Long gone are the days when blogging was reserved for hobbyists and people who wanted to keep an online diary. Running a blog is a popular and often profitable choice for hundreds of entrepreneurs. Depending on how you combine business and blogging, there are different ways to handle the blog side of things. It all depends on the type of blog you have. In this case, we’re not talking about your niche.
Some blogs are meant to support a business or brand, while other blogs are the business. When you decide to become a blogger, it’s essential to know which of those two types of blogs you plan to have.
You’ve probably already come across the same general advice on what your blog needs to be successful: a consistent publishing schedule, focused content, and a niche that will allow you to grow. In this post, I want to take you through what that advice means depending on which of the two blog types you want or have.
Please note: This is a contributed post, but all opinions are my own. View full disclosure policy.
Dedicated Posting Schedule
Everyone knows a blog needs a consistent posting schedule right from the beginning. Part of the reasoning is to ensure a stream of new content keeps up with search engine algorithms so people are more likely to find your blog when searching on Google, Bing, or any other search engine.
Putting up new content regularly also encourages repeat readers to return to see what’s new. When they know when to check for updates, you can build site traffic that holds steady from month to month.
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Building consistent traffic is key for the folks where the blog is the business. When your income depends on sponsored content, affiliate marketing, and advertising space on your blog, site traffic plays a pivotal role in your profit. Your earnings from those revenue streams depend on the number of impressions, clicks, or purchases through affiliate links. So as your traffic fluctuates, so will your earnings. Using a publishing schedule to generate fairly stable traffic numbers helps make your income more predictable.
The people making income off their blog will probably want a more rigorous post schedule than the people using a blog to support their main business.
A blog supporting a business offers insight into what goes on behind the scenes or nurtures current and prospective clients with intentional value. For these types of blogs, your content plays more into your overall marketing strategy. It not only provides value for your audience supporting your authority in your industry but also demonstrates your approach. This is especially important for those in service-based businesses, like coaches and consultants. Your blog content will help prospective clients determine if you are the right fit for them.
Write What You Know
It’s common advice for writers of blogs and other mediums to stick to what you know. If you want to be successful in blogging and business, it just makes sense, right? But the value of this goes deeper than your subject matter.
For the blog that is the business, this comes down to your thoughts and experiences. Let’s say you want to publish a seasonal gift guide that contains some affiliate links. Providing general information on products likely won’t get you a lot of clicks that end with a sale. But when you add your personal experience with a product or brand, your audience is more likely to buy. They like you and they trust your opinion. They want your opinion.
For other businesses, remember what I said about demonstrating your approach? No matter your industry, there are others who say and do a lot of the same things you will. What sets you apart is how you say and do those things. When you provide value through a blog (whether it’s free or based on a subscription), stay true to how you deliver your service to paying clients. If you walk people through a strategy you’ve tried and tested to be widely applicable, your approach is different from the person who builds a custom strategy around each and every client.
Expanding Your Blog
No matter how you mix business and blogging, both types offer room to grow. For the person making a business out of blogging, there are a few steps to protect yourself legally. That includes attaching your blog to a postal mail address (which could be your home or a P.O. box) and filing to establish an LLC according to your state’s regulations. It’s also a great time to find a professional consultant to help walk you through the business side of things if you learn better with a coach.
For a blog that supports a business, growth can look the same if that’s the direction you want to go in. You certainly don’t have to. If you want to do more with your blog, you might consider expanding your content to include interviews or guest posts with others in your industry. You can play with different mediums and add video or podcast content. Or you could expand on your current content, reserving more content for your subscribers.
Note: even if you want to reserve some content for subscribers, you don’t necessarily have to make them pay for it. You can use a platform like Medium or Patreon for paid subscriptions. On WordPress, you can make certain posts or downloadable content password-protected and share the password with newsletter subscribers. I’ve even seen a product-based artist make her entire blog hidden behind a paywall, grouping access to her bonus content with early access to new product releases and a discount on all orders.