Wednesday, July 17, 2019

"Create and Go": a little company says that niche blogging is still a viable way to make a living

In the past year or so, I’ve certainly heard a lot about the explosion of independent YouTube channels and how they have made money (starting about 2013) and how they are seriously challenged now by changes in YouTube policy.

Video channels seemed to replace blogging, and I’ve noted that Ramsay sold Blogtyrant in June 2018 and it doesn’t seem to have done much since.

There is a company called Create and Go run by a husband-wife team, and the husband (“cute”) gives a half-hour pitch in April 2019, “Make Money Blogging and Design your Days”.

Although a few controversial mommy blogs (like Dooce) were spectacularly successful without a lot of topic focus, most blogs that work financially center around a relatively narrow niche or commercial focus. The blog’s being successful comports with the larger business being successful. 
Many of CG’s advice is similar to Blogtyrant’s, and he talks about sponsored content, subscription lists, and particularly affiliate marketing (Amazon Associates is the simplest).

He also talked about the products he sells, which happen to include some lifestyle or nutrition products, and “printables”.

I react to this aware of the churning in the background over the future of free speech online and the of the threats to independent media in general.  The loss of “net neutrality” was the least of these;  more serious are FOSTA, the EU Copyright Directive, a new copyright bill in the US called CASE, and the behavior of big social media with respect to political polarization, especially YouTube’s recent pulling income from political content creators.

Of course, you say, this should not affect websites that support “legitimate” commercial business activity and you may be right;  in the future, websites may have to pay their own way.

I’ve said that I don’t think I can support my current multiple blog “free content” operation past the end of 2021. I actually have started thinking about how I might work in a much narrower niche.
Based on his advice in this video, for example, I could imagine a blog centered around my own classical music composition projects, including the two big sonatas.  I could talk about (or request assistance) with techniques in using composition software, like Avid Sibelius. Maybe I could work with Skillshare (which David Pakman promotes).

Or, possibly I could work on the idea of getting screenplays pitched or table-read (since I have one now based on my three DADT books as background), or something on how to check a novel manuscript for loose ends (there are software and database tools that can be tried).  But again, in some way, after 2021, this activity would have to pay for itself.

Then there gets to be a question about selling my three books so far, and the novel I plan to finish.  What about selling books in general?  That needs more focus.  What about independent bookstores v. chains and Amazon?

I’ve heard about multi-level marketing my whole life (Amway, etc), and for socially adept people it makes some sense.  Amway may have predicted the modern social network.  During the years I was looking after mother (until 2010), there was a family a few doors down that did multi-level successfully, although I never knew much about it.
I don’t like selling things for their own sake.  I’m not someone who claims to fix people’s motivational or lifestyle or nutritional or financial issues.  But I can see some more specific niches along the lines CG is talking about.

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