In my last post, I stated my reasons as to why sponsored content is not beneficial for the travel industry. So the question is – how do we make money off travel journalism, especially in an online setting?
Advertising is one aspect that travel journalism online can make money through content. As stated previously however, the content cannot be the advertisement – it has to be supplementary. The amount of revenue correlates with the amount of readers for your online venture. In addition, the rise in popularity of ad-blockers can potentially damage the amount of revenue one site can receive. There is also the issue where advertisements through third-party services such as Google Adsense might infect the site with potential malware – thus losing trust of potential and current audiences.
Subscription could also be a monetary method for travel journalism. While the readership will be exclusive to those who pay for your content, it reduces the opportunity to gain new audiences. Subscription alone cannot sustain online bloggers with a travel focus. For bloggers, immediately going in to a subscription model – while bringing guaranteed monetary flow – might not be a good option for those writers still finding their feet. A well established journalist can get away with the subscription model, as they have an existing audience to draw from. But for someone starting out, a direct subscription method might not be an option.
However, a combination of both a paywall and syndication of content could be a sustainable method for bloggers like Jorja and I, who are starting out. We have the best of both worlds essentially – we can keep premium content behind a paywall, but still have quality articles to draw people in. Those same articles would be syndicated out to well known publications, print and/or online, to draw audiences to our site. If our readership warrants it, merchandise could also be another revenue option.
As new bloggers, we have to be smart in how we monetise our content.