Live Blog: Turning your Blog into a Business: Key to Monetizing Your Work

Let’s get down to business!  I would say a majority of us blog to share our stories, hold ourselves accountable, inspire others and ourselves to be healthy.  But wouldn’t it be nice if we could make a buck or two while doing it!  These lovely ladies are going to share with us how to do just that.

This session was presented by Laura Yamin, Sara Beeskow & Phyllis Strand.  Renee Benda from Bendifulblog.com was unable to make it.

Laura Yamin has her own business, Joyful Shimmy.  She also does consulting for creative business strategies. www.laurayamin.com

Sara Beeskow Blay is Director of Client Services at ShareASale.com.  She helps customers by providing strategic guidance and educational resources to merchants and affiliates that can be used to grow their accounts.  www.shareasale.com

Phyllis Strand is a new blogger at www.phyllis4fitness.com.  She has made a name for herself by simply telling her story of how she got healthy.  Her mission is to let everyone over 40 know that it’s never too late to start an exercise program.

They started with some simple instructions…DON’T QUIT YOUR DAY JOB!
Her are some other things they know for sure:
-When it comes to monetizing your work there is no such thing as a one size fits all model.  What works for one blog might not work for another.
-Monetizing requires work from your part! Unfortunately, there are no quick get rich schemes
-Make to sure to review and follow the FTC Guidelines for working with brands.  http://michaelhyatt.com/five-ways-to-comply-with-the-new-ftc-guidelines-for-bloggers.html

Let’s chat about a few ways to monetize…

Ad Networks
There are companies out there that will pay you to post ads on your site.  And there are several different ways to help you with this opportunity.  Here are a few of those companies: BlogHer, Blogads, Google Adsense, Bliss.com, Izea and Federated Media.  Normally you install a snip it code onto your blog and the ads magically appear on your site.  You don’t usually get to pick the exact ad, but categories, yes.   Most pay per click.

Direct Ad Sales
You too can sell your own ads!  Here are some tips from the experts:
-Look for Ad Management Tools such as Passionfruit and Blog Ads
-Make sure to create a Media Kit and be ready to share your Social Media and website stats.
-Set clear expectations what each brand will benefit from putting ads on your site
-The average paid ad space ranges from $60-$200 a month, however you may be able to leverage for more by having a niche blog or any unique selling propositions.

One questions from the room covered this topic as well.  If you are one that gets approached to review product, consider selling them ad space or do a sponsored post for them.  Don’t give away the milk for free!  If you have readers and your posting about their products and services, then they have been getting free advertising.

Affiliate Marketing
Amazon and ShareASale are two examples of affiliate marketing companies.  They do it all for you!  You publish the creative or promote the service and in return you will receive a reward.
-Conversions are tracked through a unique affiliate tracking link.
-Average payout can vary depending on the merchant you partner with

Make sure you do what is good for your readers.  Some companies will pay huge payouts, but if the product is not right for your market than move on to find something that is right.

ShareASale has some pretty cool interfaces.  You can choose what companies you want to advertise for and how you want to post it.  They have banners, social media links, video’s, product pics and even custom ad sizes. They make it really, really easy and are running a special right now with the conference.  Earn Double Commission thru 12/31/13, just email Sarah@ShareASale.com.

Communities Tools Finding the Sponsored Posts Opportunities
You can be an ambassador for the following communities:  Sweat Pink, Girls Gone Sporty, Team Tough Chik, FitFluential are just a few places to start.  Share your story and be a part of their community.  It gives you additional support and people get to know you and your blog.

Local Business Partnerships
Look to your local businesses to partner with and post about their services.  You could do in-kind trades for gym memberships, fitness classes, spa services, store product…skies the limit!

Leveraging your Healthy Living Blog into your Corporate Wellness Program
Phyllis became the ambassador of Healthy Grey, her corporate health and wellness program.  She inspires through her blog and leads them in different activities such as Spa Day, 5K and monthly free yoga classes.  Stay active while at work, bonus!

So with all of this how does your blog transition from just a blog to a green machine?
Start thinking about revenue generating opportunities.  Build your email list, not just RSS subscribers.  Get more personal with your readers.  Market to what they like.  Think about goals with soul!  If you have been writing recipes on your blog or posting daily fitness tips, write an ebook.  Put it out there in one place, that created value for your readers.  If you have been inspired by a book, sell it from your site linked from an affiliate.  Try to keep it simple,  remember your original purpose and watch the money flow!

This session review was captured and written by Christie Blake from The Skinny on the Sleeve