Last month, I decided to share my excitement with you about going part-time at work and devoting more time to my blogging as a source of income. Well, I had such lovely feedback that I decided to turn it into a monthly series. I am going to give you a heads up: I am not going to be sharing stories of $100,000 dollar months- I feel this is out of lots of our reach and it’s not what we’re all after! I’m not here to be a millionaire but just to feel I can spend two days a week working in my pj’s and get something back from it is enough! I’ll be sharing my small steps and how I’m getting on along the way; lots of my income is sporadic and from things in the pipeline-e.g. my book which is out in January; so I am going to wait until I have got my head around a few months worth of earnings before I share my figures- but if you want some tips and guidance on how I’ve decided to begin then do keep reading (Also checkout Skinedcartree and Emma Drew if income reports are your thing)
Let’s talk about growth
The first thing I’ve had much more time to focus on is growing my social following and views. Does this always transfer into more money? Not necessarily! We all know that lots of ops that drop into our inbox are so DA focused and mine is 26- pretty standard but nothing to scream out from the rooftops. But at the same time, I decided I wanted to start pitching brand collaborations and for that I really wanted to have a strong following- health and gluten-free is no longer the small niche it used to be! My focus was on Instagram and Twitter and I’m really pleased to say I went from around 5k combined social following to almost 7k over the past month. Mainly down to 2 things:
1.I ran a giveaway that did really well. If you’re running a giveaway; make sure you enter your comp onto sites like Prizefinder as well as sharing regularly. This brought me a huge number of new followers- were all of them loyal readers? Probably not but none have them have unfollowed and more importantly the brand were very happy (and I was upfront with them about the different methods I used) I could then use this example to approach a second brand to run a collaboration- with an amazing review and giveaway! So if something does well, springboard off of it and use it as a case study to show brands what you can offer!
2.I joined www.archie.co Now, I’ll be honest- this is an automatic liking tool for Instagram and Twitter. Yes, I know it sounds dodgy but let me explain! I am usually dead set against these kinds of things and they’re not for everyone. But once I’d looked into it, I realised I could use it to my advantage. Archie.co lets you provide hashtags relevant to your blog and they’ll like posts that use them; they’ll also like posts of your competitors’ followers (you can also set it to leave comments like ‘so cool’ but I decided against that as I knew I’d sound like a twat,) So I decided I’d experiment with this in the short-term; not to necessarily grow my following but to find new people to interact with . Because my niche words were thinks like ‘gut health’ and ‘gluten health’ it completely worked: I doubled my instagram and gained around 400 on twitter- these were accounts that were genuinely interested in my blog; about 1/2 of which I ended up following and finding amazing content from too. It’s been a few weeks and they’re still following and interacting. I think this only works if you have a niche blog like me- if yours is fashion then who knows what you’d end up liking! I won’t use it forever but it’s shown me that with social; spending the time to research your keywords and interact really is key!
3. I continued to grow my page views with Tailwind.
Tailwind has been a complete revelation for me! I never understood those bloggers who said all their traffic came from Pinterest until I started using it! Now I am averaging about 20,000 page views a month and about 60-70% comes from Tailwind- and viral pins. This one post has been pinned 18,000 times which is just mad! I don’t even that many followers on Pinterest too- just under 400. I know you should be pinning other people’s content too but when I’m short on time, I just bulk pin my own stuff in tailwind. It automatically selects the best times for your audience and then pins across the days to spread it out over your boards. Tailwind is free for the first thirty days so I’d completely recommend giving it a try- what have you got to lose? If nothing else, it’ll save you time- but I think you’d be surprised at how it helps bring traffic too! Another thing I’ve tried is joining group boards: this is a good facebook group for ones to join.
So how has this lead to making money?
I appreciate that was about 700 words on blog growth, which while is hopefully helpful, isn’t all about money! So here’s a few things I’ve done to monetise this month:
–I’ve started to think of my blog as more of a business now. For example, each time I have sat down to plan a post, I’ve started to think about how I can benefit from it- I hope that doesn’t sound cold; I know we bloggers are often told we should love to write- but lots of the time it’s adding value! Whether it’s getting in touch with brands before writing, trying to work it around sponsored ops that pop into your inbox or researching affilate links for products you love. Why shouldn’t you get some value too?
-Leading on from this, I’m investing. I’ve started to investigate the world of tax! Luckily my sister in law is an accountant and I shared last time my investigations into tax. Keeping accurate records of expenses is a big one for me- like I said last time you’d be surprised what you can claim on expenses- tools for blog growth (more below); blogging equipment and even a portion of your bills. As tax is due again online in a few month’s time, this blog post is really helpful in making sure you get it right.
-I am pitching a few ops a week. The things I’ve found work best is just to be honest about what you’re looking for. Avoiding vague lines like ‘find a way we could collaborate’ and instead share your media kit and state what you’re looking for in return. I’ve done this twice this week and it’s worked and more importantly, I do really think it’s added value to a post.
-In line with expenses, I am also reinvesting a % of my profits. I am hoping I can claim these as expenses as they’ll hopefully help with my business. I read something on reinvesting about 15% of your blog income for development so I am giving it a go! I am a bit put off by e-courses as they seem to be so pricey and take forever so I’m investing in ebooks instead. Here’s what I’ve tried.
–My Blogging Secrets (£4.99) I thought this was a really good read and a complete bargain at £4.99. It was a completely personal story about blogging and one bloggers journey from a beginner to a full time blogger. It got me thinking about my blog and a personal connection, not just money (and it’s by a british blogger so it’s great to support someone homegrown)
–Million Dollar Blog (£9.79) I actually preferred the first book: this had some useful strategies but the interviews with fellow bloggers just annoyed me as it went from 0-super mega rich in about five seconds. Plus, am I the only blogger who doesn’t want to launch their own bloody ecourse?
–How I Grew My Page Views from 17k to 350,000. (£22.00)This was more pricey- around £22.00 when converted from dollars. However, it was full of completely practical tips and I think it was well worth it. It’s basically everything you google: from the size of Facebook/Pinterest images, to how to maximise page views to StumbleUpon. I am obviously nowhere near 350,000 page views yet but I do have a whole host of ideas going forward. I’ll come back and update you next month on whether it was a complete success!
So that’s month two. It’s been a good month- I am really pleased in my social following and regular brand collabs. I am still finding my feet and am hoping the bigger investments I’ve made will pay off. Like last time, I love to hear your comments and how you are getting along with your blogs.
Disclaimer: Some links in this post are affiliate links- these won’t affect your purchase in any way but will help bring in some pennies for me if used.