On Episode 18, my business partner Cat and I will be talking about 5 terrible pieces of advice that bloggers some bloggers still believe.
Cat: There’s a lot of bad advice out there so I want to emphasize that receiving the same information over and over doesn’t mean that it’s good advice. Find people that you trust and follow their advice. I read Pinterest Savvy by Melissa Taylor. She quotes “Steal Like An Artist” where Austin Kleon writes, “…if you copy from one author, it’s plagiarism, but if you copy from many, it’s research.”
How do you know who to trust? You follow other bloggers and content marketers who are in similar niches. Watch what they do, how their followers interact, how they grow. This type of research (or stalking as some may call it) will guide you to the professional bloggers who actually know what they are doing.
5 Terrible Pieces Of Advice Some Bloggers Believe
Pieces of Advice for Bloggers:
Don’t add advertising until you have thousands of readers per day.
I read this in an eBook during my flight to Destin to meet Katrina. I completely disagree for a few reasons. First off, starting to blog is not expensive and even if you make a small amount from advertisements in the beginning, perhaps you can pay for your hosting. Every little bit of income counts when you’re first starting out.
Secondly, adding advertising (like Google Adsense or Blogher ad network) after a month or a year of blogging will surprise your regular readers. Honestly, people who read blogs are used to seeing advertisements. They are likely to notice that you randomly added advertising space. Don’t underestimate your readers.
Thirdly, as content marketers you want your readers to be used to clicking on your page. You want them to click to other posts, click to your advertisers, click your call to action, and click to share on social media. You want them to begin doing this right away. The best way to encourage growth for your blog is to have your readers share your content. Make them click happy readers.
Katrina: I remember when we decided to put the middle of the post ads in. It freaked me out because I was so anti-middle of the post ads. I found them annoying, as a reader. Turns out, that is where we make the most of our pay per click dollars! If you want to make money with your blog, unfortunately, you need to be a little more obnoxious with these things than you did in the very beginning.
One thing we don’t do, is double dip our post. Our middle of the post ads are ONLY on our unsponsored post content. We aren’t getting paid twice for the same article. That’s just something that we believe in ethically, for our blog. Of course, your blog… your choice.
Don’t worry about being everywhere.
Social media is a bloggers’ best friend, and this is for good, clear reason. Social media provides free promotion for your site. Although some platform’s efficacy is questioned at times, you at least need to be present on the main social media platforms. In my opinion these include: Facebook (insert eye roll due to love/hate relationship with Facebook), Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, Google Plus and if you plan on having any video content, YouTube.
There are other platforms and if you find one that you think will work for your niche, by all means give it a try. Social media is time-consuming, I am sure that is not new news for you. Use each platform moderately to start and watch your analytics to see which platform provides the most traffic to your site. Then focus on that one, but keep up with all of them is my advice. Pinterest is by far our highest referrer on totsfamily.com and is often a popular one for recipes, parenting and craft bloggers.
There’s zero wrong with having large Pinterest ready images, regardless of whether or not you think it is something that people would want to pin. They also say don’t auto schedule, but don’t be afraid of doing that as well.
Don’t bombard your personal friends with your blog content.
This is mostly directed to your Facebook friends. I disagree with this point wholeheartedly. When writing our first eBook “How to Start a Mom Blog,” we talk about how to get your first fans and readers. Do you know who these people are? They are your mom, your best friend and your great aunt. Share your posts on your personal Facebook account, link to your blog Facebook page or website in your personal profile and be sure to encourage your friends to comment on the post itself or your fan page itself. Some still won’t do it, but if they do, their friends might see your post and become your fans and so your reach begins to grow. There’s no reason why you shouldn’t use this free advertising space to showcase your content! Many will end up becoming your friends, and will start following your fan page as well!
If your friends don’t know you have a blog, you need to tell them about it! I don’t recommend you constantly contacting them, but don’t be afraid to share your content. Of course, you should share other things (like family, etc.) as well.
Cat: This is something that always bothers me. I have friends and family who run businesses and such, and that’s great. There’s always inevitably that person who adds me to a group message, without me even asking! You need to find the line with exactly how obnoxious you can be.
Do not apply to work with blogger networks until your numbers are above (fill in the blank).
Some blogging networks require minimum views to be considered for opportunities and they are usually pretty upfront with those numbers. There are some though that have no minimum and work on different bloggers with all sizes of audiences. Join our Facebook group for “How to Start a Mom Blog” and I will share my favorite networks to work with. We speak often about networks and things like which have a minimum and which don’t.
It’s good to know where you are, however. If you are accepted, don’t think money will just start falling out the sky! Stay professional, remember your niche, remember your audience. You don’t want to just apply to all of these networks, and then end up getting stuck more exclusively with something that doesn’t fit your blog and causes you to turn down other work that may have fit better.
Bloggers who write posts for payment are sell outs.
I believe Katrina talked about this in episode 13. This is also called sponsored posts and is our main source of income at the TOTS Network. My opinion is that bloggers who write post for payments are smart. The bank teller doesn’t work for free, and neither does a newspaper journalist. Blogging is a business and although some people use it as a hobby, if you are listening to this podcast you are likely doing so because you want to blog professionally, or at least make a little money. Along with this piece of advice, I will add that writing a sponsored post like an advertisement will have less popularity than a post written in the form of a resourceful or how to post.
On TOTS we do have both types of posts, as some brands want specifically review type posts. I prefer to write resource based posts but ultimately it is up to the brands.
Here are some examples of resourceful sponsored posts we’ve written:
Katrina: I’m in a Facebook group that’s fairly large where the Admin says “If it doesn’t pay you at least $50, you’re doing it for free,” but I don’t’ agree with that either. Payment can come in many different forms. Experience… product… etc. If you and the brand are both happy with it, then it’s a win/win. Don’t get too caught up in what others tell you do. The most important thing is to be you. For instance, I recently took a sponsored post for a product I wouldn’t have splurged on for myself.
I hope you enjoyed and were possibly enlightened by hearing my thoughts on bad blogger advice. If you enjoyed this episode we invite you to leave a review on Stitcher or iTunes. If you have a question or comment about something I mentioned, please leave a comment on the show notes and we will get back to you. Also visit us on social media: gets you everywhere you want to go! Until next week.