The business of blogging is evolving at a rapid pace and I’ve been lucky enough to wear both “hats”, that of the creator and that of the brand on the other side, fearfully giving up creative control of their identity to a blogger.

Playing these dual roles has taught me four key lessons that I now apply to my blog and my job.

1. Content. Content. Content.

It seems like such a cliche but the truth is everything links back to the content you produce.

Good content builds your audience and invites engagement, which then makes you attractive to brands – who then become interested in paying you to create good content in order to get exposure for their product or service.

Creating great content isn’t rocket science but there are a few additional things I’ve learnt over the years. The first is that good content is subjective. I’ve seen things produced by other creators and thought: “what the hell is that?” and yet it has gone on to do incredibly well with their audience. I’ve also seen really bad content that has little to no creative flair that gets published, getting no response from the targeted audience and yet the brand is over the moon because they liked it.

Sometimes it is hard, as a blogger, to remember that you don’t create content for brands but for your audience. It shouldn’t be hard, but it can be. I have a day job, so for my blog it is easy for me to say no to something that doesn’t sit with me, but I know that when your livelihood depends on the income your little space on the internet derives, it could be easy to think you could twist the content to work. You can’t. You shouldn’t. Don’t do it. All the money in the world won’t make up for the audience you’ll lose down the line.

As a creator myself I can say this with confidence: that audience means more to you than anything and if you’re true to your craft you’ll happily penny pinch to retain them. Long term it will mean less penny pinching because you’ll be far more respected than the blogger who chose to make the quick buck along the way.

2. Report on EVERYTHING

anity stats, the stuff you think no one cares about and then the extra statistics you don’t even understand – make sure they all go in your closing report.

My biggest learning from a blogger’s perspective after my first year at an influencer marketing platform has been that sometimes the blogger in me gets far too caught up in the creative.

The business of blogging has two parts: Blogging and Business. Business needs a return on investment. Lots of eyeballs on some gorgeous flat lays isn’t enough and, in time, we’re going to see even the best creators fall away if they don’t begin to show an accurate conversion. Your blog post or Instagram photo is simply one section of a giant funnel leading the consumer to the point of sale.

Bloggers, when approached to work with brands, need to ask what the goal is and what the measurement criteria is going to be. Don’t do the job if you don’t think you can deliver – and when delivery time comes be sure to over-deliver: track links, track audience demographics, track the keywords they searched to get to the post you wrote. Every little detail is like a tiny golden nugget for a brand attempting to not only target the right consumer but also lead them to a point where they purchase a product.

I’m about to be a little bit controversial now but if I take off my influencer marketing hat for a minute and put on my blogger hat: I know how annoying influencer marketing platforms can be.

I realise that they constantly hound you to sign up with no real promise of reward. I know you think they take the power out of your hands. I feel you. But the truth is, these platforms offer a service to the brand on the other side that bloggers have failed at: they know how to accurately report on a campaign.

Rather than fighting ten bloggers to get any sort of statistic other than “it got 20,000 views”, “there were 35 likes”, “my monthly uniques are…” it is far easier for a brand to pay a fee to a platform to pull the data they need to build their digital campaigns. The truth is we, as bloggers, are selling ourselves short and not delivering on the costs associated with running content on our blogs.

Report on ALL. THE. THINGS.


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