If you’re looking for a flexible work schedule, a way to share your passion, and a place to let your personality shine, launching a blog could be your newest business venture. With an estimated 31 billion active bloggers in the U.S. alone, it’s no secret that blogging offers up plenty of room for creativity, but it also has the potential to bring in a fair amount of revenue as well. From large corporations to busy moms, millions of online journals are helping people around the world make a living. But how does one cash in on such a popular trend?
In this post, we’re sharing five actionable tips aspiring bloggers need to know before starting their journey.
1. Build a brand
Creating a successful blog is all about branding. With millions of resources to choose from across the web, you ultimately want users to go to your website for information, product recommendations, and entertainment, and more importantly, you want them to continue to come back.
In order to build a loyal audience, you really need to make your brand and your blog stand out from the crowd. Everything from your words and images to your theme and tone should be uniquely yours. As you curate your brand image and start to develop your platform, keep these branding tips in mind:
- Focus your theme and your keywords on a specific niche. Narrowing down your market not only gives you an edge, but being able to prioritize keywords will help improve your Search Engine Optimization (SEO) efforts as well. If you’re not sure which topics or keywords you want to focus on in your blog, check out free tools such as: Keywords Everywhere, Answer the Public, and WordTracker.
- Develop a strong brand voice. The beauty of affiliate (influencer) marketing is that audiences tend to develop a sense of trust in the individuals that they subscribe to, which ultimately influences them to make purchases, change lifestyle habits, etc. But to build that rapport with an audience requires authenticity and commitment — failing to do so could mean that your blog comes off as overly-promotional, which could hurt your brand and partnership opportunities. This is why building a solid brand voice is so important! By including your genuine thoughts, challenges, successes, and tone, you can forge stronger relationships with your audience, which really pays off in the long run.
Here you can see an example of a strong brand voice from the MySmartmove Blog. Not only do they use consistent branding in their imagery and color scheme, but also created a blog around answering questions about what their business does. By using their blog to anticipate questions related to the services they offer, they can easily convert leads by sending them directly to their product pages for solutions to their needs.
- Be consistent with your content schedule. There are several reasons to keep up with blog content:
- You want to stay top-of-mind among your audience
- Publishing relevant content makes you more relevant
- Maintaining a regular content calendar can improve your rankings online
2. Join an influencer marketing platform
One of the most lucrative tactics in blogging is to earn affiliate marketing sponsorships. By partnering with brands, you can create sponsored content, share your experiences, and try out some incredible products for yourself. Sounds sweet, right? Of course, in order to score these coveted partnerships, you’ll want to make yourself known in the affiliate world. One way you can do this is by joining an influencer marketing platform, such as, UpFluence, AspireIQ, #paid, Tagger, Hypr, and Post for Rent. These networks allow businesses and bloggers to connect, form partnerships, and build broader connections.
3. Try guest blogging
If you’re confident in your writing skills and have already formed some connections within the blogging sphere, you may give guest blogging a go. Guest blogging is where bloggers team up with other bloggers and exchange compensation for original content that they can then feature on their blog. Typically, this happens between bloggers who are in adjacent industries but aren’t direct competitors to one another.
Let’s say you’re a health and wellness blogger and you want to get featured on a popular travel blog. In this case, you might reach out to the publisher and pitch a title such as “X Health Essentials Every Traveler Needs in Their Carry-On.”
The main thing to note about guest blogging is that quality is paramount. While the average blog post takes 3.5 hours to write, honing the details and investing your time will certainly pay-off.
Whether you’re writing for a byline or a little extra cash, every publisher is going to expect the utmost when reviewing content from guest writers. To sweeten the deal, consider including some custom graphics, stock photos, and internal links to your piece.
4. Sell ad space
Once you’ve established a strong brand image and a loyal audience, you’ll probably be looking for more ways to boost your blogging income, and selling ad space is a great way to do it! There are a few ways you can do this:
- Create sponsored posts: Using your blog and social media platforms, it’s really easy to publish sponsored content, just be sure that you’re following the guidelines set forth by the platform as well as the brand that you’re representing.
- Run banner ads: If you have a good amount of traffic coming to your blog, you might consider running banner ads. Using Google AdSense, Chitika, or BuySellAds, you can essentially list your online real estate for hire and the ad platform will automatically serve relevant ads to your users which you can then profit from.
- Direct advertising: Want to cut out the middle man? Try reaching out to businesses directly to offer up your ad space. This can take a bit more finesse and time, but could positively impact your profits.
5. Create your own merch
When your blog and overall brand starts to really take off, you might want to start selling a little piece of yourself with branded merchandise. This idea typically works best for blogs with cult followings or widespread popularity, so make sure you run a cost-benefit analysis before printing out hundreds of t-shirts or notepads! There are also print-on-demand options that will help save you money and time.
Not only is a personal blog the perfect platform to release your creativity and express your thoughts, but it’s also a venue for earning some extra cash! If you’re thinking about joining the ranks of recognizable bloggers and inspiring influencers, heed to these five tips:
- Build a strong brand
- Make connections via influencer platforms
- Earn some street cred and supplemental income through guest blog opportunities
- Sell ad space on your site
- Expand your brand with your own merch
As you embark on your blogging adventure, keep us in the loop! Share your experience, advice, and challenges with your fellow bloggers in the comment section below.
Samantha Rupp holds a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration and is the managing editor for 365businesstips.com. She lives in San Diego, California and enjoys spending time on the beach, reading up on current industry trends, and traveling.