Blogher '06 Session Discussion: From Here to Autonomy on Day Two

BlogHer Original Post

16th in our series introducing you to each of our BlogHer Conference '06 sessions and their speakers, and finding out what you would like to get from each session. Today, I bring you from Day Two:

From Here to Autonomy: Blogger as entrepreneur...fact or fiction? What does it take to leverage blogging to make a living? Heather Armstrong, Arieanna Foley and Jennifer James know from experience. They've each become blogpreneurs in different ways: superstar blogger using an ad-based model; professional blogger who writes for more blogs than most of us read; subject-matter expert blogger with writing, editing and speaking gigs around her subject. Rachelle Bowden grills them on best practices and pitfalls.

On Day One you will learn about the various ways you can make money directly from your blog...advertising, affiliate programs, and the like. I contrast, this Day Two session will focus on real-world experiences using those techniques, but it will also talk about the other ways bloggers have leveraged their blogs to make money, and sometimes even their living. Each of the women on this panel do it differently. Bring your questions for each of them. You'll walk away with ideas and inspiration.

[img_assist|fid=749|thumb=1|alt=Heather Armstrong] Sure, Heather Armstrong is a top blogger, but making money from it isn't magic. It's taken time to grow her site, to experiment with different tools and services, to strike the right balance that earns her living without alienating her readers. Heather may be hilarious, but she treats her blogging the full-time job it is. She'll share the highs and the lows. Last year Heather talked about issues of identity and public "nakedness" via one's blog. Since we learned from our survey about blogging boundaries earlier this year that money is an even more sensitive topic than sex, Heather is actually taking her BlogHer Nakedness one step further in this sessino!

[img_assist|fid=753|thumb=1|alt=Rachelle Bowden] Rachelle Bowden is one of those folks who swears by her blog as a means of establishing her credibility and expertise. As a blogger, as a writer, as a thinker. And since she trailblazed the first "-ist" site outside Gothamist when she helped them launch Chicagoist, she also knows about the entrepreneurial spirit. Rachelle now works in the social media arena, for Feedburner, and thinks that probably would never have happened if she weren't a committed blogger. And yes, despite the full-time job with Feedburner, Rachelle is still blogging for Chicagoist. And being an amazing photoblogger at her personal blog.

[img_assist|fid=757|thumb=1|alt=Arieanna Foley] As someone who contributes to 9 blogs myself, Arieanna Foley blows my mind. Because she contributes to 17. Yes, 17. Some are for clients, and some are for a blogging network, and some are entirely her own. More than that, some are blogs that she started for the express purpose of making money. They are about topics that large numbers of other people feel passionate about, even if Arieanna personally doesn't. Arieanna researches and chooses hot topics and commits herself to blogging about them. Does Arieanna maintain her blogosphere crediblity? She believes so. Controversial? To some in the blogosphere. Entrepreneurial? I think so. Lucrative? Apparently.

[img_assist|fid=764|thumb=1|alt=Jennifer James]
Jennifer James is another blogger whose blog is a marketing tool for both her professional advancement, but it is also an advocacy tool for her particular areas of interest: parenting and homeschooling, particularly for African American families. First job of the blog? Drive traffic to the web site of a magazine Jennifer edits. Job #2: Establish Jennifer as a subject matter expert in her niche area. The blog gives her Google juice in her area, so she gets found. And then her blog content establishes her strong voice and expertise. The result: media cites and stories. And attention to the topics she really cares about.

Each blogger has used blogging in a different way to accomplish slightly different goals. But in each case blogging became more vocation than avocation.

As more and more bloggers look for ways to make that same transition, these four bloggers have insights we can all benefit from.

So, that's what we are envisioning for the session. But what do you think. What do you want to learn? What do you want to hear? What do you never want to hear again? What would make you attend this session?


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