Miami bloggers turning big profits

caines | 7/19/2012, 5:30 a.m.

Having fun blogging and getting paid

When Ria Michelle started her self-titled blog, Ria Michelle two-and-half-years ago,it was just for fun, according to the 25-year-old Miami blogger. But in less than a year, it evolved into a whole lot more. As her blog received more visits, Michelle began acquiring advertisers, sponsors and began booking freelance photography jobs. She is just one of an emerging group of bloggers who have turned their blog into a marketable and profitable business. The appeal and business of bloggers The world of blogging has evolved over the past few years and is no longer synonymous with political enthusiasts or care-free individuals documenting their emotions. Blogging has become another aspect of media exposure for large cooperations, independently-owned companies and entrepreneurs. One industry that has been forced to take notice is the fashion industry. Bloggers can be seen at fashion shows, boutique openings or any social events. They have managed to appeal to a side of consumers that large companies have struggled with for quite sometime trust. I'm an influencer and my blogging peers are influencers and we all reach our target audience; that can be quantified unlike other types of advertising, Michelle said. Companies now routinely reach out to popular bloggers to sample and review their products, which translates to free and effective advertising. And many department stores invite fashion bloggers to events that showcase their inventory for the upcoming season. Consider the quick rise to fame by Ashley Lorraine, whose flourishing blog, A Sassy Woman, has developed a working relationship with Kohls department stores. Having an established online following has allowed me to host two fashion events this year in Miami as well as write reviews for different products for Kohls, Lorraine said. But make no mistake: Becoming a blogger of note is not a simple achievement. Blogger Melanie Patterson didnt notice a pick up in her following until American Apparel began sponsoring her blog, Those Things They Said. I was actually posting my outfit posts to their Facebook page regularly then one day they decided to reach out to me, Patterson said. Michelle agrees that blogging takes diligence. Maintaining my blog is really a full-time job, she said. Most bloggers agree that social networking, in addition to blogging consistently, is crucial to building ones reputation and online following. Networking extends beyond the territory of Facebook and Twitter. Success rests with commenting on other blogs, sending out e-mail updates about recent posts and blogging daily. There is, they say, no room for the timid. Another notable blogger, Schevashea Pedro showcases her style one her personal blog, "Curves and Confidence" www.curvesandconfidence.com. By Julia Samuelsjsamuels@miamitimesonline.com