by Amanda McCormick Updated May 31, 2015 Can you really make money online with a blog? You may have asked yourself while toy...
Updated May 31, 2015
Can you really make money online with a blog? You may have asked yourself while toying with writing about your passion for iguanas or NASCAR racing.
The answer is most affirmatively yes...as long as you are able to connect with an appreciative audience. In this entry in a four-part series, we look at the critically important task of building your audience.
Know Your Audience
Before you can build an audience, you need to know your audience.
If you read the first article in this series, you know about how to set yourself up to target a profitable niche market.
In essence, your blog should be guided not only by a personal passion and expertise (though that definitely helps) but it should exist to serve a readily definable target market, for example, Crossfitters who follow the Paleo diet or moms of kids with autism.
You'll want to ask yourself questions like: do I have an identifiable target population with similar interests and needs, is the market large enough to support my business and is my target market currently underserved? If you want to start a food blog, great, but realize the market is crowded.
If you want more information on how to research your target market, be sure to check out free resources from your local library.
Target the Influencers
An "influence map" is a planning document that helps you identify and track the audience that will help your blog grow.
Your influence map looks at questions like:
What journalists or publications are important to my business?
Who are my competitors?
Who are helpful allies?
When my customers use social media and search Google, what sorts of terms are they using?
Give Something Away for Free
People love freebies, and you have a great opportunity to grow your audience by giving something to your readers for free. What should you give away? Well, that depends on your topic and what you have access to, but a popular choice is exclusive access to content that regular people don't get. Consider making a special video or short ebook and giving it away to readers who furnish you with their email addresses.
Start an Email Newsletter
Which brings us to email marketing -- why is it so important for building your business? It's simple. It gives you a captive audience that you can notify anytime you have new content up on the blog. So, when you design your blog, make sure an email sign-up is large and prominent.
MailChimp is an excellent email marketing platform for beginners, as it allows you to start out with a free plan.
Craft Great Content
Now it's time to make a content plan. And don't worry, writing a great blog is about a lot more than just staring a blank page waiting for the muse to strike.
Learn how to make the best use of content you already have, repurpose old content to make it better, and decide where to add new content.
Frequency is an important concept in the blogging game. You want to make sure you have plenty of new content flowing out to your blog. So make a plan to blog a certain number of times a week or month.
Finally, you need to be able to set benchmarks and gauge how successful you are in meeting them. Google Analytics is an incredibly important tool for bloggers. With this tool, you'll be able to see your general traffic patterns, but also how long people spend on your site, what their favorite articles are, and how people are reaching your site. Use this information to improve on your ability to make money with your blog.
Don't Miss These Articles on Monetizing Your Blog:
Bonus Resource: Worksheet for Getting Started