How do you monetize a blog? That question can be answered in many ways. However, in this post, Jay Artale (@BirdsOAFpress), a digital nomad and full-time writer and blogger, provides an answer you may not have heard before. She explains how creating valuable content consistently helped her build a brand that leads to income.
You can monetize your blog and create passive income in many ways, including affiliate marketing, sponsored posts, and advertising. Or you can use your blog as a content marketing hub.
That’s what I do.
Although I don’t make money as a blogger, my blog is a core part of my brand. Without it, I would never have had the confidence or platform to become or start my own freelance business. Every step of the way, my blog has been there to support my goals.
Use Your Blog to Find Your Voice
When I reread my first blog posts, I now see that I hadn’t yet found my voice or the topics I felt passionate about. My articles were an erratic collection of topics, and I’m sure search engine bots were the only ones crawling my site. Eventually, I started to find topics about which I felt passionate, and that helped me develop a writing style and an authentic voice.
Use Your Blog as a Portfolio
I pay to host my blogs, so I opted to take on freelance assignments to cover the running costs. I started off on Fiverr.com writing product descriptions, and, at first, I found this work really beneficial.
Unlike a blog post, I only had 50 to 100 words to play with to capture the essence of the product. I gained a handful of regular clients and learned more than I ever wanted to know about things like engagement ring settings and how to be creative when the slogan on a kids tee-shirt from a Malaysian clothing company was inappropriate or included a spelling mistake.
I later signed up to PeoplePerHour.com for blogging gigs and accepted any assignment on any topic. But when you’re writing about an unfamiliar subject, you end up spending too much time researching. Unless you’re trying to discover the right writing path for you, this erratic approach to freelance writing isn’t a viable long-term solution.
In the year when red prom dresses were all the rage, I got a product description job to write about 100 different red dresses. Although such writing assignments helped improve my writing skills, they weren’t part of a long-term strategy to build a brand around travel writing and self-publishing. So I declined the red dress job and started only accepting assignments that aligned with the brand platform I was developing.
Use Your Blog to Become an Author
As my writing confidence grew—and as I continued adding content to my blog, I wrote and published my first travel guides. Then, when the bottom dropped out of my niche, I expanded my writing horizon to include nonfiction books.
I became active in online indie author communities and discovered a passion for many of the tasks associated with self-publishing, e.g., creating indexes, formatting, and coaching nonfiction writing. I launched an indie author publishing company to release my books but also to help other authors publish their nonfiction books. The more my knowledge grew, the greater the confidence I had to write books about the same topic.
Now, even though I launched my author career with a travel guide, I earn most of my income from my travel writing and by self-publishing books.
Volunteer Your Skills and Knowledge
As a freelancer, the biggest challenge is landing your first few clients. I offered my freelance self-publishing and coaching services on PeoplePerHour.com, but I also searched out volunteer opportunities within my niche.
Over the past four years, volunteering has been a core part of my brand, and I continue to help authors and bloggers achieve their writing goals. In return, they’ve provided free publicity to promote my services and made introductions that led to paid work assignments.
In this world where too many people focus on take, take, take, I think it’s important to give—it’s good for your soul. It may not be good for your bank account straight away. If you take a long-term approach to your brand building, though, volunteering has to be part of the mix.
Get Rich Quick?
Making a living as a blogger is a hustle. You can’t be a one-trick-pony and expect to get rich, especially not quickly. It takes a consistent effort to build an online presence, and it’s more work to maintain it. Since launching my first blog more than 10 years ago, I’ve learned:
- Writing is a muscle that needs daily exercise, and blog posts keep it toned.
- Blogging develops your writing skills.
- A blog is a magnet for attracting freelance clients.
- Blogging is a spring-board to becoming an author.
- A blog is a cheap and effective marketing tool for showcasing books.
- A blog is essential for establishing subject-matter expertise.
Before I abandoned my flourishing corporate career, I was a stealth blogger using a pen name so no one at my day job knew I had a blog. I had no intentions of giving up my corner office and corporate expense account. I just liked to write and thought blogging would be an interesting hobby. Also, I didn’t realize my blog would help me become a full-time writer, able to live a nomadic lifestyle, and run a freelance business offering self-publishing services.
Writers use blogs for different reasons. Please share in the comments section below how you’ve used your blog to achieve your goals.
And if you enjoyed this post, please share it with others who might benefit!
About the Author
Jay Artale abandoned her corporate career to become a digital nomad and full-time writer. She’s an avid blogger and a nonfiction author helping travel writers and travel bloggers achieve their self-publishing goals. Join her at Birds of a Feather Press where she shares tips, advice, and inspiration to writers with an independent spirit.
Image courtesy of dimitrisvetsikas1969 / Pixabay