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blogging as a job

Six Things You Can Focus On Today to Increase Your Blogging Results


Last week I shared a little of my blogging story with you, by giving you a look into how I make money by blogging and selling blogs. As I mentioned, I’ve been at this since 2006. I’ve been through the ups and downs of both blogging for a company, as well as blogging for myself.

I have people ask me just about every week, “How can I do what you do?” My first answer for them is to get ready to work their butt off. If that statement doesn’t scare them off, then I know they’re ready to hear the rest of what I have to say – the nuts and bolts of what goes into becoming a successful blogger.

(Side note: Not all successful blogging stories are identical. What I am about to share with you has worked for me, but it’s not in any way the only road to success.)

I won’t get into choosing a topic for your blog, setting up your blog, or choosing a design. Let’s just assume you already have those pieces in place and are ready to hit the ground running with your topic.

1. Email, Email, Email

For several of the topics I write about, my contacts are the bread and butter of my business. They help me build my content with the emails they send with topic ideas, the products they want me to review or the person they would like me to interview. I have one incredibly large and amazing list of contacts, both PR firms and direct with business owners. How did I build this list? I pounded the keyboard.

The first thing I recommend you do as a new blogger is set up Google alerts with keywords related to your topic. I also suggest you search Google news for press releases related to your topic. Both of these will help keep you on top of the news, as well as build up your contact list. At the bottom of every press release is (usually) a name, email and/or phone number of the main contact person.

For months, I emailed people every single day introducing myself, telling them a little about my blog and letting them know I would love to work with them and be added to their press list. It took only a few months to build a solid list of people. My inbox was flooded with post ideas, product review submissions and interview requests. I still email companies and PR firms, but very rarely. I’m now at the stage of turning people away, and you can be there as well if you follow this approach.

2. Post Quality Content Every Day

I definitely will have some people disagree with me on this one and that’s okay. Like I said, this is what worked for me in the beginning. I truly believe that staying committed to having fresh content available every day was a key piece that got me where I am today.

If you don’t have the time to devote to your blog every day, then set aside one chunk of time a week where you write 5 to 7 articles to drip throughout the course of your week. The scheduled post feature is your friend. Use it!

Your readership and numbers will grow because they’ll keep coming back for more every day and your business contacts will grow because they’ll know you’re the type of blogger they want to work with.

3. Build Your Email List Yesterday

When I have a new blogger ask me, “When should I start building my email list?”, I always say “Yesterday”. Meaning, you need to be collecting those emails from your readers on day one. I wish I could say I followed this piece of advice, but I didn’t. I honestly thought people would prefer to receive information about my site from little blurbs on Facebook or Twitter. That is not the case!

Did you know you have readers who are not on either of those sites? (Gasp!) And, did you know there are people who are on Facebook and/or Twitter but they don’t check it every day? (Gasp again!) But guess what? They do check email every day and you’ll reach a lot more people through email, instead of hoping they see it on your Facebook page. So go build that email list…yesterday!

4. Don’t Be a Blog Hermit

One definition of a hermit is “any person living in seclusion; recluse”. In order to have a successful blog, you need to step away from your own blog for a minute and go make friends. Don’t be a hermit! Find blogs within your topic and start commenting on them. And I’m not talking about leaving a “Nice post!” comment or some lengthy one which makes you sound extremely intelligent. Just join the conversation like you would at a get together with your friends. Socialize. Interact. Reach out.

I know there are many bloggers who will agree with the fact that you’ll make friends within the blogging community who will become your friends for life. You’ll start bunking together at events, helping each other’s blogs succeed and maybe even go into business together. If you stay in your own little blogging bubble, you’ll regret it in the end. I promise.

5. Treat Your Blog as a Business

Yes, I know. You’re thinking, “Thank you for the obvious cliché advice, Julie Bonner”. But me telling you to treat your blog as a business is THE most important piece of advice I could give you. You hear successful bloggers say, “If you treat this as a hobby, it will pay you as a hobby. If you treat this as a business, it will pay you as a business” for a reason. The reason is it’s true. I don’t care if you’re a mom blogger, a dad blogger or someone blogging about under water basket weaving – this is a piece of advice for everyone.

Type A Founder Kelby Carr conducted a session at BlogWorld LA 2011 where she talked about this very subject. The session was titled “Parent Bloggers Mean Business”. She gave some very valuable tips and advice on being taken seriously as a blogger. In order to be successful in the blogosphere, it’s important to be respected by both your blogging peers as well as companies. Kelby said to have confidence, don’t obsess over your competition, and behave like a professional. I couldn’t agree more.

6. Hold on Tight. It’s Going to be a Fun and Bumpy Ride

Last but not least, realize blogging is a journey just like anything else in life. You’ll have your days someone leaves a really rude comment on your blog, or makes fun of your video, or insults you in some way. It will happen, especially the more successful you get. Shake it off, call it what it is – someone being terribly stupid, jealous and immature – and realize tomorrow is a new day. (This is where those great blogging friends you’ve made can help save the day with an encouraging word.)

Keep creating good content, keep reaching out to the blogging community and keep being professional. I can tell you first hand – blogging is one heck of a fun ride. So hold on.

Got 99 Problems But a Blog Ain’t One


It never fails to amaze me how many bloggers hate blogging. I’m not talking about getting burned out. Frankly, we all need a little vacation from blogging now and again. I’m talking about actually disliking blogging to the point where you get that feeling of dread when turning on your computer. It’s almost as bad as getting up every morning to go to an office job you hate.

Yes, some bloggers really feel that way. Of course, you aren’t one of them. Or are you?

Don’t be ashamed if you find yourself falling into this category. Few people get into blogging knowing that they’ll hate it. Most people just try it out and although they like blogging related perks, like working from home or being your own boss. Those perks might be enough to keep you from going back to a typical office job, but what about the hatred you have for the act of blogging itself? In actuality, there are things you can do to enjoy blogging more. It’s just about having a different approach!

  • Step One: Identify what it is that you hate.

Before you can fix the problem, you have to know what’s broken. If there wasn’t anything you liked about blogging, you’d be working that regular day job instead, so let’s separate the good from the bad. Maybe you hate writing posts. Maybe you hate social networking. Maybe you hate the technical side of blogging. Whatever it may be, figuring out exactly what you hate is the first step.

If you find yourself unable to pin-point what you hate, maybe you’re just burned out. Line up a few guest posts and go on vacation from your blog for a week – feel better? Good. Sometimes that’s all it takes to stop hating blogging so much.

  • Step Two: Identify what it is that you enjoy.

As you’re listing off what you hate about blogging, also list the things you enjoy. Ok, so you hate actually writing posts, but you love getting your message hear. Or maybe you hate using Twitter, but you love participating in community forums. What are the good things that keep you blogging instead of going back to the corporate world?

Can’t think of anything you enjoy? Ouch. If you’re in a particularly bad mood at the moment, you might just be frustrated. Sleep on it and come back to this question tomorrow. But if you honestly can’t think of a single blogging task that you enjoy, maybe it’s time to start doing some research on other jobs that would allow you the same freedoms you get with blogging, but with tasks you’d enjoy more. I know there’s a lot of crap to wade through, but legitimate work-at-home jobs do exist!

  • Step Three: Make your own blogging rules.

The great thing about blogs is that the bloggers get to make the rules. What works for one blogger doesn’t have to be the way you approach blogging. If you hate writing posts, for example, maybe the key is to only post once or twice per week instead of every day. Or, maybe the key is to switch to podcasting or video blogs instead of writing. Maybe you love writing, but you hate social media. Maybe the key is to hire a virtual worker to handle promotion for you. Or, maybe the key is to do less social media and instead focus on building community in other ways. Just because an expert does things one way doesn’t mean that you have to on your blog.

Is it time to rethink your blog’s purpose?

After you’ve gone through the above three steps, if your action plan isn’t clear, maybe it’s time to do a little soul searching. Why does your blog exist? If you say, “I need an outlet to rant about things,” that’s not really a monetizable blog. I mean, it can work for some people, but if that’s the only reason you’re blogging, exploring non-blog job options might be for the best. For most of us, our professional blogs have a purpose. For example, on After Graduation, my blog’s purpose is to give new graduates career advice. Or here are this blog, the purpose is to teach other how to be better bloggers and comment on new media news, while also promoting BlogWorld Expo. What is your blog’s purpose? And now, the most important question: Do you feel passionate about that purpose?

Every so often, I get into a debate with someone about whether or not you need to be passionate about your niche to be a good blogger. No. If you’re a good professional writer, you can write about nearly anything. But we’re not talking about can you do it here. We’re talking about should you do it. And if you want to stop hating blogging, no, you shouldn’t blog in a niche where you aren’t passionate.

Because if you are passionate, those things you hate will melt away. Sure, you’ll still find that you love some tasks more than others, but if you’re super passionate about what you have to share, it will seem less like a burden to perform all the tasks necessary to get your blog noticed. For example, I hate adding photos to posts, doing photo editing, etc. I even hate the process of finding a good picture to use. But I do it because I know it helps my posts become more appealing to readers, and that’s exciting to me. I’m passionate about reading as many new readers as possible, so if pictures make that happen, I’m just going to bite the bullet and do it.

Passion or not, blogging isn’t for everyone, and that’s something super important to take away from this post. If you’ve tried blogging and really do hate it, there’s no shame in walking away. It doesn’t make you a failure or a quitter. It just means that you weren’t suited for this job. If you tried accounting, hated it, and left to pursue a different field, no one would call you a failure. People would applaud you for giving it a try and knowing when to walk away. Know when to walk away from blogging. Which brings me to the title of this post – if blogging is a problem for you, don’t blog. Life throws us enough crap already. Don’t do something you hate on top of it.

The Blog Job Conundrum


Blogging can cause quite a conundrum for some. Ok, who am I kidding? For most of us, there’s a very real problem that we’re all internally trying to solve when it comes to blogging for dollars.

Earlier this week, I posted my weekly Overheard on #Blogchat update, this time highlighting some tweets made by Brian Clark, the guest co-host. The comments he made that I expanded upon were regarding the need to have an overall goal for your blog. Daria of Mom in Management posted an interesting reply:

Those were the most helpful tweets that I got out of #blogchat also. I am struggling with identifying my goal however. I think partly because I would like to have my blog be a journal of sorts too… I suppose this means that I need to start another blog if I actually want to make money. Then it seems like a job though.

Any thoughts on how to narrow my focus down and yet keep it from feeling like a job?

Ah, and there is the core problem that most of us face, and one of the major reasons so many bloggers never make a livable income with their blogs. You started your blog to get away from having a 9-to-5, grind-you-down blog. Yet, a blog that’s truly treated as a business will require more hours of work than any office job ever will.

You can disregard this, say that it is all about passion and doing what you live, that these things keep it from feeling like work. I can tell you that I 100% agree that you should have a passion for your blog’s topic. I certainly have a passion for the niches in which I blog.

But I’ll let you in on a secret. Come closer. Closer.

*whispers* Most days, it still feels like work.

That’s because it is work. Anything that makes you money is work, no matter how much you love what you’re doing. And, at the end of the day, even if you absolutely love your job, having responsibility means that you’re sometimes going to feel like that job is an obligation.

The Blog Job Conundrum is that we want to what we love as a job, but when something becomes a job, it is easy to stop loving it. Perhaps I should call it the Blog Job Catch-22. And darn it, it makes me just want to stomp my feet. Blogging is supposed to make you happy, isn’t it?!?!

I don’t think there’s an easy solution to this, or even a solution that will work for everyone. Heck, I’m not sure that any one rationalization, justification, or explanation would work for most people. I think it’s something that each blogger has to work through internally.

But, because I’m a loud-mouth who likes to chat, I’ll share with you my personal thoughts on the great Blog Job Conundrum. So here goes:

I’m OK with not loving my job.

Let me back up a minute and say that I do love blogging. I’m passionate about the topics I cover, and I enjoy most of the tasks associated with blogging. But, I’m ok with not loving every second of my blogging job.

A famous chef like Bobby Flay will tell you that there are days he orders take out because he doesn’t want to cook, even though he loves cooking. A famous musician like Kanye West will tell you that he sometimes wants to veg in front of the television instead of going to the studio, even though music is the love of his life.

My point is that there are moments when everyone dislikes their job. Blogging isn’t any different, and that’s OK for me because I’ve found that the good feelings I get from blogging vastly outweigh the bad feelings. Those bad feelings that come from obligation are what has made blogging go from hobby to profession for me. It’s a sacrifice I’m willing to make.

After all, I’m not just a blogger. It’s interesting to me that so many people identify as their job. “I am a nurse” instead of “I work as a nurse.” Sometimes, for me, it’s important to step back and say, no, I’m not a blogger. I work as a blogger. In reality, I’m so much more than just a blogger. I like to play the piano. I like to camp. I’m a sister and daughter and roomate. And yes, ok, I am a blogger too. That’s just one piece though.

It’s kind of like parenting. The vast majority of parents love their kids. They wouldn’t give up being a parent for the world. Do they like every second of it? No way. I do not know a single parent who doesn’t have days when they just wish their kids would poof out of existence for awhile so they can have some time alone. That doesn’t mean that you don’t love your kids.

My advice to anyone dealing with the Blog Job Conundrum is to do what you can to create the most perfect environment possible. Choose a topic that you’re passionate about. Connect with people who care. Cover topics that are important to you. Design a blog that visually makes you happy.

And don’t sweat the moments when you hate it. If blogging really is the right career choice for you, the good moments will exceed the bad.

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