In the summer of 2008 I was facing a ticking time bomb. Okay, so it wasn’t exactly a time bomb. It was the clock that was ticking telling me that in one year I would need to return to teaching in order to once again supplement my spouse’s income. While there were many things that I loved about teaching – the students, the content, the coworkers – there were also many things that I strongly disliked about teaching – the students, the content, the coworkers. With my four year old filling my days with sunshine and my cuddly two year old in my arms most of the day, I also could not fathom a return to my eleven hour teacher work days that involved weekends of grading papers and would now involve daycare drop-offs and pickups, both occurring in the dark.
Thus I began blogging. While moderating the BlogHer Mindful Monetization panel earlier this month, someone asked if there’s a particular niche blog that tends to make more money than others. I simply answered, “Not parenting blogs,” and turned it over to my fellow speaker who does very well through ad revenue on her beauty site. Of course, no one told me two years ago when I began blogging that starting a parenting blog would not be my road to riches. And in fact, my goal at the time was not to find my fortune through an ad network or affiliate revenue but rather to tap into that writer brain that had long since been silenced by the sound of crying children. I hoped to build an online portfolio of blog posts with the goal of freelance writing and editing jobs, and just enough of them to keep me at home with my children and the bills paid.
Most parenting bloggers have a no dearth of content ideas. Many of us are stay-at-home parents and are surrounded by other parents not only in our day to day lives but also online through social media. Should I ever find myself without a post topic, I need only to tweet, “What parenting issue are you dealing with right now?” and suddenly I have a couple dozen topics to research ranging from potty training a toddler to the potty mouth of a tween. Finding time to create that content is a different story. While bloggers in another niche may have set aside time from their daily work schedule to post, parenting bloggers, stay-at-home moms in particular, post frantically during nap time or in the wee hours of the morning when they themselves should be sleeping.
What does all of this mean for monetization? There are certainly many parenting bloggers who have no desire to monetize….and that’s good because monetization is not easy. While I’ve watched frugal living bloggers rapidly build a fan base that has led them to phenomenal ad revenue through private sales and ad networks, I’ve also watched mom journaling bloggers struggle to secure a ten dollar 125 x 125 button ad. For many parenting bloggers, writing sponsored posts is simply not an option either for the integrity of their blog or simply for lack of offers. This has led many parenting bloggers to seek methods of monetization beyond their blogs. There is certainly no shortage of examples of brands and bloggers working together successfully in spokesperson relationships, through integrated campaigns, and in social media through Twitter events, Facebook campaigns and more. Even with the opportunities available to monetize using their blog as a platform, a means to an end, parenting bloggers still face small budgets and the scrutiny of their readers as well as their community when they choose to monetize.
While I never could have predicted two years ago where I am today thanks to the creation of my own parenting blog, Resourceful Mommy, I’m happy that this is the path I have taken. The problem for other parenting bloggers looking to monetize is not lack of trailblazers, but that no two bloggers seem to find success following the same path. While those of us who are happy with where we have gone can certainly provide guidance to those hoping to move from mommy to monetization, only hard work, time and a healthy dose of luck can move a parenting blogger hoping to find monetary success to where they want to be.
Amy Lupold Bair writes her own parenting blog at http://ResourcefulMommy.com and owns the blog network Global Influence comprised of 1,000+ other bloggers, many of them parents. In her non-parent time she…well, she doesn’t have any of that. Learn more about Amy and what she does at http://resourcefulmommymedia.com