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Tips for Academics: Monetizing Your Blog

Besides being used to express views and opinions, academics can also supplement their income through a blog. Because of their duty to remain neutral, they must, however, be creative when monetizing their blog. This article will teach you how to generate revenue in a subtle way that does not compromise your professional integrity.

Building your blog

The first thing that we recommend is that you invest in a professional looking blog. You can use off-the-shelf website creating tools or, if you lack the technical abilities, hire a web designer to build a blog for you. They can build it for $600 and, for less than a hundred more, they can even create your own logo.

Secondly, leverage your authority by creating the blog around your research: there are thousands of blogs on the internet, the ones that succeed are the ones that stand out.

Once you found your niche, create unique and interesting content. You will obviously post articles on subjects related to your research. However, you can make your blog even more interesting if you also have more personal content like pictures and articles describing your typical workday, posts about professional challenges, videos of experiments and field studies, or profiles of your assistants and students.

Finally, and most importantly, build a community around your blog by answering comments and holding regular Question and Answer sessions. To increase your following, we recommend that you publish regularly, blog on your colleagues site and have them blog on yours, and promote yourself on social media. Although this sounds like a lot of work, remember that blogging can be lucrative. It is common for bloggers to earn over $5,000 per month.

Offer your expertise

The easiest way for recognized experts to monetize their blog is to offer a service: all it takes is a link to your email. Popular services offered by bloggers include:

  • Consulting: Your readers know that you are an authority in your field given your education and experience. Your blog also demonstrates your ability to translate this knowledge to non-experts. Leverage these assets by offering advice to governments, NGOs and corporations. Make sure to incorporate a “hire me button” and link it to a page that clearly says that you offer consulting services, and cites your areas of expertise and your qualifications.
  • Speaking engagements: The blog will not only position you as an expert in your field, but also as an effective communicator. In addition to identifying yourself as a consultant, you can also mention that you are also a speaker. We suggest that you post a video of you explaining your research to demonstrate your oratory capacity. 5minofscience specializes in coaching for videos and editing.
  • Webinars: Webinars are live online workshops where you can give a talk about your area of expertise to paying clients. The talk incorporates Powerpoint presentations and allows for interaction with clients, especially during the question and answer segment at the end of the session. Platforms like Anymeeting makes it very easy to host a webinar.

Create a product

Through interactions with readers you will understand what they are willing to purchase. If you are not sure, you can even poll them. Here are examples of products that you can sell online:

  • Book or e-book: Recycle the blog’s content to write a book. In fact, bloggers are much more likely to be published because publishers know that they already have a following.
  • Courses: Since you are already an educator, it is easy to create paid online courses. A popular way to set it up is to sell 4-week courses sent by emails or release the full package for clients to study at their own pace.
  • Branded goodies: Use services like Zazzle to sell all kind of branded goodies to your readers. Wearing a t-shirt or drinking from a mug that has your logo will make them feel extra special.

Sell someone else’s product

If you do not want to offer a service or create a product to sell, you can sell someone else’s. To make it less intrusive, the product has to be related to your blog.

  • Affiliate marketing: This is a performance-base marketing strategy where bloggers create a link to a product or service offered by a third-party and receive a commission with every sale that resulted from the recommendation. The commission is non-trivial and typically ranges from 10-20%. Amazon AssociatesClick Bank and Link Share offer this service.
  • Sponsored posts: It consists of posting articles written by companies to advertise their products. Since sponsored posts are not common on academic blogs, you will have to approach companies. They may include publishers, lab equipment manufacturers, or universities. It is very important to make it obvious that it is paid for by a third-party.

Donations

If your goal is not to generate huge revenues, an alternative source of income are donations. The easiest way is to place a PayPal donate button.

Avoid generic banner ads

Banner advertisement like Google Adsense is a terrible way to monetize your blog. Not only is it unsightly and takes away from the experience, but it also generates little revenue.  On average, you need around 1,000 unique visitors everyday to make $0.50 per day.