Blogging was once viewed mainly as a nice hobby or creative outlet. Bloggers across niches and interest areas would upload posts and pictures to share with friends and family and, potentially, individuals outside of their circles who shared similar interests. Fast-forward to 2017, however, and blogging has become a bonafide career.
Today the popularity of bloggers like The Blonde Salad and Love Taza have encouraged a new generation of hopeful creatives to put their passions and digital talents on display for the Internet at large. Although many bloggers spanning many niches have amassed large followings that have enabled them to land sponsored deals and opportunities to pay the bills, this is not the scenario that every blogger experiences. For many, blogging is not a full-time job (even if they would like it to be) simply because in today’s saturated blogging environment, it’s difficult to command attention and carve out a unique and loyal following. However, if it is your dream to launch your own blog-driven media conglomeration, don’t lose hope – it is possible!
Even if you’re not a subject matter expert or don’t have years of experience in the field, you can still offer value to a community of readers by displaying a genuine interest in creating fresh and engaging content and demonstrating a willingness to continue learning.
But before you make the mistake of doubling down on your blog idea, investing all of your resources and racking up credit to launch your venture, it’s better to start slow and take your time building your voice and community, and slowly scaling your idea into a full-time business. You may also be entering uncharted territory, and learning about your blogging vertical as you go.
Here are a few ways to transition your blog into a verifiable business:
Think of how many articles or social media pictures you consume each day – the answer may very well be in the hundreds. The amount in which Internet users across the globe consume digital talent is growing, which means that it is only getting harder to cut through all of the noise. The only way to build an engaged audience is to publish content across platforms on a daily, or near daily, basis. Blogging once a week will likely make it that much harder to ingratiate yourself with followers. Most bloggers publish a piece of long-form content between 4-6 times per week, and social media content several times a day. This level of activity gives them the opportunity to forge deeper connections with readers and followers because their consistent content means that they become a part of their readers’ daily routines. Investing your time in growing your blog, even if the initial growth period is slow, will pay off in the end.
Build a Social Community
There’s no point in investing time every day creating content if you’re just sending it into a void. The only way to develop a sustainable blogging career is by building up a community of followers. It’s much easier to speak to Internet users where they already live – on social media platforms – than it is to convince them to take them time to visit your blog. Creating platform-specific content that ties into your blog will help you find and connect with potential followers. But it’s not enough to simply distribute content across Facebook, Snap, and Instagram – you also have to engage with your community. The beauty of social media is that it is not a one-way street, rather, it offers you the chance to communicate directly with fans who share your interests and may be willing to spread the word about your content among their friends.
Learn About Your Audience
If you’re creating a niche blog, there’s a good chance your target followers will share interests and behaviors. For example, if you’re running a beauty blog and want to connect with Gen Z-ers, then it’s in your best interest to learn more about how this generation spends time on each social platform and what they want to see from brands and influencers. The more you invest in learning about your audience, the better you’ll be able to create content that actually resonates.
Be Selective with Sponsored Content Opportunities
Sponsored content and advertising are double-edged swords in the blogging world; on the one hand, they have the power to bring in revenue streams to keep your growing business afloat, but on the other, too much reliance on ads and sponsored content may spark a sharp decline in audience engagement. Audiences don’t want to be served ad after ad, and they don’t want to read sponsored content posts about every product on the market because it comes across as disingenuous. If the only content you create is ad-driven, it’s difficult for audiences to trust your taste and authority in your blogging niche. Being selective about ad opportunities will help you ensure that every ad campaign is relevant to your core voice and pertinent to your audience’s interests.
With a commitment to consistency and growth, as well as the ability to stay focused on your voice and audience, it is possible to turn your side-project into a full-time career.
Related reading: 5 Steps to Successfully Transition from a Blog to an Online Store
Author: David Wither is a professionally accredited leadership and marketing coach who works with young founders and early stage teams to help them navigate through emerging marketing opportunities with a current focus on artificial intelligence and virtual reality.
David is also a weekly contributor to The Huffington Post, Entrepreneur Magazine, Business.com, and Tech Cocktail. He graduated with a degree in Business Administration from the University of Southern California.