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Want to make a living blogging? Here is what is needed in the space.

Want to make a living blogging? Here is what is needed in the space.

Old Dec 7, 14, 9:01 pm
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Want to make a living blogging? Here is what is needed in the space.

Since I have two blogs that are thriving, I think I can share some ideas for those who want to make a living doing this. Sure it takes (A TON) of time, but this is what, IMO, would in short order make you HUGE if you know your stuff.

1) Airline specific blogger. AA, AS, UA etc. Some may hate whatever airline you 99.9% blog about but there are tons of readers who would love to have someone to reach out to about ONE airline.

2) A good TBB type blogger. TBB could have been HUGE but he does not want to be. If you are willing to be the Colbert Report of blogs in a funny and not nasty snarky way you would have a HUGE following. Hard to do but if you pull it off EVERYONE would follow you - blogger and readers and link to you.

3) A 1st class HOW TO focused blog. OMAAT is a great luxury blogger but does not break down HOW to do so at a budget price. How to do this at a low price would draw a huge following.

If you can do any of these REALLY well, and post at least 1-3x a day, you could do this full time.
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Old Dec 7, 14, 9:31 pm
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Originally Posted by Delta Points View Post
Since I have two blogs that are thriving, I think I can share some ideas for those who want to make a living doing this. Sure it takes (A TON) of time, but this is what, IMO, would in short order make you HUGE if you know your stuff.

1) Airline specific blogger. AA, AS, UA etc. Some may hate whatever airline you 99.9% blog about but there are tons of readers who would love to have someone to reach out to about ONE airline.

2) A good TBB type blogger. TBB could have been HUGE but he does not want to be. If you are willing to be the Colbert Report of blogs in a funny and not nasty snarky way you would have a HUGE following. Hard to do but if you pull it off EVERYONE would follow you - blogger and readers and link to you.

3) A 1st class HOW TO focused blog. OMAAT is a great luxury blogger but does not break down HOW to do so at a budget price. How to do this at a low price would draw a huge following.

If you can do any of these REALLY well, and post at least 1-3x a day, you could do this full time.
Oh my, a COMPLIMENT from DP to TBB.

Look, up in the sky, it's a bird! It's a plane! It's a flying pig!!!!
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Old Dec 7, 14, 9:47 pm
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Originally Posted by kokonutz View Post
Oh my, a COMPLIMENT from DP to TBB.

Look, up in the sky, it's a bird! It's a plane! It's a flying pig!!!!
Please re-read (if you can). NO. To the idea of TBB ie copy of Colbert - just not done at all the same way. If TBB were not, well, a buzzard, he would be crushing it. But he is happy not making money as blogger (as is clearly shown)!
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Old Dec 8, 14, 5:36 am
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Totally agree with 1 as I have posted on here before.

The fact that it does not exist simply shows a lack of commercial reality by most bloggers. Lets imagine I move to the US and start flying AA because I choose it or am hub captive.

Which blog has a huge number of sticky pages explaining everything I need to know about AA and the programme? None.

If you are hub captive, you want a blog on the airline you fly. Promos for other airlines are immaterial and of no interest.

Let me scope the market. I write such a site about BA which does 600k page views a month. Grossing up by population and grossing up again because the US population flies more (BA is irrelevant if you live outside south east England), you should be able to do 2m-3m page views per month for a proper AA site.

Even if you just use Adsense, that would be $100k+ in ad revenue without a single credit card link. Affiliate links - do not need to be for credit cards - add a lot on top. In reality you would get card links because you would have the volume (but get the readers first). You should be able to do 5,000 applications a year easily from that sort of readership as long as you are selling the core cards for that airline which at $100 a pop would be $500k.

Note that it will be a full time undertaking. You will need to write perhaps 50 long reference articles on all aspects of the airline, then keep them permanently updated, as well as posting the latest news seven days a week. At those levels you should expect at least 100 reader emails a day as well.

You need to be able to write as well as a traditional journalist plus have a business degree level of marketing skill and some feel for graphic design. Realistically you need to believe that you are one of the 50 leading experts in the US on the relevant frequent flyer scheme as well.

However, there are harder ways to earn that sort of money. Incorporate it offshore (Google will pay you anywhere), pay yourself a minimal journalist salary for writing it and your tax is minimal too.

If you were really smart, you would create a mirror site for each of the big 3 and run the same hotel and car hire content across all 3, just leaving you to add additional airline specific news each day.

What kills it slightly is that US airlines do not have affiliate programmes for airline tickets, whilst this is very common in Europe.

Last edited by Raffles; Dec 8, 14 at 5:50 am
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Old Dec 8, 14, 8:48 am
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Originally Posted by Raffles
You will need to write perhaps 50 long reference articles on all aspects of the airline, then keep them permanently updated, as well as posting the latest news seven days a week. At those levels you should expect at least 100 reader emails a day as well.
The problem with that approach is that there already IS a resource that provides this: FlyerTalk.

When i was a UA-head I got everything I wanted and needed in real-time from the FlyerTalk UA forum.

And since becoming airline agnostic I spend a lot of time on airlines I know nothing or only very little about (and that tends to include my former obsession, United, which only bears a passing similarity to the airline and program that I used to be in love with).

But Google is my friend. When I need to know, for example, which lounge options I will have in NRT on a paid AA business class fare I ask the Google. Typically I get directed to a thread on FlyerTalk and to a few blog entries.

Yesterday I was wondering what lounge I would get to use at PEK on a first class connection from BKK on TG to IAD on UA. My google results: THAI, star alliance, flyertalk and three blogs. The blog reports (that consisted mostly of photos of the food offerings) were from 2008, 2011 and 2012. The FlyerTalk thread was from March of this year.

Same is true of hotels. When we start exploring options, my wife will ask: 'what do tripadvisor and flyertalk think about the Hilton options in FLL?'

Originally Posted by Delta Points View Post
Please re-read (if you can). NO. To the idea of TBB ie copy of Colbert - just not done at all the same way. If TBB were not, well, a buzzard, he would be crushing it. But he is happy not making money as blogger (as is clearly shown)!
I re-read it. Still feels like a begrudging compliment to me!
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Old Dec 8, 14, 6:53 pm
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Originally Posted by Delta Points View Post
1) Airline specific blogger. AA, AS, UA etc. Some may hate whatever airline you 99.9% blog about but there are tons of readers who would love to have someone to reach out to about ONE airline.
I hadn't given it much thought before, but with this inspiration I think I will start one up, to focus on Delta Air Lines.
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Old Dec 8, 14, 9:51 pm
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Originally Posted by Raffles View Post

You need to be able to write as well as a traditional journalist plus have a business degree level of marketing skill and some feel for graphic design. Realistically you need to believe that you are one of the 50 leading experts in the US on the relevant frequent flyer scheme as well.
The rest of your post I agree with, but from reading the miles & points blogs I have to disagree with this part. Many of the successful blogs have horrible grammar let alone the ability to write a well structured piece of prose. I'd also argue that many of these same blogs have a very poor design aesthetic and/or they lack the ability to properly capture a pleasing photo. One thing they do excel at is marketing though.
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Old Dec 9, 14, 6:55 am
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Originally Posted by 1848 View Post
The rest of your post I agree with, but from reading the miles & points blogs I have to disagree with this part. Many of the successful blogs have horrible grammar let alone the ability to write a well structured piece of prose. I'd also argue that many of these same blogs have a very poor design aesthetic and/or they lack the ability to properly capture a pleasing photo. One thing they do excel at is marketing though.
With the exception of MMS, these are not general interest sites. If you are going to appeal to a mainstream audience you need to pay attention to writing and design - you can get away with this in the 'fan boy' (!) arena. Any site with big ideas focussed around a big 3 airline must look and feel mainstream.

Worth noting that my blog has had paid advertising from Lufthansa, Qatar and Hilton this year, amongst others. I would not have got this if I couldn't spell and my site looked like a train wreck.
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Old Dec 9, 14, 9:00 am
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For a counter point, there is considerable risk in a "symbiotic" relationship. For example, you spend considerable time and money developing your brand and niche, such as Delta Points - perhaps even going so far as to talk poorly of the competitor airlines- then you learn that American acquired them.. without even asking your permission!

What happens then? Do you rebrand everything and chase the relationship? What if a super duper AA blogger has emerged since you wrote this post, and now you try to rebrand but he has that market cornered already?

Dangerous business planning to create a model that relies only on that one facet, and while reinvention can occur, its a crap shoot.

Also - for a dose of reality to aspiring bloggers- people are bandying around numbers of 2-3M pageviews being 'easy' to achieve. Trust me, its not.

If it was that easy to create a blog, why not spend $50K per year on a full time writer, another $20K on technology, and pocket the $430K balance?

Not saying people shouldn't try it, but know that it is hard work, and this talk is fanciful.

Last edited by brooklynmatt; Dec 9, 14 at 9:28 am
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Old Dec 9, 14, 9:32 am
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Honesty is the key in any media relationship, in my opinion.

Deception and parasitical relationships can be more successful in the shorter term; but ultimately readership is critical in any media discipline in order to be successful for the long term.

The question is this: if you write a weblog, which is more important: informing your audience and earning their trust, as with a Wall Street Journal; or entertaining your audience with sensationalism, as with an Entertainment Tonight?

The answer: that depends on your audience; which is why there are different opinions posted in this particular forum pertaining to different weblogs — and there is nothing wrong with that...
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Old Dec 9, 14, 12:04 pm
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Originally Posted by 1848 View Post
The rest of your post I agree with, but from reading the miles & points blogs I have to disagree with this part. Many of the successful blogs have horrible grammar let alone the ability to write a well structured piece of prose. I'd also argue that many of these same blogs have a very poor design aesthetic and/or they lack the ability to properly capture a pleasing photo. One thing they do excel at is marketing though.
Indeed. Grammar, spelling, and other errors are too common even with other fairly popular blogs - FTG, TPG, VFTW.

Though perhaps most people don't notice or care anymore. Certainly there are enough spelling and grammar mistakes even in newspapers, magazines, product labels, etc. I suppose some wouldn't notice if the blogger wrote in text messaging shorthand.
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Old Dec 9, 14, 3:51 pm
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Originally Posted by brooklynmatt View Post

If it was that easy to create a blog, why not spend $50K per year on a full time writer, another $20K on technology, and pocket the $430K balance?
Matt is on the money. No way would I be creating an airline focused blog when the trend is away from brand loyalty with a specific airline. Your also at the mercy of relationships with that brand.
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Old Dec 9, 14, 5:02 pm
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Originally Posted by Doctor of Credit View Post
Matt is on the money. No way would I be creating an airline focused blog when the trend is away from brand loyalty with a specific airline. Your also at the mercy of relationships with that brand.
You are not seeing the world as the average customer sees it. They fly American because they live in an AA hub.

More importantly, when these people turn to Google with an AA query, Google will serve you up because it knows your site is full of AA stuff.

And these are all fresh customers for your credit card links.

I have no idea how many AAdvantage members there are but you only need a teeny tiny fraction to turn to Google with a query each day and there are your readers. As soon as they find you, they will know you are a place to bookmark because all you cover is AA and that is 'their' airline.
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Old Dec 9, 14, 7:50 pm
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Originally Posted by Raffles View Post
With the exception of MMS, these are not general interest sites. If you are going to appeal to a mainstream audience you need to pay attention to writing and design - you can get away with this in the 'fan boy' (!) arena. Any site with big ideas focussed around a big 3 airline must look and feel mainstream.

Worth noting that my blog has had paid advertising from Lufthansa, Qatar and Hilton this year, amongst others. I would not have got this if I couldn't spell and my site looked like a train wreck.
First, I did not mean this as a slight to your individual blog, I am just talking of the spectrum as a whole. I'd also say even in a niche such as this a little bit of focus on these core skills would result in a better product and would be a sound investment for most, but from what I see many are too focused on the 'wrong' things.

Originally Posted by 84fiero View Post
Though perhaps most people don't notice or care anymore. Certainly there are enough spelling and grammar mistakes even in newspapers, magazines, product labels, etc. I suppose some wouldn't notice if the blogger wrote in text messaging shorthand.
Unfortunately this is all too true.
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Old Dec 9, 14, 8:23 pm
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Originally Posted by Doctor of Credit View Post
Matt is on the money. No way would I be creating an airline focused blog when the trend is away from brand loyalty with a specific airline. Your also at the mercy of relationships with that brand.
I have run successful business all my life. I can tell you, as horrid as UA is, a blog that is all UA all the time and 100% knows the program, like me with Delta, can be HUGE in no time.

This comes from someone making a nice living as a full time blogger.
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