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Dianne Jacob on Making Money From Your Blog

14 Ways to Make Money From Your Food Blog | www.foodbloggersofcanada.com

Earning income from blogging is always a hot topic with our members, and bloggers in general.  One of our most popular posts on the site, Thinking Outside the Bowl, by Cameron Stauch, explored some unique ways to earn blogging income and today, Mardi Michels joins us with some more income generating tips…

You may know the Stratford Chefs School as a training ground for some of Canada’s top chefs.  But did you also know that it is host to a gastronomic writer-in-residence each year? This year, it’s none other than Dianne Jacob and last month as part of her writer-in-residence duties she led a one-day writing workshop in Toronto for a small group of people from all stages of their food writing careers.

Prior to the workshop, Dianne sent around a questionnaire asking what we’d like to focus on over the course of the day – with such a diverse group, she wanted to make sure there was something for everyone.  You may (or may not!) be surprised to hear that most people attending the workshop were most interested in learning more about making money as a food writer. And you might be surprised at some of the examples Dianne gave.

Since blogging isn’t going to pay the mortgage for most of us and freelance food writing business is a tough one to rely on for your sole income, Dianne stressed the importance of being able to extend your money-making abilities beyond simply writing about food.

Opportunities To Earn Income Directly on Your Blog

1. Run ads on your blog. 

Perhaps the “easiest” way to earn a little pocket money from your blog.  If you’ve decided to go the ad-network route, this article from Food Blog Alliance is great place to start to thinking about the types of things you need to consider.  Even though it’s a little old, the information there is solid and will help you understand the business of running ad network ads on your blog.  We didn’t have a lot of time to discuss the various options available but Jan Scott from Family Bites lists a number of ad networks open to working with Canadian bloggers in a previous FBC post on earning money from your blog.

2. Other advertising options. 

Another route to take if you are interested in having ads on your blog but don’t want to commit to an advertising network contract is to approach businesses or brands you believe in yourself and offer them advertising space in your sidebar.  Marian of Sweetopia is an example of a blogger who sells ad space independently – see her information about purchasing an ad spot.

3. Write sponsored content. 

There are two ways to earn a little bit of money from sponsored content – writing on your own site and writing on the brand/ business’ site.  Dianne believes that as long as it’s a good fit for your blog there’s nothing wrong with well-written sponsored content.

An example of a sponsored content campaign (involving a few FBC members!) where the content lives on the brand’s site is Kraft Canada’s Real Women Of Philadelphia Ambassador programme.  An example of sponsored content that live on the blogger’s blog itself can be found over on Dinner with Julie in this post about Skillet mac n’ cheese with spinach and bacon.

Don’t forget to disclose if you received compensation (either monetary or in kind) for writing a sponsored post.

4. Writing a cookbook. 

For many, this is the ultimate goal and certainly it seems that the blog to book is becoming a reality for many Canadian bloggers – Aimée, JanAmy, Charmian and Rosie (to name but a few) all have books coming out over the next two years.

Other Opportunities Via Your Blog. 

As well as the more traditional means of making some income from your blog, Dianne spoke of a number of other money making opportunities – some of which you might not have considered.

1. Press trips.

Dianne referenced Amy Sherman, who started her blog, Cooking with Amy, in 2003 and who has grown that into a successful food and travel writing business.  While press and FAM (familiarization) trips don’t actually pay writers and bloggers who attend them to write about their experience, sometimes the experiences are those you might not be able to undertake on your own, so the “payment” is the experience itself.

Dianne reminded us again that these types of trips need to be a good fit for your blog in order to “work”. Dianne asked Amy who invites her on trips, how to be taken seriously, and how to make travel writing work as part of a food writing career in this article – a must read.

2. Cooking classes/ Catering. 

Several bloggers have moved into the realm of teaching.  If sharing your knowledge in person is something you like to do (as opposed to just sharing it via your site), cooking classes are a great option.  Find a niche (like mine!) or offer general cooking classes like FBC members Deb and Christopher.  Catering is also a great way to connect with the real people who read your blog and your blog is a great place to showcase what you can do!

3. Offer a (paid) meal planning service. 

Dianne spoke of The Nourishing Kitchen – a very successful meal-planning business and who has a book deal as a result of the blog.

4. A pop-up store! 

An example Dianne gave was Heidi Swanson from 101 Cookbooks who started a pop-up store, which has evolved into Quitokeeto – “an online purveyor of items worth owning”.

5. Open a restaurant! 

Examples are Molly from Orangette who opened Delancy with her husband, and Pim from Chez Pim of the forthcoming Kin Khao, perhaps not as a direct result of having a blog but certainly a blog helps in terms of building a ready-made customer base!  (Pim also has a jam shop and Molly has written A Homemade Life: Stories and Recipes from My Kitchen Table, with another on the way (Delancey: A Man, a Woman, a Restaurant, a Marriage) – both are showing a diversity of talent beyond simply writing a blog).

6. Become a food tour guide! 

Sarah Henry of Lettuce Eat Kale blog and Edible Excursion and Anna Mindess of Edible Excursions are just two examples food writers turned food tour guides. Hey, I even tried my hand at that a couple of summers ago!

7. Sell your photos or become a food photography/ food styling teacher.

Aran, Béa and Hélène have all launched successful food photography careers (including teaching classes). Certainly not an option for everyone but if photography is your thing, a blog is a great place to showcase your work and establish yourself.

8. Become a spokesperson. 

We were lucky to have Carol Harrison from Citrus Group amongst us to talk a little bit about her role as spokesperson for various brands and companies (e.g. she was the National Media Spokesperson at Nutrition Month for the Dietitians of Canada). Again, it’s not something that all bloggers are able to do but if you are a blogger with another qualification (RD, for example) it’s a great option for making some money and again, your blog or site is a wonderful portfolio to show brands.

9 and 10. Reach for the stars – get your own TV show or even your own movie!

Not all of us can be Ree Drummond or Julie Powell but Dianne included these as examples of “what’s possible” (given the right circumstances) – I am sure Ree and Julie would never have imagined when starting their blogs that they would become (inter)national food stars!

This is, of course, a non-exhaustive list of opportunities for making money via your blog and it certainly prompted a lot of chatter and thoughts amongst the attendees of Dianne’s workshop.

How about you? Do you have other ways of making some money that have come to you via blogging?  We’d love to hear about them in the comments!

Win A Copy of Dianne’s Book

We have a signed copy of Dianne Jacob’s book, Will Write for Food: The Complete Guide to Writing Cookbooks, Blogs, Reviews, Memoir, and More to give away to one lucky reader.  To enter, simply leave a comment below telling us if you monetize your blog, or if you plan to or not.  Contest closes on December 13 at 6pm PT/9pm ET and the winner will be announced in the FBC News on December 16th.  Open to Canadian residents only.

Mardi Michels is a full-time French teacher to elementary school-aged boys and the author of eat. live. travel. write – a blog focusing on culinary adventures near and far. She has lived and worked as a teacher in Australia, Hong Kong, England, France and now calls Toronto home. As part of her job, she runs a cooking class twice a week for 7-13 year-old boys, Les Petits Chefs and Cooking Basics.  She was a co-founder of Food Bloggers of Canada.  She’s also a cook, baker, traveller, photographer, writer, Food Revolution Day Ambassador for Toronto and in her spare time (!) teaches French pastry classes (focusing on macarons) around Toronto.  You can follow Mardi on  Twitter , Instagram,  and  Google+

Disclosure Notice: This article contains amazon affiliate links.  We earn a small commission on any purchases made as a result of clicking on them. 

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22 Responses to Dianne Jacob on Making Money From Your Blog

  1. Julia December 4, 2013 at 10:50 am #

    I would eventually like to monetize my blog. And I would love to win the book!

  2. Vincci December 4, 2013 at 1:13 pm #

    I don’t monetize my blog because the other opportunities that have come from it are more than enough. I would much rather focus on my business, which makes it easier to sort things out come tax time too!

  3. PoorandGlutenFree December 4, 2013 at 2:25 pm #

    I’m not currently monetizing my blog. although I’ve been exploring options for quite some time. I want to make sure that any ads I run or things I’m involved in are in line with the values of the blog.

    I do accept the odd product for review, and it’s always nice to get a box of organic snacks or a new cookbook.

    Another option I’ve been exploring is affiliate programs with other bloggers. Some bloggers offer compensation (i.e. percentage of sales) for helping to promote their books, and I think this is a great way to build community networks as well :)

    And of course, I’d love a copy of Will Write for Food!

  4. Asiya @ Chocolate and Chillies December 4, 2013 at 2:43 pm #

    I do monetize my blog. I run ads and do product reviews.

  5. lyndsay // coco cake land December 4, 2013 at 3:53 pm #

    Love this post! I monetize my blog in a few different ways but only started doing it this past year, really – adsense ads, but in the last year have done sponsored posts with some great like minded companies – my blog focuses on cake design, modern party ideas with a particular vintage/modern design aesthetic so working with different companies of varying types but with a similar design sense has been really fun! i want to expand into ads, (has anyone used passionfruit to help manage your ads?) and my upcoming blog redesign will also include an online shop where people can purchase cake tutorial PDFs and handmade cake toppers!

    adding an online store or figuring out a way to create a product from your blog is a good way to monetize, too!

    i already own will write for food – so no copy for me! just wanted to add my two cents! ;)

  6. Freya December 4, 2013 at 4:11 pm #

    I would like to monetize my blog sometime in the next 12 months…to earn money while doing something I love would indeed be a dream come true….

  7. My Island Bistro Kitchen December 4, 2013 at 4:11 pm #

    I don’t currently monetize my blog but am interested in pursuing it.

  8. Kitchen'r Jon December 4, 2013 at 4:18 pm #

    Well, I don’t monetize currently but have been considering it. I feel like I need to build my base a bit first, plus I’m not sure yet about which route to take, I don’t like ads, but understand that they’re a great way to make all this worth it without asking any readers for money! Thanks for the post, I’m going to go back and read it more closely a second time :)

  9. Alex Bielak December 4, 2013 at 5:08 pm #

    Neat post. I had a chat with someone recently who said one should have a business plan for ones writing/blog, but that it was ok for the “monetization” to be experiential so long as that was of sufficient value. In the longer run I’d like to make money or at least cover costs but for now I will take the exposure and rich experiences I’m living as a result of my writing.
    I’d really like to win this book as I was unable to connect with Diane who was extremely busy with other things during the FBC when I tried to tap into her wisdom and experience.

  10. Christopher Pires December 4, 2013 at 9:36 pm #

    Great article -thanks for posting. Good advice. I haven’t monetized as yet… I still think I need a product I,e, cookbook, baked goods etc. I’m nervous about advertising as I am running a personal chef business as well and don’t want to put potential clients off. Need to wrap my head around this concept. Teaching is a blast.
    Christopher

  11. Helene Peloquin December 5, 2013 at 11:45 am #

    Great advice! I do sponsored posts, I run ads but only get couple bucks from it. I do receive free products and cookbooks. This helps because it is a hobby for me and it is not a full paying job. I am curious at how many Cdn food blogs can make as much money with their blog as the US. I am under the impression that not many bloggers can quit their full time job in Canada and make the same money. It would be nice to have the stats. Thanks for the giveaway.

  12. Nicole Harling December 6, 2013 at 12:44 am #

    Currently, I do not monetize my blog. When I started blogging, it was simply a hobby; a vehicle to share my food nerdiness. Like many bloggers here, there are times when a free cookbook may come floating my way, and I love the opportunity to try the recipes out and tell people about it. Monetizing my blog is something I have thought about and this article was a great help in providing me options! Thanks :-)

  13. carole brown December 10, 2013 at 12:29 am #

    So far, I have been happy with the free stuff, invites to events etc but I am starting to explore opportunities to make a bit of money

  14. Laureen Fox December 10, 2013 at 2:13 am #

    I have received a few freebies in exchange for reviews. I used to consider blogging a hobby and was happy with the goodies. Last year, I decided to try and build the blog into a career which meant monetizing my site. I run ads and include affiliate links in my blog posts. So far I’ve only earned a few dollars. I’m sure having a copy of Will Write For Food would be most helpful.

  15. Marlene Cornelis December 11, 2013 at 12:12 am #

    I don’t monetize my blog and have no plans to do so at this time. However, I do the occasional sponsored post (so far, for products or gift cards). My blog led to getting involved in a community organization which led to teaching my first cooking class. And, more recently, I’ve been asked to contribute a weekly recipe and monthly food column to a local weekly newspaper supplement. So, my blogging is certainly opening doors for me.

  16. Ashshita December 12, 2013 at 2:46 am #

    I enjoy food for photos and recipe development. I am trying to make more videos and hoping to make a blog dedicated to that! I would love a copy of Ms.Jacob’s book!

  17. Jacqueline Yau December 12, 2013 at 9:29 pm #

    Do monetize from my blog but just from ads.

  18. Redawna December 12, 2013 at 10:16 pm #

    I have thought about monetizing my blog but to be honest I am not sure that is the route for me. I find of late my time is limited and I am not blogging as frequently as I would like. I am working on finding the right balance with my time to be able to be doing posts on a regular basis. My life changed drastically in this past year and I am still working out the kinks.

    Saying that I am strongly considering starting up a photography business.
    I have also considered doing some sort of food courses and have also been asked if I am for hire to cater some private events.

    Looking forward to where I end up in 2014!

    I would love a signed copy of Dianne’s book!

  19. Anna (Hidden Ponies) December 12, 2013 at 10:38 pm #

    I currently monetize through BlogHer and Google ads, but don’t know enough about the back-end of stats to really track what works best, so I just go along doing my thing and love seeing growth. I would love to write outside of the blog as well though, and would love a copy of this book!

  20. Bibi @ Bibi's Culinary Journey December 13, 2013 at 12:16 pm #

    I would love to win this book. I can see me taking my blog to the next leve after reading it :)

  21. Sarah @ Kiwi & Bean December 13, 2013 at 12:54 pm #

    I don’t do anything right now, but eventually I will probably consider it.

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