Back in the “olden days” of blogging, we could count on getting tons of free traffic from Pinterest and Facebook. That traffic turned into revenue through ads, affiliates, and selling our products.
However, this is not the olden days of blogging, and things have changed drastically. Facebook no longer shows your content to the majority of your audience, and Pinterest has become more of a “pay to play” platform.
So, what’s a blogger to do? How can you have a successful blogging business without that free traffic from Facebook and Pinterest?
I’m super excited to have Jillian Leslie back on the podcast this week to talk about examples of revenue streams for bloggers as Pinterest traffic is now so much harder to come by.
IE 253: Examples of Revenue Streams for Bloggers as Pinterest Traffic is Harder to Come by with Jillian Leslie
Jillian has been here before, back in episode 92, where we discussed how to get sponsored as an influencer. Jillian, like me, is an OG blogger, and she and her husband, David, built Catch My Party into the web’s #1 party planning site.
David and Jillian are also the creators of MiloTree, a pop-up that helps you catch your Pinterest traffic and turn them into followers.
There Is Money in Your Community
One of the first things Jillian says is that we too often ignore the fact that there is money in our communities.
If you follow the advice that my podcast guests and I give you every week on this podcast, you are building a community of engaged people on social media, inside your email list, and through the content you create. Those are your people.
They have engaged with you to show you that they trust you and want to hear from you.
If you are still providing all of your content for free, consider that those true fans would be happy to pay for the opportunity to engage with you on a deeper level and receive unique content from you.
Why You Must Diversify Your Revenue Streams
As we enter a new year, it’s essential to take stock of our business and see where we need to make changes. One of the areas we need to look at is our revenue streams.
If you’ve been solely dependent on ads or affiliates for your income, it’s time to take a hard look at what that means for your business and what changes you should make in 2022. And while this has always been a vital part of business, the algorithm shifts make it more crucial than ever to diversify.
Back to the “olden days” for a minute – many of us who started our blogs in the earlier 2000s did so as a hobby. And before we knew it, we were getting all this free traffic, and we had sponsors reaching out to us wanting to work with us.
And frankly, sponsors now have far more sophisticated means of working with bloggers, and the free loads of traffic are gone. So, more than ever, now is the time to develop multiple streams of income. The money isn’t going to magically roll in as it seemed to a decade ago.
Don’t Build Your Business on Rented Property
I feel like a broken record when I say this, but it is so true! You absolutely cannot build your business on rented property.
What is rented property? It’s Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, TikTok, Clubhouse, or any other platform that you do not own. When you are dependent on someone else’s platform to house your business and your content, you have to realize that that person can take your business away from you in a split second, and there is literally nothing you can do about it.
Jillian and David built Catch My party through tons of free Facebook traffic. However, when the algorithm shift of 2008 slowed their Facebook traffic to a trickle, Jillian panicked and thought they might lose their entire business. That’s when they decided to pivot and begin to build in additional revenue streams.
How to Optimize Your Content
So now that we’ve established that you need multiple streams of revenue as a blogger let’s dive into what some of those could look like.
First of all, you need a blog. And don’t consider this some kind of online journal of your life. Your blog is more of a home base for your entire online business. You have to put out regular and consistent content that gets you noticed and that draws your perfect person to your blog.
Jillian has a free download to help you create blog posts that perform well and build that engaged community you need around you.
Don’t skip this step; it’s crucial to create optimized blog posts and have a goal in writing them. The days of “if you write it, they will come” are long gone. Each piece of content you create must have a defined point and be fully optimized.
And by optimized, that means you’re researching and using keywords, setting a goal for how the post will help your reader, and knowing how the piece of content can be monetized.
Examples of Revenue Streams for Bloggers
Ads– Can bloggers still make money through ads on their blogs? Yes, they can. But until you have at least 10K visitors to your blog per month, Jillian recommends not placing ads. They can slow your site’s loading speed, and you will only make pennies in the beginning.
Affiliates– Most bloggers are familiar with sharing links to products they use and love. The most common affiliate program most bloggers start with is Amazon. But don’t limit yourself to Amazon, as their commissions are low and may not provide any real income when you’re getting started.
Other affiliate companies offer higher commissions, such as ShareASale, Like to Know It. If there is a brand you love, and they aren’t on one of the major platforms, contact them and ask if they have an affiliate program.
Products– When you start your blog, you should know what you plan to write about and consider some types of products you could create to sell. Maybe you can’t think of anything because you aren’t crafty. Don’t think only of physical items when you’re considering products.
You don’t have to be crafty to create products for sale.
Go back to the problems you solve for your audience and brainstorm the types of things you could make for them. Maybe it’s a course, and perhaps it’s printables. Do they need ideas to help them decorate for the holidays? Maybe you could create an ebook on how to decorate your home.
You might be asking, how does that solve a problem? If a mom doesn’t feel equipped to decorate her home for Christmas or make Halloween cupcakes for her child’s classroom, and you provide her with that content, you are absolutely solving a problem for her.
If you are a parenting or health blogger, perhaps you could start a membership to teach parenting techniques or offer health coaching and workouts.
Working with Brands– If you assume that you need 50K followers to get sponsored work with brands, think again. Even if you’re a micro-influencer, you can find brands willing to work with you.
Again, it comes back to knowing your audience and their needs and connecting them with brands that can meet those needs. If you can show the brands what you offer them and how their brand can specifically help your audience, they may be more than willing to work with you.
“Once you figure out how to connect to your audience and how to come up with a solution that people are willing to pay for, that is where the magic is.” ~ Jillian
Build a Tribe of Evangelists
As the internet gets bigger and bigger, Jillian says the way to be successful is to get smaller.
Rather than speaking to everyone, you need to focus on building that special relationship with your true fans. If you make the people who engage deeply with your content feel seen and heard, they will become evangelists for you and your brand.
Keep in mind that your blog isn’t about you; it’s about the audience and the solutions you offer to their problems. The more you serve them, the more they will reward you by sharing your content and buying your products.
Where to Begin with Blog Monetization
Jillian has offered several ways to monetize your blog. But this begs the question, where do you start? Should you jump into all the ideas at once? Or should you take them one at a time and build as you go?
You could theoretically jump into the deep end and try everything at once with unlimited time and resources. I don’t know anybody with unlimited time and resources, though.
In the absence of those things, and since time is such a valuable resource for all of us, Jillian says to take a step back to the connection. Do you have that one audience member who always responds to your emails or who always comments on your IG posts?
We all have those few true fans, so talk to those people before you decide how to create another income stream. Build a relationship with them and begin to develop it. Ask if you can get on a call with them, and during the call, just ask questions and get to know them more.
As you do this, your audience will tell you what they need from you. If that’s a course, they will tell you they need you to create a discipline system for them, or they might tell you they need printables for cleaning their house.
Don’t start with every monetization method at once. Just begin with one, talk to your audience, and test everything. Your audience will tell you what they need.
They always tell us what they need when they trust us.
The Blog Post Checklist
I mentioned earlier that Jillian has a blog post checklist for my listeners. Head over and grab yours now!
This checklist contains 28 things to do before and after you are ready to publish a blog post, beginning with knowing your goal to checking on how it looks once you share it on social media.
If you open a blank page on your blog and feel paralyzed by everything you need to remember, grab the checklist, put it beside your computer, and check each item off as you go through.
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