I hear from people all the time who have a blog and want to make money from it, or have companies send them free products. I always tell them that, first of all you have to have the reader numbers and the track record to attract those businesses, but also, if you’re willing to plug any product just because they give you a freebie, you won’t have a lot of credibility with your readers.
Last year this spot got 770,000 visitors, according to the stats that are sent out in December. When you are drawing that kind of numbers you get approached by a lot of companies who want to reach those readers.
Every week I get anywhere from two to six inquiries from somebody wanting me to tell the world about their product or service. Sometimes an e-mail requesting a plug for whatever it is they’re selling, and other times they don’t even have the courtesy to ask, they just send a press release and say print this. I guess I’m supposed to jump right on that.
Our policy has always been that we do not accept advertising in the Gypsy Journal, nor do we give press releases, for any product that we have not used ourselves or at least had one of our friends test, such as a fifth wheel stabilizer somebody offered us a while back is a test unit. And when the company does want us to review their product, I always tell them that if I like it I’ll be happy to say that. But I also warn them that if I think it’s crap, I’ll say that, too. It’s surprising how many outfits never respond after that.
We have tested some excellent equipment that we continue to use, like our Sea Eagle kayaks, our Blue Ox Aventa towbar, our engine compartment fire suppression system, the refrigerator compartment fire extinguisher that we used until we replaced our Norcold RV refrigerator with a residential model, our Progressive Industries electrical management system (EMS), and our Tire Tracker tire pressure monitoring system. Other things we have been sent to test and evaluate, like the Dyson cordless vacuum, have proven to not be something that we would continue to use or that failed us, and we report on that too!
We don’t only promote products that are sent to us for review. If we purchase something and like it, we also share that with our readers. I guess that’s why, when I recommend something, a lot of people buy it. After reading yesterday’s blog, where I praised the excellent KJL Cree LED 900 lumen flashlights, blog readers ordered over 70 of them.
One question I hear a lot is, can you make a living to support fulltime RVing with a blog?? The advertising on this blog brings in several hundred dollars a month, and while it’s a good addition to our income stream, it’s not enough to live on. Can you get companies to give you free products with a blog? Yes, you can, if you take the time to build a strong, loyal readership.
How much can you make and what kind of products might you be offered if you keep at it long enough? I don’t know. I guess it depends on the quality of your blog and how hard you work at it.
And blogging is hard work. For over 9 years now I published a 500+ word blog 365 days a year. And I have to admit, there are days when I just don’t feel like it. Maybe I’m tired, maybe I’m a bit under the weather, maybe it’s been a long day on the road or out playing tourist. But it’s a job, and I’ve never had a job where I could just skip a day now and then because it wasn’t convenient. If you look at blogging the same way, you’ve got a much better chance of succeeding at it.
Not every blog has to be monetized. Blogging is a great way to record your RV travels, to keep your family and friends updated on your adventures, and to make new friends. Sometimes that alone is more than enough reward, and you don’t have to be tied to a rigid schedule like I keep. Whatever you do, have fun with it. Because if you’re not having fun, why do it?
It’s Thursday, so it’s time for a new Free Drawing. This week’s prize is an audiobook of my friend Ken Rossignol’s Pirate Trials: Famous Murderous Pirates Book Series: THE LIVES AND ADVENTURES of FAMOUS and SUNDRY PIRATES. To enter, all you have to do is click on this Free Drawing link or the tab at the top of this page and enter your name in the comments section at the bottom of that page (not this one). Only one entry per person per drawing please, and you must enter with your real name. To prevent spam or multiple entries, the names of cartoon or movie characters are not allowed. The winner will be drawn Sunday evening.
My author friend Robert A. Taylor just released Dark Precinct, the first book in a new paranormal police procedural series. Check it out and leave a review when you’re done.
Thought For The Day – If you offer to help with something, don’t quit until the job is done.