How to monetise your blog
You might be sitting there ploughing away at your blog with dreams of fully funded world travel, free access to all your favourite stuff and riches beyond your wildest dreams. In short, you’re ready and willing to monetise. Blog monetisation, it’s a widely debated, controversial topic. Note that this is NOT about telling you how to write your blog, only you know how to do that. Only you know your voice and only you can write your own blog.
Becoming a financially successful blogger largely comes down to your own mad skills – there are plenty of highly monetised blogs out there that maintain their voice and integrity and despite what you read in forums monetisation isn’t a four letter word. You don’t need a billion-squillion views to monetise and you don’t need the backing of a massive agency to work with brands. It’s all about how you work it, baby!
Monetisation Baby Steps
You don’t need to be with a “big-clout” agency to monetise your blog. Working with PR companies, small business owners and digital agencies gives you the right mix of “next level” monetisation. Monetisation is all about scale. Small business can’t afford BIG blog stats, and you may not yet be able to deliver the BIG results that BIG business requires. It’s about scale. Partner with a business looking to do a small promotion and get good solid return on investment, not viral miracles. You do however need to tick a few boxes and be prepared to think like a businesswo/man.
Do the same thing you’ve always done but think about it on the next level
What do you do? “I write about my kids”. The market of people interested specifically in your children is 1 and it’s called Grandma.
What do you do? “I write about raising a young family on a single income”. “I write about the joys and hardships of parenthood”. “I write about the challenges of raising three fussy eating, head strong, golden-souled kids”. Here is where business sees opportunity. If your local pharmacy is being asked for vitamins because kids hate veggies, they see an opportunity. If the boutique sees “hard to please kids” they see “problem solving opportunity”. It’s time to think about your blog from a business point of view – for business. Not for readers. It’s important to differentiate. 400 hilarious words on the battle for broccoli is very reader friendly but it’s also very “gummy vitamin” friendly too.
Get up close and personal with your readers
Have you ever posted a blog entry that got tons of negative feedback? EXCELLENT. It’s time to dissect why that happened. Are you reader’s passions enflamed by controversy? Are they passionate about breastfeeding? Do they dislike risqué materials or swearing? Do they love a bit of cheek? Do they get excited by different ideas?
Here’s the thing, if you’re ‘target market” is just “mums” then you’re probably not serving that market very well. There are rich mums, poor mums, older mums, teen mums, mums who love to shop, mums who love to hand make, mums of boys, mums of twins and women who hate being identified by their parenting status…
It’s not about niching yourself out of a growing market, it’s about providing the very best content for the audience you want to attract. How do you do that? Be yourself. Hook into people who like you and your voice and then find out EXACTLY who that is.
Mums, aged 25-45 with primary school aged kids in Brisbane who work part time, have financial concerns but have prioritised children over financial matters, who enjoy a wine and some “off colour humour” and are excited by ideas that enhance childhood experiences.
This forms the basis of your content plan. Go on a social media and blog reading frenzy. Find people who target similar demographics and see what gets their ladies chattering. Get yourself a big old list of content to write that targets this demographic.
BUT, DO NOT COPY IDEAS. The one thing you can’t be as a blogger is unoriginal. Reputation is everything.
Blogging is a SKILLED profession
Photography is a must. Photo editing is a must. Reasonable grammar is a must. Understanding your CMS is a must. These are not only essential to monetising, but it will be hard to attract even casual readers without them. If you think of blogging as a profession, these skills give you the entry level job. With all professions, upskilling is the key to bringing in better money and prestige. The creativity and style of your blog is totally up to you and NOBODY can tell you how to do it. Nobody can tell you how to develop your voice – blogging and more importantly, life experience will do this.
To go pro (in the paid sense of the word)
Marketing is a must. We’re not talking on the blog here. We’re talking about how you push your blog to advertisers. Learn the basics of marketing and then apply those when creating a media kit.
Media Kit is a must. Ok, so there are some god awful media kits getting around. Yes it should be a sample of your “voice” but it should also give info on your readership, your Google Analytics data, your engagement levels, your cost per thousand views for ads etc It’s essentially a business prop – keep it professional!
Digital trend compliance is a must. At least read up on Google’s guidelines to be sure you’re not breaking any rules. For example, you’ll need to make any display ads “no follow” – you’ll need to know what that means and how to do it. Moz.com is a good place to start. Ideally, you should own your domain name (and all reasonable variations) and to self-host.
Social media is a must. Love it or hate it, right or wrong, most advertisers will take the size and engagement level of social assets into account when choosing bloggers.
Compliance is a must. You must have an ABN for businesses to pay you. You should register your blog as a business too. You probably don’t need GST registration, professional indemnity insurance, company registration or trademarking right at the start but as you grow, you should start learning more about these. You should also learn a bit about copyright law on images so you don’t accidently break it and read up on defamation laws – just to be sure.
Content SEO is a must. I hear gnashing of teeth and wrenching of garments through the computer. You don’t need to go spamming walls and building links but SEO stands for Search Engine Optmiisation – laying your content out in a way that search engines understand it. They’re computers, they read code in the form of meta tags, the understand links and keywords. You should help them to “understand your blog”
Google Analytics is a must. Oh don’t cry. Nobody likes analysing statistics. Part of being a professional is reporting on the results from your campaign. At the bare minimum, you should learn to report:
- Unique readers
- Click through to the client’s site
- The source of the traffic
- The cost per 1000 views
Remember the way to get PAID….
- Professional: Timely posts, good grammar, proper reporting, great customer relations
- Authentic: Reputation is everything, don’t mess it up!
- Influential: Readers must care about your opinions and see you as a leader
- Dependable: Deliver results and get return customers!
Blog monetisation isn’t about selling out, it’s about understanding that business and blog can work together in a delightfully symbiotic way. You’re not a corporate puppet and they’re not an ATM machine. Once there’s some mutual love there, the possibilities are endless!
About the Author:
Dana Flannery runs digital marketing company Talk About Creative. Talk About Creative creates connections between businesses and bloggers on all scales. Dana’s biggest challenge is finding smaller bloggers who want to be paid – so she’s on a mission to educate what business needs to work with you!