Last nite we had another fabulous #blogchat discussion on how bloggers should attempt to monetize their blogs, and which options would work best for the blogger, and their readers. If you want to catch up, here's where you can read the transcript from last nite's chat.
And the big issue/problem is that the overwhelming majority of blogs are written by an individual, and likely have very low readership numbers. So that means that any monetization effort that hinges on traffic/pageviews probably isn't going to work for these bloggers.
So does that mean that most individual bloggers are left out in the cold when it comes to making money off their blogs? I don't think so, and neither did many of the participants in last nite's #blogchat. Because while many individual bloggers might have low readership numbers, they often seem to have more INFLUENCE over that smaller readership. I know from my own experience both as a blogger and reader that many smaller blogs have more interaction and community on their blogs than blogs with 100X the traffic.
And this is where I think sponsorships could be a better alternative for many of these bloggers, and companies as well. For example, what makes more sense for Jones Soda, to buy ads on a blog devoted to sodas that gets 15,000 visitors a day, or to sponsor Katie's blog for a month, who only gets 150 visitors a day (mostly her friends and family), but who constantly blogs about her love of her favorite soft drink; Jones Soda. The ads on the first blog would probably more expensive, and for Katie's blog, since she loves Jones Soda, it's completely possible that she would be ok with being paid in soda, instead of cash. Or a combination of the two.
By going with Katie, Jones Soda gets a sponsorship on a blog that's already evangelizing their product, versus one that covers the larger industry. And they likely get that sponsorship for less. And for Katie's readers, the sponsorship would like be less intrusive than an ad from a company that Katie doesn't love like she loves Jones Soda.
Sounds like a win-win for both the blogger and the company. So why aren't these sponsorships happening more often? We talked about this as well during #blogchat, and the consensus seems that there's a real opportunity for a company/agency to serve as a facilitator of such sponsorships, especially ones where companies are connected to their blogging evangelists.
But until that go-between presents itself, perhaps both bloggers and companies should be more proactive in seeking out blog sponsorships. As a blogger, if you're interested in having sponsorships on your blog, why not create a page that states this? I have never accepted ads on this blog (I've had affiliate links a couple of times), and have never really wanted to. But I would be interested in a sponsorship if it was with a company I was passionate about. I think many bloggers would as well.
And for companies, it would be a great way to reach out to and embrace your blogging evangelists. But you could also use blog sponsorships as a way to promote your OWN blog. Let's be honest, many company blogs have little to no readership simply because the company's bloggers often don't/can't invest the time and effort necessary to drive interest back to the blog and grow its readership.
But blog sponsorships could be a great way to get a company blog off the ground. Let's say a company that sells a unique environmentally-friendly clothing line launches a company blog. Buying sponsorships on select blogs devoted to the environment and targeting environmental activists could be a great way for this company to reach the exact readership it's looking for its blog (and clothing line) to resonate with. This could be a much better use of the company's time, at least at first.
What do you think? Are blog sponsorships holding great potential that hasn't yet been tapped? Or are there better alternatives for bloggers that want to monetize their content?
BTW if you want to get in on the next #blogchat, it happens every Sunday nite at 8pm CT on Twitter. And if you're new to #blogchat, next week is the perfect time to join in, as next week will be co-hosted by a social media smartie a *few* of you have probably heard of, the amazing Beth Harte! Beth and I will be discussing how social media consultants should use social media themselves. If you want to join us, stop by at 8pm CT next Sunday!