This is a continuation of my coverage of the sessions I attended at FABlogCon 2013. If you missed the first part, for "The Company You Keep", you can find it here. I wanted to add that the sessions under the "Advocacy and Disease Management" track were recorded and, therefore, I will only be covering these two sessions from the "Blogging" track. I am awaiting further information on when/how the recorded sessions might be made available. Though I missed Mary Fran Wiley's "Nitty Gritty - Make it Pretty! Blog Tips and Tricks" session, she was kind enough to share her presentation slides. (Many thanks, Mary Fran!)
"Hone$t Pay ~ Monetizing Your Passion"
|Alisa Fleming - GoDairyFree.org|
Though many of the other sessions were panels, Alisa was a one-woman show! She was brimming with information. She started off with commentary about how many times we, as bloggers, might feel like we shouldn't take money for what we do, fearing that it would somehow compromise our integrity. She posited, "Just because you enjoy your job, doesn't mean you should get paid" for doing it. Many of us have no qualms with accepting our paychecks from paying "regular" jobs, yet somehow feel guilty about making money doing something about which we are passionate. She said many of us, as mothers, are "built for guilt". We put a great deal of time into what we do, as bloggers and advocates and shouldn't feel so guilty about finding ways to bring in some revenue in exchange for the services we provide and for the time spent on our various endeavors. She also explained we're working on building trust with those with whom we collaborate. Making money and maintaining credibility are not mutually exclusive, as long as you stay true to yourself. She tailors her services to the needs of the company with whom she is collaborating, creating mutually beneficial arrangements.
Alisa also started with a point about appearing professional. She related the story of an early business venture with her husband in which she would answer the phone, place potential clients on hold, then pass the phone to her husband, to give the impression that they were a larger firm. Their clients were very impressed with the quality of their work, especially once they realized it was a team of 2 instead of 20!
Moving on to the monetization methods, she delved right into the different ways that you can make money doing what you love, from advertising to creating books.
Alisa is the author of the self-published, best-selling book, "Go Dairy Free - The Guide and Cookbook for Milk Allergies, Lactose Intolerance, and Casein-Free Living".* She suggested that everyone with a print book provide an eBook counterpart. She noted that creating profiles on sites like CreateSpace is worth the time if you are timid about handling self-publishing on your own. There are also sites that will convert your book to eBook format, if you are unable/unwilling to do so yourself.
Another form of revenue generation is working with brands (which was covered in the previous session). She is a brand ambassador for Attune Foods, for example. Alisa counseled attendees not to ignore Public Relations professionals, even if their product isn't right for you. They may represent other brands and one of those might be a better fit for you.
Alisa also generates income through recipe creation. Payment for this kind of work varies widely and often depends on the experience of the recipe creator. She suggests thinking in terms of an hourly rate. How many hours does it take to develop the recipe? Per-recipe rates vary widely, depending on the level of expertise of the recipe developer, the company's budget, etc. She suggests having an outside party test your recipes.
Alisa also writes for publications like Allergic Living, for whom she is now a Senior Editor. She has also provided training on various topics, and mentioned webinars as another option. She also mentioned the use of the Amazon Affiliates program. Affiliate links provide you with a small commission on products purchased, using your links. (I have a Recommendations page, that uses Amazon Affiliate links, with the proceeds going to FARE.)
When considering taking an offer to attend an event, do not consider the travel accommodations as the full extent of your compensation. There must be something value-added in it for you, because "your time is money" and covering travel expenses just gets you to the event.
Alisa also discussed how company budgets are set months, if not a full year in advance, which should be kept in mind. She reiterated that your time spent is worth money, right now, and you need financial backing, if you wish to continue to share and help others, in the long term.
An audience member asked what was in a Media Kit, which was mentioned in the previous session. Alisa explained that it was typically a 1-2 page information sheet with information about website traffic, Facebook and Twitter followers, target audience, demographics, etc. It sometimes includes service offerings with and without prices. She keeps hers simple and to the point and only provides it when asked.
Another question was asked about advertising and she said that you can customize advertisements to your website, but to keep the most standard sizes in mind: 300x250, 720x90 and 160x600. She mentioned a service called Google Doubleclick, which she described as very useful, but the learning curve is a bit steep.
She closed with a reminder that there is enough room for everybody and camaraderie is key, which tied in with the earlier session's discussion about finding your voice. It was quite an informational, enlightening and thought-provoking morning!
My overall takeaway message from Alisa's session was that there is no reason to feel guilt over making money at something you feel passionate about, as long as you stay true to yourself and do not promote anything that you do not truly believe in, or believe will be helpful to your readers. Our goal is to help people and generating revenue helps us continue in that pursuit.
*Amazon Affiliate Link - Proceeds sent to FARE.