We’re familiar with advertising in magazines and newspapers. Print publications make money by selling full-page or half-page ads.
Many people assume that websites share the same business model. People imagine that they can make money from their blog through traditional blocks of advertising.
In reality, display advertising is only the tip of the iceberg. A blog can help you tap into a massive variety of creative money-making opportunities.
Some people use their blogs to find consulting, freelance and teaching opportunities. Others use their blog to sell a service or product. Some people parlay their blogs into book deals with traditional publishers, while others use their blog to sell their e-books.
Want to see an example? Just look at Shannyn Allen, a runner, gardener and self-proclaimed “nerd” living in Chicago.
Shannyn loves fashion and makeup. But she couldn’t relate to the blogs that featured high-end designer clothes as though the price-tag was incidental.
Shannyn didn’t have the money to support frequent high-end purchases. And she suspected that she wasn’t alone. So in 2011, Shannyn launched a blog, Frugal Beautiful, to connect with other women who have 5th Avenue tastes but a TJ Maxx budget.
She didn’t know it at the time, but her blog would grow into a career-boosting and money-making venture.
It started with free products.
As her readership grew, companies began asking Shannyn if she would review their products. Everything from eyeshadow to nail polish began piling up on her doorstep.
In return, Shannyn would write a review of the product. To maintain her readers’ trust, though, not every review was a raving two-thumbs up. She’d photograph herself using the product, describe her experience, and end the post with a prominent disclaimer that says: “I received this product for the purpose of review, opinions are entirely my own.”
Free product samples are great, especially for a beginner blogger. But Shannyn couldn’t pay her mortgage with bottles of moisturizing cream.
Fortunately, as her readership grew, her opportunities accelerated.
As Shannyn became more influential among frugal fashionistas, companies began paying her to throw product-based parties and events. In October 2013, for example, the Vidal Sassoon Pro Series at Target contracted Shannyn to host a party for about a dozen other female bloggers.
Shannyn held the party during a blogging conference in St. Louis. She bought cider, cookies and wine, handed out free product samples and gift cards, and encouraged the bloggers to share their experiences and photos online. Shannyn also wrote a blog post about the party, thanking her sponsor.
She’s worked with brands ranging from the Oxygen Network to Planter’s Peanuts, from Walgreens to Godiva, from PUMA to runDisney.
She also began offering services that help bloggers who are pressed for time and trying to outsource, such as freelance writing and social media marketing. Her influence has grown so much, in fact, that she’s now a full-time social media manager and blog owner.
She never imagined that her blog would lead to so many sponsorships and work-from-home opportunities. She simply wanted to start a website that connected with other fashion-loving, budget-constricted women. But the opportunities that grew from her blog have changed her life.
Shannyn is just one of thousands of bloggers who have parlayed their influence and readership into a host of career and money-making opportunities.
She’s not an outlier.
Blogging brings more opportunity and connections into your life than you might imagine. Once you become an influencer within a particular niche – like Shannyn – you’ll get more opportunities than you can handle. You’ll reject some, because you have better choices on the table. You’ll embrace others.
Anyone who dedicates themselves to developing and growing a blog should be able to find success. Shannyn did. I did. And you can do it, too.
[Editor’s Note: Learn more about opportunities to profit from your travels (and even from your own home) in our free online newsletter The Right Way to Travel. Sign up today here and we’ll send you a report, Get Paid to Travel as a Travel Writer, completely FREE.]