I was asked this question today and this made me think. There’s a simple answer to this, but if you’re going to offer a good advice from a perspective of a journalist, then that’s a different issue.
Okay, for a start, blogs are here to stay. It’s a publishing tool that anyone with enough technical know-how and time can use. But as one of my editors would often tell me, “it’s a beast that you need to feed.” And if you’re planning to earn from it, then you have to be clear with the purpose it serves.
But as I write this, I recall answering: ‘You need to start thinking about content, first. Then, you can start building your audience, until you get some recognition, a name that will eventually attract income.”
In the end, no amount of SEO and link love would amount to good content, sustained. If you love your craft, you will keep writing and delivering stories that will hopefully attract an audience. I say “hopefully” because it is easy to say it, but doing it is another matter.
So where do you start?
Start with your family and friends. “Force” them to read your blog. And if they’re really your friends, then perhaps word will spread! (But make sure they find your blog using social media).
Choose a topic that you think you can write about with much gusto. In short, if you’re passionate about music, focus on that. Write from your experience. You can “copy” the style of your favorite blogger–what I mean here is that you mimic their voice and not copy their work–that’s infringement.
Do an overnight test and get a good reader to challenge your work. In the publishing world, this means getting a good editor to go through your copy. It helps! But once you’re confident with your work, edit your work.
Read, digest, then write. There’s no such thing as a writer’s block. But there’s such a thing as being overwhelmed or being disorganized. Some writer friends use mental outlines (you can draw them if you want) to organize their thoughts. You get stalled when you cannot pin down the main theme of your blog. Also, read a lot. It helps!!!
Write as you talk. In my writing classes back in the days, I struggled with writing. But once I started writing the way I would talk to my friends or even parents, then I figured–that’s the voice am going to use when I write. It has to be conversational these days if you want to hook you’re readers. Read magazines. Read non-fiction. Read fiction.
I’ve been a big fan of William Zinnser, author of the classic on Writing Well. His tips are practical and up until now, are still relevant.
So back to the question of earning from a blog. So where do you start? If you’re able to blog consistently and get people to even comment–and share it –then perhaps you can move to the next level and push your blog to publishers. Magazines are still out hunting for good writers. Websites that offer news are also on the lookout for good writers who have good track record in blogging. The best way to earn from a blog is to get paid for what you produce–which is content, and if you think you can do this most of your life, then you might get a better chance of succeeding.
It’s not easy, and there’s no shortcut. It takes hard work, patience, practice and a good sense of who you want to reach (audience) before you can make an impact. You don’t blog for the sake of making a living out of it. It has to serve a purpose, or at least fulfill a need–or even answers life’s questions. Use your imagination. Some may disagree, but this is my view if I were asked this question again.
Now, the choice is yours.