Blogging has rapidly become a cottage industry. As the internet becomes the primary resource of information for people around the world, there’s a constant demand for content. That means that a strong, confident, and knowledgeable voice can make a living by sharing their thoughts and experience with the world. But it’s such a broad industry that many people have trouble figuring out how to break in. Fortunately, the blogging world has grown enough that it can be broken down into a number of general categories. If you’re interested in starting your own blog, read on.
We’ve identified two main ways of classifying blogs and split them into their own categories for ease of reading.
Blogs by Intent
There are countless reasons why an individual decides to start blogging, and that’s reflected in the varieties of blogs available. Understanding your reasoning for starting a blog can help you determine its tone and style.
Blogs got their start as essentially just online diaries and journals, and many people start blogging just with the intent of sharing their thoughts and interests without expectations of gaining fame and fortune. The advantage of personal blogs is that you don’t have to worry about catering your content towards a specific audience or pursuing an aggressive marketing strategy. But it’s important to remember that it can be lonely just broadcasting your thoughts into the void. Many personal blogs make use of free blog platforms like Tumblr and WordPress that allow them to connect with other bloggers and create a makeshift online community.
If you have a passion for a subject and the skill of writing, there’s no reason you should do it for free. At least that’s the philosophy that drives professional bloggers. The truth is that making a living salary as a blogger isn’t easy, and it requires a lot more than just passion and talent. Professional bloggers need to be inspired entrepreneurs as well since the only way to financial solvency is to monetize their work. Since professional bloggers tend to make their money by promoting products in their field of specialization and selling advertising space, having a strong personal identity is critical to building their customer bases and proving their value to prospective sponsors.
While professional bloggers often go about pitching products and services as a way of keeping the lights on, that’s usually incidental to their main goal of selling a personality. Affiliate bloggers are explicitly focused on selling the products and services of others. That doesn’t mean that they’re fully mercenary writers. Affiliate bloggers should be encouraged to promote products that they can stand behind so that they can build a more trusting relationship with their followers. Since affiliate bloggers typically make commissions for lead generation, their success is usually predicated on maintaining and nurturing a long and high-quality email list that can draw in large numbers of readers in conjunction with the announcements and launches of products.
While affiliate bloggers work with a variety of different companies to promote their products and draw in sales, business bloggers are committed to provide quality and lasting content for a single company. They may be the owner, a staff member, or a contractor, but the job is generally to build out an identity for a company and expand the SEO quality and prominence of their website rather than funneling clients directly from a review to a product sales page. More and more companies are relying on traditional and persistent blogging like this because each article has a singular upfront cost but can draw in customers over a long period of time without appearing explicitly as an advertisement. Business bloggers need to possess an intimate knowledge of the company they’re working for, the customers they’re looking to target, and the fundamentals of marketing.
For a blog to gain and retain popularity, it needs consistently high-quality content. Often the amount of output is too much for a single company or blogger to maintain. That’s where journeyman bloggers come in. These freelancers are essentially work-for-hire and get paid by the content to plump up the content on a variety of different blogs. There are some distinct advantages to this freelance approach to blogging. Journeyman bloggers don’t have to serve as their own marketing teams, and they aren’t tied down to the whims of one particular employer. It’s an approach to blogging that allows for a lot more flexibility, but it also requires bloggers to hustle to keep acquiring work, and there’s less assurance of income security. Since journeyman bloggers typically need to write on a wide variety of topics, strong research skills and an adaptable voice are the most important qualities to possess.
Media blogs are usually maintained by people who don’t consider blog writing their primary passion but are looking for a streamlined means to share the content that they create. Media bloggers could be podcasters who are looking for a way to archive their podcasts and provide summaries for curious viewers, photographers who want to broaden their appeal to a wider audience, or video game streamers who need a place to post their saved videos outside of a live platform like Twitch. Media bloggers may also share a post that they haven’t created themselves. These curators may share outside blogs that intersect with their interests or carefully selected pieces of art or photography from other creators. In any case, blogging is generally a supplement to the passion of the media blogger. Since the sort of content that media bloggers share usually takes up more memory than more traditional text-driven blogs, finding platforms accommodating to their needs are of critical importance.
As blogging has blown up in a big way, more ambitious entrepreneurs have realized the potential there is for larger blogging platforms. While traditional blogs are usually handled by one or two bloggers with occasional input from guest bloggers, community blogging platforms are massive. Sites like Fansided, Medium, and Ninja have realized that trucking in bulk content can be a great way to draw in readers, and they offer creators the promise of exposure. Where an individual blog might not have the marketing manpower to reach their audience, these larger platforms can provide free marketing in a way that keeps guests pouring in to their site. While some of these sites offer payment to bloggers that work for them, they’re usually much lower than the rates that you’d find from other approaches to blogging, and many of them don’t offer any money at all for the efforts of their writers. Community blogging can be a great way to get your feet wet or learn the ropes, but it’s rarely going to be sustainable as a steady and full-time source of income.
Blogs by Interest
Bloggers should follow their passions regarding they want to write, but not all subjects have the same likelihood of capturing the public interest. Here are some of the most popular genres of blogging. It’s important to note that while a particular category may have a substantive fanbase, having a passion and knowledge of the subject is important, and it’s crucial that you build an identity and niche that helps you stand out from other bloggers that write about your subject of interest.
Video games have become one of the biggest entertainment businesses around. Big franchise console releases regularly outsell blockbuster movies, and there’s a vast and enthusiastic audience looking for the latest news, commentary, and streaming. The value of gaming is bolstered by the relative youth of gaming news media. Until recently, gaming news sites have often served essentially as mouthpieces for developers. While there are now more credible news sources than there were in the past, gamers are hungry for authentic voices that operate as more than just a delivery device for press releases.
Fashion is one of the largest and most popular categories for blogs. While that means there’s still plenty of potential to make a space for yourself, it also means that you’ll already be entering a saturated market. The fashion world was once held back by gatekeepers, but that’s drastically opened up with the rise of the internet commentary scene. People passionate about fashion who want to make a name in the blogging world need to be able to carve out their own identity and style, but the opportunities for free products and paid endorsements are huge here.
There’s nothing the internet likes more than cute animals. While gifs and pictures of cute kittens and puppies may be the most digestible content on social media, there’s also a healthy market for more detailed pet content. It’s an expansive market broad enough to support in-depth product reviews, blogs featuring specific superstar pets, and general advice for pet parents. It’s also fertile ground for the animal rights and rescue operations. Whether you’re trying to find a home for needy animals or shine a light on the sorts of struggles that homeless and abused animals suffer, a blog can be an ideal way to signal boost your cause.
Politics is a very broad field, and that makes it a great entry point for people with a wide variety of interests. Many political bloggers focus on link posting, while others provide their professional or personal insight into international, federal, or local politics. Whether you’re a grassroots organizer, an armchair politico, or a seasoned campaign manager with the knowledge to focus on the inside baseball, you can find an audience focused around your specialty. The craving for opinions based reporting means this is a great market for bloggers with a strong personality and a distinct vision of the world. But it’s important to recognize the speed at which news travels. It’s hard to write evergreen content in the world of politics, and that means that these types of blogs require more consistent output than practically any other field.
If you’re a true cinephile, there’s potentially no better path to express your love for films than through blogging. While writing, directing, or acting in films require a lot of luck and a lot of training, every opinion is unique and valuable. The more general you are with your film content, the more current you need to be. But while there’s a lot of demand for new perspectives on the latest movies, film lovers with a genre specialization can get a lot of mileage out of digging through the archives. Deep analysis of old Italian horror films or the golden age of romantic comedies can earn you a lot of credibility, but it’s very important to find your lane.
Whether you like or dislike a movie is less important than showing passion, and the benefits of making a name for yourself in the film blogging community are very enticing. Reputable bloggers are often invited to early screenings as a means of building up buzz for films, and many can even network in the community and score exclusive interviews with industry talent.
The news media landscape is exceedingly vast, but that can serve as an advantage to savvy bloggers. Many bloggers who work in the news field focus on curating articles that reflect a certain sub-genre of the news or reflect the needs of a specific ideology or demographic. In essence, their job is to sift through the layers and layers of news and find the ones that their readers will be interested in. But there’s a desire for original content as well. Insightful opinions and commentary can draw in a lot of new readers, and that’s especially true if the blogger has some personal or professional experience in the field they’re looking to cover. Bloggers may also decide to focus on the neighborhood or town they live in and provide more focused news that doesn’t get coverage from the larger news sources. Just keep in mind that such blogs have a follower cap since they’re naturally penned in by the size of their community.
Platforms like Fansided and SBNation are proof that there’s a huge market for non-corporate sports commentary. But the high profile and wealth of content on those platforms also means that it can be hard to actually make your individual blog stand out from the crowd. Sports writers with their own independent blogs may focus on a specific team or the franchises from their city, or they may leverage their specific skill sets to provide a broad but unique perspective on a particular sport or league. The popularity of massive sports news sites opens up a wealth of opportunity for freelance writers as well. Teams, athletes, and other organizations are always looking for ways to improve their visibility, and many will actively seek out bloggers who can foster stronger connections with their fans.
The complicated forces that govern the world of finance mean that people with a specialized understanding of how the market works can quickly rise to prominence. Finance blogs can cover everything from predictions about the stock market to analysis of cryptocurrency to advice on navigating the fiscal complexities of a tech startup. And while knowledgeable academics are a premium in the industry, you don’t have to have a master in economics to carve out a niche in the finance world. Families and individuals are looking for financial advice as well, and creative bloggers can offer advice on topics like shopping on a budget and saving money even when you’re living paycheck to paycheck.
Food blogs are perhaps the most popular around, and they’re also one of the broadest. You could start a food blog by sharing reviews of local restaurants or by offering family recipes. What’s great about a food blog is that there are a huge number of subtopics you can expand into as your popularity grows. There are even bloggers who make a living taste testing rare and exotic foods from around the world. Reviewers can easily branch into discussions of the wider industry and leverage their building visibility to interview chefs and restaurateurs. Video blogging is a natural area of growth for cooking bloggers as are discussions of ingredients, techniques, and the science behind cooking. Food bloggers may choose to focus on a specific cuisine or region, or they may fit comfortably into a niche like healthy meals, cooking on a budget, or discussing the trials of ethical and sustainable food.
Industry trends are making it easier for people to travel than ever before, and that’s created a cottage market for bloggers. And there are a lot of topics you can cover. If you’re living abroad, you can easily provide information for what curious adventurers should see and how they can get around. Meanwhile, the rise of sites offering cheap airfare and hotels has created a demand for budget travel bloggers who can help people with more modest budgets plan out trips they might have once thought was never possible. There’s also a growing community of nomads: backpackers, RVers, and hostel hoppers who treat their blog as a makeshift travelogue. Some of these traveling bloggers fund their lifestyles primarily through their blogging, but making a living like that often means working across multiple channels, working especially hard to build relationships with your followers, and integrating multimedia like videos and photography into your blog experience.
Following Your Muse
Whatever format or field you decide to follow, passion is the most important quality for a blogger to possess. If there’s something that interests you, chances are there are already dozens of bloggers who have already cornered the market. Approaching the subject with your own unique voice and perspective is important, but just as important is your authenticity. Readers can spot an insincere commentator from a mile away, and most blogs are going to live and die on your ability to express how you really feel and build genuine connections with your audience.
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