Blogging for bucks? Don't count on it

Is your organization one of the many now considering adding a blog to improve communications with members or to enhance a convention? If so, I say great, go for it—but don't count on your blog making much money through advertising or sponsorship. As Business Week's Stephen Baker says in this post about a trade magazine that will only launch a blog if it rakes in some bucks, you never know unless you try, but the real benefits are likely not going to be measurable in dollars and cents. (Note the dearth of ads on face2face, alas. And yet I blog on.)

Unless you think you can garner the traffic that Business Week's Blogspotting and other high-profile blogs do, chances are, you won't get a whole lot of advertising revenue from it, because most advertisers still are looking at blogs like they're any other kind of Web site, where value derives pretty much solely from click-throughs and numbers of eyeballs.

But blogs are different. I'd approach it more like a sponsorship to a specialty conference, where the value derives more from getting in front of the right people than just getting in front of a lot of people. I seriously doubt anyone who doesn't care about meetings reads face2face. You guys may be a relatively small group in the general scheme of things, but you care, deeply, about what you do. That should be worth something to someone. If you blog about fly fishing, or widget manufacturing—whatever your specific focus is, there's likely a group of folks who will stop by to hear what you have to say (assuming you say something useful and meaningful). They're the same ones who come to your conferences, read your magazines, join your committees, and buy your sponsors' and exhibitors' stuff.

Then again, I'm of mixed minds when it comes to monetizing blogs—I almost feel like it adds a layer between you and me in some way. Then again (again), it would help justify (in a corporate way) all the time I spend doing this. I don't know. If this thing never makes a dime, I'm still perfectly happy doing it, because there's so much I want to say to you guys (and so much I'd like to hear back from you about!). There aren't enough pages in a magazine to say it, nor is there the freedom to editorialize all I want, which obviously is something I like to do. A lot. I can only hope you enjoy it as much as I do.

OK, I better stop yapping and get back to work (yes, I am procrastinating). But if you do want to sponsor this blog, let Melissa Fromento, our publisher, know. If you just want to talk blogging, I'm here.

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