Older than Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, or YouTube, blogging is the grand daddy of social media marketing.
Focused primarily on writing long-form articles, maintaining a blogs isn’t as sexy as shooting video-based “snaps”, live streaming, or posting Instagram photos.
While blogs may no longer be the marketing flavour of the moment, they are essential to your goal of making money online.
I should know. I now make a five figure sum every month through a mixture of consulting, training, agency services and other work. And it all started through blogging.
Before you can start to make a decent income from blogging, you need to understand why blogs rock big time.
Blogs are Great for Personal Branding
Nothing beats an well-written blog post to build your personal brand. Sharing your ideas and insights on a blog allows you to establish thought leadership, increase trust, and boost your personal reputation.
Having a personal website or a blog also helps you to differentiate yourself from others. Nobody can resist checking out your website or your blog if you include it prominently in your emails, name cards, Whatsapp messages, or other personal communication channels.
Blogging Help You to Build a Network
I started blogging way back in October 2005 on a free Blogger account. I only migrated to my current WordPress website in August 2015.
Over the decade or so, however, I built a social network of over 13,500 friends, fans, followers, and readers across multiple social networks: Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Pinterest. While this is certainly modest compared to top influencers, I always tell my associates that it isn’t just quantity but quality which counts.
Blogging Improves Your Writing Skill
The discipline of regular blogging compels you to write regularly. At one stage of my life, I even wrote and published a blog post every single day.
While I now publish a lot less frequently (mostly because client work consumes a large part of my time), I make it a habit to write at least one long blog post per week. By doing so, I am constantly sharpening my writing skills while forcing myself translate my thoughts into a compellingly written prose.
Blogging can be Addictive (in a Positive Way)
Starting a writing regime can be tough. At least from the onset.
However, once you start finding your element (hat tip to Ken Robinson) and achieve “flow” in your writing, you’ll find it as enjoyable as any other hobby which you choose to adopt. Over time, you’ll realise that the act of blogging is intrinsically rewarding in and of itself.
Now that I’ve shared the benefits of blogging, let us look at how you can turn your blogging habit into a money making venture.
#1 Choose Topics Which You Like – and Know Enough About
Yes, I know that this sounds too obvious to be true but the thing is this:
“Blogging is a Marathon, not a Sprint. Its a life-long marriage – not a one-night stand.” – Walter Lim
To sustain your interest over the long haul, you’ll need to choose a topic that you are genuinely passionate about. It can be anything you wish to focus on – food, fashion, flamenco dancing, finance, or fishing.
You should also find an area that you are fairly proficient in. Now, this doesn’t mean that you have to be a concert pianist before starting a blog on classical music. However, it does make sense for you to blog about an area that you have sufficient knowledge about.
#2 Match with Market Demand
Blogging about your rare collection of exotic Samurai swords may bring you lots of joy. However, can you turn it into a livelihood?
Now I’m not saying that you should only choose a niche which can make you millions. Doing so without a real interest in the topic will surely be the death knell of your blogging journey.
Instead, here’s what you could do:
- Use a keyword research tool like Google Trends, Google AdWords Keyword Planner or SEMRush to determine how popular your topic keywords are in terms of volume of searches.
- Use a competitor research tool like BuzzSumo, SpyFu or Quick Sprout to discover which keywords your competitors used in their blogs.
- Go into Quora and see what questions related to your topic of interest commonly pops up. These could form your potential blog titles.
- Log onto Amazon to see which items are the most popular. If these match your interests, you can then create a blog targeting the related product or service category.
The key thing here is to provide value to your readers – what Jay Baer would call Youtility. Provide useful tips, tricks, and tactics which they can immediately use.
#3 Establish a Regular Blogging Rhythm
To make money from your blog, you need to be consistent in writing and producing content. The most prolific bloggers in the world – like uber marketing guru Seth Godin – churn out a blog post every single day.
Now you don’t have to be a daily blogger. I know that’s tough given your current work hours. What’s more important is to establish a consistent and reliable schedule.
For me, I usually block out two mornings a week (normally Saturday and Sunday) to do my blogging. Depending on my energy and creativity levels, I take about 2 to 3 hours to complete a blog post of about 1,000 to 1,500 words.
To learn more about spacing out your content activities, read my guide on establishing a social media content schedule.
#4 Read and Listen to Quality Content
The old saying “garbage in garbage out” holds true in the digital age. With a daily tsunami of content hitting your screens, it is easy to drift from viral video after viral video, or to whittle your day away in mindless consumption.
As a blogger, you need to change your habits. Be an active consumer of quality content. Read books that are related to your field, listen to podcasts by influencers in your space, and read thought provoking blogs.
#5 Connect with Others to Grow Your Influence
Social media isn’t social if you live on a digital island. Maximise the benefits of your blog by growing your community of readers.
Here are some ways to do so:
- Attend networking events that are related to your field of interest
- Join Facebook or LinkedIn groups associated with your field, and comment and like the posts put up by others
- Offer to guest post on other influencer blogs, preferably those from the same or related topics
- Actively share your content on your social media profiles – Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Google Plus and others
- Share the content from other bloggers and let them know about it. In time, they are more likely to reciprocate the favour and to share your content to their fans.
#6 Promote Your Content
To succeed as a blogger, you need to market your content. Now I don’t mean that you should take up a full page newspaper ad or to broadcast your blog URL on radio.
Instead, consider doing the following:
- Share your latest blog posts on all your social networks
- Extract little snippets from your blog post and repurpose them into Facebook updates or tweets. Include your blog URL.
- Create an email list using tools like MailChimp, and email your latest blog post to your subscribers
- Invest a little money (like $5 a day) to advertise your content on Facebook.
#7 Explore Diverse Income Opportunities
Finally, and most importantly, you need to monetize your blog.
There are many ways to do so. If your traffic is healthy enough, you can consider placing ads on your blog or do affiliate marketing partnerships to generate revenue. However, this is probably going to be formidable for most of you.
For me, my income streams come from several sources:
- Training: I conduct inhouse training for clients as well as a monthly public social media marketing workshop.
- Consulting: I provide content and digital marketing consulting services to clients
- Digital Agency Services: As a boutique content and social media marketing agency, Cooler Insights work with our partners to provide a complete range of digital marketing services – from web development, social media marketing, content production, Search Engine Optimization (SEO) to Pay Per Click (PPC) services and campaign management.
All of these areas are directly or indirectly related to what I blog about. Through the process of inbound marketing, my blog helps me to attract potential clients and generate leads on a regular basis.
Now that you’ve read all about the benefits of blogging – and how I’ve done it – the ball is in your court. Let me know what you think in the comments below.