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
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At gym this morning I was thinking about some of the comments I got on a previous posts I'd written. I replied to the comments, but I didn't really show them justice in terms of what they meant to me and how they informed my opinion. I think a better blogger would have done a follow-up post, referencing the comments and perhaps adapting his point of view accordingly.

See, I've treated my blog a bit like a magazine - the posts are loosely related to a central theme, but each can pretty much stand on it's own without the context of the rest. I'm not the only blogger who does this, take a look around. This is a waste of the true potential of a blog.

The best blog, in my mind at least, is the blog that I get addicted to, that I need to go back to on a regular basis like a soap opera. They make me feel like I'm engaged in a conversation with the blogger, and that my comments can inform his point of view. I feel like a co-creator of such a blog.
AuthorDave Duarte
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This is my realisation as I've been waiting for my schedule to magically clear up enough for me to write a blog post:

I'm not going to have time for it unless I make time for it.

So what's my 3 main motivators for blogging:

  1. Each new post can introduce me to a new person or people through emails and comments

  2. Each new post can add momentum to ideas that I support

  3. Each new post reminds the people who already subscribe to this blog by RSS that I still exist:)

Anyway, this is my long-winded way of announcing that I'm back in the game and will be blogging more regularly going forward.
AuthorDave Duarte
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Art with a HeartAnother cool initiative by Platypus Productions:
Art with Heart provides those ‘frustrated’ artists working in the advertising, marketing and production industries with the opportunity to create personal artwork in various media and have these exhibited at an annual exhibition where clients and colleagues can discover their other creative sides. All the works will be for sale and the proceeds will be donated to charity.

You can submit Photography, Sculpture, Painting, Knitting, or whatever. And some of the top people in the industry have already signed up to submit. I expect Kirby and Max will be making excellent submissions too:)

Jill and Stanley from Platypus have asked me to put out a request for someone to create and manage a blog for this project. I think it's gonna be quite a good networking opportunity, possibly for a student looking to get involved in Marketing or Advertising. It will run until November. Please mail me if you're interested.
AuthorDave Duarte
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Patricia De Lille blogPatricia De Lille has denounced the freedom of bloggers, asking government to crack down on bloggers. This follows a bout blog of criticism targeted at ID colleague, Simon Grindrod.

IOL reports that she's even applying to use tax-payer's money for a National Intelligence Service investigation to track the blogger down.

Fortunately, we live in a free and democratic country where this will not get very far. Perhaps, as Angus points out, MP De Lille will find a more sympathic government in communist China or North Korea?

The point of citizen journalism, as opposed to regulated mainstream media is free and natural expression of ideas by ordinary people (i.e. voting constituents). If these issues with Grindrod are being raised online, people are probably talking about them in natural conversation too. She could gain alot more benefit by paying attention to what is being said, and possibly responding in a public forum to the issues that have been raised. This is the meaning of "join the conversation".

This is why your fellow parliamentarians Helen Zille and Ebrahim Rasool from the DA and ANC respectively have social-media profiles... And I congratulate them for that.
There's been a real uproar in the blogosphere recently after David Bullard, a very popular journalist, slated bloggers in his weekly Sunday Times column.

In classic Bullard style, it's over-the-top, opinionated, and tongue-in-cheek arrogant. The man is a master of fuelling debate and controversy.... typically selecting prominent public targets who will make lots of noise. Hence bloggers were ripe and ready to be picked.... And boy were they juicy! (This incident has been dubbed BullardGate)

I've often echoed P.T. Barnums assertion that "No Attention is bad attention" (if you channel it well). Colin Daniels, Sunday Times' New Media strategist, would probably agree... Bullardgate has attracted a massive influx of traffic and inbound-hyperlinks to

Kudos to the Sunday Times multimedia team for making the most of this (they grabbed the bullard by the horns) and immediately recording a follow video-cast series and dedicated page on their site.

Best of all, this gives me a good reason to point out that Mike and I were quoted in the same newspaper on the same day in another article about blogging: Business Times: Business Missing Out on Blogging.
AuthorDave Duarte
8 CommentsPost a comment