Is Blogging A Business?

      6 Comments on Is Blogging A Business?

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?”

blogger at work

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.

blogging for pleasure and work

Blogging for social purposes and blogging for business may look very similar (Image- “Social Network ” by jscreationzs, freedigitalphotos.net)

Although both bloggers initially look the same and perform similar activities the real difference lies in the intended outcome of the blogging.

Social bloggers

  • 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.

Business Bloggers

  • 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.

social media for business

“Business Hand Holding Like Icon” by blackzheep (freedigitalphotos.net)

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.

The unique tracking system uses cookies that will monitor every time your link is used to access the product website and make a purchase. Commissions can then be paid, again through the affiliate network organisation.

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.

global blog industry map

Blogging is now part of the global business sector (Image- “Blog Search Engine Indicates Gathering Data And Analyse” by Stuart Miles freedigitlphotos.net)

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.

6 thoughts on “Is Blogging A Business?

  1. Kevin Mesa

    The clear definition of blogging nowadays is for money making. It is common to see people go into the blogging world purely for the purposes of making money. Though taking blogging as a business is not a bad idea, but however passion should be prioritize. Personally I can differentiate blogs whose main purpose is for making money and one that has passion behind it.

    Reply
    1. Marie

      Hi Kevin you make a valid point that running a blog as a business and blogging to make money are not always the same thing. Like any business venture it has to be about quality and the focus should be on improving your client’s life in some way not simply selling a product. Thanks for raising this point, Marie

  2. Matthew Thomas

    I think blogging can most certainly be a business if the blogger wants it to be. Some people do it just for fun and to connect with their readers, while others add monetization into the mix to produce an income. At the core, all kinds of bloggers are attempting to share quality content that others can benefit from. If you’re not helping or entertaining people, then your blog business may struggle to produce an income.

    Reply
    1. Marie

      Hi Matthew, thanks and I agree blogging is like many businesses in that ultimately it is about communicating. If you don’t have anything to add to the conversation then you will lose clients quickly.

      Getting ideas for content can be challenging though so here is another article of interest 16 Strategies for Improving Content Creation

  3. John Rico

    Hi there! I really wanted to have my own blog and earn some money from it. I have heard about affiliate marketing before but is not quite sure onhow to get started. So, is this blogging for business a real deal? I mean I don’t want to fall in scams again .

    Reply
    1. Marie

      Hi John thanks for commenting and unfortunately you are right there are a lot of get rich schemes and scams out there. Affiliate marketing is a legitimate business model but you still need to be mindful of where you choose to get your support and training from.

      I still contribute and participate in Wealthy Affiliate which I am happy to promote as a bona fido organisation, you can read more about their support and training in affiliate marketing in Digital Marketing at Wealthy Affiliate University.

      If you are interested in learning more about affiliate marketing you might be interested in this article What is Affiliate Marketing and How Does it Work?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *