I was honored to have a chance to speak at the Entertainment New Media Conference, the premiere blogging event for entertainment and travel bloggers.
One of my favorite activities is meeting with bloggers who have a different paradigm view of blogging. I absolutely love that. Sometimes it’s just bloggers of a different niche that are interesting, like the genealogy bloggers conference I attended, but this time it was something else entirely.
While travel, fitness and entertainment bloggers weren’t new to me necessarily, the culture in which they operate as bloggers was somewhat novel. But I didn’t “feel” it until several bloggers asked me what niche you had to be in to make money the way I help bloggers do.
Learning about that “mindset” was my favorite part of the weekend.
(Don’t let me fool you, meeting Mr. Sean Astin, hanging out with Erica I. Pena-Vest and meeting new people like Pilar Clark and Lisa Robertson were pretty darn awesome times, too. And meeting entrepreneur Andrea Schroder. . . come on. . super awesome. But that’s another story for another time.)
So let’s tackle that mindset.
Some of ENMN’s goals are to create industry-smart bloggers who know how to act around celebrities, what to ask of travel partners and how to be provide content that truly adds value. And they hammered it home all weekend using stories of great blogging experiences and great bloggers (and even throwing in some not so good examples).
During the training it was made clear that you’re not going to get paid cold, hard cash from hotels to blog about them, not that you won’t get unbelievable perks and value from them. But ENMN’s goal wasn’t discouragement by any means, rather education about the industry standard and expectation. With appropriate expectation comes grace and appreciation. Bloggers who lack this whine and make life harder for the rest of us.
[Tweet “With appropriate expectation comes grace and appreciation”]
But that in no way means travel and entertainment bloggers can’t blog profitably. In fact, unless you are independently wealthy or a spouse makes the income, you are ethically bound to produce revenue from that much work.
Take a look at Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. Making sure that your family is loved, has shelter and enough food is the base of the pyramid. If you have no way to pay for groceries, spending 8 hours/day blogging for nothing isn’t in the cards.
How do we make money, exactly?
So the question was “how”? They asked me how they make money if the travel industry doesn’t pay. And the answer is simple as pie. The travel industry is the content you deliver. It is the goods. The money doesn’t have to come from the travel industry at all. The money comes from the readers . . . not only that but when your readers are also customers you have a lot more influence.
Readers not only will pay but they want to pay. You and I are one of them. We love buying stuff. We buy books while we’re at the airport, we buy umbrellas when it rains, we buy shoes because we want to, we buy tickets when we travel, we buy egg timers for the kitchen. When we spend money. . . it is because we WANT to spend money. If it makes our life better, we want it.
Let me give you some examples of things your audience would love to buy. Many would be excited to know that the product even exists
1. Ebook of your most popular tips
2. 1 tip per day travel club membership
3. Phone apps they can use to make their photos better
4. Insiders secrets club
5. Any “much needed” product via Amazon
6. Sample budget and vacation budget calculator
7. Your Guide to “____________” (Example Lisa’s Best Disney Secrets)
8. Book review videos where you review every travel book on the subject
9. Calendar of your favorite picks form some place
10. Your favorite niche “sayings” on shirts and hats from Zazzle or Cafe Press
11. Adsense and other advertising networks
12. Site, clothing, trip or event sponsorship
13. 21 Day Challenge to do something
14. Guide to saving $2,000 through phone apps and coupons
15. Webinar and interactive discussion with your favorite guru (Wouldn’t you pay $5 to be in a webinar with Bono?)
16. Complete budget, itinerary, grocery and shopping list
17. Printable coloring pages for kids to take on the plane
18. 30 Minute Strategy session with you to learn how to get the most out of . . .
19. Your actual book that you wrote
20. Audio Guided tour of a place they can listen to with their earbuds
The only thing you have to do as a blogger is serve. Serve them awesomeness. Make them better, make them smarter. And when you do charge money for your efforts. You, as the CEO of your company, are no different than Barnes & Nobles, Stephen King, Burger King, Fodor’s, or Nike.
[Tweet “The only thing you have to do as a blogger is serve.”]
When you produce value and others recognize it, they will trade their dollars for it. Gladly.
Remember. . . . There are no retired bloggers.
And guess what you get to do with the money. You get to bless your family with the rewards of their sacrifice. You get to bless another family if you hire a housekeeper. You get to donate to church and charity. You get to lend money to friends.
Be the professional you are. Your efforts deserve revenue. And that makes everyone happy . . .even the people paying you.
ENMN was great in its focus that you should learn what the industry is all about. You need to heed all that was said, listen to all whose experiences come before yours. Be the expert Erica expects you to be in her industry.
And make money doing it.