By Erin Petersen
When the terms “social media” and “careers” are thrown together, as students our immediate guess as to what the topic of discussion will be falls into categories such as marketing, branding, and customer service. As students of communication studies and business, we simply suppose that to make a career out of social media, we need to work for a company or organization in one of the above-mentioned departments.
While that may be the traditional path to a career, social media allows for an entirely different and disruptive way of making a living—one that requires not a degree, nor a business, nor any professional experience, but rather simply a computer, the Internet, and a following.
According to a Forbes article from 2010, there are more than 20 million bloggers in the U.S., and 1.7 million of those are getting paid to blog. That means nearly 1% of American adults are blogging for cash.
Bringing these stats to a more local level, here’s a snapshot of just a fraction of the blogs in Portland, alone, run by bloggers who pay their mortgage via posting photos and DIY explanations:
Most of these bloggers generate money through banner ads, which are paid on a cost per thousand readers basis, which requires that a blog attracts and retains a substantial following (think hundreds of thousands of readers). This is the typical method of earning an income, but some of the most popular bloggers now have other options as well.
Oh She Glows! is a vegan recipe blog started by blogger Angela Lindon in 2008. Her blog boasts over 500 unique recipes, and she remains a favorite for fans looking for healthy and delicious food. Last year, Angela chose to expand her blogging company by releasing The Oh She Glows! Cookbook, which went on to be a New York Time’s bestseller and recipient of Ingigo’s Book of the Year.for 2014. Successful in this outside endeavor, Angela decided to start another branch to her blog: an organic tea shoppe. After years of blogging, Angela has garnered enough followers to start her own enterprise stemming from her recipe blog.
Angela Liddon is not the only blogger to create a full-functioning business out of a blog.
Kristin Marr is one many successful “mommy blogs”. Her blog’s motto is as follows:
EMBRACING THE SIMPLICITY OF NATURAL LIVING AND TRADITIONAL REAL FOOD
What makes her blog unique is not her recipes for DIY peppermint natural toothpaste or made-from-scratch cake recipes, but rather the fact that in order to accomplish the goals of constantly updating her blog and retaining readers, she actually hired on an entire team of helpers with in charged of categories such as “Natural DIYs”, “Real Food & Kids”, and “Simple Home Projects”. Kristin has achieved enough success with her blog that she not only is able to support herself, but also additional employees.
Aside from bloggers, other social media personalities are also finding new ways to gain recognition and expand their careers and influence. One such personality is 19-year-old Youtuber Bethany Mota.
Bethany began her video channel 5 years ago and now has her own perfume and apparel line at retailer Aeropostale, a spot on the hit show “Dancing with the Stars”, and over 7 million followers. Due to her popularity, Bethany now has a talent agent through whom companies, producers, and organizations must go if they want to pay to have her speak at one of their events.
Through using the social media to make videos about beauty tips, outfit ideas, and room tours, Bethany Mota escalated herself to stardom and a career as one of the most recognizable social media personalities on the Internet.
Angela, Kristin, and Bethany all are glowing examples of the potential success one can achieve through social media, but don’t let that convince you to ditch out on your school and start your own blog or vlog as your career; hundreds of blogs are started each day and only a small percentage of them gain the following required to make a substantial amount of money. Nevertheless, if you’re passionate about a certain topic or lifestyle and have a desire to create a blog, more power to you. You never know—you could be the next Angela, Kristin, or Bethany!
Bell, A. (2010, April 14). Blogging: The Perfect Stay-At-Home Career? Retrieved from http://www.forbes.com/2010/04/14/blogging-career-income-personal-finance-blog-income.html
Local blogs. (n.d.). Retrieved November 9, 2014, from http://portland.wiki/Local_blogs