Small business owners: You need a blog. And yes, I know you just rolled your eyes because you've heard that before. However, did you know having a blog can make you money, regardless of what business you're in?
We talked with three entrepreneurs, who found financial success brought about via their blogs. Use their tips below, and start realizing your company's full potential.
Build a community. Cultivate an authentic community of followers by building a social media presence and e-mail list. This may sound daunting, but there are many easy ways to go about this. Sibyl Chavis, founder of Possibility of Today, a positive thinking blog, recommends posting on specific days, so your followers know when to check back. She also suggests sending special posts to e-mail subscribers as a benefit of membership.
Jen Singer, founder of mom blog MommaSaid.net, uses Help a Reporter Out to spread the word about her blog. The site matches topic experts with reporters looking for sources. Press coverage translates into increased eyeballs on her site. To date, she boasts 60,000 page views per month; the more views you have, the more press attention you are bound to get. So far, Singer has landed on-air placements with the TODAY Show and Anderson Cooper, among other programs.
Create information products. Laura Roeder founded her Los Angeles-based social media consulting company, LKR, in 2007. In 2009, she began blogging about how small businesses can use social media and almost immediately saw an uptick in customer inquires. Today, she sells online classes to small business clients on how to ramp up social media campaigns. These classes are Roeder’s version of information products and they work well for revenue generation.
Not sure what "information products" to create? If you are a food blogger, consider creating an e-book of your favorite recipes or an online cooking course, Roeder offers. “It is really easy, just put your information into a Word document, export it to a PDF and then offer it on your site and let people buy through PayPal,” she advises. Of course, the content must be useful, engaging, informative and something your visitors are looking for.
Consult and teach. Every entrepreneur has a skill they can teach in-person or online. Women’s boutique shop owners can consult with fashion-challenged individuals. Mechanics can consult with people in need of tire repairs. Once your blog is earning you money, consider teaching others how to monetize.
“There is a huge community of people who will want to know how you did it and follow in your footsteps,” says Chavis. “Sell your knowledge to other small business owners.”
Participate in affiliate marketing. As you grow your audience, you are bound to get solicitations from companies wanting you to endorse products. Be careful: hawking every product can hurt your credibility, but also know that choosing products you believe in can benefit your bottom-line.
“Referring someone to a product can land you up to 60 percent of a sale,” Chavis says.
She recommends beginners take an affiliate marketing class through bloggers Pat Flynn or Corbett Barr. (Note: Chavis is not paid to endorse either course.)
Become a spokesperson. Singer’s page views not only attract big name television shows, they are also alluring to companies in need of spokespersons. In 2005, Singer became a Huggie’s Pull-Ups training partner (i.e. spokesperson). Since then, she has been paid to produce short videos on potty training tips and hosted Twitter parties designed to answer questions from mothers.
“I’ve built a platform and an audience that is of value to companies and publishers; that is where the money comes in,” she says, adding that her blog has led to the authoring of five books on parenting.
Do you have a blog? How do you monetize?
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