Blogging has always been a fun, creative outlet for me and my friends, but with the rise of monetization and brand deals in the community, it sometimes feels like people may be putting the cart before the horse when they want to get in on the action as well. I’ve been lucky enough to work with brands for awhile, but not without hard work and some strategizing.
Anybody can “monetize” their blog (seriously, Ad Sense is still a thing), but there are a few things that you should always be focusing on if you’re trying to get to the point where brands reach out to work with you or respond to your pitches. As you work to grow your blog, make sure that you’re also:
Whether you’re posting M-F on your blog or posting only twice a week there (but every day on Instagram), you have to be active in order to both grow your audience and reassure brands that you’re someone that they can work with who won’t fall off the face of the earth as soon as you receive the product. Your audience can’t trust you if they don’t know if or when you’ll ever post anything, so before you try anything else, get yourself on a consistent posting schedule. This is the number one way to grow and really build your audience.
Becoming a storytelling wiz + adding value
When you’re trying to monetize your blog, you need to know how to tell a story. You can have the best pictures in the world, but if you are boring or vague when you post, people can’t connect with you beyond the surface and will skip over your posts. Even the fashion bloggers that have made a career of pushing product 75% of the time that they post know how to find a good balance of style + storytelling so that you feel like they’re your friend and you want to buy all of the cute stuff that they share. This IS a form of marketing + advertising after all, so you need to know how to captivate your audience so that they will be moved to engage with your content, whether it is clicking a link, buying something that you’re selling, or just liking and commenting on your posts. No one is expecting you to write award winning mini novels when you post, just make sure your written and visual content is aspirational, inspirational, or educates in some way. Be interesting!
Improving your photos
We all have to start somewhere, but if your photos are dark, blurry, or don’t make sense, not many brands will want to work with you. Yes, you do have some exceptions, but don’t skimp on creating quality content because you think you might be an exception. Invest in your blog. Find a photographer or two whose style works for your content and consistently work with them. If you can’t afford to do that, invest in your own camera or try to get a better phone and use that until you can; there are a ton of apps + presets that you can use to edit them to so that they look decent. It’s not so much about the preset than the photo, though. If it’s not a good picture, nothing will save it so also strive to get better with the type of images that you create.
Engaging with the audience you have NOW
We all want to amass thousand of followers and readers and we’d be lying if we said we didn’t. But… if you don’t engage with the audience you have NOW, why should anyone new follow you? Make it a priority to comment back on posts and respond when people send you messages. The whole point of this thing should be to build community and if you want your audience to trust your suggestions, click on your links, or heck, just ask you more questions about your content, make sure you’re taking time out to interact with them. This is how bloggers with smaller followings are able to secure brand partnerships-they care about the audience that they have now, so they interact with them all the time.
Spreading the love for your blog across platforms
Your blog is the meal, so let your social media accounts be the breadcrumbs that bring them to you. You don’t have to be on every single social media platform, but you should definitely be on 2-3 that you can use regularly to share your content to. Instagram, Pinterest and Twitter are my favorites because you can use them each in different ways to bring people back to your blog, but do what works for you. Just don’t rely solely on hitting publish on your blog. Share that ish!
So many variables go into having a successful blog, so make sure you’re at least working on these areas so that you can always see growth. Sometimes we want to skip over these steps to get to monetization but before you do that, there has to be value in what you share. It doesn’t have to be perfect, but taking the time to invest in these areas will help ensure that brands and small businesses want to invest in you.