If making money through advertising or selling products isn’t your goal, keep reading. There are many special opportunities that can come from being a blogger. In fact, the bigger you grow your blog the more opportunities will open themselves up to you. Those opportunities can be anything from a book deal to a product for review to a job offer.
Blog to Book
Books were mentioned in the previous section as a way to earn money via your blog. They belong in that section but they also belong here – because receiving a book deal and publishing a book is much more than something that could earn money. It is a special opportunity that many bloggers dream about. In the health and wellness niche there have been several great bloggers who have taken the journey from blog to book and there will be more bloggers following in their footsteps.
Caitlin from Healthy Tipping Point and Operation Beautiful never expected this opportunity when she first started blogging. She is currently working on her upcoming Operation Beautiful book and as she says,
I never imagined that one little post-it would be the start of something so big. I just wanted to make a random stranger happy; when I posted the note, I never even thought it would become a blog! A literary agent saw a feature on Operation Beautiful in the New York Daily News and contacted me. We put together a proposal and shopped it around. The rest is history!
Tina for Carrots N Cake is also wrote her first book thanks to her healthy living blog. A short interview with Tina about making the leap from blog to book:
How important was the number of visitors to your blog in getting a book deal? Is a high traffic blog a necessity for a book deal?
“Yes, I think it was very important. My publisher contacted me through my blog.”
Did you have writing a book in mind when you were blogging and growing your blog?
“No, not at all. I actually started my blog for personal reasons and never intended anyone to read it.”
What is one piece of advice for any aspiring bloggers who want to publish a book one day?
“Update your blog frequently to build traffic. Don’t be afraid to approach a publishing house with a proposal – you never know what might happen!”
See what can happen when you build a better, more popular health blog?
The amount of traffic you need before you approach a publishing company needs to be rather high. Some publishers say that you shouldn’t contact them before you have at least 100,000 hits a month. A high traffic blog with a compelling story can result in a book deal with a major publishing company, but smaller publishing companies may be willing to take on bloggers with less traffic. If publishing a book is your dream, shop around for agents and publishing companies until you find one willing to help you make your dreams a reality.
Special Products and Trips
As a blogger, once you have established an audience, you will be in a position where some companies want to work with you to get the word out about their products. This may result in companies sending you products for free to try and review on your blog. The bigger your blog gets, the more often companies will contact you regarding products you can try for free. You are under no obligation to try them, and if you do, you are under no obligation to write a positive review. I would actually recommend you don’t jump at every offer you are sent. Unless you are writing a product review blog, you shouldn’t change your writing to start writing reviews every other post. Wait until you are offered products that you feel are worth trying.
If you are not yet at the point where companies are contacting you or you have a company you would like to work with, don’t be afraid to approach them. Find out who handles public relations for the company or product, and then send an email about your blog. Explain why allowing you to do a product review will benefit the company. Include your blog stats and links to previous reviews and/or giveaways you have done. If you have a media kit for your blog include it. Be professional and act as if your blog is a business. Don’t beg for products. If the company says no at first you will still be able to approach them later with other pitches once your stats have improved.
Occasionally top bloggers in the health niche are given very special opportunities to attend events. Companies sometimes put together special events for bloggers in their target niche to let bloggers come and tour their facilities, interact with employees, and try out their products. There have been special healthy living blogger events put on by companies like Quaker and POM. These events allowed some of the best healthy living bloggers to take a trip to learn more about the company and then blog about the experience. As companies recognize the influence of bloggers, more and more of these kinds of opportunities are happening and available for bloggers.
The ability to interact with other bloggers in person doesn’t happen often, since blogging tends to be a solitary effort. But like every industry, blogging has conferences where bloggers meet up to learn about blogging and share their experiences. In the last year there has been an explosion in health an wellness blogging conferences. The first was the Healthy Living Summit, held by a group of bloggers in August 2009.
Another healthy living blog conference, Fitbloggin, was created by blogger Roni from Roni’s Weigh (and Green Lite Bites and Skinny Minny Media and MORE!) She explains her process:
After attending a few blogging events, I saw a hole. There are tech blogging conference and women blogging conference but what about niche based blogging conferences? I bounced the idea of a health conscious blogger conference off a few other bloggers. We brainstormed for a few months and then I decided to just take the leap and make it happen. So although I took the reigns, it was the brainchild of many.
Roni saw an opportunity in the niche to do something big and went with it, creating a special opportunity for herself and the bloggers who attended the conference. The health blogging niche is continually growing and the recent growth in niche related conferences shows that fact. If you are planning on being at the top of the niche you will definitely want to attend these health blogging conferences. Bloggers who are serious about their blogs will be there ready and willing to mingle.
Job Offers & Company Partnerships
One opportunity blogs and the skills you learn from blogging can lead to is a new job or consulting opportunity with related companies. This is often forgotten as many health bloggers do not set out to change their careers or get a new job, but it is something that has happened to a few bloggers.
Esther from Faint Star Lite started working with Weight Watchers because of her blog and has had several years of experience with the team. She explains how she used her blog to partner with Weight Watchers and how other bloggers can do the same.
In 2007 Weight Watchers and I started talking about the possibility of partnering together. I had reached out to their UK division (since I was living in England at the time), and had hoped to be chosen as a success story because I thought the fact that I had video blogged my journey was a unique angle. They agreed and featured me on weightwatchers.co.uk.
A few months later when I was back in the US, I got a message through MySpace from their ad agency McCann-Erickson asking if they could talk on the phone about an upcoming campaign. After a few phone calls I flew out to Los Angeles and was incredibly impressed with their whole team and their plan of action.
They initially offered to have me do a few video blogs a month for 3 months. My guess is that it’s during the negotiation process that bloggers make the most mistakes. If you truly believe in the personal brand you’ve built and have a loyal audience, then it’s worth a lot – and I don’t just mean in terms of money – it’s worth a lot of time and integrity to make sure that any major deal is a great fit.
I believed my first responsibility was protecting what I had built and so I took a leap of faith and hired an entertainment lawyer to help me think through the 18 page contract I was about to sign. I told him I could only spend $500 of his time, and he made it worth every penny, because I walked away really happy with the deal on every level thanks in large part to my lawyer’s help and industry insight.
As a result of the campaign’s success (we became the #1 branded MySpace page) they kept me on board as they ventured off into other areas of social media, and I’ve been incredibly lucky to see Weight Watchers develop a strong presence in other digital communities like Facebook and now Twitter.
Aside from creating content, I’ve always been eager to offer advice & insight and over the past 2+ years have built a strong rapport with the team. I know I’m an asset because of my day-to-day experiences being embedded in the blogging community and always want to help facilitate better outcomes by sharing that knowledge with the brand.
In terms of positioning oneself, my best advice is to be patient. It seems a lot of bloggers have jumped on to the review bandwagon because it can be hard to turn down free things. But, content and branding is so important that it’s vital those two things don’t get obscured by the product of the week.
I believe that if you have built a strong following based on useful, funny, or deeply moving content, then you’re in the perfect position to start looking for opportunities to partner with a brand. At that point, it’s about pursuing the companies that best mesh with your personal brand. If possible, get to know individuals with influence from their company through Twitter or their company’s blog. Give them plenty of opportunities to get to know you, and then don’t be afraid to creatively pitch them ideas.
Building your blog will inevitably bring more opportunities including possible job offers and partnerships with companies. As a blogger you have skills and perspective that companies want. You can position yourself so that they want to hire and/or partner with you on projects.
Raising Money For Charity
Many bloggers use their blogs as a way to raise money for causes and charities. There are as many ways to do this as there are ways to monetize your blog for personal purposes. Popular ways include donation buttons and holding raffles for big ticket products. Once you write a post explaining why you are raising money and why it is important, the health blogosphere is great about helping out. The healthy living blogosphere is both friendly and caring.