A few months back, I had a chance to meet a very successful blogger-turned-millionaire, who has been an inspiration to millions of Indian and also US bloggers. I met him through an event where he spoke about affiliate marketing.
If you have made career as a blogger, chances are you have come across ShoutMeLoud, Harsh Agrawal's million-dollar minting blog, which has 3.8 million monthly visits and generates a revenue of around $20k a month. So let's get started:
Dipti Parmar: Most bloggers earn money through reviews? How can they find potential advertisers?
Harsh Agrawal: Thanks to the popularity of influencer marketing, there are more opportunities for bloggers in this area than any other. In order to get started with product reviews, a blogger needs to get offers. This can be achieved through following techniques:
Media-kit: Set up a media-kit or an advertisement page that helps potential advertisers understand the benefits of working with the blogger.
Reach out to advertisers: When starting out, product review offers don't usually just come in. Bloggers must pro-actively reach out to potential advertisers. Reach out to brands' advertising department, convincing the advertiser why they should be forming a partnership.
Become part of a network: Many networks like Famebit help to connect brands with publishers (aka bloggers). However, most of these networks require publishers to have a high social status before they can get any high value offers.
Now comes the most important question. How can publishers make money from ads without upsetting their audience?
Serving up a lot of un-moderated ads can harm your credibility and hamper your revenue stream. Also, with the recent advent of ad blocking tools, most of the website's advertising revenue will be stifled from the get go.
The best way you can make money and simultaneously not annoy your audience is by endorsing and recommending products that have personal value in your own lives.
In today's digital market, almost every product is sold online and most of these products have an affiliate or referral program. These programs pay a pretty handsome commission for each sale.
How do you connect your audience and clients?
Since the inception of ShoutMeLoud, we have worked tirelessly to make it a full-fledged blogging community. This has been the cornerstone of our success in terms of building a loyal readership. It's not just my blog, it's our blog.
In the first week of every month, we share a detailed report of what we learned over the past month; in addition, we also share our full traffic stats, expenses, and total earned income. This is a part of our transparency motto. These reports have also helped members of our community pursue blogging as a serious, full-time career.
We often run giveaways/contests to help our members out with some goodies that will help them grow their blog. Sometimes, it's as simple and cheap as a domain name. Other times, it's as large and expensive as a one-year SEMRUSH account worth $1,500. Since these promotions are a win-win, we've always had great success getting companies on board for these giveaways.
What does your revenue model look like?
Over the past 8 years, our revenue model has evolved from endorsing other products through affiliate marketing to building our own products and creating a sales funnel.
For many, the idea of a blog having a sales funnel is relatively new, but at ShoutMeLoud, we believe that this is not only forward thinking but also essential to keep up with the ever-changing climate of earning online income.
The below graph shows our financial growth over the past several years:
Before we part, can you share some best practices for fellow bloggers?
The first and the most common advice is to be authentic. Everyone will tell you that, and I second it wholeheartedly. Here are some other tips and takeaways that can help you take your blogging journey to the next level.
Note: This interview has been condensed and edited for length.