Pamela Shows Darn Fine Copy
Turning your passion or hobby into a business is for many the epitome of the American Dream. But what if you don’t have the funds or desire to start a brick and mortar business? Many have found a way to offer their expertise as a service —through blogging. According to industry expert, Jeff Bullas, 14 percent of all bloggers make a salary from their blogs. However, to operate a successful blog, you’ll need to have a business mindset.
Understanding How Blogs Make Money
First of all, until you are an established authority in your industry, your income will not come from writing blogs. Blogs make money through various revenue streams. Depending on the type of blog you operate, some or all of these may be viable options.
This method is the most passive way to make money from your blog, meaning that you do nothing except provide great content and focus on delighting your readers. Advertisers will be drawn to your blog via an ad network. Choosing the ad network is up to you. Google AdSense is the most widely used ad network. Other notable ad networks are BlogHer, Blogads, Federated Media, and Sway.
It is worth mentioning here, that once you are an established blogger, and generate a significant amount of organic traffic, you will be able to woo some private advertisers. Partnerships that cut out the middle-man are beneficial to both the blogger and the advertiser. Plus, you maintain complete control over the ads that are displayed to your readers. After all, who better knows what your followers want or need than you?
– The Caveat
Creating an ad network account is pretty easy. However, it is recommended that you have an established blog with several months of posts and have developed at least a small (but devoted) readership or following. The type of content you write and the keywords you use will determine the advertisers. Since you will make money based on the “click-through rate,” it is essential that the ads placed on your blog are products or services that your readers will find interesting. Having your blog loaded with junk ads is a major turn-off, it diminishes your credibility, and as a result, you will lose readers.
Become an Affiliate Marketer
Affiliate marketers promote the products or services of another. Today’s biggest influencers use affiliate marketing techniques like videos and product reviews posted on their blogs to create massive incomes. To become an affiliate you must meet certain criteria. Once approved, you will be issued a unique link which will earn a commission when the terms of your agreement are met —this may be an action like a “click,” or a conversion, like a sign-up or a sale.
– The Caveat
In recent years, Google has cracked down on affiliate marketing. They regularly penalize blogs that are heavily affiliate marketing oriented. While this can be a part of your blogging strategy, it should not be the whole of it. Also, because today’s readers demand transparency, you will need to be upfront with them when using an affiliate link. Most professional bloggers commonly utilize a disclaimer such as “this post contains affiliate links” either at the beginning or end of the article.
Create a Digital Product
Blogs are an excellent way to build authority in your personal brand. As you accomplish this be aware of the topics that resonate with your readers. These will be posts that have a high amount of engagement, like comments and social media sharing. However, don’t continue to write blog posts, instead channel your efforts into creating an information product like a webinar, course, or an eBook. You can also use your blog to promote digital products created by others. This is similar to affiliate marketing. Therefore, the same best practices apply.
– The Caveat
When you decide to sell a product on your blog, you are crossing a threshold from information marketing to sales. Understanding the difference is important to your success. Selling products requires a great deal more time and effort in the areas of promotion, payment processing, and customer service. There are many solutions available to help with these, however, they do not come without a price.
Offer a Service
As you develop authority in your niche, there will often be opportunities to offer your services to others. You may consider becoming a consultant, helping others in your field achieve their goals and dreams. Selling a service is a great way to monetize your blogging efforts because it requires little to no start-up costs and no need to carry and inventory. Online accounting service sites like FreshBooks makes keeping track of your time and sending invoices easy and inexpensive.
– The Caveat
Services are not scaleable. Unlike creating a digital product, advertising and affiliate marketing that create endless streams of passive income, your time is limited to the time you have available. Therefore, you must set your rates accordingly.
The Business Mindset
We all grew up hearing, “If you build it, they will come.” That, unfortunately, is not the case in the business of blogging. To be successful, your blog will require constant attention. As a business owner, you have to wear many hats. Here are the five major roles you will take on as a professional blogger.
– The Writer
You must be able to write clear, informative and helpful content. Even for an experienced writer, the skill set of a blogger is quite different. Your writing style, for example, may take some time to develop. It helps to always speak directly to your reader. Seek to understand their persona, background, their desires, and dreams —then delight them with your content. If you are not a professional writer, take online classes to help develop your writing chops.
– The Authority
Being an expert in your field is paramount. You have to be knowledgeable. Use others to fill in and provide insight into areas you aren’t well versed in. Partner with other bloggers to offer any additional content your readers request. Remember, an authority doesn’t always have the answers but always knows where to find them.
– The Influencer
In this business, it matters what others think of you. To influence others is an art. It means knowing what you are good at, what you’re not, and sharing your journey to improve. Be transparent about your successes and your failures. To motivate others, you must be self-aware and open to listening to what they have to say, even when it is harsh. When you take this journey honestly, your readers will follow you anywhere.
– The Marketer
Your website design, content, monetization efforts, and social media presence are all part of marketing your personal brand. You need to understand the ins and outs of the technical aspects of marketing such as SEO, lead generation, advertising, inbound and content marketing, social media automation, email campaigns, and mailing lists. All of this can be overwhelming for a beginning blogger, so it is crucial to utilize technology to make your life simpler. Author and blogger, Amy Lynn Andrews has shared an extensive and helpful list of tools she uses in blogging —marketing and beyond.
– The Brand Manager
Your personal brand is so much more than the colors scheme you chose for your website or the set of carefully selected typography; it is more than your logo and your business name. For a blogger, your personal brand is your voice, your image, and your character. Maintaining your brand’s image is a 24-7 job, in itself.
– The CEO
Ultimately, having your own blog means you are the chief executive of your personal brand. You must take responsibility for the content you publish, the alliances you make, and the advice you give. To build a profitable blogging business, you have to think like a CEO too because the buck literally stops with you.
To make money blogging, you have to have ingenuity, creativity, and a large amount of hustle. You should also know when you’re reaching your limits; operating a successful blog is really hard work! It requires devotion and a high energy level. And to stay relevant, you must continuously develop in all of your many roles.
To avoid burnout, take time each day to reflect on the things you love about being your own boss. In her article, 4 Reasons I Love Being My Own Boss, freelance editor, Casey Cline reminds us that having “the power to make things better,” can be just the incentive we need to push through when things get tough.
Pamela Shows is a freelance content writer and inbound marketing strategist. Connect with her through DarnFineCopy.com