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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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businessman-blogging

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.

Online Marketing

5 Ways You Can Turn Your Instagram Account Into A Revenue-Generating Machine

Instagram is slowly transitioning into what will soon be a fully functioning ecommerce platform. Are you jumping in?

Michael C. Burke

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Instagram has earned a rep as the place to go if you want to see pretty images of flowers, quotes and sunsets. And, for the most part, ecommerce companies have shied away from investing a lot of time in the platform, because, let’s be honest, that clever GIF you posted last week probably won’t drive a lot of web traffic, or bring you a huge spike in sales.

But Instagram has kept innovating, adding new features that make life easier and its own platform more interactive for users. And the result has been that the application’s value proposition for businesses has become clear – something that’s readily apparent in the platform’s recent blog post extolling its new and expanded shopping features.

Back in March of this year, Instagram announced probably the biggest game-changer to date for ecommerce brands: shoppable posts. So, while Instagram was, and is, a place where you can go for your daily dose of inspiration or motivation, it is slowly transitioning into what will soon be a fully functioning ecommerce platform.

And the brands that adapt to this the most quickly may well be able to turn their ordinary Instagram account into a beautiful, highly creative revenue-generating machine.

With Instagram’s new shoppable media feature, eligible businesses now have the ability to tag products in their posts, and send users from their feeds to the add-to-cart section of a website with just three clicks. It’s also pretty easy to become eligible if you, as head of that eligible business:

  • Have the latest version of the Instagram app
  • First make sure you have a business profile on Instagram
  • Are an admin on a page or business manager account
  • Have a product catalog associated with a shop on Facebook
  • Sell physical goods and comply with Instagram’s merchant agreement and commerce policies.

With the amount of content that’s vying for our attention every day, increasing traffic to your site and acquiring new customers is not as simple as making your account shoppable. The truth is, you need to make sure you have the infrastructure in place before you even begin to tag and sell products on Instagram.

Related: How To Become An Instagram Millionaire

Here are my top five tips for success.

1.Your content needs to be great

Getting people to pay attention to your content on Instagram can be tough – and having mediocre content in 2018 just isn’t going to cut it. For this reason, it’s critical to hire a part time photographer/editor who can help you make your images look crisp, on brand, and, most importantly, professional. Start to think of your Instagram as the new “Shop Now” page on your website.

2. Your captions are awesome

The caption of an Instagram post is often an afterthought. Whether humour, sincerity, or education is your thing, make sure the copy that accompanies your imagery is authentic, engaging and on-brand. Using language that will resonate with your target audience only heightens the probability of its members liking, commenting, sharing in the DMs or even clicking on the tag to purchase your product. When it comes to combining shoppable posts with a witty caption, see how Liza Koshy does this.

hashtags

3. You’re using the best and most optimised hashtags

Researching the hashtags that your target customer is using on a daily basis will eventually pay huge dividends. It’s all about getting on that Instagram explore page and using the hashtags that your consumers love.

This also strengthens your chances of putting your posts right in front of your ideal audience. Use a mix of 20 to 30 hashtags per post and experiment to see which group of hashtags gives your posts optimum exposure. There are a ton of great apps out there, like Top Tags or Leetags, which tell you the hashtags that you should be using.

Related: 8 Tips To Attract Your First 250K Instagram Followers

4. You’ve made your posts shoppable

It’s finally time to tag your products and make your feed shoppable. Tagging your products will allow viewers to tap the image, then tap the description, which will bring them straight to the add to cart section on your website. Click here to read in detail how you can do this.

But be sure not to get carried away; it’s not a good idea to make every one of your posts on Instagram product-oriented. In our experience, a good percentage of shoppable posts is only about 40 to 50 percent. Have a look at some of the brands that are killing it when it comes to shoppable posts, such as Byta, and Nordstrom, and follow their lead.

5. You’ve begun engaging with posts under those hashtags

Now that you’ve done all the hard work – making your feed look clean, crisp and cohesive; writing some amazing, on-brand captions; using the best hashtags; and making all posts that have a product, shoppable – it’s time to begin engaging by liking images under the hashtags that your bread and butter customers use on a daily basis.

For instance, if you’re selling sneakers, identify four to five community hashtags that sneaker lovers use, such as #sneakerhead, #solecollector, #instashoes, #newkicks or #igsneakercommuity, and then like and comment on 100 to 200 images underneath these hashtags every day. This will draw the organic traffic to your account that is needed to turn your fresh new Instagram feed into a lead- and revenue-generating machine.

This article was originally posted here on Entrepreneur.com.

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6 Steps To A Digital Strategy That Guarantees Results

Create your Brand Hero (Who exactly are you talking to?)

Chanelle Segerius-Bruce

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Digital Strategy

Your Brand Hero is often a mixture of some of your favourite past clients and could even be a version of you 3 to 5 years ago. Go deep and think about what they love to do, how they spend their time, what they passionately stand for and believe in, where they shop, what sort of holidays they like to take and what values are important to them.

Don’t worry about appealing to everyone, the more niche you can be the better. For example: “I help women with their health” vs. “I help new moms regain their energy through tailored exercise and nutrition”. In the second example, it’s crystal clear exactly who the programme is for.

Do market research. Send out a survey (without actually calling it a survey!) and ask them questions specifically around what their struggles or frustrations are. Ask them to select five ways that you propose to help them and see what they want. You can offer them a prize or a free value-packed download in return for completing the form. Keep it less than two minutes as people are time-poor these days.

Go one step further and select 5 to 10 people from the survey who filled it out in depth and jump on a call with them. Record it via Zoom and have it transcribed using Rev.com – now, you can use the actual words your potential used to describe their struggles into your upcoming marketing posts, email newsletters or sales copy.

1. Tell Stories

To cut through the 1000’s of marketing messages, your Brand Hero sees all day long online, you’ll need to use stories to connect in a genuine and authentic way. As the online market becomes more sophisticated people don’t respond to boring sales copy anymore. Injecting a story is crucial to creating a community around your brand.

People need to feel like they belong and that they know you intimately, especially if you have a personal brand but this can work for any company. Think about Richard Branson as head of Virgin. He blogs and shares his life via social media. He seems like an all-around nice guy who we love to follow and you’re probably interested when he launches a new product or service.

Humans learn through stories and find them easier to remember than a bunch of facts being thrown at them. Think about making your content shareable. Is what you’re creating and putting out into the online world worth a share? Would you share it? Would you be moved to buy from your own message?

“People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it” – Simon Sinek

Share your why. What’s the big why behind your brand and business? What’s driving you to do this? What’s important to you? What impact do you want to create in the world? Share that.

Related: How I Run An International Business From A Remote Beach Town In The Eastern Cape

2. Show behind the scenes, be real and human

A simple tactic to use for your digital strategy is to show behind the scenes of what it is you do. This can work across the board for many kinds of businesses and show the human side of your brand. Who’s doing the work? How’s your product being created? Where are your materials sourced from? Take people with you on a journey and let them see how it’s created.

If you’re a serviced-based business you can do the same. Instagram Stories, Facebook Live and Instagram lives would be perfect for this sort of thing. Once a week, create an hour by hour account of your day and give your audience a glimpse into your workday.

Be fascinating. Don’t spend all your time consuming content. Turn the tables and get into the mode of creating. Treat your business like a mini media company and always be thinking about what you can share.

Create before you consume!

3. Live video streaming

Live video streaming

Live video is by far the number one way to stand out from the crowd. Video will make up 82% of all internet traffic in 2021, according to forecasts released by Cisco. Get uncomfortable by doing the things not everyone’s willing to do. One of those is showing up and giving value on a platform like Facebook Live. Livestreams are great as you can interact with your audience, show your expertise and take Q&A directly from your potential customers.

From a practical point of view make sure you’re in flattering light (preferably natural light from a large window) or invest in some decent lights on a stand. Use a tripod. Get a Rode VideMic Me, a directional microphone for Apple iPhone and iPad so that your sound quality is good. Have your juicy topic ready and write out some bullet points on a whiteboard so you don’t lose track halfway through. Now 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 press that blue live button!

4. Grow your List with an opt-in freebie and give results ahead of time

It’s not enough to rely on social media platforms alone. With ever-changing algorithms and the fickle nature of human behaviour, putting your eggs in one basket could come back to bite you. You don’t own Facebook, Instagram, Twitter or Linkedin. Take Snapchat for example. When Instagram introduced Instagram Stories, and basically swiped the idea and format, Snapchat lost users in droves! Ensure that you build your email list as that’s a rather valuable asset for your business and if you decide to sell in future you’ll get a higher price if your database is substantial.

Create a valuable PDF, Video series or Mini-Course that people would be eager to hand their names and email addresses over to receive. Create a simple opt-in page or a pop-up on your website with the enticing freebie offer. Once people agree to hear from you, you can then follow up with a welcome sequence and email out your newsletter regularly from your chosen CRM (Customer Relationship Manager) such as Active Campaign, Drip or MailChimp.

Remember to share stories, behind the scenes and valuable content with your readers and don’t simply bombard them with sales offers.

5. Be consistent

Pick two social platforms to focus on in the beginning. Don’t feel as though you need to be on every single one. The most important thing to remember is consistency. Get really good at posting regular content on a consistent basis. Engage with your audience. Respond to direct messages and comments. Build a loyal audience before expanding out to other platforms.

You can use blog posts, like I do, as pieces of pillar content that can then be spread around social media and posted to many platforms. My readers know that every Monday I release a value-packed blog post that will help them move the needle forward in their business. This goes on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Linkedin, Medium and gets emailed out to my list via MailChimp.

Related: Creating Power Digital Campaigns

6. Use launches to sell new offerings

Everything mentioned above falls under regular, organic content. When you have a new product, service or program to put out into the world you’ll need to map out a launch plan. This will involve going live more often, posting more often, creating branded graphics for social media and putting some budget behind paid traffic. You can do this by boosting your Facebook lives for example or sending paid traffic to your opt-in freebie that you’ve created so that you build your following faster and have eager buys to launch to.

To keep up to date with Chanelle’s tips visit http://segeriusbrucecoaching.com/blog/

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The Seven Rules Of Social Media

Here are 8 tips from the proverbial digital playbook.

So Interactive

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Social media has become indispensable when it comes to marketing and PR. Smart, carefully thought out, and well implemented social media strategies have shown to increase exposure and engagement, improve search engine rankings, increase turnover, encourage brand loyalty, and improve lead generation. Converting social media followers into true fans is the key and will set you well on your way to creating long term customer advocates and “ideal” customers.

Here are 8 tips from the proverbial digital playbook. They lay out exactly what brands can do and the ground rules that they should follow to prevent social media faux pas:

1. Don’t Over Promote Your Brand

Your profile or page on any social media platform should clearly communicate your brand message and offering to your target audience. Your social media posts need to be more than overt marketing tactics. Offer your audience relevant, interesting, and engaging content. Overly sales orientated content is a sure way to lose followers. Conversational and on trend content is the way forward.

2. Think Before You Post

Always take the time to properly consider your content before posting it. Think it through and ask yourself if it is relevant to your target customer, if it uses the correct tone, and does it put your brand message across accurately. Consider the purpose of each social media platform and the content that is generally consumed on each of them.

Plan, evaluate your messaging, and use relevant hashtags.

Related: Social Media Marketing For Start-ups: Essential Tips

3. Always Fact Check & Cross Reference

Fact checking isn’t just for journalists and TV news. Always fact check your content, especially when trying to tie in news and current affairs into your messaging. A careless mistake in your content can be extremely damaging to your brand. Making time to fact check can save you at the end of the day.

4. Damage Control

It is important to react quickly and professionally, be careful not to respond with knee jerk reactions. Never delete a post, comment, or response. It is important to own your failures and mistakes. Address issues out in the open and hold yourself accountable if need be. How you respond will make all the difference at the end of the day. You need to be prepared to take immediate action, to act fast, and at any time.

Take the time to properly assess the situation and make a calculated decision that is in the best interest of your business and brand. Transparency is key and showing that you managed a situation flawlessly will only reflect positively on your business.

5. Post Regularly

Manage and maintain your social presence effectively while promoting your offering by posting regularly. This ensures that your brand is kept top of mind while increasing brand exposure. It is important to keep in mind that over posting is not in your best interest and will only hold your brand back from gaining traction in the online space.

Your online audience and social platforms including social media could very possibly view your content as spam and flag it as such, including on Facebook. One to three posts a day are best practice and a formula used by most brands the world over.

6. Invest In The Time To Do Solid Research

Researching your customer personas, target market, your niche in the market, and so forth, should be researched very early on in the making of your business. However, going forward research makes for amazing content that is tailored to your target audience. A few hours of solid research can go a very long way in the process of creating quality social media content. Posting social content for the sake of the act itself is simply not an effective strategy. Posting carefully curated content for your target audience will yield higher engagement and conversions.

Related: 4 Key Social Media Mistakes You Might Be Making – And How To Avoid Them

7. Never Ignore Enquiries & Comments

Social media allows for two-way communication and conversations between businesses and their potential customers. Social media goes beyond simply putting the content on your timelines and onto the news feeds of your audience, it includes engagement between brand and customer in the online space. It is important to acknowledge your followers and your fans, every single time. This encourages brand loyalty and gives the impression that you value your followers. Answering messages and responding to comments shows that your brand is present and listening to the needs of the customer. Personal engagement and a speedy response speaks volumes.

Your first step is to consider getting a respected social media specialist onboard. Johannesburg based So Interactive is a highly respected digital marketing agency with an excellent reputation in South Africa and across borders. So Interactive is a boutique studio offering clients quality digital solutions. Get in touch to get your next digital campaign off the ground. Talk to So Interactive, and together you can create a winning social media marketing campaign.

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