Today Vered DeLeeuw from MomGrind suggests ways for turning a mommy blog into a business. These tips are not limited to mommy blogs: they can be applied to personal blogs in general. Image by KellyandApril.
MomGrind is a personal blog. It chronicles my thoughts and struggles. It is where I share a laugh with my readers, ask for their advice, post an occasional feminist rant, and wonder about the meaning of it all.
MomGrind is also a business.
Unlike marketing and business blogs, or even self-improvement and productivity blogs, mommy blogs are highly personal. They tell the story of an individual, the story of a family. “Making your blog more personal” is typically not an issue for mommy bloggers. It happens naturally.
When you talk with mommy bloggers, many of them will tell you that they are not blogging for money. Blogging is an outlet for their daily struggles and frustrations. They blog to document the joys and the frustrations that come with raising children. But mommy bloggers are powerful. They have the power to help big corporations reach an important audience. The big companies know it. Do the moms know it?
If you author a mom blog – or any other personal blog – and would like to turn your blog into a business and earn money doing something that you love, these tips will help you get started:
1. Acknowledge that your blog is a business
This is a crucial first step. Start taking yourself seriously and others will take you seriously too. If you have an opportunity to use direct advertising on your blog, go for it, and sell it for what it’s really worth: don’t leave money on the table. If a company emails you with questions, charge a consulting fee for answering them. Queen of Spain received a consulting fee of $6000 from Disney “for what essentially amounted to a few emails, a survey, and a meeting”. Needless to say, you should set up a Paypal account.
2. Decide how much you are willing to share with your readers
It’s impossible to write a post about mommy blogs without mentioning the queen of mommy blogging, Heather Armstrong. Ms. Armstrong has a very particular style that includes great writing, frequent use of profanity, lots of personal charm, and the ability to make fun of herself and her husband. Her definition of privacy is lax – she readily shares highly private family moments with her readers.
But does one have to use profanity or expose her family affairs on the Internet in order to turn her blog into a lucrative business? I don’t have the answer to this question, although I will venture a guess that if you want to REALLY make it as a mommy blogger, you must be willing to share A LOT. This is a very personal choice, of course. Define your limits, and once you have – be ready to defend them, to others and to yourself.
3. Subscribe to ProBlogger
I am a subscriber and a regular reader. Sure, the posts here are geared toward professional bloggers. But many of them are very relevant to me. For example, Darren’s recent post on 21 Ways To Make Your Blog Sticky was very helpful in improving MomGrind. I implemented several of Darren’s suggestions, including highlighting my best content and creating an engaging “About” page.
4. Educate yourself about advertising
5. Start networking
If you want to earn decent money from your blog, you need to have enough daily unique visitors and page views to attract direct advertisers. Even if your content is great, this kind of traffic to your blog will not happen without networking.
A good place to start is visiting other blogs and making comments on them. You should also approach bloggers who run blogs that are approximately the size of your blog or bigger, and offer to write guest posts for them. This will expose you to new readers, and some of them will end up as new subscribers.
Perhaps one of the most important things you can do to build a community around your blog, is to participate in social media sites. Many prominent mommy bloggers, including Dooce, Sweetney and Her Bad Mother, use Twitter.
6. Keep writing about things that are interesting to you
While you should keep your growing audience in mind to some extent, it’s important that you stay true to yourself. Writing content that evokes emotions in your readers (Her Bad Mother excels at that), or content that has a high entertainment value (Dooce is highly entertaining), is fine. In fact, it’s more than fine. Don’t worry about other blogs providing information and advice. You are giving your readers something that is just as valuable: you are making other moms feel like they’re not alone, and in many cases, you are making them laugh.
7. Never apologize for those ad checks
Making money or wanting to make money from your blog is your prerogative. Get over the “good girl” mentality and be proud of your talent, of your networking abilities, of the wonderful, thriving business that you have started from scratch and are building with your own hands. I enjoyed reading another prominent mommy blogger – Don Mills Diva’s – recent post “Show Me The Money”. Don Mills Diva does NOT apologize for aspiring to make money from her blog. I couldn’t agree with her more.
8. Pace yourself
Creating a successful blog takes a lot of work. If you want to do this for the long haul and avoid burnout, it’s important to slow down. Darren recently said that it’s very easy to work 12 hours per day on a blog, if you don’t set limits. My advice: don’t. This is true for every blogger, and it’s especially true for you, because you have children to take care of and to enjoy. Don’t allow the Internet to rob you of enjoying the fleeting moments of your kids’ childhood.
Photo credit: R. Motti (link: http://www.flickr.com/photos/motti/298650667/)