Can This Blog Be Saved? (How to monetize


Blogging can get pretty stressful.

Ask Clyde, one of the readers of this blog and the owner of the site ProHipHop.

The reason for his stress?

He can't seem to figure out how to monitize his site.

Let's help him out.


Regular readers know that I don't run ads on my site.

All the revenue this site has generated has come directly through consulting fees. It generates me a couple of grand a month and could be a lot higher if I really had the time.

Here's the reality.

You are not going to make money with your individual blog with just ads.

Your regular readers (the ones who come to your site everyday) are going to ignore them.

But there are other ways to make money.

It's not hard to set something up that will bring in a decent income. Maybe not the legendary fuck you money, but enough to make blogging at least worthwhile.

ProHipHop is a site about "a hip hop trade blog focused on business news and analysis across industry categories with related cultural coverage."

Now there are a lot of folks who cover hip hop music

But the audience is out there.

It's a big audience.

Especially as we move toward a DIY culture, sites like Clydes become more important as kids attempt to figure out how to make money with their music.

And one of the easiest ways to make money is to help others to.

If I was Clyde, here's what I would do.

The model he needs to follow is the one used by Rafat Ali who owns Paid Content.

What does the audience who reads a hip hop marketing blog need?

These folks are obviously people with a serious interest in hip hop music. They probably have music they are trying to promote.

Forget the blogads and all that crap. You need to approach individual advertisers. The folks your audience need.

It's hard.

I did it for my site and it turned into a fiasco.

But the advertisers that need you are not doing blogads (or any other thing like that).

There are tons of managers, p.r. people, publicist, artists, photographers and other hip hop industry wannabes looking for a place to tell others about what they have.

You need to touch those folks and have them advertise on your site.

You also need to set up some side businesses which your site can help you with.

Where is the directory for hip hop related industry?

Every real trade publication has a directory.

A legit one.

One you have to pay to be in and then pay to read.

I think there is a huge audience for people looking for folks who can help them with photography, publicity, p.r., radio promotion, retail promotion, distribution, the list goes on and on.

Those folks are not only you potential advertisers but also part of the directory you put together.

Because of the popularity of your blog you have the legitamacy to do that.

The key to advertising is to think like a reader.

Give me what I want.

O.k., that should get your brain thinking in the right direction.

Your blog is your proof.

It's your resume.

It's your guarantee that you know what you are talking about.

It makes you legit. And an expert.

It's a tool to help you make money.

O.K., I promised myself I would spend no more than an hour on this. I'm sure the readers here have even more ideas to help you.

Oh, And you owe me $125.00 🙂

Explore posts in the same categories: Army Of One, authenticity, blog networks, blogs, money, new media, prohiphop

12 Comments on “Can This Blog Be Saved? (How to monetize”

  1. VampireFeet Says:

    Good ideas. You rock, char.

    Here’s another one, he should talk to some service (like the cd makers) and try to get a discount for his readers and he get a cut!

  2. As I said – to save him the embrassment – put a PAYPAL button at the bottom for TIPS

    Go SUNS

  3. Anthony Says:

    I know this just extends upon the directory thing putting the readership of a blog in touch with the people they need to meet but the way I’d earn scratch from his audience is via events.

    Is hip hop covered well enough at SXSW? If not, is there a SXSW style emerging artists showcase thing for hip hop? There could be heaps of different events you could spin off if you had the right people in the one place.

    There is massive crazy coin in events.

  4. Clyde Smith Says:

    Thanks, I really appreciate your suggestions.

    You know, if Google’s Big Daddy reconfiguration that began in January hadn’t decimated my casual traffic, I would actually be doing quite well with my current projects.

    But that’s the inherent instability in depending on search engine traffic.

    Paid Content was my initial model and if I could develop corporate sponsorship that would be a fine solution. Rafat’s a good guy but I’m not really cut out to cover that corporate a level of business. Nevertheless, he inspired me in the beginning.

    AdRants is another and Steve says he’s doing quite well off his advertising.

    The directory idea has been proposed and discussed casually with a number of people since I began and now would be a good time to reconsider it. However, I’m waiting to see if another possiblity comes through before I start anything new. If things come together I may have some big (for me) announcements that you’ll find of interest.

    The directory idea is aligned with my shift from general business to marketing (your description is the outdated one that’s still widely disseminated but it does represent much of the life of ProHipHop). I think marketing professionals are where I might be most likely to develop that kind of thing. However, is the vehicle that has caught those folks attention. Unfortunately, changes at google have resulted in it not being indexed since I took it off where it looked less professional but got google love.

    However, if you check out the press releases there that are not aggregated from PR Newswire and so forth, look for grammar, spelling and conceptual work at the level of a C level high school student. One of my friends, Adisa Banjoko (, has done a lot of pr for hip hop businesses, musical and otherwise. It’s 50/50 as to whether or not they’ll pay him what he’s owed and legal avenues are not always the best choice for pursuing payment with certain enterprises. Many of the people he deals with don’t understand the value of pr work if it doesn’t immediately result in a magazine cover, etc. etc.

    If you thought the music industry was shady, you should hang out and hear some of the stories Adisa tells. When large sectors of the more popular artists and labels quite openly brag about starting their enterprises with drug money, you’ve got to realize that that creates unique industry conditions.

    Right now, hip hop advertisers are starting to use Blogads and that will be a growing source of income for many bloggers. I think you’re way offbase on that char. In fact there’s a hip hop blogger working at a major ad agency in New York who is now responsible for funneling campaigns to bloggers via blogads.

    It’s things like the google adwords with low cpc’s on hip hop ads on adwords that are ultimately a waste of time.

    One very real possiblity is to get into the conference game. Hip hop conferences are quite popular and there’s real money to be made there. And ProHipHop does legitimate me to put those together. Since I’ve done a lot of event organizing in the past and have also attended a wide range of conferences outside of hip hop, that would be a more likely place for me to go.

    Related workshops for industry professionals are also a workable idea. I would actually be more likely to pursue events than directories though once the events took off that would be another legitimating force in creating such a directory.

    What has happened is that ProHipHop has led to some limited magazine work and also put a literary agent in touch with me who was scouting for a publisher. One of her clients who had interviewed me told her about me. Our initial project didn’t work out but we’re waiting to hear about another proposal I developed and she also suggested another possiblity that is spot on. Honestly, I’d much rather be writing books than blogs and pursuing ideas than directory listings.

    Reader’s Comments:

    VF, I’ve had some mixed experiences with affiliate programs. There aren’t many already operating that fit and trusting a small business to honestly provide a kickback isn’t really an option right now.

    hl, I consider a PayPal button rather pathetic and unlikely to work in the hip hop context. But I could reconsider it. Of course, putting it at the bottom would mean that few would even see it, given what we know about how people generally look at and use websites.

    Part of my resistance to “tips” is that I used to work a lot in nonprofit arts and activist settings and the request to show your love and give me some support is not where I want to go at the present time.

    If readers like VF’s and hl’s ideas, I’d recommend He and his readers lay out the details on all those kinds of tried and true methods of making money with blogs. They also do a good job of tracking what’s new and evaluating programs as they change over time.

    Thanks again, char. I really appreciate your taking the time out of your busy schedule to consider my site and I look forward to seeing what other folks come up with.

  5. Clyde Smith Says:

    Anthony, you posted while I was responding. So you got my take on events though SXSW already has a hip hop aspect and has for many years. The money would be in owning the event not being an extra wheel. So, yeah, you’re right.

  6. Clyde Smith Says:

    char, let me know if I’m saying too much in your spot.

    Anthony, I just reread your comment. Yes, there are hip hop events all over the country throughout the year. Billboard does one of the biggest in the fall in Atlanta focused on hip hop and r&b. But there’s plenty of room for more and plenty of possibilities that I think remain untouched in that regard.

  7. Anthony Says:

    If I just waited for you to respond I would have already known you’ve got your finger on the pulse of the events biz.

    Oh yeah there’s no doubt you’ve got to own the event. I was just seeing what competition you’d have.

    What about overseas emerging hip hop. USA is obviously the hub where everything is and always will be but there would have to be people in other countries not getting the help they need. I know New Zealand has an growing hip hop scene with people like Scribe leading the way and here in Australia we’ve got the Hilltop Hoods being pretty massive. Might be something to think about.

  8. Anthony Says:

    Just props for people looking up the Hilltop Hoods, their best song is The Nosebleed Section from their last album.

  9. Hashim Says:

    my blog got me three job offers, and counting. That’s how I make money off my blog.


  10. chartreuse Says:

    Clyde, you can’t say to much over here. That’s part of what this place is about.

  11. Clyde Smith Says:

    Cool. And thanks again!

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