Blogs are like opinions — nowadays, it seems like everyone has one. College study abroad students, aspiring fashionistas, and even mothers of my friends are all people I have recently encountered who have assumed the mantle of “the blogger.”
So, say you have a blog, but you want to take it to the next level and turn it into something profitable. Here are 4 milestones you need to meet before you try to make your creative outlet into a brand, a business, and beyond. Steps to take after this will be covered in an upcoming content series!
1) Offer reliably awesome content
Before you can turn your blog into a business, you need an audience. To get an audience, you need to give them a reason to keep returning each day. To do that, you need unique, consistent content. Making a blog into a business requires that you set down cornerstone of quality, as well as distinctive, sharable content that captures a niche or covers a larger topic in a new or appealing way. Try to follow the X-factor rule – why is your blog, out of thousands, unique? Why should people in the space want to read it? Every piece of content you write and publish should be centered around this unique lens that you bring to the subject. Make sure you have crafted awesome content, and along with it, a loyal fan base of readers who interact with you and with each other.
2) Add some flourishes
Outside of the content itself, part of your audience’s experience is going to be the look and feel of the blog. Take a look at your domain name – try to make it something catchy and unique. Make your blog mobile-accessible and mobile-friendly, so you can capture that audience. Create an eye-catching logo that you associate with all things your blog. Develop your blog theme, design, and layout. The blog content is at the heart of your potential business, but that doesn’t mean you should skimp on beautification! Also consider adding buttons that direct to the blog’s social media – Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Pinterest are four great pillars. Creating more outlets for your followers to engage with makes you more ready to become a business. But that means you need to craft out content for those mediums, too.
3) Master the art of promotion
Keeping your current audience happy is crucial – but so is building new audiences. After all, you want your blog to grow. Promotion will be key as you get started. Start with basic organic promotion. Put social media to use; it may sound like common sense, but tweeting and posting your content daily, using appropriate hashtags, etc., will help spread the word. Having easy share buttons on the blog for people to share posts directly from can be important, because you never know who will see your content in different places! Build your contacts in the blogging community, and get a few guest blogging spots in place to get your brand out there. Got friends in PR or marketing? Buy them a drink and ask them for some feedback to get a view from the pros. Or, if you have the resources, you can hire PR services.
4) Start thinking bigger
Let’s be honest, people love the allure of exclusivity. If you want to expand your blog, start thinking about a premium section of your site that would be accessible to those who want to pay a fee. Maybe you have some awesome ideas set aside, or you want to offer personalized advice or communication to a select few of your readers. Consider how you’re going to create a premium membership that charges a certain amount of money for content your readers won’t be able to get otherwise.
I’ve heard people say, “I live to blog.” But now, using these tips, you can get on the path of blogging to make a living. If you have any other tips for how to set out on the path of making a blog into a business, be sure to share them in the comments!