I receive countless emails every week from people wanting blogging advice – I’ve decided to write a blog about being a blogger (try saying that fast), it’s a most excellent way to pay the mortgage, but it’s not all about posting on social media.
In my experience there are two types of bloggers, the hobbyist and the entrepreneur. The hobbyist is someone who writes a blog for the love of it on a topic they are passionate about and the entrepreneur is someone who is aiming to profit from blogging. This is directed at the latter.
When I started She Shopped in 2012, I didn’t even know what a blog was. I termed my site a platform about shopping great brands online but in hindsight it was a blog. My model has changed since then but I’m still well positioned to give advice to aspiring and floundering bloggers.
My tips to blogging for profit in no particular order are
1. Develop a media kit
A media kit is a succinct document that is used to communicate with key stakeholders including potential advertisers that should include:
· Current headshot
· Your bio
· Website statistics preferably Google Analytics verified
· Social media statistics
· Readership demographics – who is reading your blog?
· Any awards or testimonials
· Your contact information.
· Rates if you don’t want to quote on a job by job basis.
2. Focus on growing your website domain first, your newsletter database second and your social media channels third
It’s really tempting to be wholly focused on growing your social media numbers – they are the easiest platforms to grow and you get instant feedback in the way of likes and comments – it can be addictive. But the problem is every influencer and their friends have a decent social media audience – so what’s your point of difference?
Offering a brand a social media post or two is not a great offering at all – I liken it to lighting a candle and blowing it out. The post might have a short term impact for the brand but there is no longevity.
If you can offer a multi-platform campaign across web (blog), social (posts on Facebook / Instagram) and email (to your newsletter subscribers) you are setting yourself a part from the pack. If you can produce your own content (preferably video but at the very least good photos) you skip even further ahead.
3. Accept nothing for free
Say what?! I know so boring but let me tell you a little secret…nothing is for free! Every brand who invites you into temptation with shiny free stuff are indeed asking you to post their wares on your platforms…for free. Last time I checked, shiny free stuff does not pay the bills!
If you like the product on offer and you know your audience will too…get your media kit ready and begin your sales pitch. Every offer of a free product is an opportunity to close a sale.
4. Be very selective about what events you attend
You might disagree with me on this one, but the lure of champagne and small talk is not enough for me to get out of my jarmies and away from my kids on a Wednesday night. When I go to an event I take my audience of 75,000+ with me….you picking up what I’m putting down? Stay at home, put the kids to bed and work on your website.
5. Learn how to report correctly and how to analyse the statistics
Any brands with decent advertising spend will want a report post campaign. You need to be able to provide this and interpret the data you are sending them.
6. Create your own content – preferably video
Most brands are too time poor to create content, so anyone who can do it well for them becomes valuable. Gone are the days of ad agencies dominating the content creations space – there is a whole emerging industry of creatives who can produce authentic content. If we hadn’t started producing video I don’t think I’d have a business.
7. Know your numbers
You don’t know what it takes to make a profit until you know your numbers. When I started She Shopped using a $30,000 redraw from our mortgage I calculated it would take me 6 months to repay that loan – it took me 7. I determined exactly how many advertising products I’d need to sell to achieve my goal and I cold emailed until I’d sold them all.
Now my monthly advertising targets are much bigger than $5,000, but the same principles apply. I need to know my numbers to ensure profitability, sustainability and growth.
8. Be prepared to work really hard
When you’re starting out you need to be all things for your blog – writer, photographer, book keeper, marketer, sales person…everything!!! As you grow you can begin to outsource but you get busier in other ways. I still work more than full-time hours, but I love my job and the flexibility it provides.
Are you a blogger? What tips would you add? Got a question? Feel free to comment below.