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Turning Passion into Profession: Tennessean Article on Nashville Bloggers

A blogging breakfast at Cracker Barrel during Blissdom last month

This past Sunday, I was fortunate enough to be interviewed by Jessica Bliss, I reporter for the Tennessean writing an article on Nashville Bloggers who were turning their passion into their profession.

For those of you not in Nashville (or for those of you non-print readers who missed it here in the big city!), I wanted to share my section of the article in case the link stops working:

Imagine: a group of girlfriends sitting around a table, margaritas in hand and a hectic life briefly held at bay.

Their conversation ambles among topics: that new store down the road, a great recipe, a life-changing book or the latest fashion trend. (Seriously, would you ever wear a skirt that short?)

If they could capture that contentedness, bottle it and sell it, they might make millions. Or, what if they just blog about it? Turns out that, too, can generate a sustainable income.

StyleBlueprint, a Nashville blog of Southern panache, is one of a collection of Middle Tennessee blogs that generate financial returns for their writers. By mimicking those magical girlfriend moments, the blog could generate upward of $100,000 of income this year for its founders, Liza Graves and Elizabeth Fox.

These ladies are not alone in cyberspace sustainment. Income from faithfulprovisions.com supported a family of four in Franklin for more than a year. Content from masondixonknitting.com inspired two book deals. And samicone.com is a fount of freebies for its writer and her family.

“It’s ideal to be able to take something you are passionate about, and to be able to share that with other people and provide for your family,” said thrifty Bellevue mom Sami Cone, who blogs about family, faith and life’s fun and free opportunities. “Just because you are passionate doesn’t mean you can’t make money.”

Memories for a lifetime

Ads and daily deals aren’t the only source of income for bloggers. Cone, whose blog mission is to help people maximize time and money so they can make more money and pursue their passion, made about $450 in January through Google AdSense and corporate partnerships. But the added value from her blog is the products, services and trips she receives that she would otherwise not be able to afford for her family.

There were front-row tickets to Disney on Ice, where Minnie skated up to her son and handed him a rose. There was an iRobot vacuum cleaner for helping with product marketing, and an iPad from Quaver Music after her blog popularity resulted in a focus-group invitation.

As a “mommy blogger” with 80,000 visits a month, Cone was chosen to attend (and blog about) the grand reopening of the Gaylord Opryland Resort & Convention Center in November. During four days of pampering, the couple received private concerts from Keith Urban, Sheryl Crow and Trace Adkins.

This month she will travel to Orlando, Fla., for the Disney Social Media Moms event, where she will be a guest blogger for visitkissimmee.com, and next month Club Med Sandpiper Bay will pay for her family to come to Florida to review the newly remodeled location.

It all translates into invaluable experiences for her and her children.

“The stuff you buy them will end up under the bed or in a garage sale,” she said. “The memories will last forever.”

The memories may have longevity, but what about blogs? The New York Times recently reported that the rise of sites such as Facebook and Twitter has reduced the allure of blogs — particularly for the younger generation.

That may be true, but right now Middle Tennessee bloggers say other social media platforms only augment their blogs’ reach. Facebook fuels 80 percent of faithfulprovisions.com’s traffic, and Facebook and Twitter are where bloggers announce they have new content, tease with short snippets of posts, and cultivate relationships with readers.

If AOL’s recent $315 million acquisition of blog site Huffington Post is any sign, blogs are alive and well.

“I think new media is everything,” Fox said. “You can’t dispute how it is really changing the world. … If there is innovation in our country right now, I think it’s happening through our blogs.”

To read the article in its entirety and to discover the stories of other fabulous Nashville bloggers, including my friend Kelly over at Faithful Provisions, follow this link to The Tennessean.