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, Jan, Amy, 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.
4. A pop-up store!
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!
For even more ways to earn income from your food blog, take a look at our review of Kiersten Frase's book, How To Monetize Your Food Blog e-book.
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+
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