Yesterday was spent seeing people more than attending events. There are some publishing folks who live in Austin who I had breakfast and lunch with.
The one session I did get to was Making Your Blog Your Business. My friend and designer-extraordinaire Phoebe Espiritu was one of the panelists. The subject of the panel how people had turned their blogs into businesses. The sentiments reflected here were the same as many other panels.
- Blogs allow you to aggregate demand for products and services
- These businesses are very small and are things you do in your spare time.
- You need to try things to see what will work
At the end of the day, I also caught How to Blog For Money by Learning From Comics. I thought it would be something interesting and different. A couple of interesting points from their talk were:
- Merchandise works well, but can be a pain to manage
- People often want to support sites. A site (missed the name) offered T-shirts and added micropayments. They found success with micropayments, but their merchandise sales disappeared. Apparel is much more profitable and the micropayment experiment was terminated.
- There are tribes on the net for everything. Sometimes, these comic creators would have a storyline or reference and draw huge crowds (one mentioned Firefly). The trouble is they don’t stay. The story there is play to your audience.
- The last one is create great content. There were all these questions on “How do I get advertisers?” and “How do you handle printing of T-shirts?” People so quickly forget that you have to make good stuff.