Over the past few weeks, we’ve announced several speakers who will be joining us on the stage at NMX 2014 in January. While we’re always excited to welcome new faces to the speaker roster, we’re also happy to have some familiar faces back again. To celebrate, we’re giving away a package of five session from some of the speakers who are making repeat appearances at NMX.
These sessions are completely free, and if you’re serious about creating better content and growing your community, this is an offer you definitely don’t want to miss! Simply head to our sign-up page to tell us where to send your free sessions.
Here’s what you’ll get as part of this package:
Insane Loyalty: How to Get People Fanatically Addicted to You by Dino Dogan (@dinodogan) from Triberr
How to Actually Grow a BIG Brand and Community with Just a Simple Blog by Patrice Yursik (@afrobella) from Afrobella
Proven Methods to Use Free in Your Business to Get More Traffic, More Subscribers and More Customer by Pat Flynn (@patflynn) from Smart Passive Income
Community Building Lessons from a Professional Twitter Party Host by Amy Lupold Bair (@resourcefulmom) from Resourceful Mommy
How to Market Your Podcast & Grow Your Audience by Cliff Ravenscraft (@GSPN) from Podcast Answer Man
Dino, Patrice, Pat, Amy, and Cliff will all be speaking again at NMX 2014, so if you like their recorded sessions, definitely pick up a ticket to our January show in Las Vegas to see them live and even meet them to ask questions in person.
As a special bonus, you can use the code JULY20 to receive 20% off any ticket to NMX 2014 right now!
Raising a family today is very different compared to raising a family before the introduction of the Internet. I can remember going to restaurant as a child and feeling lucky if there was a place mat to color while waiting for my kid’s meal. Now, I see smartphones and tablets being passed to children to keep them occupied. It’s not necessarily a bad thing. It’s just different.
In this interview, NMX speaker Amy Lupold Bair talks about the challenges of raising a digital family:
Because children are so in tune with the digital world, I think we as content creators need to consider the entire family. Does that mean that a toddler is going to read the same blogs as his parents? Probably not. But there are ways to create content for the digital family that I think too few bloggers are considering.
Understanding Your Audience
First, do you even know whether or not your readers have children? Understanding your audience at this level is important even if your content isn’t about children. Why? Two main reasons (though there are others):
Kids dictate how much free time a person has.
Your audience will make different buying decisions if they have children.
Understanding how much time and money people have is key to tailoring your content for these people.
Let’s first look at the time aspect. One of the most common questions new bloggers ask is, “How long should my posts be?” and one of the most common answers I hear is, “As long as they need to be.” I’ve probably even given people this advice myself. But logically, even if your content is awesome, some people might not have time to read it if you post 1000+ words daily.
A few months ago my father was in the hospital. The drive for me was about four and a half miles one-way from my home, so I was spending a lot of time on the road. I continued to work full time, plus I helped my mom out around the house and spent lots of time with my father. I don’t have kids, but I do have a family…and family time meant I had little time for blog reading. Even when I knew a post would be awesome based on the writer, I often skipped it because it just looked too long to read.
Are your giving parents options? If your readers have family obligations, does your blog have a podcast option for their commute? Do you offer some shorter post options they can read during naptime?
And second, money. Overall income doesn’t matter as much as disposable income matters. Two people might both make $75,000 per year, but if one person is single and the other person is supporting three kids, the likelihood that they’re going to purchase your $500 product changes drastically. Again, are you giving parents options? Do you have a payment plan? Or do you have less expensive products? Do you entice with sales from time to time? When your ebook is up against putting food on the table, hungry mouths are always going to win out.
Content for the Whole Family
Considering the needs of digital parents is just the start. I also recommend that you start looking at kids, especially teens, as potential readers of your content. Children are spending more and more time online and unless you’re creating content for an adult-only industry, you want to start grabbing these eyeballs now. These are people who grow up to be truly passionate about a specific topic.
When I was 15, the Internet was still pretty young, but I can remember reading websites about writing. I loved writing prompts, writing tips, and information about how to get published, and I gobbled it up. Another friend of mine spent all his time online look at car-related sites. Yes, before he even had a license. Yet another friend liked finding recipes online.
These teens don’t sound much different from the adults who read your website, right? And maybe they don’t have the ability to make purchases today, but in five years, when that 15-year-old is 20, they will have been reading your blog for five years, and they’ll be much more likely to pull out their wallet to support you.
So how can you catch the attention of teens?
Be where they are online. Most teens I know are on Facebook, but depending on the niche, forums might also be helpful.
Produce content for beginners or tell them were to go. If your blog is advanced-level, at least link to 101-level information so that teens (and anyone really) can understand concepts that are new to them.
Encourage your younger readers. Respond to their comments and help them as much as possible. Remember, you were once young too, so be understanding when someone asks a really off-the-wall question.
Depending on your topic, you might even want to volunteer with the Scouts or other community organizations to introduce them to your niche. If you’re a food blogger, have the local youth group over to your house to prepare a meal together. If you blog about sports, volunteer as a coach in your community. Blog about design? Teach a 101 class for kids at the local arts center. Be the person to introduce a new interest or hobby to a kid and they will remember that (as will their parents).
Not every blog has to directly create content for the whole family, from toddlers to senior citizens. But if you consider the role family has to plan in your readers’ lives and analyze how you can set kids on the right path, you might be able to grow your blog in entirely new directions.
In the summer of 2008 I was facing a ticking time bomb. Okay, so it wasn’t exactly a time bomb. It was the clock that was ticking telling me that in one year I would need to return to teaching in order to once again supplement my spouse’s income. While there were many things that I loved about teaching – the students, the content, the coworkers – there were also many things that I strongly disliked about teaching – the students, the content, the coworkers. With my four year old filling my days with sunshine and my cuddly two year old in my arms most of the day, I also could not fathom a return to my eleven hour teacher work days that involved weekends of grading papers and would now involve daycare drop-offs and pickups, both occurring in the dark.
Thus I began blogging. While moderating the BlogHer Mindful Monetization panel earlier this month, someone asked if there’s a particular niche blog that tends to make more money than others. I simply answered, “Not parenting blogs,” and turned it over to my fellow speaker who does very well through ad revenue on her beauty site. Of course, no one told me two years ago when I began blogging that starting a parenting blog would not be my road to riches. And in fact, my goal at the time was not to find my fortune through an ad network or affiliate revenue but rather to tap into that writer brain that had long since been silenced by the sound of crying children. I hoped to build an online portfolio of blog posts with the goal of freelance writing and editing jobs, and just enough of them to keep me at home with my children and the bills paid.
Most parenting bloggers have a no dearth of content ideas. Many of us are stay-at-home parents and are surrounded by other parents not only in our day to day lives but also online through social media. Should I ever find myself without a post topic, I need only to tweet, “What parenting issue are you dealing with right now?” and suddenly I have a couple dozen topics to research ranging from potty training a toddler to the potty mouth of a tween. Finding time to create that content is a different story. While bloggers in another niche may have set aside time from their daily work schedule to post, parenting bloggers, stay-at-home moms in particular, post frantically during nap time or in the wee hours of the morning when they themselves should be sleeping.
What does all of this mean for monetization? There are certainly many parenting bloggers who have no desire to monetize….and that’s good because monetization is not easy. While I’ve watched frugal living bloggers rapidly build a fan base that has led them to phenomenal ad revenue through private sales and ad networks, I’ve also watched mom journaling bloggers struggle to secure a ten dollar 125 x 125 button ad. For many parenting bloggers, writing sponsored posts is simply not an option either for the integrity of their blog or simply for lack of offers. This has led many parenting bloggers to seek methods of monetization beyond their blogs. There is certainly no shortage of examples of brands and bloggers working together successfully in spokesperson relationships, through integrated campaigns, and in social media through Twitter events, Facebook campaigns and more. Even with the opportunities available to monetize using their blog as a platform, a means to an end, parenting bloggers still face small budgets and the scrutiny of their readers as well as their community when they choose to monetize.
While I never could have predicted two years ago where I am today thanks to the creation of my own parenting blog, Resourceful Mommy, I’m happy that this is the path I have taken. The problem for other parenting bloggers looking to monetize is not lack of trailblazers, but that no two bloggers seem to find success following the same path. While those of us who are happy with where we have gone can certainly provide guidance to those hoping to move from mommy to monetization, only hard work, time and a healthy dose of luck can move a parenting blogger hoping to find monetary success to where they want to be.