I’m starting to get a little more seriously interested in Social Networking, and while doing some research, I found an excellent video over at Problogger.net from Darren Rowse: 4 Social Media Marketing Tips for Bloggers. Much like blogging, he suggests that it takes someone to become an active participant while also bringing some kind of value to the network.
It’s a fairly brief video, so definitely worth watching. I hope we see more from him on this topic. I am still figuring it all out. I know what a social network is, and I’m a member of a few, but I have to admit I’m still pretty green when it comes to understanding the entire concept and how it can really be beneficial to a blogger other than generating traffic like any link could do.
If you’ve been thinking of jumping into or even easing into professional blogging, then tune in this Weds. night, 7/18, at 6pm est to Chick Tech for a live discussion on indie and network professional blogging.
This is my first time on web radio, so hopefully, I won’t sound too stupid.
We often think of personal journals first when it comes to blogging, and yes, those are the most popular types of blogs. However, the business world was one of the first industries to take note of the advantages to blogging:
- It is a way to educate consumers about a product or service.
- The user-friendly interface means just about anyone can operate a blog.
- The structure of a blog, its reverse chronological order, allows new information to be at the top of the page and thus right in front of the consumer.
- Regular blog posts means lots of regular content and thus good SEO.
- Blogs provide an opportunity for branding.
If you ever think you’d like to get paid for blogging, here are some tips for finding freelance writing jobs offered by a number of blogging networks:
- If you don’t blog but think some day you may want to get paid for blogging, then start a blog immediately. Just like any other kind of writing work, you need experience, and unless you are Stephen King, you need blogging experience. Other writing work, even web site work, may not cut it. Potential employers want blog savvy bloggers. They don’t want to pay someone to learn the ropes. So, use one of the many free blog sites out there and set one up as soon as possible and start blogging now.
- Make sure you are an active member of the blogosphere. That means, blog regularly and well; link to other bloggers both in your blog roll and in your posts, and read other blogs in your field and leave comments.
- Be part of the web conversation. It’s great to write original content, but don’t write in a vacuum. When you write a post, try to find other people who are talking about what you’re talking about and link to them. Do your best to have a minimum of one relevant link in each post. Feel free to quote and provide sources for these quotes. Show that you are part of the conversation. Oh, and don’t steal other people’s content. Provide sources, just like if you were writing a term paper.
- Look for a niche rather than talk about everything in the whole wide world. To be an expert or at the very least someone who has something worth reading, you can’t cover everything. That leads to rambling and no one (not even your mom) is going to want to read that. Find a topic that you know a lot about already, and carve out your own niche in the blogosphere.
- Search engine rankings and page views don’t appear overnight. It’s a long haul up the Google ladder, so be patient. Unless you are already well ranked from other sites that you may write for, don’t expect to see yourself up at the top for six months to a year. Obviously, blog networks will find you much more attractive if you are already known by search engines and you have a good ranking. If you already have a web site (or two) link to yourself. Nothing like your own link love.
- Speaking of link love, what goes around comes around. Don’t become a link farm, but be a good link neighbor with like-minded blogs. This is not a competition. That’s one cool thing about blogging. You help other bloggers by linking to them, posting about something interesting you saw on their blog, adding them to your blog roll, and they’ll link to you. Like I said, though, don’t be a link farmer. Be choosey. If you really like someone else’s blog and it has any kind of connection to yours, then link.
- Pick a topic you l-o-v-e. You’ll hear a lot about passion from blog how-to-ers, but they are right. There’s only so much you can squeeze out of a topic if you don’t have a pretty big interest in it. Professional bloggers normally blog a minimum of once a day per blog. After doing this month after month, you can really get fried, especially if it’s a topic you are only “so-so” about.
- When pitching a new topic to a blog network, be as specific as possible. If you were pitching a book idea to a publisher, you wouldn’t email them and say, “I want to write about jewelry making. What do you think?” You’d write a book proposal, providing a thorough outline of what you propose. Same with a blogging network – you need specifics. Telling them you want to write a blog about “nutrition” tells them zip. At a bare minimum, give them the name of the proposed blog, a few sentences describing it, and 3 to 5 sample posts. A step above the minimum would be to start blogging about the topic; set it up on a freebie blogging site and blog. Locate some available URLs to suggest to them. Then approach them with your current blog as a reference to your brilliant idea. Bottom line – they need something to gauge your idea by.
- To make any sort of decent income from blogging, expect to blog a lot. Very few professional bloggers only write one blog. One reason for this is because it’s really hard to make a living from one blog. Normally, you need the combined income from different blogs added together to make any kind of real money. Of course, there are exceptions to this, but these are usually bloggers who have been blogging for years and have a huge audience. So, start with one paid blog gig, and then start adding on until you find your own balance. It can be a tough juggling act because (on average) you have to blog daily to keep it going.
So, how do indie bloggers or professional network bloggers earn money? Just like many hardcopy media, advertising is primarily the way to earn money on the web. Affiliate ads are a big part of this and are pretty easy to find and sign up for. Amazon.com, for example, is one place that offers these sorts of ads. Anyone can sign up to be an Amazon.com affiliate. Once you set up your account with them, you can select products, create the links (using tools from Amazon), and then copy and paste the link into your blog. With Amazon, you can even include a picture of the product. When someone clicks on that link, gets sent to Amazon, and then buys the product, the affiliate gets a little kick back. And, yes, little is usually the word here; however, a lot of “little” can add up to a lot of money if you work at it long enough. There are other ad revenue sources available to the interested blogger, but affiliates are usually the easiest for newbies to get started with advertising options.
Professional bloggers who earn (or at least attempt to earn) money from their blogs are referred to as indie bloggers, and there are a pretty large number of them around the web. Most bloggers start out just for the fun of blogging, but eventually, a good portion start to realize (like dooce.com and The Manolo) that they could actually earn some income from their blogs. Primarily they do this through advertising, and there are all kinds of methods for bringing in ads. However, the indie blogger turns into something more than just a blog editor when she takes on the task of marketer, salesman, and basically head cook and bottle washer. So, this can be a challenging direction to take for anyone who doesn’t have some business background. But, it can be done and is done every day, and in fact, http://www.problogger.net/ (written by Darren Rowse) is a wonderful resource for anyone who wants to learn the ins and outs of professional blogging on her/his own (as in not part of a blog network).
You’ll hear a lot of talk about “stats” (aka statistics) when it comes to blogs and web sites. Some blogs have areas that provide statistics for counting all kinds of items related to your blog like page views (when a page is viewed by a reader), number of external links, number of visitors, most popular blog posts, and so on. For those who are just blogging for fun, numbers may not be that important, but if you are trying to earn money or just want to make sure you are reaching a lot of web users for other reasons, then stats can be pretty important. Where you’ll find your stats depends on how and where you are blogging. If you are on blogger.com, they don’t already have stats set up. Instead you have to use other services from the net (some are free). WordPress.com (another free blogging network) does offer statistics under the Dashboard area, but they are pretty limited. If you are really into knowing your stats (some bloggers become obsessed with this), then you’ll probably want to check into other places to help you collect and keep track of your stats. A quick Google search offers a few free blog stats services: