From Blog to Business: Content, Community, and Working with Brands | Learn with Bloglovin' | Morgan Kaye | Skillshare

From Blog to Business: Content, Community, and Working with Brands | Learn with Bloglovin'

Morgan Kaye, VP Community & Support, Bloglovin'

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5 Lessons (22m)
    • 1. Introduction

      1:30
    • 2. Creating Quality Content

      5:39
    • 3. Building Your Social Community

      6:48
    • 4. Monetization and Sponsorships

      7:08
    • 5. Conclusion

      0:42
37 students are watching this class

About This Class

How do you make money blogging, but remain true to your own brand?

Join Bloglovin’ VP of Community & Support, Morgan Kaye, for a 20-minute overview of how to monetize your blog the authentic way.

Morgan shares insights from some of the most successful examples in the Bloglovin’ community, illustrating three key phases:

  1. Building consistent, quality content
  2. Growing your social community
  3. Monetizing through sponsorship

Get tips and checklists for how to create successful posts, grow your following, and even start to make money off your writing by collaborating with brands in your industry. Blogging can sometimes seem daunting, but this class keeps it straightforward and inviting.  

Join this class for free today, and make your blog your business!

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With over 8 million users and 750,000 bloggers, Bloglovin' is the ultimate destination for fashion, beauty and lifestyle-obsessed users to discover, consume and share professionally produced content from top influencers around the world.

Transcripts

1. Introduction: Hi, my name is Morgan Kaye, I'm the VP of Community at Bloglovin'. Bloglovin' is the premier destination for inspiration with over eight million registered users and 800,000 blogs. We're the largest community of influencers online, whether it be food, fashion, fitness, family, there's a blog for everybody out there. In today's class, we're going to learn about advancing your content, learning how to build your community and your social presence, and then how to monetize that. This class is for people that have already potentially started a blog and are looking for the next step, but if you haven't yet started a blog you shouldn't be discouraged you can always take these tools and work with it from there. The difference between an okay blog and a blog that's great is one that somebody is really passionate about and that gets conveyed really easily through their content. You can easily tell when somebody loves a certain topic and writes well on that topic and is an expert in that topic. The most difficult part of monetizing your blog is probably figuring out where to start. There's a million brands out there, there's a million agencies, what route do you go in that's going to be best suited for you? But, don't worry we're going to cover everything within this class, so it's easy to take the next step to monetizing your blog. 2. Creating Quality Content: If you don't already have a topic, choose a topic that you're passionate about, but make sure they organize your thoughts especially if you have several topics that you're looking to cover. I think a great way to do this is to create an editorial calendar that way you stay organized and you know what's always coming. If you're in a rut and don't know what to write about, there's thousands of blogs out there that you should get inspired from. You should make sure that you're staying connected to the community that you're a part of, and that you're reading up on all of the great content that's out there because you never know what will inspire you next. People always ask about what are the most popular topics for a blog. From an advertiser standpoint, which is what we really want to focus in on, I would say there's fashion, beauty, family, fitness, food, travel, men's lifestyle. Actually, the topics continue on. If you want to capture the largest audiences, those are probably the major topics that you want to focus in on. And feel free to run with an idea that actually originated from your community. They may have a really great idea on a topic or some content that you may not have otherwise thought about. It's also important to remain consistent. Consistency is key. Your readers are coming back on a daily basis because they're expecting certain content from you. So, you need to make sure that you can deliver and not leave them hanging. Everybody always ask, what's the appropriate amount of content to be posted? I would personally say, anywhere from at least one to three times a week in order to keep that consistency. It's really easy to kind of just say, "Oh, I don't have anything to write about." Well, then maybe that's the time that you explore additional topic to your blog. There's always the debate about what form of content you should have. If you're on Tumblr, it's obviously a very short-form content, if you're Bloglovin', it's mid-form content, and if you're on an actual blog, then it's a long-form content. You need to do whatever you're capable investing into. If you can't write long-form content, well, then choose a short-form platform for yourself. If long-form content isn't your thing and short-form is the way to go, then we're going to talk about that all when we discuss social, because you can be a digital influencer and not necessarily have a blog, but you could still have a digital presence on a different platform. You should be ready to monetize when you've built up enough content to do so. Don't start a blog, have only a few pieces of content, and then assume that an advertiser is going to want to monetize on your blog. You need to build up. Most people probably build up their content for six months to a year in order to get a sufficient amount of content and also an authentic voice. You want to create your voice and own your voice before you start to monetize your blog. So, don't worry if you've chosen a topic and now you want to change it. There's many bloggers out there that continue to have an authentic voice and evolve with their blog as their lives change. Some great examples of bloggers that have been able to transition their content are Emily Schumann from Cupcakes and Cashmere. She was very much known for fashion and lifestyle blogger for many, many years, and then had a baby and introduced this whole other array of content around family and parenting. When Emily introduced Family and Parenting content to her blog, it opens up a whole new array of brands and agencies in which she can work with in order to monetize her blog. She's then not just pigeonholed into working with fashion and beauty retailers. Don't be afraid to change topics and evolve over time because your audience will evolve with you. You may lose some followers, but you're also going to gain new ones that will know and love your content. In this next example, we're going to look at Lindsey from CALLA in MOTION. Her original blog was centered around fashion and beauty, and as her life evolved into more fitness, and health, and lifestyle, her blog did as well. Now she rebranded it to CALLA in MOTION and has a whole new array of brands that she's working with. I think it's great that Lindsey was able to shift gears with her blog because then it keeps her voice authentic. This is where her life is going to and so her blog needs to be reflective of that and not where it was perhaps five years ago. In our next example, Melissa from Best Friends For Frosting was able to add a category after category. She started as just this entertaining blogger and then realized there's so much more to entertaining and lifestyle than just tablescape. So, Melissa has done a great job. She now has all of these editors on board that worked for her, and clearly, it's the way that she's taken her blog to the next step and has created a business from it. As you think through your blog and your business, you need to figure out how much content are you producing. Do you need editors on board? Do you need a staff? That's really where you're going to take to the next level. So, how do you know what content is resonating with your audiences? You need to really pay attention and listen to them. You need to look at your comments, your likes, your shares. You may be surprised at what content is actually taking off and performing the best. Now that you're confident with your content, it's important to grow your audience in order to gain attention from brands and agencies to monetize your blog. 3. Building Your Social Community: In this next section, we're going to explore building your audience and your community through social. Your blog doesn't just stop at your blog, so don't just look at the traffic and the following that you have there, but you should look at all of your various social platforms that are connected to your blog as well. So, in my perspective, I would say that the most important social channels to date are YouTube, Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter, Facebook, and Snapchat. But, please do not discredit the fact that there are new social channels emerging every single day. So, you need to stay up on the game if you want to be involved. When exploring which social channel is best suited for you, you need to really understand the demographics for each of those social channels. For example, YouTube has a much younger demo, so if your content resonates with that 18 to 25, then YouTube is probably where you want to be. Same goes with Snapchat. But if you're looking for more aspirational or inspirational content that's aesthetically pleasing, then Instagram might be the way to go. Facebook is one of those platforms that has obviously been around longer than any other, so you would think that that's where you necessarily want to go. But due to Facebook's algorithm, we've seen that the engagement is a little lower on that platform in comparison to some other social platform. But really, you need to test the waters into whatever social platform is best suited for you and your audience. So, for example, if you're a food blogger, then you may want to be a little bit more demonstrative and so, something like Snapchat might be a really great fit for you. If you're a fashion blogger and if you're taking personal style post, then Instagram might be the way to go so you can capture all of those beautiful outfit. There's no right answer for how many social channels you should be on. Some people are in one, some people are in six, it's also a lot more work. So, you need to be dedicated and you don't want to just create a channel and then leave it hanging. You may want to test the waters within multiple social platforms at one time to see what sticks. If you focus on one for too long and then you realize that that doesn't work, well then, you've just wasted some time to get over to the next channel. It's been proven that early adopters to any social platform have long-term success. So, you want to get on a platform as soon as possible, that's why it's really important to also stay connected with the industry and know what's happening next. So, let me give you an example of somebody that's killing it with Instagram. Luanna from Le-happy has over two million Instagram followers and her signature red hair and edgy style has gotten her to that point. She's always consistent with content and posts several times a day. Many bloggers will use Instagram as a way to accelerate a blog post that they just posted. So, for example, they'll post one image from that blog post on Instagram and tell their readers, "Hey, a new blog post is out, you should go check it out." Sometimes bloggers have a link in their bio which you can click on from there, but oftentimes, they'll just let people know you can go check it out with no link attached. So, how much is too much on social? There really is no rhyme or reason. You really unfortunately have to test the waters. For blog loving, we've noticed that posting more than three to four times on Instagram a day, our engagement then decreases. So, you need to find that right formula for how many followers you have, how many content, and what your engagement is like, and that might take some time. So, how do you know what's working and not working for your social channels? Well, there are great tools to help you out. Everything from Hootsuite to Sprout Social to Buffer. These tools are great for scheduling posts, seeing what's working, what's not working, making sure that your engagement is in line with how many followers that you have. It's very difficult to figure out the right formula, so listen to your data and really pay attention to the analytics that these platforms are providing. In our next example, Deb Perelman from Smitten Kitchen has over 470,000 followers on Facebook. So, how did she do this? She's been on Facebook since 2006 and was one of the first early adopters. She realized that having a social presence was super important and so she made Facebook her main focus. So, Facebook, today, is actually her largest social platform in comparison to Pinterest, and Twitter, and Instagram. Deb mainly just post her blog post on her Facebook. She rarely has original content that's specifically for that platform. So, it's pretty interesting that she's able to have such a large audience on Facebook, that's really just directing to her blog. So, now that you have your blog and all of your social channels, what are you going to post? If you want to continue to be consistent and have good quality content, it doesn't need to all be organic, so don't feel pigeonholed to only use your content. Feel free to syndicate from other blogs and from other social accounts that resonate with you, and what would resonate with your audience. Just remember to always give credit to where you found that content first. So, let's talk about engagement because that's just as important as the content itself. You want to make sure that you're constantly looking at your shares, your likes, your comments, and don't leave an audience hanging. If your community is communicating with you, then you need to communicate back. So, want to boost up your engagement? A great way to do that is to actually ask the question to your audience. If you want to get people engaged with you, then ask your audience what they're looking for and they will reply. In dealing with engagement, there's good and bad engagement. You're going to receive negative feedback, that's just the nature of the game. Sometimes you want to address negative feedback, sometimes you don't. You really just need to observe who that person is and decide whether or not it's the right approach. Some people will spiral and continue to provide negative feedback and some people will just leave it as such if you reply with a nice comment. So, your engagement, like I said, is just as important as your content. Brands are going to look at that engagement. So, if you're looking to monetize your blog and your social channels, you're going to want to pay attention to that. They're going to look at your follow account, they're going to look at your comments and those numbers are just as important as the traffic going to your blog. Up next, we're going to talk about how to monetize your blog and your social channels, and taking your blog to the next level. 4. Monetization and Sponsorships: So, for so long, there was only one traditional way to monetize your blog through standard media, whether that be standard banners or rich media ad units like native advertisement. But now, the scope is getting so much larger and there's sponsorship opportunities which allow bloggers to be a lot more authentic with their content and their advertising. If you are still interested in traditional advertising, there's plenty of networks out there that can help you do so. Most of the ad networks are offering rates on a CPM or CPC basis which means that you get more revenue the more traffic that you have. But now, there's so many more creative ways to advertise and run sponsorships on your blog. So, what makes sponsored content authentically better than standard media? I would say that it's because you have full control over what content you're producing, whereas for standard banners, a brand is providing those assets to you, and in sponsorship or opportunities, you're actually creating those assets for the brand. So now that you have your content and you have your community and you want to monetize your blog, what do you do next? So, do you approach a brand? Do you wait for a brand approach you? Or do you work with a network that can help provide those opportunities? So, don't just reach out to any brand and say, "Hey, I want to work with you." Actually show them that you're making an effort. Send them your media kit. Don't have a media kit? You should create one. In your email, don't just say, "I want to work with you." Don't just reach out to them. Give them an example of how you are going to incorporate their brand within your blog. Give them an example what type of content you would produce. Don't have the time or effort to approach a brand yourself? Well then, you should work with a network that can easily do so for you. There's plenty of networks out there like Activate by Bloglovin, that's actually connecting brands with bloggers like yourself. So now that you're looking to monetize, how much revenue you're actually going to generate with your blog? It really depends on your traffic, your social, your engagement, where you're located. There's so many variable factors that go into what your potential revenue could be. In my personal opinion, you should always charge for sponsored content no matter how big or small you are. This is your time, this is your money, this is your work, so you should be paid accordingly for that. Obviously, depending on the brand, some brands you might be super eager to work with so you're willing to forego on the rate, and rates can vary a great deal. It could be anywhere from maybe $50 up to $50,000 depending on how big of a blogger you are. The best way to dictate what your rate is going to be is to ask your blogger friends what they're charging and makes sure that you're aligned with what your community of bloggers is charging. I wouldn't particularly say that one topic generates more revenue than another. There's brands for every topic and category out there and you're going to get brands that have both high and low budgets. So you started this blog because you're super passionate about a certain category and about writing but you may not be passionate about the business side of things and that's where a manager could be really useful. So when is the good time to get a manager? Really, anytime that you feel overwhelmed with the opportunities that are coming in. Just keep in mind that managers take upwards of 15-20 percent of all of your 5. Conclusion: We've covered a lot today, everything from content, to social, and building your community, to how to monetize your blog. So, I hope that you've enjoyed this and that you have a good takeaway to take your blog to the next step. I'm excited to see all of your projects and all of your blogs. Please feel free to share your favorite blog post or what makes your blog unique within the project gallery of the class. So, feel free to share with me or other bloggers within your community. It's a great way to kind of bounce ideas off of each other and you should be entrenched in that community. It's a tight-knit community in which people learn from each other on a daily basis. So, that's the end of the class. I hope you enjoyed it and I look forward to reviewing your content, and keep on blogging.