Nearly every day I am asked by mom bloggers how to do more with their blog. “How can I make money, be invited to events, and get on the “inside”? How can I do what you do?“ The answer is that it’s not easy, but it is simple. It involves work, it involves putting yourself out there for possible rejection (and also for serendipitous connections), and most of all it involves never giving up.
So where do you begin?
1. It starts with YOU. You have to know yourself, be honest about your strengths and talents, and decide what your goals are. You know you can rock it, so now is not the time to be shy!
If you’re going to seek out help and further yourself and your blog, you need to be prepared when people ask how they can help you and where you are going. Ask yourself the tough questions. What do you really enjoy blogging about? How can you best grow given your talents and skills? Are there skill and knowledge gaps you want to fill? Where do you see yourself in 1 or 2 years? Look at your social networking skills and see how you fare. Now is the time to address any shortcomings you may have, and it’s always a good idea to continually work on personal growth.
2. What’s your niche? Finding your niche and knowing your context in the blogosphere is just as important as knowing yourself. More and more social media and social networking mean that YOU are your brand, and all things that you do and say online are connected to that brand. Sure, you want to have a food blog, a fashion blog, a music blog and a parenting blog, but which one is really you? Focus on what you can really promote and stand behind effortlessly. Make it authentic, keep it real and write what you know.
3. Form your tribe. Now that you know your strengths and know your niche, the next place to go is to those around you who are either in the same place as you, or a few steps (or leaps) ahead of you. Your tribe will not only help you, but you’ll help them. As you grow, so does your tribe, and therefore your influence among the interwebs. Influence has become worth more than traffic among the smaller niches (like momblogs) and others. Influencing the influencers is what really matters, because every eyeball that reads your blog is not equal. We adore our loyal readership because they become our community, but we also love to check our webstats and see that someone from Dell or Walmart or Ford was checking us out as well.
One of my allies and someone in my tribe, Jessica Smith, has been going through 15 Days of Marketing on her blog JessicaKnows.com. Be sure to head over and jump in (especially today, where she talks about what else=allies!), there’s always time to catch up, and you don’t want to miss the juicy information she’s sharing. Specifics about building your brand, monetizing, and more that any social media buff who’s looking to market themselves should know. She shares insider tricks and tips, and leaves no stone unturned when sharing how to market yourself online.
Two other allies, Katja Presnal and Christine Young, are holding a holiday themed marketing class coming up on Thursday, Novemeber 13, all about how to market and earn money from holiday gift guides. They have vast knowledge on the subject, so be sure to check it out!
These bloggers are just a few examples of the leveraging that can be done with your blogs, your tribe, and your unique knowledge.
4. Grow your influence. This might seem like a silly thing to say–because influence is something you can’t force–but hear me out. The difference between someone who “gets it” and someone who does not, is that those who “get it”, understand that they must put intentional effort towards growing their influence. Put yourself out there on twitter, commenting on blogs, on Facebook, get to know your readers and those bloggers you admire. Sign up with various marketing companies, apply for new writing gigs, contact PR and marketing people, and most of all think of strategic ways you can help others, so that they can in turn help you. All of this must be authentic, because as tight knit as social networks are, they are also ruthless with those who try to bait them or trick them. Even if you’re selling a product (or selling “you”) always think first how you can help that other person. Helping someone today can reap huge rewards for you in the future, so consider it all an investment in your brand.
5. Play for keeps. So often I will see moms reach out and do some (or all) of the above points, and then they’ll drop off the radar for days or weeks on end. Then they pop back into action, but wonder why they are missing out. As one of my favorite successful bloggers Liz Strauss puts it, “why play the game if we aren’t playing for keeps?“. If you want to show your influence, you have to keep up the momentum and truly commit to making a go for it. You can’t let rejection (or perceived rejection) get you down, because influencers around you are experiencing the same thing. You can’t get behind on posting (I’m looking in the mirror on this one) and expect people to take you seriously as a blogger. You can’t let your blog get cluttered or crowded and expect people to see your site as anything more than “just another mommy blog”.
No excuses, just intentional work towards those goals you set for yourself. If life gets in the way, as it so often does as a Mom, see where you can wedge in time here and there, see how you can free up your day a few days a week, and don’t give up. You have value to add, you have a gold mine of influence just waiting to be tapped, and you can reach your goals!