Mark Russell, CEO of Optimus Performance Marketing- http://uk.optimus-pm.com/
The commercial potential of blogging is, in my opinion, in its infancy. The barriers of entry to the bloggersphere are very low, resulting in so many bloggers entering the arena.
Of course, celebrity and other high profile bloggers have an advantage when it comes to realising the commercial potential of a blog, as they will already enjoy a valuable audience through fan sites. They are also more able to leverage their blog profile, by promoting it to their Twitter/Facebook/Instagram followers.
The amount of competition surrounding bloggers and their content illustrates the great need for very strong framework of external links to your blog, to make sure it is visible through social media and SEO rankings. Increasing visibility to a blogger’s domain will begin to attract commercial interest as well as potentially making it easier for a blogger to monetise their blogging efforts.
Blogging is becoming more commercially organised, as specialist companies are increasingly investing in ways to commercialise these individuals. Contextual link syndication, such a Skimlinks and Viglink, are creating a platform where a member’s blog content is spidered and links are placed behind relevant words and phrases to generate revenue from sales and clicks, which is then shared with the blogger.
Networks are designed to pull together quality bloggers that are relevant to specific brands, whom can then be paid to generate relevant exposure. These are most prominently used at present for sectors such as fashion and beauty.
While most affiliate sales are generated by websites that are closer to the point of purchase, like cashback and vouchercodes, bloggers profitability lies in the ability to generate engagement with a brand as a precursor to purchase, and therefore won’t always get rewarded by sales. Understanding how to reward this engagement is still evolving in its early stages, so the full revenue potential of blogging is yet to be either conceptualised or fully realised.
The more successful blogs have emerged, in some cases, to become media companies in their own right, such as the Huffington Post. There are also examples of blogs getting acquired by more traditional media owners, such as the acquisition of Aigua Media by Powa, which has resulted in the extinction of well-known blog properties.
Quality is undoubtedly the key to a blog’s success and value, with the notion supported by Google’s history of penalising guest blogging and widely syndicated content. Companies attempting to take advantage of the benefits of blogging without being prepared to put in the effort required need to be careful of this.
A successful blog requires the input of sustained effort over time. It is essentially a reflection of the blogger’s style, personality and opinion and can be incredibly powerful for a brand when recommendations are made.
Bloggers should first and foremost start their site for their own personal enjoyment and the kudos of recognition. If this happens to lead to a career in paid journalism, marketing or being sent free gifts as a result, then that should be viewed an added bonus, rather than an overall aim.
In conclusion, it is very difficult to quantify one single model to value how much money a blogger can make as there are so many types of bloggers, varying degrees of profile and success and an array of different motivations. It may be that reward comes in the form of free product or invitations to industry events for someone with a mid-ranking blog. Celebrity bloggers, however, are able to command fees for talking about products and lesser-known bloggers can tap into networks that allow them to earn a small amount of commission on a sale. Essentially, the best way in which a blogger can create a blog with commercial potential is by entering into it with energy, effort and genuine enthusiasm over their subject matter, to build a real audience which will merit its own value. Over the coming years, these authentic blogs will merit a type of commercial value which we are only just beginning to comprehend today.