It was an absolutely fantastic day and a joy to hang out with some fellow bloggers, brands like Topcashback and even meet one of my fans!
Here’s the full talk:
Marketing for Bloggers
Incase you didn’t already know, as well as being a blogger, I’m also a freelance marketing consultant and my background is in marketing and sales.
I’m not going to talk about any marketing specifics in this blog or go into too much detail with marketing but for the bloggers out there I’m going to talk about how thinking like a marketer can really benefit you as a blogger.
I’ve been blogging for quite a short amount of time (I started in about October) so I’m still relatively new to this but I’ve been able to build a very engaged albeit quite small audience through some of the things that I’m going to talk to you about here.
There is no community
I wanted to kick off with a quote from one of my favourite Snapchatters called Joe Wilson, some of you may have come across him, some of you may not. He’s the guy with the teacup and the cat if that helps?
“There is no Twitter community, no Snapchat community, no Facebook community in face there is no community on social media there’s only your community on social media.”
I would extend that to say that there isn’t really a blog reading community at all.
There aren’t people that will just read any blog, there are people that will read blogs about certain things based on their interests and within that there are people that will read your blog about those certain things.
If you’re talking about beauty for example, don’t expect that everyone interested in beauty wants to look at your stuff, they might prefer somebody else’s stuff on the same topic. The people you need to be thinking about when you’re writing content, when you’re on social media and the people you want to interact with are ‘your’ community not just ‘the’ community or a general community.
But, your community is not just going to find your stuff and if you want to start getting into affiliate marketing, paid-for blogs or actually just reach more people or engage the right people you’re going to have to do a little bit of marketing, You’re gonna have to get yourself out there.
I’m going to talk about some of the thinking behind how you might do that and the things that worked for me over the last few months
What to ignore when you start blogging
So first off some stuff to ignore, especially when you’re starting out on your blog:
- Most of google analytics: When you start your blog make sure you have Google analytics in place but then ignore most of the statistics. I’ll come on to some important ones later.
- Other people’s statistics: Don’t compare yourself to other people. You’re trying to build your community so you don’t need to try and be like someone else. Do your thing, be confident with what you’re doing and you’re more likely to get the results that you’re after because you’ll attract people that like your stuff and buy into you.
- Number of followers and likes: I have such a pet hate with people focusing on number of followers and number of likes. It doesn’t mean anything because if those people don’t actually care about you ultimately they’re not really going to engage with your content and they’re not going to become fans. When we think about monetising, they’re not going to click the links because they won’t really trust you and they’re not really engaging with your content.
- Domain authority: This is something that bloggers talk about all the time, it’s focused on a lot but actually when you’re first starting out don’t worry about it.
These are the things that I think are actually important:
- Reaction: The actual reactions that you get from people when you put your content out there. Be it tweets or Instagram or just publishing your blog, do you get any reaction from people? Do you get any comments on your blog?
- Engagement: Are people engaging with you on social media? You can’t expect it straight away but when you start to make people aware of you, do you get reactions from people? Do you get engagement from them?
- Bounce rate and time on page: Two of the analytics I think you should look at are time on page and bounce rate. Time on page will give you an idea of whether people are actually reading your stuff. So if you know your blog going is going to take 2 minutes, 5 minutes or 10 minutes to read and your average time on page is 30 seconds then you can be pretty sure people aren’t engaging with your content. Bounce rate is going to tell you if they are actually staying there.
- Messages and comments: This is kind of covered by engagement, it’s all part of engagement, but messages are a specific type of interaction. Unfortunately there is a lot of engagement online that isn’t authentic, especially on Instagram and Twitter but the stuff that’s really authentic is when you start having a conversation with people. They’ll message you or they’ll comment and they’ll say “really enjoyed that blog, this is is why” you go back to them and you start having a conversation. These are the people that are going to be your little community as opposed to just a generic thumbs up or anything like that.
All of these things are basically signals that people actually care about what you’re putting out. The number of likes on your Facebook page doesn’t tell me how many people actually care about what you’re putting out.
The problem (and I blame marketers)
There is a problem and unfortunately (and don’t forget I’m one of them) I do blame marketers for this. The stuff that some brands will measure you on is often the stuff I just said to ignore.
These things are not necessarily going to convert to sales for the brand.
Going back to monetising, the number of followers that you have on Twitter doesn’t necessarily translate to click throughs, real fans or authentic engagement.
If you put a link on a page on your website the brand will need to see clickthrough. For example if you’ve got 10,000 twitter followers and you’re getting 10 clickthroughs, that brand is going to know that actually that’s not an authentic number of followers. If they’re not getting sales, why would the brand why would you want to work with that blogger?
Genuine influence and trust
Genuine influence and trust is the real crux of blogging (and marketing as well).
In my old job, I took the company from a business that barely had a website to a company doing hundreds of thousands of pounds worth of business through leads generated through their website. The way that we did that was not but doing more, getting more followers, getting more likes etc. it was focusing on the people that were engaging with our content and then developing a level of influence and trust by providing tonnes of value to those people.
When you start to get that influence and trust is you can go out to people and say ‘what is it you want to see?’ ‘What are you interested in?’ and ‘What do you want me to talk about?’
As a marketer this means I’m not putting content out and thinking ‘is it going to hit? is it not? will anyone care?’ because somebody has already asked me for that piece of content.
I’ll give you an example.
Hopefully you’ve seen my YouTube series about side hustles. Emma Mumford got involved in episode 2 and talked about her story of starting Extreme Couponing and Deals UK as a hobby and then turning it into a successful business.
Someone commented on that video and they said it would be really good if I could interview an Amazon, eBay or Etsy reseller. I knew at the time that I was going to be making an episode with the Mini Millionaire Cora Harrison (you can watch that here). She is pretty much a full-time eBay reseller although she does tonnes of other stuff as well.
What I did was told them I had an episode on reselling coming up and then went back to them in the YouTube comments three weeks later and told them the episode was ready. That’s a lot more than somebody would ordinarily do if they’re just focusing on the usual: write a blog, publish a blog, do some tweets, do some Instagram posts.
BTW Genuine engagement is hard work!
The effort required to create value at this level is quite hard work. Sitting and writing something, getting it onto a website and taking some nice photos is the bare basics of blogging, there’s so much more that goes into it.
It’s engaging with people, it’s being where the people you want to talk to are, it’s getting involved which twitter chats, it’s doing collaborations.
It can very easily be a full time job but it can also be something you do in your spare time. Just remember that it’s not just a case of writing something and putting it out if you really want to give people a reason to stick with you.