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Last week, we discussed publishing content on Medium, and a few readers had questions on how they can use Medium to grow their blog.

“Can you republish your blog content on Medium? How can you use it to drive traffic? What is the benefit of publishing content on Medium?”

When Medium launched, they only allowed a select number of influencers to publish. Today, anyone can publish content on Medium, and they have built an insanely engaged community.

What is Medium?

 How can you use Medium to grow your blog?                                                 

  • Medium has created a number of tools that allow you to amplify your content to their community.
  • Search: Medium users can search for specific topics or keywords they want to read about. Covering hot topics and highly searched categories can increase traffic to your post.
  • Collections: Medium allows you to create (and contribute) to topic specific collections.
  • Anyone can start a collection, and Medium users can subscribe to the collections they find most interesting.
  • When you post on Medium, you can easily submit your post to collections who have established followings.
  • This allows editors the ability to quickly curate content, and gives writers access to a new audience.
  • Beautiful layout: Every post on Medium is optimized for mobile readers, social sharing and turns your content into a highly engaging experience.
  • Publishing posts on Medium allow you to transform your content into beautiful magazine like posts that people are more likely to share.
  • Here is a guide to writing on Medium.

Should you use Medium for your blog?

There are a number of blogging platforms that offer opportunities similar to Medium. Here is a guide from Thorin Klosowski to choosing what platform is best for your blog. 

 

 

 

 

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There will always be people who will tell you that you need massive traffic to make money blogging. The reality is there are a million different ways to make money blogging, and not all of these ways require a ton of traffic. 

I recently announced a new course that will show you how to earn two thousand dollars a month off of any sized blog.

Since the announcement, I received a ton of emails wondering how it was possible to earn an extra $2K off of a small blog.

While $2K/month sounds like a huge goal, it is really just a series of baby-steps.

Here are three new ways to think about monetizing your blog: 

1. Specialize Your Niche! 

When you reach a huge audience, you have to filter through all of those people to find the ones who will buy something from you. When you specialize your content to reach the exact people you want to sell to, you build a small audience of very targeted consumers who are very likely to buy something from you. 

The more specialized the coaching business you have, the less people you need to read your blog.

For example, Michael Adams is a food expert who helps food entrepreneurs find co-packers for their product. Michael has an entire blog about creating food products, co-packing and how to make a food business successful. 

If Michael had just launched a food business blog, he would have to filter through all of his readers to find the people who had a food product they were ready to manufacturer. And the reality is? That would probably only be 5% of his entire readership. The other 95% are never going to buy something.

Instead, Michael created content that directly targets the person he is trying to reach. He is reaching the people who are actively seeking out information on how to find a co-packer. And when those people arrive on his site? He has a variety of books, software and interactive coaching to solve their problems.

2. Create a Reoccurring Revenue Stream 

The membership model is my favorite, because you can make a sale onces and have continual revenue from it.

One of my favorite blogger membership sites is from Going Home to Roost. Bonnie launched the Roost Tribe to give creative entrepreneurs access to amazing resources. 

You pay $5 and each month you get tons of premium content, free ebooks and design materials you can use for your business. 

Making that purchase is such an easy decision. You get a ton of resources for a price you cannot find anywhere else on the web.

And the best part? It is coming from a source you trust.

From a blogger perspective, this is a genius way to consistently increase the revenue you make each month without increasing the amount of work you need to do.

3. Own Your Local Region

When you think of “blogs,” most people assume they have a national (or international) readership. It’s the internet! Why wouldn’t you try to reach all of the people? 

This is the reason; regional blogs are so often overlooked. If you start a regional parenting blog, you can own the entire parenting sector of that community

MomsLa is an amazing community for moms in the Los Angeles area. They sell highly integrated partnership with local businesses, and work with national brands trying to reach that specific community.

The reason that they are so successful is that they focused their efforts on a very specific group of moms, and are able to totally own their niche.  This work in smaller regions as well. The Quad Cities Mom blog has the largest community of moms in their entire region.

Don’t overlook your local market. It can be another path to monetizing your site.

The secret to making money blogging is not reaching a billion page views and shilling for free product. The secret is figuring out what kind of business is going to work for your life, and then consistently working towards your goal.

I really hope you can join me for my course next week.  You will get access to (4) live-streamed sessions where we will discuss tons of different ways to monetize your blog, and work hand in hand to find the path that is right for you.

You can register here. 

Use the discount “BLOGBIZ” to get the course for $10. 

(Discount expires Sunday. ) 

Last week everyone in the business blogging facebook group shared the goals they had for their blogs.  After reading all of your comments, I realized that the majority of bloggers in this group are looking for ideas to increase their traffic.

This is what inspired me to pull together 25 of my favorite tips for growing your audience. Test some (or all) of these out, and let use know what you learned along the way.

  • Create a content schedule
  • Publish 2-3 blog posts every week
  • Publish your posts on the same days each week
  • Launch a weekly series that you feature on your site
  • Launch a 30 day themed challenge
  • Feature weekly “link-ups” and email links to all of the bloggers you featured
  • Publish interviews or “feature” other bloggers on your site
  • Choose your best post and submit it to 25 relevant blogs to feature
  • Share each post on at least 3 social networks
  • Share your posts multiple times per day on Twitter, so you reach a larger portion of followers
  • Share your posts on Facebook, and pay $6.99 to “boost” the post and drive more views
  • Follow 25 new influencers in your niche on Twitter everday
  • Land 2 guest post opportunities per month
  • Tweet 1-2 links each day from someone else in your niche (include their twitter handle in each post)
  • Reply @ or re-tweet 1-2 tweets per day
  • Comment on 5-10 blog posts on relevant blogs everyday
  • Set up a newsletter list and send each post to your newsletter subscribers
  • Invite family and friends to subscribe and follow you
  • Add a link to your email signature inviting people to read your latest post
  • Email links to any brands or products you feature on your blog
  • Pitch relevant media outlets and offer yourself as an expert
  • Add “Sharebar” to your blog
  • Create “guides” that link back to evergreen content on your site
  • Publish your posts to Medium and submit to relevant magazines
  • Add the “other posts you might be interested in” app to your blog

In other news! I am hosting an online course showing bloggers how to make $2K/month off of any size blog. The course will include more than 4-hours of live video sessions where you can get ideas specifically for your blog.

I would love to see you all there, so I am offering a special discount to this group. The course is normally $47, but you can use the code “BLOGBIZ” to receive access for only $10.

Register here.           

Email me directly if you have any questions: cassieboorn@gmail.com

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Most of the time you can make more money selling your ads than you can make from an ad network. The problem is that selling ads can take a ton of time, and most bloggers don’t want to deal with it.

Why would you want to sell your own ads?

  • You have complete control over the ads that show up on your site. No blinky flashy corporate logos taking over your content.
  • Small busineses and independent advertisers don’t normally pay per CPM. Theses businesses see the value in a very targeted engaged audience, and are willing to pay a flat fee for promotion.
  • You can create advertising campaigns that are designed for success. Selling your own ads gives you tons of control over your brand.

I have studied dozens of successful blogs that sell their own ads and the best tool I have found is passionfruit ads.

Passionfruit is a  simple app you can integrate into your site. They charge $3-$9/month, and give you the ability to feature the ads spaces you have available, track views to the page and process all of the invoices and payments that hassle most bloggers.

You can also take a look at the prices other bloggers are charging, which give you a good benchmark for pricing your packages. 

Another good option is Adproval. They are totally free to set up, and take a 10% commission from any sales.

Once you decide what space you will sell, and the rates you will charge you can  start pitching potential advertisings.

How can you find independent advertisers?

  • Create a page on your blog for potential advertisers. Everyday potential advertisers are viewing your site, and they don’t always know you are open to running their ads. Create a page letting advertisers know they can buy space on your site, show your average reach and the costs of each space.
  • Look at other blogs in your niche. Who is selling their own ads? What companies are buying space on their site? Pitch those companies. There is a good chance they will want to feature your site as well.
  • Research relevant small businesses and startups in your niche. Find their marketing or press contact, and let them know the opportunities you have to offer.

 

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A couple of years ago I worked on an ad network project, and learned a ton about how bloggers are using ad networks. 

The truth is that most bloggers do not expect to make a ton of money from their ad network. Running ads in your sidebar takes zero time, and guarantees you a check every month. (even if it is small)

The reality is that bloggers are leaving huge amounts money on the table  by not asking the right questions.

Ad networks are a new concept, and each operates in a different way. This has left most bloggers unsure of what to do with this space. The problem is? That space is valuable.

Here is a list of questions you should use to evaluate an ad network: 

What kind of ads do you want to run on your site?

You will make the most money running video or interactive ads on your blog, but they might annoy your readers. Decide ahead of time what kind of ads you want to run, and where you want them to appear. Do you want a banner ad on the top of your site? How many ads do you want in your sidebar? Do you want ads to run between blog posts? Knowing what you are comfortable with ensures you join a network that is a good fit.

What is the CPM?

Most networks offer $1-$3 CPM, which means you make $1-$3 per 1,000 views on your site. Larger networks offer $4-$8CPM, but have much higher traffic requirements. I have heard networks promising as much as $15 CPM to highly trafficked blogs.

What is the fill rate?

Most ad networks will not guarantee you a fill rate, but will give you an average of what they sell. The fill rate is the percentage of ad inventory they will consistently fill. For example, if you have 100K impressions each month, but they only sell $10K in impressions—you would have a 10% fill rate. That means you are only making money on 10% of your ad space. The problem with networks promising huge CPMs is that it puts huge pressure on their sales teams, and most of the time they cant fill all of your ad inventory.

Do they offer a monthly guarantee?

A number of ad networks offer minimum guarantees to blogs that have a huge reach and/or a very profitable niche market. I have heard of networks promising everything from $2K/Month to $10K/Month. Of course, you need to have a very established readership to incentivize networks into a guarantee.

Do they offer sponsored post or review opportunities?

Networks typically pay very well for sponsored programs, so it is a huge bonus if you join a network that offers that. Ask if they offer sponsored programs. How often do they run these opportunities? What do they typically offer in compensation?

Do they require exclusivity?

Ad networks are a little different than blog agents in that they define exclusivity in a totally different way. Some ad networks will want exclusivity over all of your “above the fold” advertising.  This simply means you are not allowed to sell ads in the spaces they own. As long as you are comfortable with the CPM & fill rate, I think this is totally fine.

Other networks will ask for exclusivity over your sponsored content or all brand programs. This is a terrible decision. It gives a network total control over your revenue.

If needed, what would you have to do to get out of the network contract?

Good ad networks will leave you leave as soon as you wrap up programs you have already committed to.  Any ad network that requires you commit to them for any length of time is questionable. Unless they are offering a minimum guarantee, there is no reason they need you locked into a contract.

What has your experience been with advertising networks? Leave your stories in the comments.

 

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I have received tons of great feedback and questions since launching this program. Many of you have started blogging, and would like to start monetizing your blog but aren’t sure where to start.

1. Set a goal

A blog can be a launching pad for a million different career paths. If you feel frustrated that you are working a billion hours on your blog, and not making any money it is probably because you don’t have a clear goal of what you want to do with your blog.

Don’t worry, your goals will shift and change throughout your blogging career. Setting a goal is not a lifetime commitment. It is simply a step towards finding your path.

Here are some example of goals you might have:

  • Publish a memoir
  • Launching a coaching/consulting business
  • Build a part-time (or full-time) income through advertisers and sponsored posts
  • Land a full-time corporate job

2. Identify the audience you are trying to reach

Parents and teens are markets that advertisers are constantly trying to reach. If you want to monetize with advertising, think about the type of brands you are most interested in working with. If you want to publish a self-help book or launch a coaching business, identify the exact type of client you are looking to attract.

Some questions to get you started:

  • How old are they?
  • Where do they live?
  • Do they have kids?
  • What are their interests?
  • What outlets do they read currently?
  • What kind of content do they engage with?
  • How can you reach them?

3. Plan content your target would like to read

Once you understand the type of content your target reader will be interested in, you can create a content plan for attracting them. The best way to learn how to build the perfect community is to experiment with lots of different tests.

Here are a few ideas:

  • Guest post on outlets you know they read
  • Follow and engage with influencers they already follow
  • Comment on the blogs your target audience would be reading
  • Secure speaking engagements at events your target audience will be attending
  • Purchase facebook or twitter advertising
  • Engage with them on Pinterest
  • Optimize your content for SEO

Test lots of different channels. See what works and optimize the channels that work best to meet your goals.

4. WRITE, DAMMIT!

Writing is a grind.

Of course, we want to tell everyone that writing is art and we have to be inspired and blah blah blah.

The reality is (an every professional writer will tell you this) you have to WRITE! Sometimes writing sucks and sometimes it is really fun, but businesses aren’t sustainable if we only do the work when its fun.

Create a content calendar. Make a list of post ideas. Sit down everyday and write.

In the beginning, most of your posts will suck but keep going. You will notice that after a while they get better and better.

 

 

Over the past few years, established bloggers have begun hiring talent agents to manage their sponsorships and advertising deals. I have interviewed dozens of bloggers who have worked with top agents, and I have managed deals from a brands perspective. I have seen the challenges and advantages of having a blog agent first hand.

What is a blogger agent?

Blogger  agents are hired to manage all of the sponsorships programs on your site. They are in charge of pitching and securing new business, negotiating incoming pitches and helping you hit your income goals.

Sounds like a dream come true? Like every business there are pros and cons to everything.

When should you hire an agent?

Typically, blog agents require you have reached a certain level of traffic or income from your blog. Agents want to know that they will be able to generate revenue from your site, so its important that you have an established audience and/or revenue model.

The agent is in charge of finding new sponsorship opportunities for your site, and managing incoming opportunities. In exchange, they take a percentage of your revenue.

How do you find an agent?

Most bloggers either get on board with an established agency like Sway Group of IBX. Other bloggers hire freelancers or part-time employees to manage their deals directly.

Why would you hire an agent?

  • Agents can bring you opportunities that you would not be able to land yourself. Agencies love working with agents, because they can have one point of contact while managing multiple blogger programs. Being part of a group of bloggers gives you access to wider opportunities.
  • You could easily spend 40% of your time pitching sponsors, negotiating deals and managing programs. An agent takes 90% of the work off your plate, giving you time to focus on the parts of blogging you love. 

Here is what you need to know about hiring an agent to manage your blog:

  • Never ever ever (did I say never) offer an agent exclusivity. A lot of them ask for it, and it’s the worst business decision you could ever make.  I could write an entire post on why this is a bad decision, or you can just trust me.
  • Keep in contact with clients you are working with. Build direct relationships you can leverage later. Otherwise, you will forever have to rely on your agent to bring you new business. 
  • Ask for a guarantee or detailed plan. Most agents are managing programs for dozens of influencers at any given time. They are struggling to divide their time across all of sites they represent, and it is your job to make sure you get the promotion needed. Ask them to give you a monthly or quarterly guarantee to ensure the relationship is profitable. Typically, agents only offer guarantees to the influencers who bring a ton of value to the table, so you can also ask for a plan showing how they will increase your bottom line.
  • The biggest question people have about hiring someone to manage their sales is what kind of commission they should offer. I have been approached by a range of top-tier influencers for sales opportunities, and the offers ranged from 5% commission to 50%. The commission is normally based on the amount of revenue the blogger is currently earning without my assistance.
  • If an agent is going to bring you new business, offer them whatever percentage they want. It’s like getting free income! (As long as you protect your exclusivity, and negotiate fair prices for your programs.)  

What questions do you have about hiring a blogger agent? 

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I started blogging when I was a sophomore in college trying to figure out how to build a life for me and my toddler.

Over the years this blog has evolved and changed through the phases of my life. It started as a place to share my stories, ask questions and connect with a new community. It eventually became the foundation I used to build a career I love.
Last year, I came out, took a big job and deleted every blog post I had ever written. I spent a year traveling to-and-from New York, struggling to pull myself together and learning how to build a family. 
A few months ago, I slowly started republishing some of my old posts and wondering if maybe…possibly…I should get back into the blogging game…
I am so happy that I did.
This blog helped me build a career I love. It connected me with a community I so desperately needed, and allowed me to find alternative career paths that worked for my life. 
I launched my blogging business series as a way to get my feet wet in the blogging world. This program has reminded me how much value  this space has given my life, and inspired me to keep writing.

Today, I want to thank you.

Thank you for reading and commenting and supporting me when I needed it most. 

Thank you for helping me find my voice again.

Everythingyouneed

 

THIS POST IS PART OF MY BLOGGING BUSINESS SERIES.

YOU CAN REGISTER HERE. 

Let’s talk about blogger networks!

What are blogger networks?

A blogger network is a community of bloggers that is interested in partnering with relevant brands. Blogger networks offer advertisers the opportunity to be featured on a large network of blogs, rather than negotiating deals with individual influencers.

Why would I join a blogger network?

Blogger networks are a great way to get your foot in the door with advertisers. If you are a new blog or someone who is just getting started working with brands, blogger networks give you access to opportunities that you might not be able to attract on your own.

In addition, being part of a blogger network is a great way to learn about the business. You get to see first hand what advertisers care about, how your blog can help brands and how your audience responds.

Can you make money from blogger networks?

Yes and no. Most blogger networks pay a fee or offer free product in exchange for a designated number of blog posts and social media posts. Each network is different but rates range from $50-$200 per post. Of course, there are exceptions for bloggers with a larger reach.

These networks are managing huge amounts of detail to get these opportunities in front of you. They are pitching new business, managing client calls, answering your questions and tracking all of the results. Because networks have to cover the time and costs involved in executing the campaign, you receive a lower rate than you would if you sold the programs directly.

Relying on blogger network opportunities is not typically a sustainable route for monetizing your blog, but it is a great way to get started.

Here is a list of networks I highly recommend:

One2One Network: Tons of earned and paid opportunities, with a great roster of clients

Tap Influence: Earned and paid opportunities, as well as a ton of education tools for bloggers

Massive Sway: The largest network of women bloggers, with a regular offering of opportunities.

Clever Girls Collective: Paid opportunities, and a great way to get started working with Federated Media.

Mom It Forward: A diverse range of opportunities for mom bloggers

Mom Spark Media: You have to pay to join this network, but you receive access to high-paid programs and education resources that will help you grow your blog.

Other great networks: Sverve, Social Fabric and The Motherhood. For book review sites: Lit Fuse Group and Book Look Bloggers.

 What blogger networks do you recommend?