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Did you launch your food blog as a labor of love or as a way to make money? Whatever motivated you to start blogging, you’re doing yourself a disservice if you imagine that you can’t make money as a blogger.
I say this because iBlog magazine’s 2015 Women’s Blogging Industry & Business Annual Report left me with the impression that many women are still choosing to work for free when they could be profiting from their labors. Only 25% of bloggers in the report were motivated to pursue a full-time income as a blogger, and it’s no wonder motivation is lagging when the total annual income of over 68% of all full-time bloggers was less than $5,000 in 2014.
However, like KidsActivitiesBlog.com founder Holly Horner, I’m worried that bloggers aren’t seeing the potential available to them. It’s true that many food bloggers aren’t rolling in the dough, but is the culprit lack of opportunity or lack of commitment?
Opportunity doesn’t always make house calls, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist. Blog networks like Healthy Aperture, Honest Cooking, and Massive Sway make it easy for food and lifestyle bloggers to please their readers while still making a buck with sponsored posts, but it most cases, you’ve still got to do the very hard work of building your followers to make sponsorship worthwhile for the brands you want to work with.
In addition to blog networks, savvy bloggers can reach out to major brands directly or take a local approach and build partnerships with small businesses in your hometown. After all, if you’ve got a following – even a small locally-based following – the cost of a sponsored post is a small sum compared with most other business marketing expenses.
According to the iBlog report, only 22% of bloggers work 30-35 hours or more weekly on their site. If you don’t believe your food blog can be profitable, you’re not going to commit the time required to grow it. If you’re not putting in the time to grow it, it’s unlikely you’ll profit.
It’s a vicious cycle, and the only way to overcome it is to decide that you can profit from your work, and then put in the time necessary to make the profit. Where’s the best place to spend that time?
Self-promotion isn’t a lot of fun. It feels weird for most of us, and that bears out in the iBlog statistics. When it comes to self-promotion and marketing, only 15% of bloggers spent more than three hours per week prospecting and contacting networks, brands, and agencies offering paying jobs.
When asked to list the top three ways they discovered opportunities to work with brands, bloggers ranked blog networks as their primary source of discovery with blogs reaching out to them in second place. In other words, they’re waiting for opportunity to discover them.
Considering the fact that most bloggers make more money through direct relationships with brands, it’s clear that waiting for opportunity to knock isn’t the fastest route to a successful career as a blogger. However, with so few food bloggers actively marketing themselves, that leaves the field wide open for you!
Over the course of the next few weeks, we’re going to share some thoughts, ideas, and tips on how to market yourself and make your own opportunities because we believe that you can do what you love and make money while you’re at it.