Blog Smart, Brand Smarter
When I started blogging six years ago. I was absolutely clueless about what it took to build a thriving blog. At the time I thought I had the right message and that people would flock to my blog because of it but, it turns out, I was wrong. In fact, it would be a few years of trial and error before I discovered how to blog smart and brand even smarter.
Blogging well requires a tremendous amount of effort and hard work. The kind of work that’s hard for anyone who doesn’t do it to truly comprehend. The kind of work that you deserve to earn a living for and make some money to at the very least cover your expenses.
Can I just be honest? Many of us are using our full-time jobs to fund our blogs and we’re not seeing the financial returns. We’ve all heard the stories about bloggers making millions from brand partnerships, selling their blogs, and selling products. What we fail to realize is that those bloggers took the necessary steps to position themselves.
With so much on the line, blogging is an extremely competitive field, especially with new blogs starting every day. Therefore, we at Caribbean Girls Who Blog (CGWB) have declared 2016 the year that we will focus on showing you how to blog smart, brand smarter, and make some money.
Here are seven tips for blogging smart and branding even smarter in 2016:
- Clarify Your Message
What do you want people to think about when they think of your blog and by extension your brand? You may have settled on your major blog topic – maybe it’s style, or beauty, or culture, or entertainment or career but those are still very broad topics. What is your message? This is the differentiation factor. It’s what will separate you from all the other style, beauty, culture, entertainment, and career blogs out there. A great message is one based on whom you are, and your expertise. Work to have a strong and clear one. It’s invaluable to your brand
- Clarify Your Target Audience
With a clear message you can determine who needs your message the most and the best way to reach them. A clear target audience doesn’t mean that you’re excluding anyone. Trying to reach everyone is the fastest way to not the reach anyone. Our target audience for CGWB is Caribbean women content creators. That doesn’t mean that our content, experiences and products won’t appeal to anyone else. However, our goal is to fulfill a need for that specific group and it’s ok if in the process we also reach others. Having such a specific target audience gives us clarity on where to find our community, what content we should be creating, and what products and services they may need. Work on getting clear on who your target audience is. Make sure to get as specific as possible.
- Strategic Planning
It’s no longer enough to just plan your content, build your editorial calendar and schedule a few social media posts. You need to strategically plan. Everything you do should be a piece of a much bigger end goal. Your content strategy, content marketing strategy, e-mail strategy, and social media strategy need to work together to achieve your brand/blog goals. The bloggers currently at the top of their game are strategically releasing blog posts, sending targeted emails campaigns, and intentional social media posts. Work on setting your blog goals and set a strategic plan on how to get to them.
- Useful Content
The number one reason you need to clarify your message, have a clear target audience and plan strategically is to provide useful content. Providing useful content is the way to build trust with your audience, to get buy-in for your message, and let your target audience know you’re a go-to blogger on your particular topic. To blog smarter in 2016 try creating content for many platforms. Blog posts alone are no longer enough. Try to incorporate videos, eBooks, podcasts, and webinars. You don’t have to do all of the above but your content strategy should include at least two different forms of content.
Consistency is the great separator. It separates the great bloggers from the not-so-great ones. Truth is, anyone can do something once in a while but the people who can do something consistently well are the people we trust and look forward to engaging with. If you do plan to release content less frequently than the top bloggers on your topic then it needs to be epic. Epic, meaning it goes above and beyond the type of blog posts any other blogger is currently publishing. Nevertheless, work on delivering useful forms of content to your audience.
- Content Marketing
This is one of the biggest mistakes many bloggers are making, you can’t just share your content on social media once. You need a plan for sharing it on your social media platforms as often as possible without spamming your audience. You have to put your content out there, think of your favorite blogger, how many times a day are they sharing their blog content or a new product? Once is never enough to share something you want people to read or share. Work on creating a plan to market your content.
- Grow Your Mailing List
There is something about the connection you have with people when you show up in their inbox and they actually open your e-mail and read it. It’s not like a blog posts or any social media posts. The connection there is much richer and personal. But, you don’t have the right to anyone’s e-mail address, you have to earn it. You can earn it with great e-mail lead magnets (aka e-mail opt-ins.) It’s no longer enough to just put a subscribe button on your blog in hopes that people will give you their e-mail address. Work on providing a free e-Book, a checklist, mini course, or workbook to your audience in exchange for their e-mails.
With this information, how are you going to plan your blog growth for 2016?