How to monetize a blog: Follow your passion

KUSA – Amber Johnson is pretty frank when it comes to her thoughts on motherhood right after having her first child.

"I thought my life was over," laughed the bubbly, curly-haired blonde.

As she started to feel more isolated, she decided to reach out to other moms in a concept that, 11 years ago, was still fairly new: blogging.

She created the website In the past decade, she's gained thousands of followers and subscribers along with major advertisers. But Johnson's quick to point out most mommy bloggers don't do it for the money.

"I think that's a mistake a lot of new, first-time bloggers make," she said. "At the very start, they immediately say 'I'm in it to make money,' and that's not the way to go."

Instead, Johnson suggests aspiring bloggers let their hearts and personal experiences inspire them. That's what Lori Holden did. On her blog, she let her personal experiences with open adoptions guide the topics.

"When people find their authentic voice, they are able to say the things that only they can say," Holden said.

Holden has connected with thousands of readers, especially after Parenting Magazine ranked her website on its list of must-read blogs. Magazine articles and interactions on her blog helped her to write a book: "The Open-Hearted Way to Open Adoption."

Holden says anyone who wants to be a blogger has to be willing to be very interactive.

"If you want readers and if you want commenters, then you need to be a reader of other blogs," she said. "You need to let them know that you were there."

Johnson agrees and denounces the "follow me" notion.

"It's not just about personally advertising yourself and your blog," she said. "It's also about sharing and commenting and sharing other people's material as well. It's a give and take online."

Once bloggers have a following, they may be able to leverage those numbers to gain advertisers and brand sponsorships. While most bloggers don't make a ton of money, to can get a lot of freebies.

"So that's the way a lot of moms will make some money, or they'll get little perks like trips or fun activities and events they get to do with their kid and products to review," Johnson said.

Focusing many of her posts on travel and adventure, she's gone on trips to Disneyland and Hawaii for free thanks to events or brands connected to her blog.

The brands seek out mom bloggers, hoping that by giving a freebie the moms will be inspired to recommend that brand or product to their followers.

"Moms truly, organically, recommending something that they like is what brands are looking for," Johnson said.

Holden's family recently enjoyed a mountain vacation, complete with a spa visit, from a company seeking a positive blog mention. But Holden is also honest when she doesn't like a produce, even if it's given to her for free. She says it's important to be a truthful blogger.

While bloggers should be honest, they don't have to be professional writers to gain an audience. Holden wasn't when she started.

"Your writing will improve like anything else by doing it over and over again," she said.

Johnson is interested in hearing for moms who want to get into blogging or who are already bloggers but want to be on a bigger platform. Her website,, is currently looking for new mommy bloggers. For details, click here:

(© 2015 KUSA)


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