What does it take to be a successful blogger? This is a question that was answered when I was lucky to meet and talk to Darren Rowse of Problogger.
Darren Rowse, who is at the top of the blogging stratosphere, came to a ‘location near me’ which is somewhat significant as not too many famous bloggers come this way, so excitement and anticipation were high.
What a lovely bloke he is and I really liked the way he was at the session early and happy to chat to anyone, plus he stuck around afterwards when we had drinks and nibbles.
OK, down to the nitty gritty.
In his presentation, Darren shared, 10 things he wished he’d known about blogging.
Lesson 1 – Treat it as a Business
If you want your blog to be a business, treat it as one.
That’s pretty straightforward and it means, treat your blog seriously.
You may have a limited time to spend on your blog however you can still plan accordingly and make steady progress towards your goals.
Identify “Who” you want to read your blog. This is an interesting point and one that is often ignored.
If you are a hugely well known brand, say Nike, you can assume that people of all ages and demographics will be reading your blog, however most of us who own smaller businesses really need to identify what sort of reader we are trying to attract.
There is little point spending a lot of time creating a blog that doesn’t attract visitors because it is not reaching the right audience.
Knowing who you want to read your blog, will inform –
- Content Strategy – that is the content you will have on your blog
- Community Strategy – this may include different social media groups or a weekly/monthly newsletter
- Promotion Strategy – marketing and promotion of your blog
- Monetisation Strategy – will affiliate marketing be best for your blog readers or some other form of monetisation
Darren showed some examples where he had created several different personas in quite a fair amount of detail.
By creating fictional personas you can ‘talk’ to that person when you are writing.
I read recently on Quicksprout that Neil Patel does this also. I know that Sara Young suggests this also, so here we have three very successful people employing the same tactic, so maybe that’s a big red flag and we should take notice.
How do you create a persona?
Here is an example.
Let me introduce you to Maree.
Maree is 28, she is married and has two young children. She worked as personal trainer before having children and is interested in yoga and fitness and health related topics. As she is busy she often shops online when the children are asleep. She reads Mom blogs and fitness blogs and is active on several parenting forums.
She is a savvy web user and is financially secure but she does have a budget for household expenses and online shopping. She is in the market for a new stroller and has been researching ergonomic models that are suitable for using when jogging.
She dreams of starting a yoga class for Moms.
Maree is fictional but you can see how developing a persona like Maree could help you with potential content for your blog. Try developing two or three different personas for your blog.
Darren suggests using these markers as identifying factors for creating personas.
- Needs/Challenges – how they use the web
- Motivation for reading
- Experience level
- Financial situation
All of these identifying markers have been used to create Maree’s persona.
Some other ways to engage readers are
- Readers Surveys
- Reader Polls
Darren has used these on his hugely successful blog called Digital Photogaphy School. Polls and surveys can help determine content for your blog.
Email is Powerful!
Email drives traffic!
Email does drive traffic. Darren showed the spikes in his traffic which corresponded exactly when he had sent an email.
Email drives profit
Darren could show that 87% of eBook sales on Problogger come from emails
Email builds community.
This may be through a newsletter.
Blog posting is the ideal vehicle to drive people to sign up for email.
What about pop ups?
“Don’t write them off. They do work”.
Darren’s words and interestingly Darren said that they worked on Digital Photography School very well, in fact the the graph spiked sharply upwards for sign ups when pop ups were introduced.
Pop ups did not work on Problogger which indicates that perhaps people looking for internet marketing content are annoyed by pop ups but casual browsers looking for information, not so much so.
There are MANY ways to make money blogging but none of them are quick or easy.
I am tempted to say -”ain’t that the truth” in response to the quick and easy part. There are no magical ways to generate huge amounts of income overnight just as there is no magical way to lose belly fat without a healthy diet and exercise regime ( I know, but we still secretly hope that there is).
So the message here is be prepared to work at this and it will succeed but there’s no magic, it is just good old fashioned hard work that will reap results and of course knowing what you are doing.
If you plan to make an income with affiliate marketing, these amazing results from Pajama Affiliates make compelling reading.
Create your own product. Write an eBook, create a course or make instructional videos. You can even hire a writer. This may be something you would consider after getting some blogging experience.
When launching a new product Darren recommends that you don’t discount the price in the launch which is fairly common practice but rather add in some extras – maybe a report, or an interview with an expert or a getting started webinar.
An example of an ‘inform’ type of blog post may have a headline like this –
8 Tips For Long Exposure Photography
This is a blog post to inform, to give tips, to be useful and provide content that a reader can use in a practical situation
An examples of an “Inspire: type of blog post may have a headline like this
Long Exposure Photography; 15 Stunning Examples
This is a blog post which provides stunning examples of what is achievable using a particular method of photography and hopefully will provoke a creative response in the reader to produce some of his/her own stunning examples
An example of an ‘inform’ type of blog post may have a headline like this
Long exposures; Weekly Photography challenge
Just the heading alone will tell you the type of reader engagement that this post will receive.
Look for Sparks, so…be aware of the small things that may be staring you in the face.
Be hyper aware of problems and how to solve them.
Become a problem solver so that you are useful to people.
Be Active Everyday!
What can you do each day that will get you one step close to reaching your goals?
Take action daily. “consistent small actions have a big impact’ concentrate on content, community management and promotional activities.
Do something for 15 minutes every day to help you reach your blogging goals,
- prepare emails for your autoresponder
- write a course/ make videos
- organise advertising
- write guest posts
- plan an event
- look at other blogs in your nice
- create and advertiser kit and media page
- build a relationship with a charity you wish to support
- and from me – plan and begin pod-casting
Do Good – This is pretty self explanatory and to use that well worn phrase it is all about giving back and being in a position to be able to give back.
Darren discussed his visit to Tanzania as part of a blog project connected with a non profit organisation working with people with disabilities.
It takes the same time and effort to think small when compared to Think BIG.
In this last lesson Darren spoke about providing value and have a BIG impact upon your current readers. Future readers are still that in the future, look after your current readers and think about providing value for them.
Love your current readers and you will achieve your blogging goals.
***This article has been updated from an article that was originally published on BloggingForNewbies.com – now part of the DiggingIntoWordpress Network.