Bloggers debate traffic, revenue, monetization, and love.

I participated in a panel discussion this evening hosted by Povo, the new wiki-meets-yelp site in town. I discovered Povo (Portuguese for people) when I was writing about the “Hello Greenway” event. Povo had a wiki on the Greenway.

Each of the panelists had different methods they’d used to increase revenue from their blogs, or try to. Each method had varying levels of success. Ultimately, the value of blogs seemed to be:

1. a place for us to hone our craft,

2. as a showcase for our work, and;

3. only sometimes, a source of revenue.

It seemed more common that panelists found indirect benefits of blogging, such as a way to sell freelance services, to get publishers’ review copies of books and product samples, and to use affiliate programs for some revenue stream.

Adam of Universal Hub lucked out with one of those serendipitous moments Rhea highlighted when something happens and you get a burst of traffic or a sponsor finds you.

I shared a couple of thoughts. Okay, more than a couple about the state of blogging:

- don’t do it for money, even a book deal will not make you rich, and blogging alone will make it hard to pay the bills;

- decide what your focus is, if you want to be a commercial site and drive traffic for ad clicks that’s a different animal than a creative outlet to showcase your unique voice to publishers and agents;

- there’s a vast area of opportunity no one has yet adequately captured. Many entities like Povo (in my observation) are trying to build enough traffic one way or another so that they have a marketable value. Syndicators and aggregators are trying to do the same thing. Big advertisers have not gotten nimble enough to drill down and tailor ads to relevant blogs and small local sponsors haven’t gotten savvy enough to learn how to take advantage of relevant blogs that would be good partners for them.

- That leaves us all wandering in the desert (Just Call me Moses) and cobbling together a bunch of different things to make a living at this thing we love called writing.

People also debated the micro-blogging platform such as Twitter.

Do we resist? Do we jump in and try it? Experiment? You will see that I have decided to try it. My assumption is that there is some overlap between people with the attention span of a gnat who only get their interaction and infotainment in 160 character bytes with those who read real books and appreciate a well crafted story. I probably have readers in both camps and I think we CAN all just get along. Anyway, it’s an experiment. I hope it brings my blog to the attention of a few Tweeters? (“Twits?” “Twitterers?”) who use it.

[Follow me on Twitter: LDGourmet!]

I look forward to what I’ll learn from them!

Sam Baltrusis Sam Baltrusis – the Loaded Gun publisher (in black sweater/white collar) leads a panel discussion of Boston area bloggers: (L to R)

Povo Blogging Panel Making a point, hope it was a good one.

Special thanks to Lauren Clark DrinkBoston.com for the photos!

15 Responses to “Bloggers debate traffic, revenue, monetization, and love.”


  1. 1 LoadedGun November 12, 2008 at 5:18 am

    Hey Jacqueline!

    You and I have similar gesturing techniques. I defiitely loved your diagram circle in the air (I have to copy that move).

    Anyway, I’m glad we met in person. My day job is in your hood (I know, I know, we can’t divulge personal info) but I always love to explore restaurants with foodies.

    We need to do this again. Maybe focus on more specific topics in the future.

    Much support!

  2. 2 jacqueline1230 November 12, 2008 at 5:22 am

    I am always happy to share my favorite spots. Please let me know anytime. Glad to meet you and happy to meet up again. You can probably tell, I’m not one of those introverted writer types!

  3. 3 lbcarizona November 12, 2008 at 6:07 am

    The info you put forward for this post was intriguing to me. I could go for this discussion group atmosphere that you’re referencing. I’ll have to check my area for something similar. Cheers!
    linda

  4. 4 Susan November 12, 2008 at 2:58 pm

    It was great to meet you at the event last night, Jackie! A few people mentioned this in passing last night, but I think another major benefit to blogging is the feeling of being part of a community. Especially as writers, it’s nice to be able to connect with others and share ideas, since we don’t have coworkers to talk to during the day. Would love to do it again!

  5. 5 jacqueline1230 November 12, 2008 at 3:07 pm

    Absolutely true. My cat’s wonderful but he’s not much on conversation. He didn’t want to debate Twitter w/me at all!

  6. 6 Kate November 12, 2008 at 3:42 pm

    Great posting and a great night! Much thanks for being a part of it and best of luck with the new Twittering!

  7. 7 jacqueline1230 November 12, 2008 at 3:47 pm

    Ah ha…we’ve got you now! Thanks for stopping by AND for dropping a comment. Last night was great and I’ve already begun building on the connections I made.

  8. 8 Justin November 12, 2008 at 7:20 pm

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts last eve and for summarizing them here. I enjoyed hearing from everyone on the panel; it was a new perspective for me as my experience / obsession with the internet and sharing stuff online has no roots in journalism, formal writing, or income making activity, and it seemed many on the panel were journalists struggling with how to feel about the blogosphere and how to reconcile this “freeshare” medium with a career. Seems the effort of building readership, tracking stats and all of that is a large one. Not sure if I want to undertake it, haha.

  9. 9 Melissa November 13, 2008 at 1:53 am

    I was in the audience last night and just wanted to say thanks for your time! The panel gave me good ideas to think about.

  10. 10 Whalehead King November 13, 2008 at 1:55 am

    Jacqueline, It was nice to meet you and I thought you were the most professional of the bunch, selling yourself and selling the concept at the same time, making the most of the exposure. I respect that. Good show.

    Best wishes,
    WK

  11. 11 katherinehas November 13, 2008 at 4:28 am

    I was at the PoVo panel, and I really appreciated your insights into blogging. It was interesting to hear from someone who jumped into writing hard core after a successful career in another area. Also, I’m a fellow Examiner as well! Thanks for being willing to share your ideas and opinions with your fellow bloggers! I wish you all the best!

  12. 12 jacqueline1230 November 13, 2008 at 6:08 pm

    Justin – You know it is work but if you love what you do…I’m okay with it. I can recall all the times I did really onerous drudgery and I was working for someone else who was a worse boss than my current one. And usually a lot less witty and charming. ;-)
    Melissa – Glad to give some food for thought. Thank you for coming and for taking the time to drop a comment!
    Whalehead King – I was honored to be on the panel. I really respect how successful each of the panelists is in his or her own way. Now that I’ve been at this awhile, I really know how hard it is to have the kinds of success my co-presenters have enjoyed.
    Kaherinehas – Examiner is fun isn’t it? Which column do you do – I think it’s sports? Is that you? Did you see my 16th Minute blog? It may be changing shape in my about-to-be-launched new website.

  13. 13 Becky November 14, 2008 at 5:45 pm

    It was great to hear your thoughts on the panel!
    Cheers,
    Becky

  14. 14 jacqueline1230 November 14, 2008 at 10:32 pm

    Becky thanks for stopping by. I LOVE your blog. Do you know Girl’s Like Spaghetti? You must..

  15. 15 Lauren Clark November 17, 2008 at 2:16 am

    Jacqueline, nice work summing up the panel. It was good to be in a roomful of other bloggers who work 7 jobs and are remarkably positive given the difficulty of “monetizing” the hours spent working on a good blog. Good luck to everyone, and hope to see you at another event like this soon.


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A window into what I’m thinking and writing about.

Whether it's Food & Cooking, Sports, Film, Travel or the Business of Writing itself...you can find it all through this page. Use this sidebar and the links below to go directly to whatever strikes your fancy. Jacqueline Church's Facebook profile

Where I’ve been seen, published, cited, syndicated…

  • - Tuesday November 11 @6 PM Povo Blogging Panel. Come to 660 Washington Street in Chinatown at the Archstone Building to see what a panel of bloggers have to say about the state of blogging.
  • - Interviewed by Sarah Turner of Suite101 about Using Blogs to Raise Social Awareness
  • - Reuters, Chicago Sun-Times, Austin American Statesman, BBQ Report, Computer Shopper. See clips here.

For Real on the Virtual Gourmet!

Noted food and wine author John Mariani ran my article Salmon and the Sustainability Zeitgest. Click here to read it!

Books make great gifts, for yourself or others.

Click here to see what's on my Powell's Bookshelf.
Powell's Books

Mark Your Calendars

August 22 - Courtney Hunt's acclaimed film Frozen River at the Coolidge Corner. See Diversions for more.

Caught my eye…

  • The Audubon Insectarium opens in New Orleans. See Getting Down with All that Skitters.
  • Copper River Salmon is so hot, even E!online is commenting on the stars who eat it. Taye Diggs was digging it.
  • Vertical farms? Colbert meets Ethicureans...heaven is for those with humor and ethics, yes? Interesting food for thought here....

On Women and Work

Read my contributions to The Glass Hammer a new blog for executive women.

Diversions

  1. Tales of the Cocktail may be over but the fun continues. Check the blogs and podcasts for all the news that fit to drink!
  2. The Maori art of facial tatooing is called moko. It is a powerful expression of tribal identity which has only recently enjoyed a resurgence as the colonial Christian prohibitions against it have lessened. Go to the Peabody Essex Museum for this rare opportunity to catch a glimpse of this amazing cultural tradition. The documentary I saw at Sundance years ago on moko, was one of the most powerful films I have ever seen.
  3. The Audubon Insectarium is a new and top-notch attraction in New Orleans. We passed by it and wondered why we'd missed it before. Turns out it's just now opening. No time this last trip, but it's on the list for the next time. Check here for info.

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