- Internet & the Web
Paid to Blog
Bloggers, Bloggers everywhere?
The term web log, or blog, describes articles or commentary written for publication on the Internet. Before the advent of this writing phenomena, aspiring writers struggled to get published on paper in magazines or books. Publishing houses held great power relative to distribution and marketing: a self-published book was certainly possible, but usually cost prohibitive.
Fast forward to more modern times: free and nearly free web publishing outlets offer opportunities only dreamed of by Stephen King and William Shakespeare. Anyone with a keyboard, or voice recognition software, and an Internet connection can write what they please and make it available to everyone else with an Internet connection and a monitor. Certainly this constant flow of words, sentences, and paragraphs includes equal parts art and dreck. Actually, the dross greatly outweighs the nuggets of wisdom.
Can You Get Paid to Blog?
You can blog (we now use the term as a verb as well as a noun) in your pajamas or at the public library. Combining the two styles is not recommended, but you will certainly acquire additional subject matter should you choose to go down that path. Blogging for bucks breaks down into two distinct categories:
- Getting paid to write stuff.
- Getting paid when people read your stuff and click on the ads encircling your stuff.
Combining the two strategies can also be rewarding, but you may be considered a sell-out by the Real Writers Guild. They think paid blogging is base.
About What Should You Write?
Write what you know.
Everyone knows something. Your best work will emerge when you care about your topic and spill your soul onto the keyboard. Keep a roll of paper towels handy. If you hardly care about the plight of Salmon in Alaska's Porcupine Creek, don't try to convince your readers to send money to PETA. Readers can sense ennui. Reader realize when bloggers couldn't care less.
If your soul spills neatly into a paragraph, you may be challenged to maintain a consistent blogging pattern. Words matter, and high volumes of words matter to Internet search engines, advertisers, and the overly bored. Don't say in 3 words what you can say in 333 words. Find a way to expand on the precise pinky shade of red which you found so very satisfying in the ketchup that you pumped into the little serrated cup at your second-favorite McDonald's, or something like that. Anyway, you'll need a veritable plethora of words organized into unique combinations and sequences.
If you truly have a care about a topic, you should be willing to read what Wikipedia has to say about it. Another splendiferous source of verbiage is a thesaurus of obscure words which few readers have bothered to peruse. Check out kokogiak.com for voluminous verbiage, lest your writing become dangerously marasmic.
Who Will Pay You to Blog?
Actually, no one will pay you to blog, except possibly your parents, who saved everything you scribbled since elementary school. No one wants to pay for content these days. The Internet engenders a culture of freedom and entitlement: your readers consider themselves entitled to free access to your compositions. Should you somehow manage to convince an audience of any size to pay you for your writing, you should secure employment as salesperson rather than a blogger.
Fortunately, someone in cyberspace will pay you to deliver eyeballs to them. A few strategic advertisements placed on your pages may translate to cents in your bank account. Somehow you must contrive prose to enthrall your readers but leave them thirsting to purchase something afterwards. The ads will be chosen for you by multi-national corporations engaging in 6-figure marketing campaigns with people who make shoes or run an online college. The crux of their projects, the penultimate step in their advertising strategy, the linchpin of their online presence, is a little rectangle tucked into your blog with a picture in it. You don't get to select the picture or even specify when it will appear on your page: highly paid advertising executives assemble focus groups, perform regression analysis, hire professional photographers, and deliver content-rich rectangles to supplement your blogging.
How Do You Get The Eyeballs?
Competing for eyeballs, you are. Some readers are better than others, but generally you will be paid according to the volume of traffic delivered to your advertisers. Don't cheat. Advertising agencies didn't get to be King of the World by paying bloggers to click on their own ads. You will get caught and you will be reduced to sporting a sandwich board on Main Street in order to get people to read your writing. This might have worked in the 1990's but no more.
Eyeballs will follow links from other blogging sites. Coaxing these sites to link to you will be as important as the content you generate. You should return the favor: we refer to it as a link exchange. Blogging folks love to exchange links, it's the digital equivalent of swapping business cards at Starbucks.
Hopefully, but not immediately, your well-organized compositions will be noticed by search engines. Possibly, but not anytime soon, the search engines will tell potential readers about you and your work. Maybe, but not probably, your sites will climb into the "Top 10" results for one of more keywords. Most Internet searchers never venture past the top 10: being #11 makes you the 10th loser and not much more.
Supplemental Writing Resources
Learn numerous synonyms for the word patient and use them in sentences. Nothing on the Internet happens immediately unless you're Kim Kardashian. If you are Kim Kardashian, and you're reading this, your reality show has been cancelled and Entertainment Tonight has been preempted in favor of the McLaughlin Group. My condolences. Console yourself with an expensive purse.
Getting back to the real world, assuming you are not Kim Kardashian, remain patient. Search engines will eventually find your work: don't stress out if you are not indexed 15 seconds after clicking 'Publish.' Plan your work and work your plan.
Someone out there is making a buck at this: advertisers wouldn't be advertising unless eyeballs were arriving. No self-respecting marketing maven will waste too much time pursuing failing strategies. The Internet is deep and wide, but mostly wide. It's your job to make it deep so you can make it big.