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How to Make Money Blogging

You can make money by having yourself and your employees use social media.

Nicole Crampton

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Businesses are turning their attention to how to make money blogging. Blogging may have once been an online journaling platform, but businesses are identifying the unique benefit of not only informing their audiences about their products but also using it as a platform to engage with potential customers.

Related: Competitive Edge with Company Blogs

Blogging specifically can help you to share your vision with customers and should become the foundation of your marketing strategy. This marketing strategy will show you how to make money blogging as well as giving your business a platform to communicate directly with your customers.

What is a blog?

Blogging began as a type of online journal which enabled users a quick and easy way of writing, publishing and distributing their opinions. Entries appear in a chronological order which promotes the idea of a type of online diary.

How blogging has evolved?

Blogging are now more comparable to a website which has become very effective communication and marketing tools for businesses. Each blog post about your business will archive on your blog and become another resource for your customers.

Successful businesses have positioned their blogs as highly informative, positioning the business as a thought leader in their space, building trust in their expertise. Your business blog should be the centre element of your online marketing strategy.

Types of blogscreating-a-blog

Blogs can be used in every field and for any purpose. These will give you a starting point of what type of business blog your business could use. These are the 5 most common types of blogs:

1. Thought leadership blog

Blogging from the perspective of the CEO/Founder. Can also be the voice of senior leaders from within their areas of expertise or from the perspective of their roles and responsibilities. These types of blog posts can have a big impact because it’s coming from the source of influence in the business.

This is quite a powerful perspective for your customers to be exposed to. These types of blogs are few and far between making them a rare and precious gem.

Challenges: The leaders in your business might not have enough time to post consistently or regularly. This could hurt the blogs potential.

Opportunities: Invite experts in their field to contribute to your blog. This will not only build your own networks but will also build audience trust of your content.

2. Company blog, several contributors

This is when you have general blogging with one or more contributors. These can sometimes be a full-time position in a company or a group of key leaders within the organisation will rotate publishing responsibilities. This offers a well-rounded perspective of your business. It also helps distribute the responsibility of publishing consistently.

This type of business blog works particularly well for smaller companies with fewer staff members but can also work for larger companies. This type of business blog can be a good starting point as well as a place to test the waters with your blog posts as part of your social communication strategy.

3. Department or team blog

This is an interesting option if your company is big enough to have a dedicated department that writes your business blogs. These blogs can then be specific to what each department is responsible for. Examples of this are:

  • The IT department having a blog expressing their opinions on infrastructure and data management
  • The software development team discussing their method and difficulties with shipping their product.
  • The HR department could discuss their strategy of how they hire well.
  • Customer service department have an open line of communication with customers. Possibly receiving feedback from the comments feature.

Challenges: Some departments may have excellent sector specific expertise but lack the ability to write well. It will be important to set guidelines and the business orientated writing for your blog so that your teams adhere to the same editorial style and your businesses tone remains uniform.

Opportunities: Involve your employees in the content of the blog creates ‘brand ambassadors’ out of your teams. Your staff will have a vested interest in your business growth.

4. Product, service or marketing specific blog

This type of blog strategically focuses on products, specifically a flagship product. This business blog would then be devoted to communicating the details of the product, the team of creators, the difficulties, the updates as well as a behind the scenes look. Very good business blogs use this as a marketing tool by work in soft-marketing strategies to lure new customers.

Challenges: if you punt your products to much you could lose your customers interest. Make sure to write it in a way that doesn’t sell products directly to your customers but rather helps them engage with you brands.

Opportunities: You will receive instant customer feedback on your products. You will easily be able to identify which products are preferred by users and what there “pain points” are with your products.

Related: Why your Employees Should Be Writing Your Blog

5. Employee blogs

Employee blogs or even a network of business blogs powered by individual employees. This can be a blog which is company branded or an independent blog which became the voice of the business.

If employees understand their responsibility to your business and are made aware of what the detailed expectations are, then this can work very well.

Challenges: Difficult to control what your employees are posting as well as maintaining a business perspective and not letting it turn into your employee’s journal. When staff leave their blogs must be taken over by another employee preferably the one who takes over their position.

Opportunities: This helps your employees become brand ambassadors and makes them feel like they are uniquely involved in the marketing of your business.

How blogging can benefit your businessbusiness-man_new-year's-resolution

Customers:

  • This platform allows you to communicate and connect directly with your customers
  • Blogging creates a conversation between you and your customers, potential investors and industry partners. This platform encourages interactions and feedback. How else will you know where you’re falling short if you don’t see your feedback?
  • You can use this platform to introduce new products and services to your customers. You could also comment on significant new events or market trends. Share your businesses behind the scenes initiatives. A business blog give your business a voice and personality, potential customers can now get to know your business.

 Marketing tools:

  • Businesses should use all free marketing tools at their disposal and a business blog allows you to build both brand awareness and brand trust.
  • Your blog analytics will allow you to determine who your audience is, when they prefer to visit your site and which entries are the most popular.
  • Cost-effective marketing investments. Every entry you publish becomes a long-term asset which will help with brand awareness as well as promote your expertise, products and services.

Business specific benefits:

  • To have a successful blog you need to keep up to date with news, trends and what your competitors are doing. This helps you stay on top of your industry and helps you to be a leader in your industry.
  • With blogging you can tell your businesses story. You can offer more insight into your business, your philosophy, employees and ideas.
  • It is great PR. Journalists will often interview business bloggers as industry experts.
  • Allows you to share your experiences and introduce yourself as an expert in your field and perhaps even a thought leader in your sector.

Ways to make money directly from blogging

  • Advertise and selling your own products
    • You can sell or advertise directly through your business blog and you’ll get paid directly. No need to outsource or get anyone else involved. Make sure to have a polished product before putting it on your blog. Make sure that the blog is correctly targeted for the product.
  • Paid for reviews
    • You can be compensated for putting a comprehensive review on your business blog. Make sure that the review isn’t completely irrelevant to your business.
  • Affiliate marketing
    • You can sell or recommend connected products on your business blog. You’ll receive a commission when a visitor to your blog clicks on the affiliated link and buys the product.
    • Commission is usually 30% – 70% of the product/service price.
  • Sponsors
    • You can earn money by setting up a donation button or asking readers for additional funds. Make sure to tell your readers what you will be spending the donations on for example: Product creation, researching costs.
  • Selling advertising space
    • You sell the space around your business blog at a certain price every month. The price will depend on the amount of traffic your blog gets and you will get paid upfront every month

How to create a blogemployee-creating-a-blog

 1. Choosing your platform

  • Which platform is the most popular?
    • WordPress is home to over 72 million bloggers
      • It doesn’t require HTML or code knowledge
      • It offers a choice of 3000+ free themes and templates
      • Offers a host of 1000’s of plugins which can add different features such as newsletters or photo galleries
      • With so many people using it, there is a vast community who will assist you if you get stuck.
    • Why free blogging platforms are traps
      • They control your content
      • They can shut you down
      • They can prevent you from making money for any reason they decide
      • With a blog in your own domain you are in charge of the content, you are not limited by branding or monetization
      • Because the software is open source, free blogging platforms are vulnerable to being hacked

 2. Creating a name for your blog

The web address is called a domain name. This is where your blog will be found. Choose a name which is:

  • Memorable
    • If you choose a made-up name, something that is difficult to spell or is too complicated, it won’t stay with your potential customers. Choose a name that is:
      • Short
      • Catchy and memorable – if you can’t remember it how will your customers?
      • Easy to pronounce
      • Easy to spell
      • Isn’t similar to your competitors domain names
      • Doesn’t violate some else’s trademark
    • Out of the ordinary
      • Your name needs to reflect who you are and what is important to you.
      • Be creative, your name should excite you
    • Trustworthy
      • Avoid using domain extensions like “.rocks” or “.biz” because they are less well known and will not inspire trust. Rather stick with the well-known options like “co.za”, “.com”, “.org” or “.net”.

3. Hosting your blog

  • Requirements for a good host are:
    • Support: Help options in understandable English. With various contact techniques like chatting, email or phone
    • User-friendly control options: Beginner orientated way to manage your blog
    • Consistent Uptime: Your site should be consistently up for 99.9% of the time.
    • Reasonably priced: Find a balanced host, you don’t need to spend a lot. But cheap isn’t always good.

Related: Stumped? 4 Innovative Ways to Come Up With Blog Topics

What to avoid when blogging writing-a-blog

1) Being inconsistent with your blog posts

  • When writing a blog your publishing schedule should be consistent.
  • Create an editorial calendar for your blog writing. This will help you stay on track.
  • Readers will not continue to visit your blog if they don’t know when you will be publishing a new blog post.

2) Not staying on point

  • Your blog posts need to provide value to readers who either are customers or may potentially be customers.
  • You need to answer their questions and tell them how you can help them.

3) Weak appearance

  • Make sure you have a strong, interesting and creative blog title
  • Include good relevant images which will catch your audience’s attention

4) Ignoring comments and questions

  • Readers want you to respond to their comments and questions. You need to keep your audience engaged and feeling connected to you and your business.

These blogging tips will help your businesses image and connect you to more potential customers which will essentially mean you will make money online. You can also use the direct money making techniques to make money blogging.

Social media marketing can result in more customers, more traffic and more conversations about you and your business. These are fun, create ways how to make money blogging.

Nicole Crampton is an online writer for Entrepreneur Magazine. She has studied a BA Journalism at Monash South Africa. Nicole has also completed several courses in writing and online marketing.

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Online Marketing

Putting The Brakes On Insta-Fakes

A huge following means nothing where there is no trust.

Daniella Shapiro

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Is it possible to buy friends? In the realm of influencer marketing, some brands seem to think it is. Let’s call a spade a spade: paid-for likes and shares create what is essentially a fraudulent illusion of high product endorsement.

“Sponsored” tags embedded deep within posts’ comments sections are inevitable. And because higher following means more attention, everybody feels the pressure to keep up. However, once an influencer is exposed as excessively using bots to generate traffic, they are black-listed. So it’s a catch 22 for brands who lack true grit. Most importantly, consumers value brand authenticity. A huge following means nothing where there is no trust.

Keeping it real is the new deal

Brands may find themselves treading a fine line, because influencer marketing has gone mainstream and is highly lucrative, bringing in almost $2 billion revenue in 2016, often delivering an 11x higher ROI. Of course, paid endorsements are almost old school now; they are common practice, and marketers have come to depend on this tactic.

32% of marketers say they cannot live without them. Nevertheless, there needs to be a balance between showcasing high-end popularity, but also communicating brand experience from everyday people. Relatable feedback builds connections between consumers and brands. Trust in a brand is invaluable in the long term.

Related: How To Become A Marketing Influencer Before You Turn 30

Living the dream?

With great power comes great responsibility. If you could buy likes and followers at a vending machine, would you? Well now you can, in Moscow, via credit card none the less.  This seems a far cry from the good old days of word of mouth brand recommendation. What happened to an endorser epitomising what the brand stands for, having actual connections to and experience of the brand? Consumers want true stories, relatability, and can tell the difference between what’s hot and what’s “bot”.

Cautionary tales

New measures are being taken in an attempt to weed out fake media frenzies. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has sent “reminder letters” to some major influencers due to inadequate disclosure of bought advertising. The FTC now requires that more restrictive guidelines be followed, including disclosure in the first three lines of text of a post. Sanctions of up to 20 years have been imposed for inadequate disclosure.

Positive reinforcement

One suggestion is to shift the focus to incentives for disclosing paid-for sponsorship; for example, boosting posts that make disclosure. Instagram is moving towards a standardised disclosure process. Posts may soon include a tag disclosing paid partnership which also allows partners to view data relating to engagement.

Problem children

Bot spotting is easy for the savvy consumer. Extreme peaks and lows in comments and engagement disproportionate to the number of followers per user generally indicate misleading marketing ploys.

Instagram has unfortunately created the perfect environment for “pod problem”. Some influencers use Instagram’s algorithm to increase their visibility in Instagram’s Explore tab. This is done by joining with other influencers in a mutually beneficial relationship to make daily comments on each other’s posts. This increases engagement numbers and visibility. False brand competition and, ultimately, a disconnect between brand and target market are the undesirable results.

Related: The Launch Of Instagram TV

Elementary

The most vital element in the brand-consumer relationship is authenticity.  This is not a new concept, but it is refreshing to step back and recognise what matters. Brands with foresight see further than likes and shares. People want integrity and ethics from brands that are relatable to real lifestyles and needs. Quality brands will generate engagement because of what they stand for, without the need for grandstanding.

All we can hope is that with any new trend, the kinks get ironed out and these #ad posts get less #annoying and more #authentic.

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Crisis Management: Fail To Prepare, Prepare To Fail

The secret to a successful reputational risk management programme depends on leaders’ ability to move with agility as they respond to the immediacy and uncertainty of social media-fuelled crises.

Jordan Rittenberry

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The always-evolving communications environment has intricately linked reputation management with the digital world, and executives must now realise that brand perception functions more like a real-time trading desk with 24/7 news, social media and online conversations shaping brand perception without the participation of organisations.

Put simply, managing your reputation must be an active, ongoing strategic investment that starts well before any risk or crisis begins. Plans and procedures will prove useless if introduced as a crisis erupts. Preparedness planning needs to start at executive level with reputation management practices being built into the fibre of every business at every level.

The secret to a successful reputational risk management programme depends on leaders’ ability to move with agility as they respond to the immediacy and uncertainty of social media-fuelled crises, which cannot be overstated as social media gaffes are occurring faster than we can write case studies to learn from them.

Establishing a preparedness programme

Handling a reputational challenge or crisis effectively starts with recognising the warning signs early. With an established programme, guidelines and procedures in place, your organisation can keep its finger on the pulse of conversations. This allows you to begin what’s known as the OODA loop (observe, orient, decide and act), quickly and nimbly during a crisis.

Recent data shows that 28% of crises spread globally within one hour. The very action of participating in a crisis exercise helps build “muscle memory” and organisations that effectively navigate a crisis are ones with detailed crisis management plans that they are familiar with.

Establishing protocols and systems ahead of a crisis, and then testing and training on them provides discipline and structure.

If the first time you’re reading through a crisis plan is during an operational or reputational crisis, you’re going to be behind the curve and with the pace of today’s digital age, it will be hard to recover.

Related: 10 Laws Of Social Media Marketing

Building a digital foundation

In times of crisis, reaching out to those who count the most to your organisation is critically important. This goes beyond determining who has the most followers on social media as people often confuse influence with reach. The former can be defined as the degree to which someone can inspire others to do something.

To prepare, first identify core groups ahead of time: loyal fans, industry influencers, key opinion makers such as journalists and bloggers, and those who aren’t fans. Knowing potentially negative influencers such as those who might be sceptics or critics is equally important as knowing positive influencers.

Consider online monitoring to be your first line of defence to gauge messages about your organisation. When set up in advance, this monitoring provides an understanding of your overall perception and it allows you to adjust quickly to conversational trends.

There is no “one size fits all” content strategy for a crisis. The sooner you can identify and engage with those who matter, the sooner you can begin tackling the situation directly.

Taking control

When you’re at the centre of an unfolding risk, you must demonstrate a strong voice to counteract the forces of social and traditional media that will quickly shape the narrative. Press releases and news conferences are insufficient to meet expectations for content that exists online.

Leveraging strategic content within the context of a crisis forces you to question how you are engaging your key stakeholders and audience beyond a simple text response.

Your owned media properties, particularly your website and social channels, serve as critical tools to provide information that frames the issue from your perspective, addresses misinformation and, if necessary, apologises for a situation with a clear action plan.

Related: Why Your Business’ Social Media Marketing Strategy Is Probably Wrong

Our goal, as a leading communications marketing agency, isn’t to teach an organisation how to simply tweet through a crisis. Rather, we expect our clients to walk away with first-hand experience of working under rapid-fire crisis conditions that mimic an accurate scenario.

There’s a great deal of nuance around effective crisis and reputation management, including what corporate responses are suitable for different crises. Don’t go it alone. Invest in a partner, which has a deep understanding of the complex variables that have a long-term impact on the public perception of your organisation.


Five variables to address ahead of a crisis

  1. Who have we maintained consistent relationships with? You must make friends before you need them. Develop a list of important online and traditional stakeholders and maintain steady communications with this group during the quiet times.
  2. What is your threshold for who is influential? Be aware of the fact that there are people who reside outside your list of key stakeholders who are nevertheless influential and could have an impact on your business.
  3. How quickly does a conversation need to build up steam to warrant a response? The internet and social media now reflect thousands of smaller voices who can find each other and amplify a message. Recognising how conversations gain critical velocity is imperative to gauge when to respond and a crisis partner can help in this scenario.
  4. What is the timing of your response? You don’t always have all the answers and that’s okay. Often, a community just wants to know that you’re listening to them.
  5. Where will you publish a response and notify stakeholders? Sometimes, a response on Twitter, or Facebook proves sufficient, although other platforms such as a website or a blog helps to frame issues more comprehensively. A crisis partner will help determine the best way forward.

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Why You Should Sort Your Social Media Policy (Like NOW!)

Strong social media policies are needed to prevent such behaviours and should always be considered when setting up and expanding your business.

Entrepreneur

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With 2 billion active users on Facebook alone, sharing our toils, tribulations and triumphs online is becoming second nature. There are, however, downsides to the rise of social media. Habits online have the potential to affect your work and your business if not monitored appropriately.

Recent research combining a survey of 2,000 UK respondents and analysis of work-related Twitter posts has highlighted the behaviours of employees online that could lead to damage for the businesses who employ them. Strong social media policies are needed to prevent such behaviours and should always be considered when setting up and expanding your business.

Related: 5 Tips To Generate Sales Leads Through Social Media

The Risks of Social Media

Lost Working Hours

The average person now spends 25 hours a week online, with almost two hours a day (116 minutes) being used to browse social media platforms.

With so much time being spent online it’s almost inevitable that people will habitually reach for their phone to check Facebook during the working day. The survey research suggests the average person spends 52 minutes procrastinating every day, with most of this time being spent on social media.

Across the working year this amounts to 225 hours lost per employee, a total of 7 billion lost hours from the UK working population of 32,344,000. Failing to set clear boundaries of when employees can use social media in the workplace may cost you a lot in the long term.

Employee Posts

15% of employees say that they have previously shared something negative about their work online, and a further 5% said they would do so in the future. This means that one in five workers think it is acceptable to take to social media to air their grievances with their company.

The volume of tweets found in Twitter analysis that contain negative work-related phrases illustrates how widespread the problem of employees complaining online is. In 2017, 8,186 tweets containing phrases such as #ihatemyjob, #worksucks and #hatework were sent, a 43% rise on the volume of similar posts in 2015.

Related: Make Sense Of Social Media In 60 Minutes

It is not only negative posts from employees that pose a risk to your business – they might also be inadvertently sharing confidential information. Off-hand comments on social media about what they have done with their day may lead your employees to unintentionally reveal information about a client, future plans or other information that you would not want in the public forum.

This could result in lost business if a client feels their security has been compromised or may give your competitors important insight into your working practices, which they can use to their advantage. A clear policy on what is acceptable to post in relation to work will help prevent these risks.

bad-tweet-2-redacted

How Can a Social Media Policy Help?

Social media policies should be issued and explained to all employees. Their purpose is to ensure proper usage of social media, in a way which will not negatively impact on your business.

A social media policy can set out when usage of the platforms is appropriate and what employees can share with regards to your company. The policy may not guarantee adherence, but it does allow you to set out proper practice to all your workers in a clear, accessible format, which can be regularly consulted.

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