Sunday, March 08, 2015

Why Blog? Reason #10: To make a buck or get free stuff.

In yesterday's post I introduced a new series I'm calling "Why blog?" In each day's post in this series, I will look at one or more of the top 10 reasons people (including me) blog ... and what I have learned as a professional blogger and a corporate liaison to bloggers.

In answer to the question "Why blog?" today's post examines, David Letterman countdown-style ...

Reason #10: To make a buck or get free stuff.

As someone who is fairly new to the field of blogging, I am astounded and amazed how many bloggers out there only blog because it's a way to get free stuff, or to make some money. There are thousands of (primarily women, it seems to me) bloggers who do product or service reviews of various sorts. Many of these go under the rubric of "lifestyle bloggers." In some cases they accept products or services in order to review them, and so their blog accumulates lots of free stuff for them. In others, they actually get paid to blog. Of course this usually only works if you establish a demonstrably large leadership, and for those who do, banner or keyword or sponsor advertising on the blog itself may also serve as a source of income.

One of the best known in this category is actress Gwyneth Paltrow's blog, "Goop." (In 2012, Goop made more than $1.8 million, although the company's expenses reportedly put it in the red.)

When I was in college I started a press association of Christian college newspaper editors, called the ESPA (Evangelical Student Press Association, not to be confused with ESPN!). My reasons in starting it were altruistic ... I wanted to create a fellowship of and help other Christian college newspaper editors. (At the time I was the editor-in-chief of The Chimes, which was the weekly student newspaper at Biola University in La Mirada, California, and later was elected to a seat on student government as publications director.)

But I soon discovered there were other cool perks in having one's own press association. For one thing, I could make and wear (and grant) press passes, which would get me and my friends into concerts and other events. For free! Of course I had to promise to review those events, but that was no problem. I also started getting copies of new books, which the publishers wanted me to review (and to provide my reviews to other newspapers in our association). This was of course a legitimate service which I could provide, so I had a clear conscience in accepting these perks. But these side benefits weren't in my mind when I started the association.

So, I understand where these bloggers are coming from. If I get enough traffic on this blog, I may even some day get a Google AdWords account and start making a little cash on the side. With more than 30,000 readers of my blogs, and having written more than 200 blogs already, it certainly wouldn't hurt to take the muzzle off the ox. So to speak.

But, for me, this will never be my sole motivation for blogging. I've already done the stint as a full-time, professional, freelance writer ... remember that job where you feel like you're doing well if you're making the equivalent of minimum wage for your time? (And no benefits!)

In our next post on this series, we'll look at reasons #9, and #8 ... Why blog? Because it's there. Or else: to inform, or to demonstrate (or establish) expertise.

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