How to Make Money in Social Media

Category: Weekly Columns

Do you remember that great George Carlin line about wanting to become a millionaire? I’m paraphrasing him but he said something like, “So, you want to be a millionaire – pause – first thing, get a million dollars.” Don’t we all wish it were that simple! No, you will not get magic tips on how to monetize from this column. You will get some useful ideas that you can employ.

When I began writing and doing Social Media I set four goals for myself, in order of priority, with the first three tied for first place and the fourth, a distant fourth. They were and still are:

1. Make the world a better place. Tikkun Olam – Repair the World.
2. Have fun.
3. Model a working and successful dad to my boys, who had almost never known me as anything other than their dad.
4. Make money.

To one degree or another, I’m definitely on the road with the first three goals. Of course, there’s always room to improve and grow but I’m having a blast. I know my boys now know dad is really working, and occasionally I believe I’m making a positive impact on the world.

Given that I work almost literally EVERY day and put in as many or more hours than I used to in my showbiz career, I decided at the end of 2011, that it was time to pay attention to goal #4 and start doing the things I should do to monetize. I was clear that I would not compromise my primary goals, but why the heck not make some money if I could?

Attending BlogWorld LA last fall, I heard repeatedly from the mom bloggers how they were making money and how they were being aggressive about demanding to be paid for their services. Upon more serious discussion and investigation, I found that the income many received was from affiliations with brands. Others had very specific niches in travel, for instance, and made money in the form of relationships with travel-oriented companies. Many received great perks in the form of free stuff, aka swag and/or free trips.

My radio show station manager has repeatedly urged me to charge subscription fees to those that visit my website, citing so many others that do that. While I offer a lot of content, there’s been something that continues to bother me about going that route.

Finally, I decided I’d better get some help and hire a manager. I don’t know what the job title is, but I think of Savior-Genius-Person (SGP hereafter) – the woman who leads my “team” – as my manager/agent in much the way I knew of that role in my former showbiz career. The difference, however, is that I am paying her monthly fees for her services and for those of the “team,” as needed and used. I chose to invest in myself, as I believe what I do and offer does indeed have value.

Given that I began without much concern for income, I chose to play in as many areas of Social Media and media, in general, as I could and that I wanted to. They now include a weekly vlog (I’m NOT That Dad), #DadChat, a weekly comic strip (Because I Said So), a book (A Dad’s Point-of-View: We ARE Half the Equation), my weekly radio show (The Bruce Sallan Show: A Dad’s Point-of-View), speaking engagements at conferences, guest blogging for a variety of other sites (24 so far, for, and my weekly A Dad’s Point-of-View column, which is seen in approximately 100 newspapers and websites, worldwide.

How much money do I make from ALL these enterprises? Does a cup o’ Joe a day give you a hint? Am I in it “for the money?” No, but I’m also not averse to making some!

So, what are the plans going forward? The first step was re-designing my website which, it turns out, had been set up with about the worst possible SEO potential. We re-launched about two months ago. The numbers have been steadily increasing in a sustained and meaningful manner.

The second step was teaching me how to use WordPress. I’ve had several tutorials from one of the team members and now I am basically able to handle the majority of the publishing myself.

Moving forward, as we build up our analytics we will secure advertisers, sponsors for the website, #DadChat, and possible campaigns, syndication and merchandizing of the comic strip, paid speaking engagements, another book, re-invigorate the sales of the first one, and get the radio show on more stations to make it more profitable.

With SGP’s guidance, I am stopping my previous way of thinking, which was 100% about the material and 0% about making money. The majority of what I will do will continue to be about the material but I can apportion some of my thinking to organic brand/sponsor ideas that work for me, my radio show, #DadChat, and more. Why not?

There you have it. A comprehensive strategy that includes throwing spaghetti against the wall and hoping it sticks when it’s cooked! Stay tuned. I expect to have a positive progress report by the end of the year. That is part of the plan!