So, you’ve got a blog. You enjoy it and people are starting to notice. You’re finding it’s taking up more and more of your time and want to think about, that dirty word, monetisation.
We all know there are lots of different routes you can take, from advertising on your site, affiliate marketing through sites such as Amazon Associates, Commission Junction, sponsored posts (where a brand pays you to review a product), guest posts (where a brand pays to post on your site). All of these can certainly bring in an income but what if you want to take things to the next level. Many of the pro bloggers I’ve been following (through their articles and training courses) make most of their money through consultancy.
Charly Lester (30datesblog) has gone from posting a jokey update on Facebook asking for friends to set her up on dates, to a dating consultant (via stints at Time Out, The Guardian and The Apprentice). She says by far her best and most lucrative income stream is consultancy. And she’s not alone. So how do you go from being a blogger, to someone who is recognised in the industry and someone who is regularly interviewed on TV and radio, who writes (and gets paid for it) in newspapers and magazines, and who is asked to do consultancy for big brands?
Obviously the most important thing is to have a niche – an area that you specialise in. It might be that you know everything about the Norweigan stock market, or that you’re an expert in a certain type of vintage furniture. For some of us our careers and professions make finding a niche simple. Most of us have a wide range of interests, whether that’s food, travel, parenting, fashion or interiors. What’s the best way to turn those blogs into brands and make money in the real world?
Here are a few suggestions – but I’d love to know what you think.
- Find your niche – sounds obvious but think about why you are blogging. Why do readers come to your site? Is it to share information, is it to find out more about you, is it to get advice? Think about your reader and why you are blogging in the first place
- Keep up to date – if you want to become recognised as an expert in a certain area, then you need to make sure you are up to date with all the industry news. Subscribe to Google Alerts around your key words, to keep abreast of what’s going on – even if you just skim read the headlines. Subscribe to newsletters and other blogs.
- Connect with others – don’t look at others in your sphere as competitors, link up and network with the big players, the influencers, the organisations that have the same mission statement as you. As time goes on, the more people you know in your niche the better – you can recommend each other and help each other out when pitching for work.
- Be reliable – if you do start getting approached for work as an expert (consultancy, interviews) make sure you act professionally. Find clothes that work for you and that you feel comfortable in, be prepared, think about what you’re going to say, be punctual and polite. Everything you’d do for an interview. If people like you and you’re reliable, you’ll get asked again and again.
- Be contactable – even in today’s digital world, some people forget the most obvious think of all – to let people know how to get in touch. Your email or phone number should be on the front page of your blog so people can contact you quickly and easily – and get back to people quickly even if you can’t do the job. You’re much more likely to be asked again.
- Know your hashtags – spend some time doing research into the keywords for your specialist area and use them for SEO and to boost your Twitter posts. Also look at what words influencers are using in your sphere. If you can you can run moderated chats on Twitter with experts or on your blog to give yourself more credibility.
- Blow your own trumpet – list your achievements on your blog page and Twitter profile – if you have been on Radio 4 say so, if you’ve been published on the Huffington Post, link to it. The more you can big up yourself, the more other people will want to hire you.
- Diversify your offerings – publish an e-book on Amazon (many experts do this not to earn money but just to say they are a published author and it gives them more credibility), offer e-courses, downloadable tips, vlogs – show people how much you have to offer.
These are just a few suggestions but I’d love to hear from any of you who are making money off-line through their blog. How do you do it?