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@Newspapergrl PR and Marketing Tweets of the Week 2014-12-09

How a Food Blogger Made $40k Her First Year Blogging

Thanks to food bloggers Pinch of Yum’s income reports I’ve become very interested in how to make money blogging. Their reports are one of my favorite things to read and I learn so much from each one. I’ve made money because of my blog but rarely on my blog directly. In September I started working at The Blogger Network and now I have ads on my site, which is a foundation for making money blogging.

I recently found Chelsea’s Messy Apron and her ebook, How I Made $40k My First Year Blogging. It’s become one of my favorites. I realize that both of my examples are from food bloggers, which means their content is skewed towards that niche, but I think any blogger could learn from them. First, I have to say that I respect anyone who can make that kind of cash from blogging in just one year. It’s very impressive!

how to make money blogging ebook

Advertising Income
$14k of her first year’s blog income was from ads. The great thing about ads is that is once you set them up you make money passively (esp. if someone else manages the adsfor you). I see a lot of blogs apply to join The Blogger Network and most are too small to meet our minimum pageviews of 90k. She reached that threshold in just 3 months and I have deep respect for that accomplishment. I don’t usually see a lot of detailed information about ads so I appreciated her straightforward explanations. She uses several different ad providers as well as networks that connect bloggers to sponsored post opportunities.

The Importance of Mindset
One of the foundations of success is mindset and Chelsea talks about how this. She had another blog that didn’t take off. She took what she learned about creating compelling content, headlines and images. It worked. I like how she started off with the intention of success and thinking like a business.

When I first started blogging, I immediately started with the mindset that people would be reading my blog. This mindset is very important. If you only think that your mom is going to read your blog, your content will reflect accordingly. ..I am a strong believer in the power of our thoughts. Right off the bat, it is important to imagine your blog being successful and your skills improving. .. If you think you won’t ever get followers (or make money, improve your photography, etc.) you are right—you won’t! On the other hand if you are positive and confident you will gain followers (or however you measure success), you will!

Investing in your Blog Pays Off
Another lesson that Chelsea learned is that you need to invest in your blog. She spent 40 hours a week on it as well as investing money into it. She regrets going DIY in her site design at first and you can see how she gradually realized that didn’t pay off.

If you are serious about making an income off of your blog, you are going to have to invest.”

One thing I would’ve included is investing in blog conferences but being a review of her first year, she may not have attended any. I know bloggers have brainstorming sessions and other free ways of learning from each other, but it’s not the same as attending a blogging conference. They are on a much larger scale than a group getting together to chat. That means they can bring the best speakers, accommodate a larger crowd (more potential partners), and bring brands on as sponsors. You get to look for people to collaborate with in your niche for future giveaways and projects. There’s nothing like getting a group together in person to plan. Face to face meeting can be so much more efficient. Attending a conference is also how you meet brands that you can work with. You can go direct and pitch your services and skill set. In other words, conferences represent OPPORTUNITY.

I really like how Chelsea divided her book into months so you could see the progress she made. You get to live the experience with her. She shares information about the hashtags she uses that are effective for her, the sites that bring her the most traffic, and the tools she uses in her business. There is a lot of information about photography including props, lighting, cameras and lenses.

Group Boards on Pinterest
In addition to a lot of spot on advice, she has short tutorials on everything from setting up a WordPress site to creating a cover image for Facebook and other social media sites. I particularly liked the walk through of Ahalogy for scheduling pins on Pinterest. She also included a section on group boards on Pinterest but not as much detail about how to find group boards to join. There are sites like PinGroupie that are directories to help you find group boards by topic.

Facebook Groups for Bloggers
While she did talk about a Facebook group she belongs to, Chelsea didn’t link to it or go into much more detail. As part of The Blogger Network you can join our private Facebook group and network with the some of the biggest names in blogging (esp. in the lifestyle niche). I’m the admin of Utah Bloggers on Facebook. There are so many opportunities and friendships that are a result of these kinds of groups! Before I go to a blogging conference I make sure to join their Facebook group if they have one.

After reading this book I realize I need to do more planning and goal setting. I want to check out her taxes spreadsheet. I really like how she shows you exactly how to do a giveaway with up to 15 people with the spreadsheets and sample emails you can use as an example of how it’s done. I’m inspired to look for more trending content to base my posts on. I know some just from Twitter and people I follow on Facebook but keeping up with what’s new but I could do even better at. However, I don’t envision my blog getting a lot bigger. I make more money other ways and it’s tough to keep up with posting. It’s not worth the investment to me any more. This blog has led to years of business, my book, and it helped build my reputation. Everything else is a bonus. I don’t miss the comments and interaction that I used to have because I’m in a different phase now. A lot of that interaction happens on Facebook and some on Twitter.

I really think this ebook is great for beginners and even more advanced bloggers alike. I wish I’d had it when I started blogging. Probably my biggest mistake of all was getting a WordPress hosted blog. You are at their mercy. My blog got deleted twice because of a link that was spammy (I still don’t know what link it was but I had no warning and no recourse). I lost a ton of traffic and never fully recovered when I switched my blog to self-hosted. I hope every new blogger learns to just pay for your domain and hosting from the start.

How I Made $40k My First Year Blogging: How to Start, Run and Monetize a Blog
Pages: 189 with full color pictures
Author: Chelsea Lords of Chelsea’s Messy Apron

Price $19.96

Have you read “How I Made $40k My First Year Blogging,” I’d love to hear what you think about it. What did you learn and was it the right level for you?

 

@Newspapergrl PR and Marketing Tweets of the Week 2014-12-02

@Newspapergrl PR and Marketing Tweets of the Week 2014-11-25

Bloggers: CyberMonday Special Includes 60+ Products for Just $27

All weekend after the fun, the food and spending time with weekend, I was on a mission. I stayed up all night one night because I just had to finish to be part of this.

Dan R Morris and Rachel Martin from Blogging Concentrated, along with top leaders in social media, podcasting, video and blogging have put together an incredible product stack for Cyber Monday! 

Blogging Concentrated Stack – 4 Days Only but Giveaway is Only Happening Today

Blogging Concentrated CyberMonday deal

My ebook, 13 Social Media Marketing Ideas that Rock! is part of the deal. I wrote over 30 pages with examples and graphics to give marketers simple yet effective ways to market on Facebook and other social media sites. This is the only way you can get this product.

ebook: 13 Christmas Social Media Marketing Ideas That Rock!

There are 60 social media marketing products in all, including:

A guide from Derral Eves who made the Piano Guys famous on YouTube, to teach you Video Marketing. If you’re from Utah like I am, you have seen their incredible videos and heard about these YouTube superstars!

How about the #1 Podcast on the planet?  John Lee Dumas is going to help you become a Podcaster
The guy Entrepreneur Magazine tapped to write their Ultimate Guide to LinkedIn: Ted Prodromou.
Super Affiliate Lynn Terry, an 18 year veteran and Super Affiliate will show you what Social Media Marketing is all about.

 Want to get better at Facebook? How about learning what Holly Homer on how she went from 50,000 fans to 1,000,000 in a year, without spending a cent on ads.
There are also products from Joel Comm, Leslie Samuel, Kelly McCausey, Nicole Dean, Missy Ward, and Tiffany North.

In addition, there are 4 specials TODAY ONLY Cyber Monday, including a giveaway where you could win:

  • 10 Tickets to the Type A Parent Parent Networking Conference
  • 15 Tickets to Affiliate Summit: the largest affiliate conference in the world.
  • Mike Schultz and Anthony Xiques of iMartisan are giving 5 people: 3 hours of tech time with professional IT dudes.
  • Blogging Concentrated is giving away 10 Tickets to use toward any of their international one-day blogging workshops. I highly recommend them! I went in Phoenix and was blown away. Basically it’s advanced training in thinking like a CEO to grow your blog.

But those are only until Cyber Monday ends, then they will randomly draw from the list at the end of the day to award those.

See the FULL LIST of what you’ll get in the Blogging Concentrated Stack.

You really can’t go wrong with this product. I can’t wait to dive into it myself! I’m sure that even one product would be worth the $27. Please let me know if you got it and your opinion – I’d love to hear from you!

 

@Newspapergrl PR and Marketing Tweets of the Week 2014-11-18

Business Blogging Tips for a Boring Industry

When I wrote this post about how marketing experiments can hurt you, I got a thoughtful reply from Jim, who had an alternative view. He shared his business blogging tips that helped his unsexy business. His response was so thoughtful that I asked him to share it. 

Jim owns OptiFuse, a company  that manufacturers, markets, and sells fuses – from the little glass ones in all of your electronic equipment to the kinds you find in your car.

I got to meet Jim this weekend when he was in Ogden. It’s really fun to meet other bloggers and learn from each other! Jim showed me the file on his phone full of ideas for his posts. He agreed to write me a guest blog post and I agreed to write one for him. Here’s his: 

Business blogging tips

Most, if not all, marketing experts will tell you that the key to building a great social media presence is to create great content.

Now this might be easy if your company is a trendy retail store, a theme restaurant, or a high-tech company with cutting edge products.  Every day something changes: new style trends, the menu, or the new features on your latest smartphone app release.

Now imagine you’re not in a world that changes every day. You sell industrial fasteners, lumber products, or in our case, automotive and electronic fuses.  How do you make those types of products sexy?

Well in a short word…you don’t.

Marketing today is not about just about selling products or services. It’s about selling trust, awareness, integrity, hope and dreams to a select community of people. 

More and more, potential customers want to know who you are and what you stand for rather than what you sell.

A little more than five years ago, I attended a local workshop class entitled, “How to use social media to promote your business on the Internet”.  The 4-hour workshop gave the students a brief glimpse into the world of social media and the different platforms one could use to reach a potential audience.

Read more…

@Newspapergrl PR and Marketing Tweets of the Week 2014-11-11

Affiliate Marketing for Bloggers: How to Get Started

Affiliate marketing for bloggers

I’ve recently teamed up with blogger Melea Johnson to start a series of conferences (more like workshops) to teach affiliate marketing for bloggers at the ABC Conference. We usually have a group of about 50 bloggers, mostly women in the lifestyle/mom blogger niche. At the last conference time we had a blogger who came from a small Utah town and blogs about looking for gold. How appropriate because I think bloggers are affiliate marketing gold.

abc affiliate marketing conference for bloggers

ABC affiliate marketing conference for bloggers.

We usually have just two speakers, including a blogger who makes six figures from affiliate marketing. She has advanced tips and everyone just loves what they learn from her. We focus on learning first and then DOING and my goal is to have everyone insert affiliate links into their blog before they leave. Right now bloggers are getting the most traffic of the year, so it’s a great time to start adding affiliate links.

At the conference, bloggers get to meet with affiliate managers in person with our sponsors. We look for sponsors who are a good fit. These relationships are so important. Having someone to talk to that you’ve met in person is so valuable when you are new and can work with you to do special promotions.

Utah bloggers learn affiliate marketing

Utah bloggers at the first ABC Conference

I do everything I can to make these conferences fun and informative. We do giveaways (Blendtec is a sponsor) and have great swag. Here’s just a sampling of the feedback:

abc-testimonial-april

Bloggers have content and audiences which are often a natural fit for affiliate marketing. They are usually already linking to products they love and have trust built. Many bloggers look for sponsored posts but they have to apply to get paid and compete against other bloggers. They may have to reach minimum standards for traffic or followers. Even ad networks usually require a certain amount of traffic to be accepted. However, any blogger (that is not spammy) can join an affiliate program and instead of getting paid for a post, can earn a percent from every sale they refer.

Utah Bloggers learning affiliate marketing

Utah Bloggers learning affiliate marketing at the 2nd ABC Conference

I recommend starting with your most popular posts and looking to see if there are affiliate links you could add. For example, one of our speakers added Zulily links to a post about what she wish she knew before she had her kids. Zulily is where she got most of her maternity clothes so she linked to it with her affiliate link. That post alone has brought her over $20k!!!

As you can see, bloggers were enthusiastic about what they learned:

ABC conference testimonial

ABC conference testimonial

Getting Started as an Affiliate Marketer (for Bloggers)

To get started, you need to sign up for an affiliate program or network. Once approved, you log onto the network to get special links and banners so they can track sales that come from your blog and you can start earning money. They also have graphics and other tools you can use. You can link directly to specific products or to a store. You can earn a commission off free things (like coupons printed), digital products like ebooks, and even when someone fills out a form (leads). The best part is, you can earn a commission for things you didn’t even link to. You make money from anything that’s sold within a certain time frame (the length of the cookie).

Just remember that in most cases a blogger is referred to as a publisher. Sign up as a publisher. Submit your application and when you’re approved, look for programs to join. You have to apply to each program individually.

Here are my top picks for affiliate networks every blogger should sign up for and work with. Each network works with hundreds to thousands of programs/stores/websites. So no matter your blogging niche, there will be programs you will want to work with in each of these networks. I made some suggestions below.

Once you sign up, go back and add affiliate links to your older posts that are doing well, like this blogger did:

I went back to my old food blog and added affiliate links up the wazoo. It’s an inactive blog bit I still get about 100 views a day I checked into one of my affiliate and I had $50 waiting!

Here are Some of the Top Affiliate Networks we Recommend to Bloggers:

 I link to the signup pages directly because many are tough to find! Each one has thousands of programs.

Note: If you can’t find a brand on one of these networks, try typing the brand name + “affiliate program” into Google.

Impact Radius affiliate programImpact Radius They have Target and Oriental Trading Company. Bloggers are referred to as “media partners”.

ShareASale affiliate signup ShareaSale – Craftsy, Our World Boutique, Zulily, Gymboree, Crazy 8, Modcloth, and ChecksUnlimited (many check programs actually). Their blog is very helpful and they have great new tools for bloggers.
Amazon.com affiliate program Amazon has just about everything and since you’ll make a commission on all sales, this is a favorite with many bloggers. Amazon calls affiliates, associates.
Commission_Junction_logo CJ.com CJ has programs like JoAnn Fabric and Craft which is ideal for craft bloggers, Fabric.com, Old Navy/Gap, Zappos, Home Depot, Sears, and the Disney Store.
ebay enterprise affiliate network eBay Enerprise Affiliate Network (formerly Pepperjam) has ABC Mouse which a lot of moms love! Melissa & Doug is there (love their toys and you’ll earn more than linking to Amazon unless your readers add a lot to their cart on Amazon), Sheet Music.com, JibJab, Forever 21, and eShakati (custom dresses).
Linkshare affiliate network application  Linkshare has Nordstrom,  J.Crew, Forever21, Sephora, Clinique, 1800Flowers, Starbucks, Sam’s Club, Hanna Andersson, Shutterfly, Petsmart, etc.
Avant Link affiliate network signup AvantLink has Blendtec, Baby Steals, Backcountry.com, Cabela’s, Patagonia, REI and Sierra Trading Post. They have many other outdoor niche sites. All the programs I mentioned are top performers. AvantLink has incredible tools to help you such as linking products in an image using your affiliate link. I also like them because they are local (Park City, Utah) and I know the founder and marketing manager. If you are into datafeeds, they are amazing.

Here are Programs I think are a Great Fit for Most Bloggers I Work with:

I may have linked to them above, but for individual programs, here are some good ones:

One King’s Lane – I LOVE their deals and their higher end products are wonderful. I’ve purchased jewelry and am really happy with their shipping. Would make excellent gifts.

Craftsy – they have online tutorials and you can even get paid on some free tutorials.

Our World Boutique – trendy fashion and deals. Also, PS I Adore You (managed by my friend Greg).

Get Away Today – affordable Disney trips. While payouts are low and the progam is managed privately, you can earn a free trip when you sell a certain number. Contact Kimf@getawaytoday.com

If you’re more advanced affiliate marketing techniques, check out what Leslie Samuel teaches about creating a resource center. Even though his is B2B marketing, the concept applies to any blogger and what I love about it is that it’s based on content marketing – which bloggers do naturally well at.

If you have any affiliate programs that you recommend, please leave them in the comments!

Next up: a review of a DIY media kit ebook from a blogger.

@Newspapergrl PR and Marketing Tweets of the Week 2014-11-04

Hootsuite - Social Relationship Platform