Professional bloggers need to possess domain knowledge, good writing skills and most important, capability to market their blogs to advertisers - Swati Roy
SINCE 1994 WHEN SAN FRANCISCO-based journalist and entrepreneur Justin Hall — dubbed the founding father of personal blogging by the New York Times — maintained a popular diary on the worldwide web titled Justine Links from the Underground, blogging has come a long way.
For millions of online blog authors aka bloggers — individuals who create web-logs (blogs) by regularly writing on particular subjects/domains for global online platforms such as Wordpress, Tumblr, Blogger — blogs aren’t merely a platform for free expression. The growth of social media marketing and emergence of advertising networks such as Google’s AdSense, PropellorAds, Revenue Hits (networks that help advertisers buy ad space on a blog with bloggers getting paid for every hit) and online marketing firms which partner with popular bloggers to increase sales and market share, has transformed blogging into a well-remunerated career option.
In essence, professional bloggers are entrepreneurs who run their blogs as businesses. Among those who have succeeded in turning their blog sites into big success stories in India are Shradha Sharma, founder of yourstory.com (for start-ups and entrepreneurs), Harsh Agrawal of ShoutmeLoud.com (business of blogging), Amit Agarwal of labnol.org (a technical blog) and Faisal Farooqui of mouthshut.com (consumer product reviews). Their blogging incomes range from Rs.9-40 lakh per month.
Aspiring bloggers need to possess domain knowledge, good language and writing skills, and most important, capability to market their blogs to advertisers. Several online education providers offer crash courses in blog writing and marketing. Among them: Coursera, Udemy, and edX. For instance, Udemy.com offers a specialised course titled ‘2018 Blog Blueprint: How to Turn Blogging into a Career’. Some successful bloggers also offer online courses sharing their expertise.
Pay and progression
Newbie bloggers are unlikely to attract ad revenue immediately. However, after several months of continuous blogging on a particular subject of which she has domain knowledge — all the infrastructure required is a room and personal computer — blogs start attracting eyeballs and bloggers can begin investing in branding themselves. They can also opt to freelance for companies and businesses. Freelancers can expect to earn Rs.100-1,000 per blog.
“Blogging as a career is a new concept in India. But with Internet and social media usage becoming common, it offers a great opportunity for individuals who love to write and express their viewpoints as well as share their domain knowledge and expertise. If you are disciplined and knowledgeable, it’s not difficult to market your content,” says Harsh Agrawal, the Gurgaon-based founder-CEO of ShoutDreams ENetwork LLP (estb.2016), a platform which hosts seven blogs including its flagship ShoutMeLoud.com, an online business offering blogging education and marketing skills to 1 million subscribers in the UK, Nigeria, Canada, Pakistan, Australia and India. The company’s topline is Rs.25 lakh (per month) with three full-time employees and freelance bloggers around the world.
An engineering graduate of Sharda University, Noida, Agrawal wrote his first blog in 2008 while working with the Noida-based Convergys Ltd. “Initially I wrote on technology but gradually, after receiving feedback from friends, I started sharing my experiences and experiments with blogging and found a niche audience. Subsequently, I bought the domain ShoutMeLoud.com to brand my blog. My first online income of Rs.2,598 came through Google’s Adsense and within four months, I was making Rs.35,000 per month teaching subscribers to build blogging businesses. I left my corporate career to start blogging full-time, and within six months scaled up my venture while simultaneously educating myself about new blogging tools. Today my platform hosts seven blogs and I offer blogging study programmes under ShoutMeLoud University,” says Agrawal, who blogs for six-seven hours per day.
According to Agrawal, blogging is “serious business” and success is assured to aspirants ready to invest time and energy in knowledge updation and audience engagement. “Aspiring bloggers should allow at least a year to get a feel of the profession and monitor market response to their blogs. If you are disciplined and passionate, success is assured. Not only do I earn way more than what I would have if I had continued my corporate job, I have the flexibility to work from anywhere, including home, and I am my own boss,” he says.