Going Pro with your Blog

Going Pro with your Blog

As we stated in our blog post ‘PRing Your Blog‘, running a blog is akin to running a business.  If your aim is to become a commercially successful blogger, you need to think and act like you’re running a business.

yourblog

Create a blog business plan

Regardless of the stage you’re at with your blog, writing a business plan is advantageous – you’ll be able to use it as a guide to help you keep on-track and utilise aspects of it to assist with pitches to brands and PRs.

What to include in your plan:

  1. Define your niche i.e. your specialism / area of expertise
  2. Layout your blog’s Unique Selling Points (USPs) i.e. what’s different about your blog, elements that make it stand out
  3. Outline your key goals i.e. what you’re planning to achieve and when
  4. Explain HOW you intend to meet your goals i.e. think about what you need to do and the tools you’re going to need to make it happen
  5. Add a basic profit and loss sheet – projected expenditure Vs. income

Whether now or in the future, you can use these to help with pitches to brands and PRs. They’ll also prove a useful guide to help you keep your blog on-track.

Invest in your blog!

Let me pose a question….

Would you start a hobby or sport without investing in the right gear first?

Probably not. The same applies to blogging. If you’re serious about making a success of your blog, you’ll need to invest in the right gear first and it needn’t be expensive either!

Self-hosted – If you really want to put your blog to work, you may want to consider going self-hosted. By doing so, you’ll have greater control over your blog in terms of layout, search engine optimisation, customisation, as well as complete access to your backend files, enabling you to make any necessary code changes.

WordPress Business – If you’re a bit of a technophobe, WordPress Business offers a great alternative to self-hosting. As with self-hosting, the Business plan provides you with the greatest level of control to manage your blog professionally, costing around £20 / $27 per month [correct at time of publication] – a worthy investment!

Brands and PRs are only going to take you seriously if you take blogging seriously, so go pro!

Your audience

A business cannot survive without customers, just as a blog will not be successful without readers.

Place your energy in building a loyal readership – aim for quality not quantity.
Dedicated readers aid your blog’s engagement; an increasingly important factor when it comes to your clients i.e. companies / PRs

A benefit that comes with self-hosting and WordPress Business is the ability to tap into Google Analytics (GA). GA is without doubt the most robust data source where it comes to web traffic analysis – everything else pales in comparison! With the help of GA, you can glean information about your readers that will help you create content with real klout. If you want to learn more about how to use GA, the following articles make for good reading:

Using GA to engage your readers through multiple channels
Using GA to understand your customers journey

The information GA provides will be important to any prospective brand / PR you work with; it really is a blogging 101!

Style & Image

Where it comes to your blog, style and image count for a lot. Ease of use, in terms of layout and structure are also fundamental to your blog’s success – simple, clean functionality provides a better user experience!

In terms of image, a website that’s visually appealing and unique will help you gain recognition and with it, readers and clients! Templates are great and widely accessible, they’re also generally set-up to support mobile devices – crucial if you want your blog to appear in Google searches! If you’re looking for individual and bespoke you may want to consider hiring a web designer.

Photography is increasingly important in this digitally visual age, so be sure that you’re using the best tools at your disposal.

Royalty-free stock photography can be sourced from:

Product images – Ace Media
Lifestyle images – Adobe, Getty, Shutterstock
Celebrity images – Getty

To stylise your photography there are a huge number of apps which can be accessed easily through digital devices that can assist with styling, we’ve included a few of our top picks below:

Wordswag
Canva
PicMonkey
Pixlr
Adobe Photoshop

Sort Your Systems

There are a great number of tools out there that will help you automate and manage your time more efficiently. From social media management through to blog post management.  We particularly like:

Social media management – Hootsuite
Blog post promotion – missingltr
Managing competitions – Rafflecopter

Top Tips for Going Pro with your Blog

  • Avoid broad topic blogs: Define a niche
  • Invest in your blog
  • Set-up Google Analytics
  • Establish systems: Automate and apportion time
  • Maintain authenticity
  • Be sincere: Don’t just share the good stuff
  • Income: Don’t focus on one thing e.g. sponsored posts
  • Commit and be consistent
  • Focus on building readers through different social channels
  • Aim for quality photography
  • PR Your Blog
  • Get personal: Create a dialogue with your readers and listen to them

 

 

 

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