April 2021: Exclusive 12 Blogging Questions Answered by Jas
I typically do blogging questions and answers in some of my private Facebook groups. Hopefully, these sessions are helpful for many of you who are bloggers or those who are interested in getting into blogging, so I am sharing this here as well.
Before I get into answering some questions, I want to introduce myself to those who don’t know who I am. I’m Jasmine. I am a blogger. I’ve been blogging for 11 years now.
I blog over at Miss Mill Mag. That’s the blog I started 10 years ago. It’s a lifestyle blog. It talks about how to become your very best self.
The content we write about varies from learning more about blogging to different things like health and wellness and just different things that help you become your best self.
I have had a lot of ups and downs with my blog, but I can say that my blog has consistently brought in income for me every month for the last five or six years. Not only that. I’ve taught other bloggers how to make money with their blogs, mainly with my courses.
I love doing different webinars and teaching other bloggers in various ways. I just started doing YouTube videos to teach bloggers. This is something that I’ve not only done, but I love talking to other bloggers about blogging in general. It is something I can honestly say does not get old to me.
I really enjoy it, and I can talk about blogging all day long. I hope it shows when we start talking through some of these questions you guys have given me.
Let’s jump right in.
How do I drive traffic to my blog?
I know that for many bloggers, not getting enough traffic is one of the main reasons why they stop blogging. It can be very frustrating when it comes to bringing in income with your blog if you’re not getting traffic. I’m going to answer with a little bit of a complicated answer and say there are a lot of ways to drive traffic to your blog.
- Promoting Content on Social Media
I think one of the first things that you can do when it comes to driving traffic to your blog is to make sure that you’re promoting your content on social media.
Of course, if you’re a blogger, you’re very familiar with anything social media, right? Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, and the list goes on and on. There’s literally a new social media channel every single year.
But if you’re writing content on a regular basis, you want to make sure that you’re sharing that content to all those channels and not just when you publish your article.
For me, what I typically do is if I share an article on the day it got published, I try to make sure that we’re sharing it a few more times throughout the week that the article was published. And then I put it into a rotation.
I use a tool called SocialBee. What this does is it allows you to put your content into different categories. I set up my calendar to say, okay, on Mondays, I’ll share an article about health and fitness; on Tuesdays, I’ll share an article about travel. So, all my travel articles are getting recycled and posted on social media on a regular basis.
That’s not exactly how I use social media, but that’s one way you could do it. The point is, once an article is published and shared, it automatically goes into my automatic social media sharing thing so that an article doesn’t die. It’s continually being shared on all my social media channels.
- Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
For those of you who aren’t familiar with SEO, it stands for search engine optimization. That’s doing things to your website and just on the internet in general so that you get more traffic to your blog post organically. When people search on Google, they find their way onto your blog somehow.
If you’re wondering, how you know what people are searching for or how many people are searching for a specific term, I use a tool called Keywords Everywhere.
It’s a really inexpensive tool that you can download on Google Chrome and then just start doing some searches. And from there, you can get an idea like, okay, you have a thousand people who are searching for this search term every month, or you have 50 people searching for this term a month.
And if you think about the number of people who are searching and then clicking on your article, well then, the numbers just start to add up for you. Search engine optimization is another great way to drive traffic to your blog.
Another thing that I like to do is I do something called interlinking, which is still you know, very SEO focused. What it does is it makes your website sticky.
One of the rules that we have for Miss Mill when it comes to the content that I write, I make sure that I add in links for older content into our new content.
So, if you’re writing an article, let’s say, for example, I wrote an article about 10 ways to make money with side hustles, what I would do from there is if I have another article related to side hustles, I’ll say, “Oh, check out this article too because I talked about side hustles in this one if you’re interested in these particular side hustles.”
I’ll do different things like that. I have different links that make sense in my content. Then, while that may not seem like a big deal, it definitely makes a big difference when it comes to just getting people to stay and continue to read your content. They’ll go from one article to the next to the next.
And the next thing you know, they’re on your email list. They’re commenting, and they’re coming back every time you publish a new article. So that’s definitely something valuable that you can do as well when it comes to getting more traffic to your blog, and also keeping the traffic on your blog.
- Tailwind communities
Tailwind is a social media platform, a social media sharing tool, that I also use that’s relevant more to Pinterest. And what they have are something called communities.
In these communities, the way it works is you share a pin there, and then people have the option to share it to their channels if they like. And in return, you share other people’s content.
What I love about this is it’s not one of those like, you know, Facebook groups where you share mine, I share yours. You actually get options. Right? You can decide what you want to share.
As long as you’re sharing other people’s content as much as you share your own, you won’t get kicked out of the group. Whenever I want a nice little boost of traffic to a blog post, I go to Tailwind communities. I go ahead, and I share my pins there. And yeah, I get a nice little boost of traffic.
How do I gain engagement on my blog?
I think that’s a good question. I guess the first one is, what do you mean by engagement?
Are you talking about traffic? Is it about getting more people into your comments? Are you talking about your social media in general – how are you getting more people to engage there?
Depending on which one you’re thinking of is going to vary. If I’m going to go by the engagement on your blog for comments, one good way to get comments on your blog is through Facebook groups where you’re sharing.
I share yours; you share mine. And I think that’s fine because in those cases you say, “I comment on your blog posts and you comment on my blog posts.”
That benefits you because as long as you guys are interested in each other’s content and you can read the article and comment on it, it still looks good to Google. Google loves seeing comments on your blog posts. It’s another excellent way to get traffic to your site.
Regarding engagement on your social media, that one is a little more complicated. I’ll tell you why that is. For example, Instagram. I think Instagram is one of those channels where everyone wants engagement.
Everyone wants to see that people are actually enjoying and liking and commenting on the content that you share. For that one, I would say be social. Be social on social media. Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter, I feel like we get into this habit where we just kind of post and run instead of actually engaging people.
Ask questions. Like, “Hey, this thing happened to me. I wrote this blog post. Why don’t you reply and tell me your thoughts on this thing?”
I feel like that’s probably a good way to engage people on all channels.
I think Pinterest is a little more complicated because that’s one where they had comments and then took them away, then got comments again. But if you want people to engage with you, you have to engage with them. I say go comment on other people’s content.
Make sure that you’re sharing their things and just having a conversation and continuing that conversation on. Think about how you are on social media when you’re not in blog mode, and try to replicate those things within your blog. I think that’s one way to get more engagement on your blog.
How do I monetize my blog?
This is a good one because that’s what we all want to know, right? I don’t know many bloggers who got started because it was just something to do for fun, but I know they’re out there. I know there are plenty of bloggers who’s, “I just wanted to get my ideas out here for everyone to read.”
But most bloggers I know started blogging because they wanted to make money with it. I feel like there are different answers depending on which blogger you ask.
I can go through a few ways you can bring in income with your blog. I’ll tell you the first way I made money with mine. That was with sponsored posts.
I love sponsored posts because you don’t have to have a whole lot of traffic on your blog, you don’t have to have a ton of email subscribers or a lot of social media followers to do well when it comes to monetizing your blog or when it comes to sponsoring a post.
All it is is when a brand work decides like, “Hey, I like your blog. I think you’re targeting the same audience I’m trying to reach. Could you possibly promote my brand on your blog and I’ll pay you X amount of dollars to do it?”
Of course, when it comes to a sponsored posts, the hardest part is finding those opportunities. The first thing I would do is sign up for different influencer networks.
I mentioned advertising as well. That’s a great way to bring income. The only thing about that is you want to make sure that you have traffic.
I was making like three cents in a given month with Google AdSense when I started because I wasn’t getting that much traffic, but it’s still good to have ads there because the traffic will come eventually. Yeah, another great way to bring in income with your blog.
Affiliate marketing is another really, really good way to monetize your blog. You partner with a brand similar to sponsored posts but what you do is instead of them paying you upfront, they pay you for the number of clicks or leads or sales you generate for that brand.
You get your own link that tracks all the people who are coming from your site. That way you get credit for those sponsored opportunities, of course. What’s great about this is you can make way more money than you probably would with a sponsored post. I’m not going to say that’s the case for all of them.
I know some people were making enough money for a sponsored post that will last them an entire year. But with affiliates, it’s kind of one-and-done. You can write an article about an affiliate one time and continue to make money with it every month. I have an affiliate like this on my blog that’s doing so good right now.
Actually, this month is the best month for it for me and I have done nothing except just to watch it and say, “Oh, I made this much money with this affiliate today.” It’s awesome! I’m making money while I sleep! So, affiliates are a great way to make money with sponsored posts.
Do you recommend reaching out directly to a brand or using those influencer platforms?
That’s a good question. I say both.
If there’s a brand that you really love, like something that you’re using yourself. “Oh, my goodness. I love this. I’m already talking to my friends about this.”
I should see if they have an affiliate program, then I’ll write a blog post because your enthusiasm for that product is going to come through in your writing and that’s really what sells when it comes to sponsored posts. But yeah, if there’s a product you like, definitely reach out to the brand.
When it comes to the influencer platforms, I think that’s a good opportunity too. When you reach out to a brand directly, I just felt like we can come to a more authentic place. A lot of times my favorite thing is if I can get a sponsored post opportunity and an affiliate partnership with them.
So, they’ll pay me upfront and I’ll continue to make money for people who click on the links and buy the product through the article. So, that’s a good question. I think you can do both.
When should you start applying for sponsored posts?
You don’t have to have a whole lot of traffic when it comes to applying for sponsored posts. What I think matters more when it comes to doing sponsored posts is making sure you have checked off the boxes when it comes to, is your blog in a position to be consistent on its own?
And if it is, then yeah, I think that you can start applying for sponsored posts. By consistent, I mean, do you write at least one blog posts a week on your blog? Are you reaching out to your email list on a regular basis? Are you posting on social media on a regular basis?
Not sporadically like, “Oh, I remember I’m going to post here right now.” or, you know, the scope of the blog post, even though I have a written one in three months.
If you’re still doing that sporadic stuff, you’re not ready to start a sponsored post. But if you’ve been consistent for a couple of months with your content, then start reaching out. Apply for those opportunities on influencer networks and definitely reach out and start partnering with some brands.
Another thing that I think is important to have if you’re planning on working with brands is a work with me page. Your work with me page should make it easy for them to contact you.
It should tell a little bit about your brand so that people know how much traffic are you getting to your site, for example.
What are the demographics? Are they a certain age? Are they in a particular location? Have all those things on your blog so that brands know that they can reach out to you.
I know I’ve been on the other side too where I’ve reached out to bloggers to partner with them for products for my day job and also for just other side hustles that I’ve done. And I’ve seen bloggers who have their audiences perfect for what I’m looking for.
And they don’t have a contact page, or they don’t have an email address or make it easy for me to reach out to them. So, that’s just an opportunity I had to pass on because I couldn’t reach out to them.
As long as you have those things in place, you know, you’re consistent, you have a work with me page, and you’re getting to a point where you’re more serious with your blog, start applying. I don’t think there is a minimum as long as you know who your audience is and you’re reaching out to them on a consistent basis.
What stats are important to highlight on your media kit?
All right. Let me talk to you guys about what a media kit is. It’s something that is similar to what I just showed you guys. A work with me page is if you, for example, don’t want to put all your stats out there for everyone to see on your website, you can have a media kit.
And this is just like a PDF document that you put together. It has like a picture of you looking cute and you have like different stats about your blog, and just things that brands should know when it comes to working with you.
Where can you post? Do you do social media posts? Do you do videos?
And then, what other things could you possibly do that you’ve done before? You have examples of your previous work.
You can put links to that on there. And then, show us some pictures too of like what social media on your website looks like. Or, I don’t know, anything that you want a brand to know about you. As far as stats that are important to highlight in your media kit, I think some big ones that brands look for, your demographics, for sure.
If you know what sex they are, like male or female. If you know where they live. Are they mostly in the states? Or in another country?
Are there specific cities where they are? And that’s important too because there are a lot of brands that are focused on a specific location.
If you have examples of previous work, I think that’s just going to save you time. I have gone back and forth before with brands because they’re interested in me and they like my stats and everything but they’re like, “Well, how do we know we’re going to like her work? What is this actually going to look like? Can you provide samples or examples of things you’ve done in the past?”
So, if you can include different examples of sponsored posts, or affiliate articles, or sponsored tweets, or something you’ve done before, that’s something cool that you can add too.
How do I get more sponsored post deals?
I think influencer networks are a good way to do it. We talked about reaching out to brands. That’s another good way to go about getting more sponsored post deals.
If you’re asking the question as far as, “I’m applying for an influencer, I’m applying for sponsored posts on influencer networks and I’m not getting the reaction that I want to get, how do I go about getting more of those reactions?” I have a few tips here that I can give you that have really helped me when it came to applying. One, apply more.
I feel like if you continue to apply, you kind of get a feel for what brands are looking for in these opportunities. So, the more you apply, the more you learn, the more you’ll get picked for it.
The second thing I would say is, make sure that you’re reading through all the details that they are asking for and make sure you’re answering what they’re looking for in the answers.
So long story short, if you’ve ever applied for a job, you know how they say, make sure that you’re filling out everything, make sure that you’re reading through the job description, and including some of those keywords that they put in the description into your cover letter and updating your resume so that it fits in with the job.
You should be doing the same thing for applying for sponsored post opportunities on influencer networks. One of the big things I realized and it was just like night and day difference once I started doing this is, most of the influencer network opportunities I see, they have a question that says, “Is there anything else you’d like to add?” Or, “What other things should we consider to pick you?” And they make the question optional.
And this is the tricky, guys. They really want the people who are filling this out. If you are skipping pass it because it says optional, well, I guarantee you there are a few other bloggers over there who are actually filling that question out and they’re looking for those who are going to go above and beyond.
So, don’t skip the questions that say optional. Give them an answer and give them a good one. Make it thoughtful. Talk about your personal experience with their product or their brand or maybe a problem that you faced.
I think at the end of the day, they’re just looking for a little bit of humanity there. And that’s why brands decide to work with bloggers.
They want that human side of you. If they wanted to just make it nice and cold and just talk about their brand, they can just pay for advertising. Pay for a billboard or something. But they want to see that human side of you so that you can connect with their audience and really get them to understand their product from a different perspective.
What are the top ways you can make money from blogging?
I named a few. I said, sponsored posts, advertising, and affiliate marketing. If you aren’t making money right now, I think those are probably the best ways to get started with making money with your blog.
But ways that I think are the top ways, I’d say affiliate marketing is probably on the top of my list there just because send it and forget it, man. Like, you write a blog post, it does well, and you go on to the next one, and you continue to make money that way.
One method I didn’t mention when it comes to making money with your blog before but I think is definitely one of the top ways is with products. If you have a product, you don’t have to worry about paying the middleman as far as like, if you’re doing affiliate marketing.
Let’s say for example, you know, you’re selling a product for $100 and they’re giving you 30%, you’re only making $30. But if you have a product that you’re selling for $100, well, now you made $100. You don’t have to worry about them going out of business or anything like that.
You have so much control over everything. So, I think products are probably one of the top ways you can make money with your blog.
How do we close a deal with our sponsors?
How to close the deal. I guess you mean by like negotiating with your sponsors as far as like how much you want to charge. I have a really cool product. It’s called the sponsored post pricing toolkit.
I think if you know how much you should be charging based on your traffic in your page, your domain authority, how many social media followers you have, and just the different things that you’re willing to do to help the brand, I think that helps a lot. You don’t want to pitch a brand and go too low because obviously no one really wants to work for free.
You don’t want to go too high either because that can also throw a brand off when it comes to working with you. And you know, if you go too high, then they say like, “Okay. This person doesn’t know what they’re doing. I’m going to, you know, go elsewhere.”
So, I think having the right price in mind as far as what you should be pitching.
And then, as far as knowing what to say to them, I also have a lot of email templates included in that kit that shows you how to pitch your brand, how to reply to people who are saying, like, “Hey, I like your blog, and I want you to work for me for free.”
What to say to them so that they actually pay you. And then just going back and forth negotiating.
Knowing what you have on the table. They’re coming to you for a reason, obviously. Right?
And being able to say, “Well, I have this many years’ experience at my day job so that can make me a better blogger for this particular opportunity.” Just knowing what things you have in your arsenal so that you can also get the deal.
Do you think blogging alone is profitable? Or do you think having multiple mediums to showcase your content (i.e., YouTube, podcasts, etc.) is a way to start running your blog?
Yes, I do think blogging alone is profitable. I think it took me a while to figure out blogging.
But if I were starting with a blog right now, I feel like I could make it profitable so much faster. There’s so much more knowledge out there. There are many people out there making money with their blogs and doing well.
I think the biggest reason why we don’t see more blogs that are profitable is that there’s so much information out there.
That was a good thing, right? But that’s also a bad thing. And it’s so easy to go like, “Scroll! Look at this new shiny thing.”
And there’s literally like a new social media platform every single year. It’s like, it is so easy to get distracted with blogging.
But if you continue to do it and you listen, and you know, you are looking at this, like, “Okay. What am I going to grow this month? How am I going to hit my goals this month?” You can definitely do it.
As far as like, do you think having multiple mediums is a good idea? Absolutely! I can only imagine what it’ll be like once I have my blog income and I have YouTube income. The only thing is that they are not easy to manage.
It’s not that easy to manage all of those things. I feel like if you want to go that route as far as doing multiple channels, I think it’s a good idea to kind of figure out one. Like master, it, hone it in and make sure that it’s something that it’s almost on autopilot for you, and then go on to the next medium.
I think having too many of them too can hinder your progress on all of them. I think it’s a good idea but definitely pace yourself because it can also be detrimental to all of your success for your channels.
What do you think of other blogs that charge a fee to guest post on their blog?
For this, I say, “To each their own.” Are they getting paid? Are they doing what they need to do as far as following the rules for Google and FTC? Then yeah, to each their own.
I think those emails can be really annoying coming to you. And so long as you set your boundaries and saying like, “Hey, this is what is okay. And this is what isn’t.”
I think that you should be perfectly fine. I’m not judging either way.
Blogging is such a different thing. If you ask me what’s one way to monetize versus someone else say was the top ways to monetize, it’s going to be different based on different people’s experiences. Right? I personally like getting different guest posts on my blog just because I feel like it brings in another element of different voices.
And that works for a lifestyle blog. I want someone to talk more about their experience with relationships. I want someone to talk more about what it’s like to go through something that happened to them in their life that I can’t really speak to. So yeah, I think guest posts are okay.
Some people like to do the fees for that. If they want to do that, that’s perfectly okay. But yeah, just be mindful of the rules and making sure that you’re not offending people along the way.
What is the hardest thing about blogging?
It’s two things. One, staying focused. I feel like all the years where I wasn’t making money on my blog is because I was all over the place. I am not tracking any of the work I’m doing on Instagram.
And, oh, here’s this new thing called, you know, this new social media channel. I’m going to focus on that. So, just not finishing. I think focus can be a big thing that makes it difficult for blogging.
And then the other part is just sticking with it. I think sticking with it is probably the hardest thing. And with that too, I think it means staying consistent.
Sending one blog post this week, and then not going for a month doing it, and then eventually say, “I’m not going to do that anymore because there’s so much work. It takes so much time.”
I would say stay focused, and just sticking with it. You may be closer to hitting your goals than you may think.