More on blogging for profit
by Shai Sachs, Fri Feb 08, 2008 at 12:55:19 PM EST
This is a bit of a quick hit, and perhaps a bit dated as well, but I think it's too fascinating to pass up. About a month ago Chris Anderson (author of The Long Tail) wrote a post exploring media revenue models, which is to say, revenue models for businesses which produce a lot of content, and hope to somehow make some money off the whole enterprise. The post touched off a bit of a mad dash by commenters and other bloggers to name as many revenue models as possible.
There are a few revenue models which come to mind immediately - subscriptions and advertisements, mainly. But there are also some fairly obscure models which are nonetheless potentially very lucrative. Those models include selling access to an API, having the audience create something of value and monetizing it, live events, customized content feeds, and consulting, which essentially amounts to using your blog as a big advertisement for your business.
Naturally, all of this has got me thinking of my posts from last summer about sustainable blogging, in particular with regards to cost per action advertising on the blogosphere and blog profitability. After all, a blog is a classic case of a media outlet which gives away a lot of content and needs a good monetization strategy. Follow me across the jump for more.
As the primaries wind down - and I hope they do, within a month or so - it occurs to me that we'll be seeing a massive outpouring of activist energy, as one campaign or another's supporters will, temporarily at least, gradually release themselves from the intensity of campaigning. If those activists remain committed to seeing a Democrat win this year, and I imagine they will, then the natural next step will be to do something activist-oriented but not campaign-oriented, and blogging fits that description to a T.
I think that it's possible to turn some of that activity into new, sustainable blogging, under a few key criteria. In particular:
- The new bloggers identify and pursue niches that are not particularly well-trod.
- The new bloggers pursue revenue models outside of (but not necessarily to the exclusion of) advertising, like consulting, API access, etc.
- The new bloggers post consistently, participate in discussions ongoing within their niche, and follow news sources particular to their niche - in other words, the new bloggers follow the generally-accepted rules for being a good blogger.
It occurs to me that none of this will happen spontaneously, or in any event, not much of this will happen spontaneously, and we might be on the cusp of losing a great opportunity to create a new wave of self-sustained progressive bloggers.
I think what we'll need to address this opportunity is a kind of meta-blogging service, or a blog consultancy operation, which trains new bloggers on the tricks of the trade, and helps them capitalize on some of the interesting, lucrative, but not entirely obvious forms of blogging revenue, such as those highlighted in Chris Anderson's post. Such a consultancy could become profitable by taking a cut of revenues from each of its clients.
It's an interesting idea, though perhaps a bit far-fetched. Although I doubt something like this will take shape, I do hope someone is thinking about what to do with the giant wave of activist energy that is certain to be released from one of the presidential campaigns within a couple of months. More than that, I'm curious whether there are other progressive bloggers who have given much thought to their media model and have some wise words to share. What does a path to sustainability look like for a good progressive blogger?