HOW CAN I GET STARTED AS A BLOGGER?
All the things you NEED to do, that nobody tells you to do.
A Blogger in today’s world is so much more than a person who shares their everyday life stories or outfits on their website. A Blogger is another word we use to describe Online Entrepreneurs who run a structured, profitable, online business.
When I think of a Blogger, I think of someone who understands the relationship between their content, their audience and their offers. A Blogger is an Entrepreneur and a blogger can very well run a 6 to 7 figure online business.
Although there certainly are different ways to earn income online in general- such as learning a new skill like becoming a Facebook Ads Manager or creating a digital product to sell such as an ebook, I stand behind the e-course business model for two reasons: It is the most lucrative I have seen and offers the most passive-income/automation possibilities. We'll talk about what that means a little later.
My entire site is dedicated to teaching people how a Blog can be a business and if you have taken my free course or read others posts, the main question in your mind at this point can possibly be "How Can I get started as a Blogger?”
At this point, you may have decided that Blogging as a business is something that interests you and I love that! I will say though, I encourage everyone to look at things from different angles. I am now a Blogger as well as an e-course business strategist, but for the first 18 months of my career, I was working with clients 1-1 helping them develop their blogs and sell their products. This was the fastest way for me to earn money while I gained the experience necessary to one day start my own blog.
You don’t always have to be the blogger to make money online. If you truly feel you have something you want to share with the world that they would benefit from, and you are willing to consistently create free content until you build your audience, then continue reading.
WHAT IS A BLOG?
First of all, let’s define what a blog is but going over what it's not. Some people still have the notion that a blog is a website where you write journal style entries about your life. Though for some lifestyle bloggers this works well (very very few), this is not the type of blogging that I am referring to.
A blog is the place, online, where your audience comes to learn from you, to consume more of your content. You use this blog to capture your audience's e-mail address by creating high-quality, free, content. You then use their e-mail address to further nurture your relationship with your audience and eventually, offer them services and products that you know for a fact, they want from you.
Therefore, a Blogger in this context, is an Online Entrepreneur/Content Creator who creates amazing content, about a specific subject, with the intention of educating people and bringing them over to their own Blog. There, they can convert their audience into paid customers of their own products, over time.
I have put together 6 things you need to understand and do to get started as a true Blogger/Online Entrepreneur/ Content Creator the right way.
1. UNDERSTAND THE BLOGGER BUSINESS MODEL.
What am I really doing as a Blogger?
Start with the end in mind. That’s what Stephen Covey says, author of the 7 habits of Highly Effective People. Regardless of where someone is on their blogging journey: thinking about starting, just started one or had a blog for some time, I suggest understanding the overall business model for a blogger before moving forward.
The Pro-Blogger (e-course) Business Model in a nutshell is: Content leads to Freebies which lead to Products. I went into this business model extensively in this post, but I will re-cap here:
There is a reason I keep interchanging these terms: Blogger/Online Entrepreneur/Content Creator. In my eyes, a Blogger is someone who creates content.
A blogger should understand that one creates content for the purpose of starting people down a “funnel” that leads them an offer.A blogger creates content that leads their audience back to their website or blog, which captures their email address.
All your content is essentially free. Your free content is how your audience gets to know you and learn from you. It should be amazing and valuable.
However, there is some content that is totally open and free and there is other content that you create for the purpose of obtaining your audience’s email addresses.
Example: You create relevant, highly valuable content for your audience about your topic. For example: Blog posts, podcast episode, Youtube video, Facebook Live.
Then, inside that free content, you ADD a little upgrade to that content. Something even more valuable that is related to the piece of content they are consuming. For example, the openly free content is the blog post called “ my favorite 3 vegan breakfasts”. Inside the blog post, you add a picture that says “ If you want to also receive my 3 favorite vegan lunches and a printable shopping list, just click here to get your free list!” When they click on the image, they are prompted to leave you their name and e-mail and they receive the list straight to their email.
Your freebies or content upgrades, are KEY because this is how you turn your website visitors into your email subscribers. In this business model, your email list is your lifeline. The more your email list is filled with people interested in your content, the more leads you have for your products which will ultimately mean the more revenue you have for your business.
You use your email list, to further nurture the relationship between you and your audience. Those who are on your email list and NOT those who follow you on social media, are the true lifeline of your business.
There is email software that allows you to send out emails that feel very personal but are to the masses. The emails can be pre-written and sent out in an automated fashion at specified times and intervals.
Essentially, you are creating free content>> adding a content upgrade inside that free content>> getting subscribers>> sending those subscribers automated emails that nurture your relationship more.
Just because someone downloaded your printable recipe, it doesn’t mean they trust you enough to give you their hard earned money for a full blown recipe book or e-course.
However, imagine after you send them that printable list, you also send them the story on how you turned vegan and why, maybe some video recipes, maybe some exclusive behind the scenes of you cooking at home..etc. As they keep opening your emails and consuming your content, they will go from liking you to trusting you. And THAT'S when you can make an offer.
So the product phase is really about giving relevant offers to your audience that you know they want from you. For example, if a ton of your audience has been downloading your free vegan lunch recipes, then offering them an entire vegan recipe ebook or a “how to cook vegan” e-course, makes sense.
When a person has a large audience, creating different freebies is a great way to test ideas for future products without making the product first. If a person is just starting out without an audience, I would create 1 really great freebie and focus on audience growth.
It is important that you understand that content leads to freebies and freebies lead down a funnel that leads to your paid products aka sales. It is all a beautiful cycle.
Understanding this cycle gives you the motivation to keep creating free, amazing, valuable content because you know that it has a purpose that fuels your business. If you don't understand how your free content will lead to sales, you will lack the vision to stay consistent.
2. PICK A NICHE
What do I Blog about?
If you are going to start a blog or have one now, you need to have a niche. A Blog that speaks about your dog, your self-help books and your interior design ideas will simply not work with this business model.
A niche blog is a blog about a very, specific subject whom very specific people would be interested in. A blog about something you are truly skilled at and can teach others and share with others who want to learn the skills you have.
SO, again, a blog is a super specific website about a super specific content, audience and value.
For examples: A fitness blog or A vegan meal blog or A photoshop for bloggers blog.
3. PICK A PLATFORM
How does Social Media tie into Blogging?
Let’s go back to the business model of a Pro-Blogger: You create free content that captures your audience’s e-mail contact. Then through email, you send them down funnels toward your paid offers.
Keeping that in mind, let’s now understand the relationship between your blog and your social media.
Your blog is essentially your online hub. Think of it as a physical store you have. You may go out and speak about your product to people in another person’s store or house, but you ultimately want to bring those people back to your store. Your store has all your products that you want to sell. Your store is where you build that relationship with them to become frequent customers and fans.
Social media is an amazing tool that you can use to grow your audience. You can create content that speaks to your audience and reach them because they are hanging out there anyway. But you need to bring them back to your site.
Now, do you need a crazy big expensive website? No. Technically, your might just need a few landing pages which are 1 page websites with 1 purpose.
You want them back on your site because they can consume your content, give you their email, AND you can re-target them later through paid advertisement such as facebook ads.
While social media is great, I would say MOST if not ALL of the most successful online entrepreneurs that I know DO NOT FOCUS ON SOCIAL MEDIA. Remember, your business lifeline is your email list. There are other ways to grow your email list such as guest blogging, being a guest on podcasts, collaborating with others with large email lists, paid advertisement leading back to your blog posts or content upgrades, etc.
Social media is just 1 tool to connect MORE with your audience and possibly grow your audience but you ALWAYS lead them back your online hub, your blog/site.
I do suggest focusing on at least 1 platform such as Facebook, Instagram or Youtube to post your content and grow authority. WHich one depends on you.
We don't all have the same skill sets or strengths and we all feel comfortable in different ways. We also all learn through different mediums which is why different social media platforms can be so successful.
The great news is if you like writing and you feel this is your strength, then you can Blog through Blog posts such as this one.
If you love being on camera, then you can create video content for your blog such as Youtube videos.
If you don't like the idea of being on camera, but you are comfortable speaking then you can create content through podcasts.
And actually, the best way to cover your content is through some combination.
Again, USE social media to get traffic back to your website and your website to capture that traffic into email subscribers.
Even if you do a podcast or a youtube video, create a page for it on your site with the title, embed the video or the link to the podcast and write a small description of it. Also, you can add any links to anything that you spoke about on your actual youtube video or podcast episode.
Who are the Online Influencers in my niche?
Now that you understand the business model and you have chosen a niche and a platform to focus on, it is time to really understand your field.
Success leaves tracks. If you want to go hang out with people who will be interested in your topic, why not start with whoever is already big in your space? Find the people who are doing what you want to do online. They have already found your audience for you ! Now all you have to do is go join the party.
Before even tapping into your audience (that's #6), take a minute to really study what people are doing in your space. You want to know everything about what others are offering, how they are wording it, how they are presenting it.
It is an advantage to you if you there are already some people doing it big in your field. You can look around at the whole space and figure out what is missing. You can figure out how to add your own twist to similar offers or create an entirely new offer.
Don't think of yourself at a disadvantage because others are doing exactly what you want to do in a big way. Operate from a place of abundance: there is room for everyone! Think of how many fitness people there are online. Think of how many FREE fitness videos there are on Youtube and STILL, people pay for fitness programs all the time. Don't think of online influencers are competitors. You should be supporting them because one day, they might collaborate with you.
Here are 4 things you can do to start researching your field:
Start researching who are the big influencers in your niche. Write their names out in a spreadsheet. Go to their websites, consume their content, join their e-mail lists, evaluate the automated e-mails you will get, figure out what their paid product offers are.( Just be careful you don't start breaking the bank buying every program out there. Give it time.)
2. Find them on social media and follow them. Comment on their posts. Like them. Send them DM’s( or tweets or email) introducing yourself and explain how they have helped you with their content.
3. Follow who they follow, if relevant. I've found that in my space, all the big influencers are friends with each other. They all collaborate. Also, they have thousands of followers but they only follow a small amount of people. I suggest going through who they follow and following them too if you find them relevant to your niche. Repeat this whole process with each influencer you find.
4. MOST IMPORTANT PART: Start making friends with their audience! More than focusing on the big influencers and their friends, focus on those following the influencers in your space. Essentially, those are your people too! I usually start by commenting on the posts, commenting on other's comments and going through the list of people who liked or commented each post. I go to their profile, like, comment and offer some insight if I can. ( More on this on #6)
5. START SHARING.
How do I get started from nothing?
Gary Vee talks about this all the time: “Document, don’t create.” More and more, platforms are coming up with ways to let us share our lives as they are, without the filters and planned out photoshoots for “candid “instagram photos. If you are starting from scratch, then start with sharing. (though it applies to everyone)
Start sharing everything you know and do related to what you want to Blog about. For example: Share your makeup looks, your process for styling, your process for cooking healthy meals or vegan meals.
The more you start sharing about a particular subject , the more authority you build even if you are just starting. Because little by little, day by day, content piece by content piece, people will start thinking of you as an authority figure with knowledge when it comes to your niche.
For example, say you decide that you truly love fitness. You just lost 10lbs and are creating all these new eating habits and exercise habits in your life. You don’t think of yourself as an expert. Nonetheless you start sharing on say Instagram, posts about what you are eating. Your workouts. Your progress pictures. Your daily cravings and how you are avoiding them.
You may still even be 40 lbs away from your goal weight but if you start sharing what you are doing now, by the time you lose the next 10 to 20 lbs, you will have LOYAL FANS and supporters who are reaching out to you saying how much you inspired them and taught them how to get started.
Once you start sharing, then you can start creating some free content. Create a super small freebie. Or several to test it out. Then narrow down your niche and go HAM creating content with content upgrades.
You can even experiment with a super small digital product and just create a small funnel or offer it on your site all the time.
For example, say you have been “sharing” your daily meals and workouts on your instagram feed and stories. People are starting to DM you and comment and sort of virtually root for you/ learn from you. You can feel it.
This is a great time to create even a 1 page landing page that says: Grab my FREE 1 week meal plan that helped me lose 10 lbs in 4 weeks. The meal plan is just a series of recipes you typed up on Word, added some pictures and converted into a PDF. It really doesn't have to be more complicated than that.
You don’t need to be at letter Z, to start teaching someone who is on letter A. If you know more than them in a particular subject, they will listen if you prove to them, through daily consistency that they should because you are getting the results they want.
Sharing on social media is the fastest way to know what resonates with others and more importantly what resonates within yourself. When you find your flow, you will know.
You need just truly operate from this place of “I want to share this with people because I think that it will really help.” THAT’S ALWAYS THE KEY.
6. CONNECT WITH YOUR PEOPLE.
Remember, your email list is the lifeline of your business. Your email list needs to be full of people who are interested in what you are talking about. This is the reason you chose a niche and you want to create content that is totally ON topic when it comes to your niche.
Your goal is always to grow your email list (or another way to put it is grow the amount of leads that you have for your products) That is always your end goal. More leads= More sales.
Ask yourself then, “Where is my audience?” Where are they already hanging out? Where can I go to connect with them?
Well thanks to Step #4, you know exactly where they are hanging out: wherever the big online influencers in your space are.
The way YOU become an influencer in your space is by connecting with your people. Through finding the influencers in your space, you also find your communities. This is a huge time saver for you. Here are some ways you can use those community hubs to build your own audience:
- Find your influencer on instagram and youtube. Tap into their audience. Literally go through the people who like and comment on their posts because those are the most engaged.
- Follow those people on instagram or youtube, like their stuff, comment something valuable, DM them.
- If every single day you take some time to support and connect with 20 people who are interested in your niche, in about 3 months you will have connected with almost 2,000 people. Believe me, those connections will multiply with time.
- Find free facebook groups about your topic. Join them and be active and support others. Within time, people will follow you on social media or visit your website, etc.
- Look up hashtags related to your topic and follow it on instagram. Then like and comment every time someone uses it.
- Find some micro influencers in your space who are just starting out. Maybe you can collaborate in some way. Definitely support them and tap into their audience as well.
- Go to Amazon and search for books on your topics, then look up the author's social media. Again, your people will be hanging out there. A comment a day goes a Long way!
If you are going to be spending time tapping into other's audiences, you need to have your website and all your social media fully optimized. I will write a full post on this soon and link here. For now just understand that you should be very clear about what you talk about and have links to your site or freebies, so that the people who find you can join your email lists.
THE NITTY GRITTY
Congratulations on making it this far! This means you truly are interested in Blogging and Blogging as a business. These steps are to prepare you mentally for how you should approach starting a blog. Going straight into building your website and taking photos or creating logos for your blog, before taking the time to understand these principles is like buying a bunch of tools to build a house without a blueprint first.
Once you conceptually understand how to approach starting a blog and you go through these steps, you will be ready to go into the phase of actually building the house. As far as the technical side, such as creating your website or landing pages, creating your freebies, placing opt in boxes, planning out your content etc, I will be creating plenty of more content on that.
I also do offer some 1-1 help to get your blog started off right from the start! If you are interested in learning more about working with me, you can contact me here. Otherwise, stay tuned!