DPCON12: Blog to Business
Nikki Parkinson from Styling You
Nikki is now running her blog full time, it is her business.
Her advice: look at your business model.
The whole reason your blog will be successful is the person behind it – that’s just like any business. You have to work hard at it.
Emma Ashton – started the first reality TV blog 4 years ago, it used to be very strange but after 6-12 months she realised she had the niche and realised there were going to be opportunities.
Is constantly asked if she is a blogger or a journalist. Her answer: blogger
Beginning of last year the blog traffic was going well, she was working part-time as well as running the blog.
Laney Her blog to business story is still being written. Her background is in sales and marketing which she finished when she had her first child. After her second child she started doing a digital marketing course with the idea to start a business.
Laney is launching a new site called crashtestmummies.com.au which will be a parenting review site, building on the trusted recommendations of mums in a quality controlled way. Later this year she plans to start the consultancy business (having children slows things down).
Renee Started blogging 5 years ago for her (at the time) online lingerie business. She ended up selling the business to focus on the Bra Queen blog – her goal was to build a community first rather than starting an online store and THEN looking for customers. She didn’t have a clear plan but trusted the process – let it evolve organically. 5 years on and her blog clicks over 5,000 page views a day.
Nikki Her model evolved by starting a blog to promote her personal styling services. She had a business from the start but would never have realised that in 4 years time the BLOG would be the business. Her blog has always had a commercial element to it (something she was comfortable with because of her journalistic background). The difference that has amazed her is that when it was an editorial in media was that they were so boring, but with blogging you can keep your style and readers and run a blog post that fits well within your audience. Nikki has found that sponsored posts has NOT damaged her readership but has in fact had the opposite result.
Nikki is going to be blogging for Maybelline during Australian Fashion Week, and is working with Big W and Emersen in paid capacities – these opportunities have happened because she has built up relationships and stuck to things that have a good brand alignment and fit with her audience.
What was your uh-ha! moment
Emma The uh-ha! moment came last year when she realised that her blog was growing too much and she couldn’t keep working. She thought she would focus on advertising but actually went to consultancy – one aspect is helping people apply for reality TV shows. Noone else is doing it in Australia or in fact the world.
Once she left work she had to hussle – she had to get tough and ask for payment. Her advice – think like man and focus on the things that you can do not can’t do.
Collaborate – she collaborated with the social research into what people think about reality TV.
Questions to ask -what sort of skills do you have from your prior experience and what kind of opportunities are there for you to build a business.
Trevor Young’s prediction that in the future blogs will be mini-media empires. In a few weeks Emma is kicking off ravenous ravings which is about reality food shows and gossip.
How do you get your digital toolkit together to stary your business
What is your online marketplace, start thinking about yourself as a brand.
What are your competitors doing, customers doing?
what’s in your way, stopping yo
What are your strengths and weaknesses
Game plan – revenue strategy. How are you going to make money? Advertising, monetising your audience (like her review site), can you sell your own services, affiliate products.
How are you going to achieve this –
Who are your customers
What is your target market
Why are they going to buy from you
Why are they going to buy rom you online
How are you going to connect with them
What social media tools you use will depend on what stage you are at with your customers – four stages:
Acquisition – get them subscribing or doing something
Retention – buying from you again
Each phase will require different mix of tools
Renee’s tips for monetising Worked out her core values – help motivate and inspire. She set her business up in a way that would help mentor businesses globally without requiring one on one time.
Some of her customers have direct access to her, some don’t – depends on the level they have chosen. Having different programs is one of the best things she did.
How do you get the message out about what you have to offer?
- Don’t forget the old fashioned press release.
- Create relationships with media sites and other bloggers that is relevant to what your blog is.
- Networking with people you know IRL and online
- Twitter is great for networking but Facebook is better for traffic
- Write articles for third party sites – MamaMia and The Punch (they don’t pay but are high traffic sites)
- She gets natural media because of what she does (it’s unique)
When getting ready to market your blog, what tools do you need in your marketing toolkit.
Bloggers are generally good at social media so not going to focus much on that except to say – don’t put all your tools into the one basket.
Consider having more than a blog, but a full service site with different landing pages.
Social media is great for viral reach but can be a time suck.
Search engine marketing – SEO is really important especially if you are selling product. You can also pay for Google Adwords, and other forms of online advertising – even advertising on another bloggers website.
Do you own PR – bloggers know how to pitch, so pitch other bloggers to get the word out about your own products..
Use email marketing to move the relationship along, convert to sales and keep the relationships going.
Which tools you use will depend where you are in your business model.
Some tips for the point at which your blog becomes a business
What are you doing to bring traffic to your site, and find customers.
Renee recommends collaboration and joint ventures – think about how you can help the other person, not just what you can get out of it.
How can you build your profile and credibility in the field.
Now looking at other things at the “back end” – advertising, menotring program, events, speaking etc..
- be prepared to NOT make a profitable income directly from your blog immediately (it takes time and hard work)
- For a blog to become a business you need to have a unique product (which may be your blog or another product)
- A sustainable blogging business is usually one with a diverse income stream base and strong readership base
- If you are turning your blog into a business, your need to treat it as such
- Your blog is the focal point of your business marketing
- Seek out professional advice in the areas of business that are not your strong points.
Question from Karen, Misc Mum. What can you claim for blogging as part of your business.
Nikki She claims everything (except clothes). Technology, internet, phone, travel etc… It’s pretty much in line with what a freelance journalist or home business could claim.
Emma Consider a trademark as a way to protect your brand.
Claire – just wanted to share that the jobs she has done since starting her blog have come about because of her blog. Message: be confident!
Natalie from Mummy Smiles. Question about fees – it’s hard to know how to position ourselves because of the secrecy – we don’t talk about our stats, our fees etc… so where do we go to understand what our time is worth?
Nikki Part of her work comes through Nuffnang who have a tiered system based on traffic so when she arranges her own brand work she uses that as a benchmark to decide what to charge. If you know someone who has info about industry rates then ask them.
Mrs Woog’s advice -