What It Takes To Turn Your Blog Into A Commercial Success
Turning your blog from hobby into commercially successful business is officially a thing, for some it just happened, for some it was sought out, but regardless the fact is today blogging is a viable career. And of course, much like being a pop star when your 10 years old, it’s sort of turned into the dream job for many twenty something females. But again, much like becoming the next Britney, ‘making it’ in this space is something many people chase but never quite achieve. Why?
When I started writing my blogging tips back in 2014 I wrote a lot about success, what success was to bloggers, how to measure your own success & how to stay positive when you’re not achieving the success you want. My point of view was always that success should be defined by the individual and in such an ever evolving and growing blogging world there really wasn’t ‘one’ measure we could settle on, aside from perhaps earning enough money to live from it, but even that can vary so much. What was important setting and defining your own goals and creating content you felt passionate about.
Shift forwards 2 years and whilst the above is still true, the reality of ‘success’ is far more visible and less of a pipe dream than it was … success (if that means having a commercially successful blog) is achievable if you work hard, have clear goals, a strong network and a clear business strategy. I’ve been enlightened lately as to how other bloggers achieve business and opportunities and have started to realise the importance of treating your blog like your business, if you want it to become one.
There’s definitely no magic formula for commercial success and integrity has never been more important than it is now (an authentic blog is still the best kind), but there are certainly a few tipping points, or steps which seem to allow some bloggers to make it onto the A list. And that’s what today is all about.
6 STEPS TO COMMERCIAL SUCCESS
Grow an Authentic & High Quality Blog
The first step to blog success and any potential commercial gain is of course of have an authentic and high quality blog. For many bloggers this is as far as the journey to commercial success will go, and that is absolutely fine, because for pretty much all bloggers this was all they had ever intended to achieve. Despite the potential earnings you could gain from a blog, if you don’t start from an authentic base that success will be limited. Authenticity, originality and integrity is what made blogging such a popular platform, it was real voices, original creativity and an authentic place to engage with content and people you liked. The basic ingredient for any successful blog is original content, unique creativity, an authentic voice, integrity and a distinct personality. If you start with the right ingredients you can move to point two …
Understand the importance of Content Distribution
For any blog to secure business opportunities and to earn money, they need to have a product. Content is of course one product, but perhaps what is more valuable to businesses and brands is an audience. An engaged, loyal, distinct audience who love your content, trust you and are open to your points of view. Sounds easy right? But growing an audience is perhaps the hardest thing of all. For many of us bloggers, me included, we never sought out an audience, over 5 years of blogging daily an audience just grew organically. But today, with so many bloggers out there and more content than you could read in a life time, cutting through and getting your content seen is far more difficult, and that’s why understanding your audience, and your content distribution strategy is slightly more important (sounds difficult, but simply it means where are you going to share your content to get it seen) – From maximising your content, increasing the life of your posts & creating evergreen content (to create a strong traffic flow)m to increasing your content engagement & growing your organic blog referrals. Many bloggers have emerged out of instagram, a platform that provided them with an audience & a voice, others pinterest, or before then Lookbook. The point is simple, to have a successfully commercial blog, you need to have an audience to commercialise.
Build a strong & valuable network
You have great content, and you have an audience. Voila. But actually in my experience one of the most valuable steps in building a commercially successful blog is actually in building a strong and valuable network. Whether it’s other bloggers (who opens doors to new audiences and opportunities), brands, affiliate companies, agencies or even start ups, the value of your network has never been more important. I wrote a post a little while ago all about the importance of a network in blogging and the reality of the ‘glass door’ which someone needs to open to start you on the trajectory to success.
Start with Affiliates & Don’t be afraid to pitch
Once you have an audience, great content & a network opening doors, the reality is there are tons of different ways to earn money from your blog & bloggers have so many skills that can be commercialised. A great starting point in reality is joining affiliate programmes and starting to earn commission for the products you feature on your blog, and as your blog and network grows opportunities like branded collaborations, sponsored posts and even ambassador ships become more frequent. The beauty of partnerships with brands is not only can you earn money for your work, you extend your network, build out your experience and clientele and more than that, you extend your content distribution to branded sites and social channels. It’s like a hamster wheel, once your on the wheel, its a self perpetuating business factory … it’s just getting on that’s hard. And whilst 5 years ago pitching for work was unheard of, today it’s more of a reality, so don’t be afraid to proactively go out and pitch for work and propose business opportunities to clients.
Back to the self perpetuating factory point, another factor that allows many bloggers to keep working and to have a continuous flow of commercial work (and in turn traffic) is of course having agency representation. A company backing your blog and brand and pitching you to clients for future collaborations. There are tons of agencies out there, and bloggers are being signed to talent managers, model agents, blog networks, social agencies and content businesses more and more. Mostly representation will seek you out, but it’s certainly a significant tipping point in creating a sustainable commercial blogging business.
Extend your Product
And when you really make it big time … it’s not just your content and your audience that becomes of commercial value. It’s your brand too. For many bloggers diversifying their income is the key to their commercial success, extending into project ranges, releasing books, clothing lines, e-courses, podcasts and even constancy for bloggers and brands. Who knows what the future of blogging holds, so finding alternative streams of income is certainly a savvy way of ensuring your blogging business is commercially stable now, but in the future too.
MORE POSTS YOU MIGHT WANT TO READ
. DEMYSTIFYING THE LUCKY BREAK: HOW SUCCESSFUL BLOGGERS GET BLOG BUSINESS & OPPORTUNITIES . THE SKILLS ALL BLOGGERS HAVE THAT CAN EARN YOU MONEY . HOW TO THINK MORE STRATEGICALLY ABOUT YOUR BLOG & BUSINESS PLAN . WHY YOU DON’T NEED TO QUIT YOUR CAREER TO HAVE A SUCCESSFUL BLOG BUSINESS . WHY YOUR BLOG IS MORE IMPORTANT THAN EVER (DESPITE THE RISE OF SOCIAL) . 6 THINGS BRAND LOOK FOR WHEN WORKING WITH BLOGGERS . 3 THINGS YOU NEED TO TURN YOUR BLOG INTO A BUSINESS . HOW TO TURN YOUR BLOG INTO A BRAND . 5 TIPS FOR WORKING WITH BRANDS .5 WAYS BLOGGING FOR BUSINESS WILL CHANGE YOUR BLOG .THE SKILLS ALL BLOGGERS HAVE THAT CAN EARN YOU MONEY . HOW TO EARN MONEY FROM YOUR BLOG & CONTENT .
Did you find this post helpful? I’d love to hear about your own journey and experience in blogging for a hobby or for a business?