Bloggers with benefits

As she walked out of the high street store that she had been invited to review,the publicist asked blogger June Biswas why she did reviews for free.

Written by Afsha Khan | Published: September 18, 2012 1:34 am

As she walked out of the high street store that she had been invited to review,the publicist asked blogger June Biswas why she did reviews for free. “You can earn up to Rs 30,000 a month,” the publicist advised. It was not money that had drawn Biswas to the world of fashion blogging two years ago. It was the monotony of her job at an international bank that prompted the move.

Biswas gave blogging a shot even as she continued her day job. She moved to Pune to handle an Indian fashion label with a social media firm and started blogging in her spare time. The job allowed her to liaise with more brands in exchange for freebies and discounts,in addition to signing an American fashion brand that displays a banner on her blog,paying $10 (around Rs 550) for every click that turns into a sale.

As blogging in India becomes a serious profession,bloggers are finding means of making money from it. Depending on their focus,popularity and the number of visitors they attract,they are approached by brands with different propositions. Some like Biswas offer to display products by different brands on their blogs,paying them per click. Those who get more visitors can charge a lump sum for displaying banners — anywhere between Rs 10,000 and Rs 35,000 a month. Others like Mumbai-based Manou Manou of ‘Wearabout’ often bags shoots for brands and magazines that love his style of photography. In addition to shoots,Delhi-based Santu Misra of ‘The Devil Wore’,is quite open about charging brands to do advertorials — paid blog posts with personalised photos,text and opinions.

Malini Agarwal,head blogger at ‘Miss Malini’,is known for her influence in the celebrity circuit,and her readers across the board,which include over 48,000 followers on Twitter and around 25,000 ‘Likes’ on Facebook. Without giving away too much,she revealed to a news magazine that blogging is a business that must pay the bills and her employees’ salary. To do this,she charges clients a package that includes a post,promotional tweets and extensive video and photographic coverage of events.

Some like food blogger Nikhil Merchant of ‘The Nonchalant Gourmand’ use their space to showcase their knowledge of the subject; thus paid reviews and advertorials are not what they are after. “The off-shoots of the blog interest me,especially consultancy offers,” says the 29-year-old,who works as a consultant with several brands. He was recently commissioned to write a brochure with recipes for a gourmet store. “I get paid for these jobs. But whether or not I use them on my blog is entirely up to me,” he says.

While this sounds easy,many bloggers still struggle to be noticed. Blogging forums such as Indiblogger and Blogadda tie up with brands and run contests for their bloggers. In addition to this,Blogadda has a ‘sponsored reviews’ programme that allows bloggers to review restaurants,gadgets,fashion brands and services. “There are so many bloggers out there who want a source of revenue and brands want unbiased reviews,” says Nirav Sanghvi,CEO of Blogadda. “We are working on certain mechanisms to rate the bloggers on different formats,such as their reach and social presence. This will ensure that we connect the right bloggers with the right brands,” he adds.

The catch in Blogadda’s programme: a review has to be posted within seven days of experiencing a service. While some don’t mind this,others are uncomfortable with this. “Readers know what is credible and what is a blatant promotion,” says Merchant,adding,“It’s important to keep the two separate if you want to pitch yourself as a brand.”

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