This is a guest post by Donna Merrill from http://donnamerrilltribe.com/. She is a famous blogger who came to limelight with her magical touch in ‘Blogging Magic’. With this masterpiece, she not only helps starters to sail smoothly the paths of blogging but also the advanced bloggers to discover a new level in their career.
I work with a lot of newbie bloggers who really don’t fully understand the blogging process.
I also work with lots of very established bloggers who understand it, but too often go about it the wrong way.
So for both newbie bloggers, and those who are just not getting the results they want from blogging, let me show you what I think is the best blogging process to use.
==The Blogging Process
In a nutshell, I’d say the blogging process breaks down into these 4 key components.
- Create Killer Content
- Market Your Blog
- Monetize Your Blog
So, I’d like you wake up each day to a clean sheet of paper with a big cross drawn on it. That will give you 4 equal sections or quadrants.
Name them Create, Socialize, Market, Monetize.
Next, decide how much time you can devote to each area on each given day.
The trick is to be sure to give roughly equal time to each quadrant.
So, if you have 4 hours to work on your “blogging business” today, maybe you could spend one hour on each quadrant.
Notice, I am telling you to work on your “blogging business,” not on “your blog.”
The difference is huge.
I find that when people tell me they’re hard at work on their blog, that they often have a poor idea of what their overall blogging business is.
These are the folks that tell me, “Hey, Donna, I’ve been building this great blog for a year now, but I’m not getting anything out of it.”
Often, these are excellent bloggers.
When they tell me they’re “not getting anything out of it” or “not getting enough out of it” I know they haven’t designed their blog to be a business, but simply a blog.
So think about this.
Just what IS a blog, anyway?
Well, it’s just a website that houses content for people to consume.
It may be about health, wealth or a thousand other things. The purpose of the blog is to give great information (“content”) about topics of interest within the niche.
So my “health” blog might have a lot of content about how to exercise, good nutrition, herbal remedies or whatever.
The niche is health, and the content is health related.
I can write great articles, include videos, podcasts and cool infographics.
These are just delivery styles, though. The content is still the same… in this case, health.
When I “work on my blog,” I am usually saying I’m busy developing content.
That’s a great place to begin.
But remember, “Content” is just the first of the 4 quadrants I told you to work on every single day.
Sure, create killer content, it’s the backbone of your blog.
But, now make sure you keep that to just one hour and then move on to the other parts of your “blogging business.”
Ok, you’ve put out some great content on your blog.
In the second part of the blogging process, you need to spend some time socializing with your target audience.
Using the example of a health blog still, how about getting on some Facebook groups concerned with health to see if you can help some people out with health issues.
Answer some questions, maybe even ask some questions to get some discussion threads moving in your direction.
You should keep a list of relevant Facebook groups and even fan pages to check in on regularly.
Take this same tactic to other social sites that you might like. Google+ communities are good, Twitter, Reddit, Youtube… whatever suits your taste, and where ever you find a good and responsive target audience.
Don’t be tempted to start dropping links all over the place, though.
This is not a time to tell everybody about your latest blog post, it’s a time to truly socialize. Let people know who you are, what your interests are, where you come from, what kind of day you’re having… you know, socialize.
More important than letting people know who you are, spend this time finding out who THEY are. Remember, this is your target audience… people you already know are interested in your niche.
So find out who they are on a personal level. How old are they, what’s their educational level, income level, what TV shows do they like, are they married or single. Start getting a real sense of who your target audience is by socializing with them.
==Market Your Blog
Now it’s time to move on to the 3rd quadrant of your blogging process.
Do some work to market your blog.
In other words, spread the word, let folks know you wrote it, and that they should check it out.
Do this with a few links on social sites, of course, but don’t count on that…. and don’t spam. You’ll seem desperate and annoying rather than helpful and authoritative.
My blog has become one of the leading blogs because of the way I market it.
Here’s the way I do it.
I go to my blog, check out the comments on my posts. I read them carefully and REPLY to them honestly and completely.
This is not the time for rushing through the process with “thanks for visiting” and “nice comment” kinds of replies.
They will run to their social sites and tell people about your post, and suggest they check it out to see the comment they left.
Meanwhile, you’ll be going to their blogs and reading their posts. Leave a comment of your own. Their readers will see it. If it’s a good comment, a thoughtful and friendly one… they just might come over to check out your blog too.
Must read this guest post by Elizabeth McGee:- How Commenting On Other Blogs Will Increase Traffic To Your Blog
Marketing through this type of process is extremely effective and viral.
The really nice part of it is that people won’t be coming to your blog just to read your posts. They’ll be coming to deepen the relationship with you.
They’ll want to get involved in the conversation you’re having with your readers, visit your social sites and maybe even subscribe to your email list.
There are many ways to market your blog, but this is the one I’ve found works really well. I not only get a viral wave of visitors using this method, but they’re good quality visitors.
They start following me regularly, they leave comments often, they talk about me to their own friends, readers and fans. They join my business and buy my products.
That brings us to the final part of the blogging process.
=Monetize Your Blog
Newbies ask me all the time, how can they make money blogging.
There are many answers, but it begins by working the process I’ve just laid out for you. Do it consistently, over a period of time.
As you build a following, monetizing your blog almost comes naturally.
I should say, though, that I get the same “make money blogging” question from people who are excellent bloggers, have good followings and have been blogging for a while.
Some of them can’t figure out how to monetize their blogs because they’re just too reluctant to ask people to buy something. They think that asking people to buy things somehow cheapens their blog. They feel like they’re being pushy and “salesy” instead of helpful and authoritative.
Others just don’t know what to sell or how to initiate the sales process.
Also Read this guest post by Mi Muba :- 5 practical tips for setting your goals to make money blogging
I can just about guarantee you that newbies and experienced bloggers, alike, have trouble monetizing their blogs because they don’t try!
That means, they don’t have a blogging process that includes spending just as much time monetizing their blog as they do on creating content, socializing and marketing.
They don’t know how to monetize. They’re afraid to promote things. So they don’t spend any time doing it. AND, they wonder why they can’t make money on their blog.
The first answer is… start doing it every single day.
Spend this portion of your blogging time to find affiliate products that your audience may benefit from. Add those products to your “resources” page on your blog.
Maybe write a review about the product.
Include a Youtube video about it.
You could put some affiliate banners on your sidebar, or even within a blog post if it’s relevant to what you’re writing about.
Use this time to think of better ways to get people onto your email list.
Write emails that will encourage people to buy your affiliate products, or join your primary business, or become a client for your services.
There are so many ways you can start monetizing your blog that I can’t possibly get into them here.
But I can promise you this.
If you don’t work on this aspect of your “blogging business” every single day, you won’t have a “business” at all… only a blog.
Now I’ll share the the big “secret” to making your blog successful.
I’ve given you the process to follow. Let’s call that the “cake.”
Now, I’m going to put the “icing” on the cake.
The secret is to care.
Just care about your readers, your followers, your customers and clients.
Let them know you care by doing things to help them.
Give them tips on Facebook, answer their questions in your comments, and always make sure they know that you’re doing it because you really care about them, and you really want them to succeed, be happier, healthier, wealthier.
Now the secret to this secret is, that you really need to care.
I love my readers and customers. I truly enjoy talking to them and showing them how to move forward with their dreams and goals. I did it in my offline consulting business, now I do it with my online business.
And here’s how this secret ties into the whole issue of making your blog a business.
When you really care about your followers, you’ll offer them products and services that will help them.
I struggled with this at one time. I felt funny putting a price on my consulting, and I often did it for free.
Then reality hit.
I started telling people I didn’t have time to take their calls or answer their questions.
You see, as I kept “helping” people for free or for dirt cheap, I couldn’t afford to keep doing it. I needed to have some income or profit in order to keep spending more and more time.
So if I really wanted to be able to help people, I had no choice but to build a business model so I could make enough money to keep offering my assistance.
It’s really that simple.
==Watch How I Did It
I’ve worked with many bloggers who struggle with turning their blog into a real business, instead of a hobby.
So I created a video course called “Blogging Magic.”
It’s designed to walk folks through the entire blogging process, step by step.
I help them get past the obstacles that keep them from achieving their biggest goals with proven strategies and techniques.
If you’d like to take a peek, check it out here:
You’ll be taken to a free video page that sets the stage for you to learn more about blogging.
When you click to learn more, you’ll get my short “Blogging Fever” tutorial (that’s my free offer… my lead magnet) that will actually get you started on the right path to blogging without buying anything.
If you choose to actually purchase my “Blogging Magic” course, then there’s two things it tells me:
- You are really serious about running a blogging business, and are ready to put some “skin in the game” by making this investment.
- You’ve become a valuable part of my business. So, I’m really going to work hard to make sure you succeed in the way you want because guess what… I really do care. Plus, that’s how my business grows.
The fastest way to succeed is by helping other people succeed.
Simple, but truly profound.
Now, I didn’t just go through this little sales funnel demonstration to get you to buy my course (although that would be fun!).
I did it to show you how, when you really care about people, you can put together sales funnels, products and services that will actually help them to solve the problems they have, and reach the goals they desire.
It’s as simple as me telling you, “Hey, I know what you want to achieve… I’m going to help you because that’s my passion.”
In the process of helping them, you build your own blogging business.
So, tell me, now… do you work on all four aspects of blogging each day?
Do you work on only part of this blogging process, but have overlooked other key parts?
What do you think you need to do next to start moving in the right direction?
Let me know how the blogging process I’ve outline here might change the way you go about running your blogging business.
I’m anxious to hear what you think.
Image Credit:- http://www.freedigitalphotos.net/