Describing your job as blogging is a bit like saying you’re a writer (actually it’s a lot like saying you’re a writer). Most people’s reaction is “OK, so what’s you’re real job?”
Blogging however has become a mainstream business, both in its own right through internet and affiliate marketing and also as part of inbound and content marketing strategies for company web sites.
This article explains how the blogging industry caters for the full spectrum of blogging enthusiasts from the leisure blogger to the full time stay at home business.
Who Wrote the First Ever Blog?
It is claimed by some sources that the first ever blog was written back in 1994 by a student called Justin Hall. However the actual term ‘blog’ wasn’t formally used until 1999 when programmer Peter Merholz shortened the computer term ‘web log’ down to just ‘blog’.
Blogging continued to gain in popularity and Google launched its Adsense programme in 2003, which provided a means by which bloggers could start to monetize their blog. By 2005 over a $100 million of blog ads were sold in one year.
Blogging became so mainstream that Merriam-Webster declared ‘blog’ the word of the year for 2004.
So as we move into the middle of 2016 what has now changed for bloggers?
Blogging As a Business
There are broadly two types of blogger, those that blog for pleasure and those that blog for business. Whilst this divide might appear very clear cut there is a very large grey area in the middle.
Although both bloggers initially look the same and perform similar activities the real difference lies in the intended outcome of the blogging.
- don’t necessarily monetise their blogs
- write on issues that interest them
- blog is independent
For social bloggers the content they produce is the final outcome. Additional outcomes may include developing a following or audience and connecting socially with others of a similar interest.
- the aim of the blog is to increase sales or make money
- write on issues that their target audience wants to read about
- the blog might be linked to a company or business website
For business bloggers the final outcome is selling products or bringing in additional finance for the business. In order for this to happen a following or target audience is needed and an understanding is required of what this audience is interested in.
Because they are so similar and there is some cross over in approach, many of the methods used by both social and business bloggers will also be similar. Such as the link between blogging and social media.
Using Social Media in Blogging
When blogging first started people accessed the bogs by finding them on the internet. Search engines were smaller then and blog posts ranked easily.
However, there are now just under 1 billion websites on the internet, although this figure is starting to decline slightly.
Other forms of business marketing and information systems have also become available, such as social media platforms, mobile phone and tablet use and email. As a result finding a blog has become consistently harder, something that many internet businesses are finding as a challenge.
Social media has therefore become an essential part of distributing information including blog sites, for both social and business bloggers.
Social Media Is A Business Tool
Just as blogging has become recognised as a business tool, so too has social media.
Trying to communicate with potential customers and reach new audiences is a task that every business needs to be working on. Blogging can inform clients and audiences about your company, but the audience needs to be able to find the blog in the first place.
This is where social media strategies and content marketing through blogging have become a key part of business marketing strategies.
Business Marketing Strategies
Traditional marketing strategies for businesses were very advertisement focused. These techniques are referred to as outbound marketing, where mass campaigns reached a large sector of society in the hope that some people would be tempted to buy.
These types of advertising were very expensive and for a large percentage of the population they were not very relevant and were largely ignored. This meant that the return on the investment (ROI) of advertising is not very high.
Inbound Marketing Strategies
A new form of marketing has evolved over the years which has focused more on clients that are interested in the products and information is targeted specifically at them. This has been termed inbound marketing.
Part of this strategy has involved blog sites, which have become a way in which people can look for information and read about products in their own time and also search for answers that are relevant to them.
This has also produced a new business industry in the form of independent bloggers who have taken on this role of writing about products and offering answers and information that clients may be looking for. In return they receive commissions from the companies that they promote if any purchases are made.
This makes the ROI for businesses very high since the main content advertising is only paid for if it results in a sale. By using an affiliate model there can be many blog sites promoting your product and reaching multiple audience groups across the globe.
Affiliate Marketing And Blogging
Affiliate marketing has evolved in response to the expansion of blogging sites.
Many smaller companies do not have the resources to pay for large advertising campaigns, and many larger companies don’t have the resources to blog in-depth about their industry. Affiliate marketing has filled that gap for both sectors of the industry.
So How Does Affiliate Marketing Work?
Many companies register with an affiliate network such as Click Bank or ShareASale. These companies will manage all the data side of the business so companies simply sign up.
For the blogger they sign up to the same company and apply to promote a product. Once approved you have access to the text and banner links for the product you choose, and you use these on your own website.
This means that businesses do not have to deal with individual bloggers and website developers, and bloggers can promote multiple products from different companies and receive all their payments and links through one network.
Is Blogging A Business?
Blogging is therefore a business in its own right for the independent bloggers, some of whom might manage multiple blog sites and promote several different products.
It is also part of a larger business marketing strategy for larger companies and those using affiliate programmes to advertise their products.
According to Hubspot 46% of people read blogs at least once a day, and 40% of US companies use blogs for marketing purposes.
SO next time anyone asks what you do for a job – you are a blogger in one of the largest growing global industries – internet marketing.
Further Reading on Blogging In Business
There are a number of other articles that may be of interest on blogging and businesses, and if you have any further questions or comments please feel free to leave them in the comments section below.