“Mom, I make a living as a blogger, but I can explain!”
This was the sentence I had to tell to my mom lately, as I realized that my income as a blogger has overcome my income as a translator, that was the freelance job I started after I left my full time job in Milan (in order to choose my South Italy pace of life, and run after my sea, an impossible love – that eventually became possible – and even to run after happiness).
So, you can imagine my mom has gone through too many complicated things to understand. Among them, what the hack is a blogger, and what does she do to earn a living.
I’ve been running my blog for a decade. I like writing, that’s no secret for mom and for anybody else. But I’ve made other things to earn a living. When I created my own business, it was in the normal and easily explainable field of translations.
Now, in the last 6 months, I’ve started earning from my blog more than I had expected. It’s not a matter of chance.
I’m going to tell you how I did it.
#1 – I DECIDED I wanted to earn money with my (travel) blog
Knowing your possible direction, is the first step to reach a harbor.
Well, no, it was not a matter of chance. I started reading other blogs very often and found out that you can really make a living out of it. And when you know it, you can choose to keep on writing freely (as often as you want, as much as you want, about all the subjects you like). Or you can start thinking about raising some money, considering that you devote to your blog more or less the same time you devote to your “official job”. So… why not trying?
The day you start thinking about it, your life will (must) change, because you must lead the ship towards that direction.
A list of things I started doing in order to start rowing in that direction:
- Studying from other blogs and comparing other bloggers’ experiences;
- making my blog traffic increase (see how at point #3);
- constantly commenting on other blog posts that I found interesting and in some way related to my specific and main subjects (see at point #3 why this turned out to be VERY useful);
- Finding at least one day a week to be devoted entirely to my blog, social media sharing and re-sharing, studying, planning and, of course, writing (even if I have been writing far more than once a week).
à2 – I started introducing myself as a blogger and content writer
Naming a thing, is the first way to make it real.
When you give a name to something, this “something” starts existing. Your career as a blogger is no exception.
After you tell yourself “you are a blogger, so what?” (repeat for 10 minutes, slowly, every day, before you put on your make up) there are other things you must do to make the world believe you are a blogger and persuade other people to pay you for that. That’s what I made (and apparently it worked):
- I wrote on facebook “Profession: blogger and 3 languages SEO content writer” and in a couple of weeks I was contacted for a long term blogging collaboration;
- After I first told my friends that I was working as a blogger, they invited me to a digital nomads workshops who gave me new contacts and WORK and new social media followers;
- As I wrote “blogger and 3 languages SEO content writer” also on twitter, my follower number increased.
#3 – I applied strategies to make my blog traffic and credibility increase
Growing (up) also means giving up a bit of innocence
I’ll be very clear about this point: as I started thinking about blogging as a profession, I lost a part of my innocence and playful attitude while blogging. Numbers and statistics became important to me, as they had never been before.
The bright side of this attitude is that the strategies to make your quality traffic increase are, in my opinion, funny and interesting. Here is a list of things I did to increase my quality traffic and engagement and my Page Authority:
- I joined facebook groups for bloggers. Don’t think they are just places to share opinions and tips. They are groups where, every day, there is a sharing and mutual commenting activity with very strict rules to follow. If you join a thread but don’t respect the rules you’ll be kindly summoned first, then removed from the group.
- I commented on all blog posts I found interesting. I’ve read this is a way to increase your authority about a subject and so the authority of your own blog.
Comments must be pertinent, not spamming (to be clear “Wow! Great post” is not a comment). You must tell your opinion and explain it properly. When someone comments on your posts, you must reply.
Doing so, my page authority reached 40/100 in just 4-5 months to. It’s not a huge result, but companies start to find you interesting after you reach a score of 25/100.
And actually in the last 3 months I was contacted by 3 companies for sponsored posts (always related to my main subject, i.e. travels). And yes, they are paying me. Still can’t believe that’s true!
#4 – I promote other bloggers
Another business world is possible!
If they tell you that in order to make money you must be mean and beat the competitors, don’t believe them. At least, this doesn’t apply to the bloggers’ business.
The more you promote and endorse other bloggers, the more you get traffic, engagement, credibility, and as said above, all this leads to paid works. In this field, being an asshole is not a good strategy while being a better person is.
- Interviewed other female bloggers that I like, underlining how much I admire them,
- Mentioned in my posts other blogs that I frequently read and tagged the authors on my social media,
- Accepted to be featured on other blogs even with just one sentence and/or a picture.
Sharing is a good way to grow (your business, your competences, your karma)!
#5 – I had to change my social media strategy
And one day you realize that facebook can be EVEN useful!
First of all, my social media presence had to turn into a strategy or something similar to that. I’m not a several thousand followers blogger, but I wanted to create and generate engagement that is, for companies, much more important than the followers number.
- Spent many evenings home alone, commenting ON the last twitter trends, mainly those related to my main post subjects (when you spend winter nights on your sofa sipping RED wine this can be even be relaxing);
- Chose the # more useful on Instagram for travel bloggers (I had to read a lot about it and imitate other high engagement travel bloggers),
- Started giving Pinterest the right credibility (Pinterest is so useful to increase your traffic),
- Started looking for interesting posts to share via StumbleUpon,
- For each post I shared on social media, I made a different suitable graphic.
Other bright sides of it:
People I love think I have plenty of time to devote them and to myself, that I lead a very fit life because of my size and that I make a lot of sports because of this size despite all the martini and wine and beer I drink.
The truth is that I start working at 6 in the morning, generally don’t have lunch (just a sandwich while writing) and wine is often my only dinner when I go out with my best friends after a 10 hours working day.
Well, if you start your blogging career, make sure at least this last part won’t be your model!