he read, and the writer/ team got a project.
  3. Research & Insights – Increasingly writers who are able to showcase authority and thought leadership in their domain are being sought out by organizations and companies for research and insights. I have been a part of a few such projects and while money is a small part of why one may do it – learnings drawn from views of other participants being the key reason for many – instances like this are clearly on the rise. The Insight Community is an example of site that facilitates such research.
  4. Media Contributions – Many blog writers are now being sought by mainstream media as columnists or being invited to contribute regularly. Amit Varma, is a prominent example amongst others; Meenakshi, of The Compulsive Confessor has published her first book.
  5. Micro Publishing – A little different from being a professional blogger, micro-publishing entrepreneurs like Medianama, VC Circle, WAT Blog are seeding publishing empires – maybe small now but will hopefully be big someday – with multiple revenue streams – advertising, commissioned research, events and more.

Just some ways to make money via a blog. Which others come to your mind? Don’t tell me about ‘Pay Per Post’ – that’s not a way that I endorse 🙂
Keep writing.

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