Here are some actionable things you can do today whether you are just starting your blog or have been blogging for several years and want to take your blog to the next level.
1) Change your mindset – You become what you tell yourself. If you tell yourself you’re just a hobby blogger (which is ok if you want to be but I’m guessing you would like to make at least a little money because you’re reading this article) that is what you will be. Shift your mindset and start thinking like a professional blogger.
2) Focus on organic search traffic from Google – Social media is important. As a beginning blogger, you’ve probably started building small, strong community. But to really kick your traffic up a notch, which is the key to turning your blog into a business, focus on search engine optimization (SEO) of your blog content.
3) Focus on Pinterest – This is related to #2 above. Pinterest is no longer a social media platform – it’s a visual search engine. Eye-catching pins with keywords in board titles, descriptions, and pin descriptions can drive traffic to your blog even if you don’t have a lot of followers on Pinterest.
4) Give them what they’re looking for – Take a look at what you want to write vs. what people are searching for in your niche. You need to find the intersection between those two things. Of course, you have to write content you’re excited about, and you must put your own spin on it, but writing about things you know people are commonly interested is very important.
5) Set concrete goals – Making “fuzzy” goals feels good but it’s hard to know if you’ve achieved those. To increase the growth of your blogging business, you have to get tough and set specific goals and, more importantly, set benchmarks so you know if you’re achieved them or not.
6) Create an offer for brands – Whether you put it into a formal pitch or just write it down somewhere for your reference, put together a list of how you would promote a product or service on your blog. Ask yourself: “What can I offer brands and why is it valuable to them?” For example, 1 blog post, sharing of that blog post across all your social media channels, and 3 additional social posts. That way you can clearly communicate to a brand what they will receive for the compensation they may provide.
7) Know your worth – Even a blogger with only a few blog posts has worth. Your time is worth something. You are probably very influential among your small group of friends and fans. It takes time, and often money, to set up and run a blog. In my opinion, every blogger should at least ask $25 for a blog post (that doesn’t mean you will get it but practice asking now when the stakes are low).
8) Start reaching out to brands – They may say no now, and you may have to do some work for “free” (in exchange for product… keep in mind this does actually have value for them), but what you are gaining at this point is practice building relationships, a gauge on how much time it actually takes you to promote a brand (you should be tracking this for future reference), and a better idea of what you should be charging for sponsorships. If you need help putting together a package, pitch letter, or media kit let me know.
9) Stop succumbing to comparison – It’s hard. Believe me, I know. I am sooooo guilty of this. But stop comparing yourself to others and letting it make you feel like you aren’t good enough. Stop killing your great ideas because you just saw someone else write about the same thing. Spoiler alert: pretty much every topic under the sun has already been written about. But no one has, or can, do it the way you can.