Marc Smith | BCBusiness
Marc Smith of 30 Day Adventures.
Blogger Marc Smith of 30 Day Adventures decided that chasing corporate sponsorship was more fun than planning corporate events
Blogging, it's been said, is dead. According to a recent opinon piece in Fast Company, because the world is moving to collections and curations, to mobile content and to different authoring tools, and because the way of the future is "digital first"—or even more accurately, "mobile first"—there is a decreasing need for traditional, text-heavy blogs.
For new Vancouver-based blogger Marc Smith, he's banking the success of his blog, 30 Day Adventures, on a blend of the new and old platforms—a plan that extends to his revenue model, too.
Smith had 14 years of lucrative corporate event planning behind him when he pulled the plug last year to become a blogger. "I survived the recession, which was devastating to the event world, and I was nominated for a Small Business B.C. Successful You Awards in 2011, but I realized I'd lost the passion for it," he says.
Last March, he posted a status update on his Facebook saying he was bored and asking his 1,200 or so friends for suggestions of things to do around Vancouver. Of the 25 suggestions he received in two hours, he realized he hadn't experienced 23 of them, despite the fact that he's lived in Vancouver for over 20 years, and an idea was born.
"I knew I loved community building and I figured going and doing these suggestions—and taking somebody with me on them and then blogging about it—would be a great case study on community building," says Smith.
So, he built a Wordpress site, embarked on a new experience every day (the $10 Mountainview Cemetery Tour stands out as a favourite), then wrote about them. Over 3,500 unique visitors arrived at his newly created website to read about his adventures and suggest more. Those visitors stayed on the site for more than two minutes and his Twitter followers jumped to about 7,000. A 30 Days of Kindness followed, and then 30 days visiting Vancouver's food trucks—each day taking a reader with him—was an even bigger hit. This week, he departed for Ontario to write about 30 days spent exploring that province.
Social media, Smith says, is crucial to his ongoing success, and he describes himself as "fluent" in the practice. Yes, he posts daily stories on his blog during his 30 day adventures, but it's the real-time interaction with his readers—through Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Flickr, YouTube, Google+, Pinterest and LinkedIn—that really drives people back to his site. His appeal, he says, lies in "authentic communication." He adds: "I'm not a journalist, I just write like I speak. I'm just me."
As for how Smith will make money on his blog, he's thinking creatively there, too. He's got ads on his site, but says he's "not chasing them, per se." His revenue model centres around the corporate world he worked in as an event planner. "It's about developing corporate partners to sponsor a 30-day series," he explains. "They can throw ideas at me, but they have no final say about the content. It's like GE sponsoring Top Chef Canada."
Companies pay $200 - $500 per each posting on 30 Day Adventures. Smith says that the ultimate idea is the businesses he aligns with will not only be marketed through him, but will use his adventures as rewards for outstanding performance (ie. excel at the office, win a chance to zipline with Smith in Whistler). Toronto-based marketing company The Tite Group has just annouced its partnership with Smith for a 30-day series in the early fall.