Professional bloggers focus on their niche area of expertise and for them it is an extension of their hobby. Rajesh Lalwani, founder, Blogworks, says: "for companies and entrepreneurs, it becomes a social marketing tool or a way to engage with their internal and external stakeholders." Fastrack for example reached out to its target audience of fashion conscious youth, bikers etc through blogs and encouraged value co-creation by taking their feedback from the product design stage itself.
Reaching out to people across the world is something that professional bloggers derive a kick from. "People know you through your blog. You can build partnerships with other bloggers and share communities with readers across the globe," says Dina Mehta, a researcher ,ethnographer and Managing Director, Mosoci India.
The most common way for individual bloggers to generate direct revenue through blogs is advertising. A majority of bloggers use third party advertisers like Google AdSense to carry advertisements on their blogs. Direct advertising by clients gets better returns for the blogger as the commission paid to the third party advertiser is omitted.
Under the 'Affiliate model', bloggers can tie-up with specific sites that pay them directly for the business that the blog directs to them.
Micro-publishing, a collections of blogs from different bloggers helps bloggers, earns revenue directly through subscriptions, advertisements and on-ground events for the blog. There are no subscription blogs in India yet, but popular ones like medianama.com and alootechie.com operate on the above model. There can even be a single blogger in the micro-publishing model.
Blogs can add to the blogger's income indirectly by getting them professional work. Most bloggers, provided they prove competent, are sought out by companies for consultancy, research and insight programmes.
Amit Agarwal, founder, Digital Inspiration, says: "These days bloggers use their blogs as portfolios to showcase their talent and knowledge." Google searching names of prospective recruits is a trend of the past, HR companies now follow blogs to gauge the knowledge and understanding of job seekers before recruiting them.
But blogging is not all fun. It's serious business too, where revenue is proportional to traffic. "You must keep in mind who you are blogging for and what you are blogging about. If you don't update the blog regularly or are not interesting, you will lose out on readership," says Peter Griffin, a journalist and web-design consultant.
Grabbing eyeballs is important. Agarwal believes that revenue to a certain extent is dependent on external factors beyond the bloggers' control. For instance, a recession may bring down ad rates which may affect the revenue generated.