This is becoming an increasingly common question in meetings and marketing strat sessions that I attend, even among the traditionalists: "How can we engage the top bloggers in South Africa?".

So this post is for the SA Bloggers who would like to make some decent money from their blogs on the side. I know that this is not everyone, as there are some people who would prefer not to get involved with corporations or marketing. And yes, I'm aware that dollar-blogging has its critics.

They're not all bad guys

The corporate marketers that I've chatted to have done their research. They are clued up about the advantages, risks and best-practices around the blogosphere. They're not here to dictate the message, in fact they're looking for people who can maintain their credibility with their audience over time. i.e. people with opinions.

The Aggregators

Another thing that I've noticed at most of these meetings is printouts from Amatomu and Afrigator of the top bloggers in the various categories. One wise marketer even had a printout of the most active users on Muti!

So these things count, your rankings count.

Media Buyers

So how can you engage?

  • Well, obviously the first step is to get more serious about your blogging. Do it regularly and often. Choose good headlines and participate actively in the community.

  • Choose your subject carefully and stick to it. Media buyers are looking for relevance and a specific audience.

  • Use Google Analytics to track your stats. This is useful because it's a standard analytics package that media-buyers can use as a reference. You can also give them login access to view the information live and unedited, which increases trust.

  • Be professional. Brand managers typically don't want to be associated with crudeness, no matter what kind of traffic you're getting.

  • Have a rate card. Know what your real-estate is worth.

  • Don't use mainstream online media as a pricing reference, you can charge a higher CPM as a blogger because of the relationship value and feedback mechanisms offered by blogs.

Besides Advertising

There are other ways to make money from your blog:

  • Research: If you can help with surveys, or get comments and feedback from your users about a particular question, then this would perhaps be an even better investment by marketers. Good qualitative research doesn't come cheap.

  • Campaign Strategies: As experienced as these marketers are, the world of Social-Media and the blogosphere is completely new to them. There's much demand for people who can make this space simpler to navigate.

  • Reviews: You might not get paid to do reviews, but certainly a major perk of being a prominent blogger is all the gadgets and products you can get sent to try out - from cars to cellphones - review bloggers have it good. Sometimes they even let you keep it:)

  • Blogger2go: Writing for the blogosphere is almost an art. There's alot of other bloggers out there, so to get noticed is no small feat. Put on your taxonomy/folsonomy; SEO; Linking; SMM; ORM; CSS; HTML; Photography; Videography; Podcasting and Networking hats all at the same time, and get paid to blog for businesses.

  • The Indirect Approach: Even though I don't sell advertising on this blog, it is still a tremendous asset and income generator for me. I monetize my work here through the business leads it generates through people picking it up on Google, or readers in companies contacting me about work. If I have capacity I do the work myself, or if not I can usually refer these leads on to someone else for commission.

An Inconvenient Truth

Unfortunately, the sponsorship train doesn't stop for everyone. The reason that most companies want to get involved in the blogosphere is because of the viral aspects of it. i.e. They'd prefer to pay a few people, who would then inspire their blogger mates to write more about the company/product/service for free.

Will the Real ProBloggers Please Stand Up?

I know that there are people in SA making a healthy income on the side from their blogs, mainly off affilliate revenue, and a few advertisers. Are you also? Do you want to? What other advice would you give. Also, do you think this is bad for the blogosphere, or supportive?
AuthorDave Duarte