They say that one never truly works a day in their life when they're doing something that they love enough to do it for free. That's how I feel about blogging . . . BUT . . . the sentiment, while romantic, isn't realistic. The corporate world of insurance was and is no longer appealing to me and I really don't want to go back to it, but if I want to stay home with my kids I need to bring in some kind of income. As much as I'd like to, I can't dedicate the amount of time to this blog that I do for free, so it came time to monetize. I started out by placing an ad in my sidebar but let's be honest, Adsense isn't exactly paying anyone's bills unless they get a ton of traffic.
For me, the best form of monetization I have found is writing sponsored posts for blogging networks. There are a lot of networks out there of various sizes to join. Of course, you are going to get more work with the larger networks because they are attracting more clients, but don't ignore the smaller ones. They have a smaller blogger pool so you may get a decent amount of work from them, too.
What is a blogging network?
If you're new to the idea of monetizing your blog then you may be familiar with ads but may not be all that familiar with networks. Blogging networks are sites where you sign up and with any luck, you will be asked to write a post for a brand through the network and get paid for it. There are a lot of blogging networks out there and some are better than others. Some I get work from consistently and others I've been a member of and have only gotten a job or two, some none.
But aren't sponsored posts tacky?
They can be, but not if you do them right. When working with a reputable network you will often have to pitch your own idea to them so the post is 100% your idea and your content, you're just incorporating the product or service into your post as organically as possible. For instance, check out the post that I recently wrote for Suavitel in-wash scent booster. It turned out to be a fun post that I may have written anyway but I was able to incorporate the brand into it and get paid for my time.
Okay, so are you ready to give networks a try?
Blogging Networks to Join to Monetize Your Blog
Below are the networks that I work with often and make a fairly decent amount of income from. I would recommend signing up for all of these if you're a blogger.
Social Fabric/Collective Bias - at last check they now require a minimum of 10,000 unique monthly visitors. This is my favorite network based on the creativity of the campaigns and the amount of work I get through them. They also have an incredibly supportive community.
Linqia - pay per click based assignments. Easy once you get the hang of how to get the clicks. They pay the fastest out of all of the networks I work with.
The Sway (SITS Girls)
Pollinate Media Group - Requires a minimum of 20,000 pageviews per month.
Bookieboo - for green or health-conscious bloggers
Mom It Forward - often requires 25,000 or 50,000 UMV to apply for a campaign
One-2-One Network - worth signing up, but they operate on a "do this and you could win a gift card" model that I don't prefer.
The Blogger Network - requires 80,000 monthly pageviews to join. (I am not a member of this network)