You jumped into the blogging pool and made a giant splash.
But uh…now what?
It can feel like there are a million and one (to be exact) things to do as a new blogger and everything you read tells you to focus on something different.
What do you do??
What usually happens is you spend hours upon hours a day doing the tasks that won’t move the needle and just leave you feeling like you were busy but not actually getting anything done.
You didn’t come into this online world of blogging to feel like the worlds most unpaid employee.
No, you want to make big changes, a big impact and uh, a big income.
So what in the actual heck do you focus on??
We’ll get there, but first I want you to understand something.
Your blog is not your business, it is part of your business and is used as a marketing tool.
Your Blog is a Marketing Tool
How many times have you heard people referring to their blog as their business, their whole business and nothing but their business?
All the time right?
So you may be confused when I say this, your blog is just part of your business.
Before we dig into that let me first put your mind at ease because I know what you’re thinking. People say you can make money blogging!
Of course, you can!
There are three main ways you can make money directly from your blog.
Sponsored posts, affiliate marketing, and ads.
These three types of income streams rely on other people or another company.
Do these ways of making work?
I’m just trying to be as transparent as possible here.
So yes, you can most definitely make money directly with your blog, but when you choose to use your blog as a marketing tool that income door flies open and increases tenfold.
I’m talking eBooks, courses, workshops, selling physical products, having a shop, coaching.
The list is endless.
And people buy from you when they come to your blog, see you know what you’re talking about, you know your craft and build that relationship with you.
Okay enough, now onto what you really came here for.
What to Actually Focus on As a New Blogger
The number one reason to start a blog is to help people.
Or at least that’s usually how most people start blogs and then grow from there.
But your bread and butter is your audience.
Without an audience, you’re just writing for fun, which is perfectly fine too if that’s what you choose to do.
But if you’re here reading this, you want more than that.
So what in the heck is WIIFM??
It stands for, what’s in it for me?
This is the question your audience is going to be asking every single time they come to one of your blog posts.
Every. Single. Time.
People need to know what they’re getting out of your blog, whether that’s a new sweater, a holiday recipe that will surprise and delight their inlaws, an adorable dog hat and booties, a way to overcome anxiety or even just hope that they’re not alone.
Your audience needs to feel a connection with your blog in some way shape or form.
And the way to do that is to understand the WIIFM factor right off the bat.
Seriously, don’t skip this step.
Ask yourself as objectively as possible, “What will my audience get out of this post?”
If you’re not sure, it may be time to revamp a little bit.
Or you may need to get a more clear idea on who it is you’re talking to with your blog posts.
2. Take your Audience on a Journey
Writing blog posts is literally part of your job as a blogger.
It just comes with the territory.
When you’re brand new to blogging you may have no idea what to write about so you write about everything.
Yup, I tried that.
Spoiler! It didn’t work.
Remember the WIIFM factor? Well, you want to weave that into every single post.
And the easiest way to do that is to take your audience on a journey from point A to point B.
This sounds really simple and guess what, it is.
Think about the first step of your audience.
Then think about the final transformation of your audience.
What do you want them to get at the end?
If it’s a food blog and your target audience is people who want to learn how to cook but have no idea where to begin (go deeper than this if you actually have a food blog) and every recipe they look at makes them curl into a ball.
Begin with the first few steps of cooking.
Maybe they need tools.
So a post on the top 10 kitchen gadgets for new or beginner bakers would be extremely beneficial to your audience.
Put yourself in your audience’s shoes and figure out what they would need to know in the very beginning in order to get the desired outcome.
Simply put, create a road map for your audience.
You may have this nagging question in the back of your mind that goes something like, how much should you blog a week? Or how many posts should you publish a week?
1x a week?
2x a week?
1x a month??
Blogging is like the wild wild west, there are no rules.
Pick a frequency that works for you and that you can stick to.
You can change this at any time but the point is to show up for your audience on a consistent basis.
It’s recommended to write and publish 1x blog post a week in the beginning if you can and even write 2x a week if you can but its more important to be consistent and work with your schedule.
3. List Building
Email marketing seems to be a polarizing idea.
Some people love it and sware by it and others say it’s not necessary at all.
I can see both sides to be honest and see evidence of both arguments but I’m still an advocate for list building.
And by list building, I mean email marketing.
Before you write off email marekting let me plead my case.
Raise your hand if you’ve ever been personally victimized by the social media algorithms.
Let me be clear, if your business/blog/financial wellbeing is solely dependant on social media, you need to recognize that if Instagram, Facebook or whatever else goes away, so does your income/blog/business.
This is why an email list is so imperative.
Because email marketing doesn’t rely on algorithms. Yes, there are spam filters but that’s for another day.
Not only that but you have your audience’s full attention.
Which to be honest is a rare find these days.
Building your email list doesn’t have to be challenging or complicated or confusing or even pricy.
If you’re written posts that take your audience on a journey, you can litter those posts with gated content or content that requires an email address to access that supplement the posts you’ve written.
Just focus on 2 types of lead magnets that your audience would love.
Put them in your posts and drive the right kind of traffic to your site.
Of course, this is an oversimplified version of email marketing but you can read more about how to create lead magnets that explode your email list here.
4. Driving Traffic
You can’t drive traffic if you have nowhere to drive traffic to.
But now that you have some solid pieces of content written and published that help your audience, it’s time to actually drive that traffic.
Here’s the thing though, big numbers mean nothing.
I know, unpopular opinion alert.
Think about this, would you rather have 1,000 raving fans that are whiling to pay you $100 a year (that’s $100,000 a year business) or 100,000 random people whiling to pay you $.20 here and there?
The quantity of your numbers, don’t matter, the quality of people do.
Now that that is out of the way let’s continue.
There are a plethora of ways to drive traffic and it can be enticing to try them all…at once.
I don’t recommend that because it will most likely cause massive burn out.
Pinterest and Google are the two platforms I recommend writing for and they tend to complement each other well because both platforms are search engines.
You can also post on your Instagram stories, Facebook page and wherever else but remember, focus on the social media platforms that your audience is on.
Also, use Google Analytics to see which sources of traffic are driving the most traffic and converting the best.
Let’s talk about Pinterest, just because I love it.
Pinterest is a fantastic source of traffic for many bloggers, not all but most.
And because Pinterest pins stick around for years, your content is floating around forever.
You can also very easily use Pinterest to target a specific audience which is imperative to growing your blog.
Pinterest is also free which is really great for new bloggers.
But the point is, you need to drive traffic, but focus on the right kind of traffic and don’t get so caught up in the numbers.
Create a Solid Plan and Stick to It
Focus on the big-picture tasks that will move the needle forward and don’t get so caught up in what everyone else is doing or trying to be everywhere at once.
- Figure out who your audience is and what they want
- Write blog posts that take them on a journey to an end transformation
- Offer gated content to build your email list
- Decide how to drive the right kind of traffic to your site
- Pick a monetization strategy
- Rinse and repeat