Calgarian blogger shares his secrets to surprising success

A blogger’s journey

Mike Morrison of Mike’s Bloggity Blog is a full-time professional blogger. With a new post each day and 64,000 unique visitors a month, Morrison is able to live off of his hobby, blogging about Canadian entertainment news.

“Every day I pinch myself,” says Morrison. “I think about the fact that every day I get to decide what I want to write about. I feel so privileged to be in that position.”

After moving from the East Coast in 2006, Morrison started his blog as a way to keep in touch with friends and family back home. At the time, Morrison never would have imagined himself as a professional blogger.

“When I started, there weren’t ambitions for people to read my blog, like it wasn’t even a possibility,” says Morrison.

Finding a niche is number 1

Like most beginner bloggers, Morrison had to find his own specific niche in the blogging world in order to stand out and draw interest. His first posts ranged from writing about his part-time jobs to commenting on television shows such as The Office and American Idol.

The first post that really drove Morrison into the realm of entertainment and lifestyle news in the blogosphere came following his trip to Los Angeles where he watched a live show called Celebrity Duets. Chris Jericho, a friend of his cousin, was performing.

“It was basically Dancing with the Stars, but singing. Chris was on it, so we got this awesome opportunity. So I was like, ‘This seems like a good time to start the blog, to write about these L.A. experiences and meeting celebrities,’” says Morrison.

Morrison credits Elaine Lu, from the blog Lainey Gossip, for helping him find his way from general entertainment into the niche he has built for himself. Morrison says, “She was like, ‘You need to find a focus… you should cover Canadian entertainment.’ And I was like, ‘You’re right!’”

He describes his posts as not strictly Canadian entertainment, but as Canadian content – stories that appeal to Canadians and his take on them. “I think one of the reasons I still enjoy blogging after all these years, and like 4,300 blog posts, is I legitimately love the entertainment world,” Morrison says.

The path to getting paid

As Mike’s Bloggity Blog started gaining a larger following, new career opportunities emerged for Morrison. His first job out of the blog was a column for Metro Calgary that is still published every Friday. He also writes pieces for Travel Alberta, and you may even recognize his name from his time working at Breakfast Television Calgary.

“Metro and [Breakfast Television] sort of helped me transition out of the other careers I was doing to one in the media,” says Morrison.

But even now, at the professional blogger level, Morrison describes how every month he still doesn’t know where the money is coming from. A lot of the time the direct profits of the blog are out of his hands, and he is relying on income from local businesses and Google advertisements.

“Google ads don’t pay a ton, but every now and then if you have a post that does incredibly well, Google pays incredibly well for those types of posts. So every now and then you hit oil and you’re like, ‘I can breathe this week.’”

Mike Morrison made blogging his career by writing Canadian entertainment posts on his blog, Mike’s Bloggity Blog. Now he gets to do what he loves everyday for a living. Photo courtesy of Mike MorrisonMany bloggers are trying to follow a similar path to Morrison’s. With more and more people trying to earn a living doing what they love, people are turning to the ever-growing online world to make their mark.

Baby steps for beginner blogs

The Hungry Blondes is a Calgary blog, run by a golden-haired twosome of food enthusiasts, Jillian Nowak and Bethany Graburn. They started the site in order to explore their creative sides.

“Our love of food paired with our work experience and education made it an easy decision,” says Nowak.

Though The Hungry Blondes is only four months old, it has already helped the duo become recognized for their creative talents and earn some extra money.

“We have already gotten paid jobs for photography and social media strategy and are excited to see what’s next in store for us,” says Nowak.

Like Morrison, these two women have found that The Hungry Blondes has given them a place to do what they enjoy most and make some dough at the same time.

“We think of meals that we are excited to eat and then it’s time to hit the grocery store. I cook while Beth sets up the scene,” Nowak says. “Once the food is ready we take photos, eat the food and then sit down to edit the photos and write the recipes.”

Canadians in the blogosphere

However, not all Calgary blogs have started turning a profit, and many never will. Most are classified as hobby blogs.

On average, earning bloggers only make an annual salary of $24,086 according to bloggingtips.com. It’s hard to say how many blogs there are in Canada, as blogs are constantly coming and going. In fact there is a new blog created in the world every half a second according to a WP Virtuoso Infographic. However, in 2010, Canada only made up 3.9 per cent of the worldwide blogosphere in comparison to the United States’ 29.2 per cent.

Morrison is a local example of how dedication and passion has led to a career in blogging that has allowed him to write about his favourite things for a living. Between his column at Metro, writing for Travel Alberta, and Mike’s Bloggity Blog, Morrison knows that even if he didn’t have all of this, he would still be writing.

“It feels like going for a walk and getting fresh air. I’ve always liked telling people about cool [television] shows or cool travel things or things like that, so I would keep doing that,” says Morrison. “It’s all stuff that I love doing, and so the fact that it’s been able to turn into a career is amazing and I’m so thankful for it.”

To hear more from Mike Morrison on how to get your own blog up and running, read our article here.

ncruickshank@cjournal.ca

Thumbnail courtesy of Mike Morrison.

The editor responsible for this article is Michaela Ritchie, mritchie@cjournal.ca