Is blogging actually worth it? Spoiler alert: yes. This article explores how to maximize the impact of your blog posts, reach a bigger audience, create opportunities, and put more money in your pocket.
I spent the early years of my business blogging without purpose. Like many newlywed gals, I thought Style Me Pretty was the greatest blog of all time, and I wanted to be just like it. Around the same time, I discovered Gary Vaynerchuk, Cliff Ravenscraft and Pat Flynn, and became obsessed with the idea of starting an online business. I knew that I needed a blog to be successful, and was even able to emulate the style of my favorite site, but I was missing a major factor: why.
Blogging with Purpose
I started my blog, Elegance & Enchantment because I wanted to share wedding photos, just like Style Me Pretty did. That was the extent of my business plan, and I “worked” at it for two years.
Without knowing where you are headed, you will undoubtedly get lost, as I did. Figure out where you want to end up, before you spend hours (or years) of your precious time brainstorming, writing, crafting, designing, photographing and editing. Ask yourself:
Why are you blogging and what is your end goal?
By identifying exactly what you aim to accomplish by publishing your post, it will help you maximize your chances of hitting your goal(s) out of the park.
Setting Specific Goals
I’m going to assume that your end goal is to generate income, in one form or another. If you are blogging as a means to support yourself and your family, you need to think smart. It’s not enough just to share pretty photos and hope you get some comments (I’m talking to you, Michelle Hickey of 2009).
All efforts should to lead to at least one of these outcomes:
- To bring site traffic so you can get ad revenue.
- To gain a bigger audience so you can gain sponsorships.
- To promote your products/services so you can sell more.
- To gain notoriety from big brands/companies, so you can sell more.
Saying All The Right Things
By the time my blog was a couple years old, I was a few years into marriage and my passion for weddings had waned. Since I had virtually no audience, it was easy to transition and relaunch my site as a creative lifestyle blog, with a new audience in mind. This time, I actually took the time to get to know them, and it changed everything.
By keeping those specific people in mind, it will allow you to meet the needs of your audience, so you can better serve them. While your ultimate goal may be to make money, as a blogger you have a responsibility to educate, encourage and/or entertain everyone who visits your online space, whether they are there to buy something or not. You never know who may be reading your post, or what it may lead to.
Making Money from Your Blog Posts
The relaunch of Elegance & Enchantment brought more than just a new audience. It brought lessons in time and money management. I’ll never forget this blog post. It was one of my first “sponsored” posts from a big company. I use quotations because I didn’t actually charge them for the post, but they did send me a $100 gift card as a thank you for featuring their products.
I ended up going on a little Target shopping spree to buy materials for the blog post, and ended up spending more than the $100 they gave me. Not to mention, I spent two days setting up the display, in addition to the designing, photographing and writing the post. In essence, I lost money as a result.
Make sure that you are getting back what you put in, and then some. Don’t just factor in the materials or equipment you use to create your post, but also your time. Don’t be afraid to write down exactly how much money you hope to generate as a result of publishing your blog post. In fact, I encourage it.
Sealing the Deal
At some point, I finally came to realize that my readers were actually interested in purchasing products from me (imagine that). By providing content that was valuable to them, they came to know me as a reliable, trustworthy source. The simple act of adding an email opt-in in exchange for my Enchanting Mondays printables gave me an avenue for reaching readers whenever I launched something new in my shop, and sales began to climb.
Once your content is written, revisit it to make sure you are speaking the language of your audience. Have a clear objective, and most importantly, a call to action. Always, always include an email opt-in so you can get back in touch with your readers. It’s much easier to make a genuine connection with an existing reader/customer than to bring in a new one.
Making it Count
I’m not going to pretend I have this one down. Marketing is and has been a struggle for me, but it’s not because I don’t know what I’m supposed to do— I just don’t want to do it!
In case you hadn’t noticed, the internet has no shortage or information or products. It’s not enough just to post your article and hope that it’s so good that it will be discovered (trust me, I’ve tried that). As counterintuitive as it may feel, the time and energy spent on promoting your post should be double what you spent on creating it. Share it on every platform you know, ask others to do the same, and then share it again.
Once I made the shift from blogging “cause everyone else was doing it” to blogging with purpose, my business took a major turn. Not only did I begin to generate more product sales, but it also brought more opportunities for sponsored posts, increased ad revenue, and allowed me to build better relationships with my audience (my favorite form of currency).
In my opinion, blogging remains the most organic form of promotion, that is underutilized by most businesses. If you’ve been getting frustrated with the results of your blogging efforts, I encourage you to take a step back and deep breath.
My Challenge For You
- If you haven’t started a blog yet: now is the time. See this article to get started. Come back to this post when you’re done getting set up!
- If you have an existing blog, but don’t have any new posts planned: Revisit your old posts, optimize, and revitalize them, with a clear objective in mind.
- If you have upcoming blog posts planned: Scale back. Focus on maximizing the efforts of fewer posts and be prepared to be wowed by the results.