Moe, what you need to know about how to monetize Tumblr

by CynthiaYockey on April 17, 2012

Dear Moe Lane inspired this post by noticing that Tumblr is a thing. How did this happen? Here’s the money quote from the video, which I urge you to watch because the young lady is both witty and wise:

Tumblr is life. Tumblr is probably going to take priority over your friends, homework and other obligations and responsibilities. It’s a Tumblr thing.

A political commentary blog like this one is tough to monetize. One of the reasons I’ve been quiet here is that I have to put my time into activities that make me healthy or wealthy — preferably both. I must become self-supporting while my father is still alive. Failure is not an option. I have a total passion to write this blog and have no trouble thinking of posts I would love to write every day. But you need a ton of traffic to make money from advertisements or affiliate links (such as reviews linked to a product on Amazon).

The other potential income streams are donations, subscriptions and posting an Amazon wish list. The donations to this blog have transformed my life HUGELY for the better and I am very grateful.* And the subscribers give me a huge boost to my morale, far out of proportion to their subscription amount. To make a living from this blog, I won’t just have to find my tribe, I will have to create one — which I’m totally stoked to do, by the way.

A political blogger is selling advocacy, wit and wisdom on spec. We have the business model of hippies — “Donate whatever you feel” — and panhandlers — “Help me with my crisis!”

Or, more accurately, we have the business model of worthy causes — charities, churches, non-profits, political parties and politicians: we must persuade supporters that our value to causes they support is worth their money. Fiscal conservatives fight to keep government small, taxes low and liberty safeguarded so that people have the discretionary income to give to the causes they choose.

Niche bloggers — the ones who have targeted markets that pay money for information products and physical items that they sell and the affiliate programs they promote — monetize their Tumblr blogs as follows (click the link for more details and links — also here):

  1. Contextual ads, such as Google Adsense
  2. In-text advertisements
  3. In-image and in-video advertising
  4. Affiliate programs, such as Amazon Associates or ClickBank
  5. Banner ads
  6. Sponsored posts (someone pays you to write something)

By the way, for a list of the top 10 ways to monetize a niche blog on WordPress, as opposed to Tumblr, dear David Risley is my go-to guy. The only thing I would add is that niche bloggers can build an opt-in e-mail list and use it to promote affiliate products and do joint ventures with other marketers in their own niche and related niches. Check out his podcast, “The Blog Program,” — show #2 lists 11 ways to monetize a blog.

*To the donors who sent me to CPAC: I will be explaining this week what happened to me the day after CPAC that was a big setback in my health and general progress. I still plan to write about it and I’ve just about re-gained all the ground I lost that day. The short version is that my working memory took a big hit, which plunged me into a two-month black hole.

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