How To Start a Movie Blog

Starting a blog is one of the best ways to build an audience, get your ideas out into the world, and possibly make some (or a lot) of money while doing what you love. Everyone has different reasons for beginning a blog and different goals in mind when they do so. Your personal path will dictate some of the choices you make along the way. One thing that is true for everyone, however, is that the only way to succeed is to get started.

Taking that first step can be a huge challenge, but by the end of this article, you should have the tools you need to feel confident and prepared to start your movie blog today.

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This article is a great place to learn the strategy of a movie blog. If you want step-by-step instructions on how to start your own movie blog, check out our free blogging course. 

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What Is Your Blog About?

The fact that you are reading this means that you already know what you want your blog to be about - you are starting a movie blog! But planning your blog requires more in-depth thinking than choosing a broad subject. Are you writing a movie blog about the Golden Age of Hollywood? A movie blog about slasher films? A blog about rom-coms?

You need to know on a deeper level what you want your blog to accomplish if you are going to stand out among the crowd.

There’s a quote that fits this situation perfectly:

"If you try to be everything for everbody, you will be nothing to no one."

Establish Your Niche

When creating a new blog, you need to find your niche. This is the corner of the market that you have the most knowledge about, the place you can establish yourself as an absolute authority. If you attempt to take on Screen Rant right from the beginning, you will definitely be outmatched, and will likely want to quit in frustration.

You need to find the sweet spot for your niche. You need a niche that is not as broad as “movies”, but one that is not too narrow, such as “movies of 1954”. A niche that is too broad is impossible to be noticed in, and a niche that is too narrow will leave you with little room for growth. 

Some examples of niche movie blogs are:

  • Movie Blog Focused on Directors - Strictly Film School
  • Classical Hollywood Movie Blog - The Self-Styled Siren
  • Movie Reviews Blog - /Film

Name Your Blog

Once you’ve found your niche, it’s a great time to start brainstorming a name for your blog. You’ll want to pick a name that’s brandable and available. Use our domain name tool to check if your name is available. If it is, scoop it up before someone else gets to it first.

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Finding Your Audience

Having a good sense of who is going to be reading your blog is one of the best ways to know what type of content to create, how to shape it, and, ultimately, how to grow your following. With a clear understanding of your niche, understanding your audience should come more naturally.

Finding your target audience - the people you want hanging out on your blog - isn’t only statistics and demographics. It requires a deeper understanding of who these people are and what they want. Your target audience is the people you’re writing to when you write your blog.

Who do you want reading your blog? Do you want film school graduates to come to your blog for sharp criticism, or do you want everyday joes to come read about their favorite action heroes? The more you look at all the different types of people that love movies, the more obvious it becomes that you cannot appeal to all of them. You have to pick an audience to tailor your content to.

Create a Persona

One way to understand your audience is to create a persona of your perfect target audience member. This essentially means creating a mock-up of the ideal person you hope to reach with your blog.

Here is an example of a target audience persona:

Tony Trusk Persona

Having a persona for your perfect audience member helps you to visualize and understand who you are writing for and provides important direction to your content.

Be Your Own Persona

Another popular way to find your perfect target audience is to be your own persona. Many of the best products and services come from scratching your own itch. It’s possible you’ve searched for the perfect movie blog to read, came up short, and decided to create it yourself. This makes you the perfect audience member for your own blog.

This can be a great strategy for creating highly effective content. If you’ve noticed a meaningful omission in blog content, chances are you are not alone. By writing personally satisfying content you are likely to reach an audience in search of the same things.

Where Is Your Audience Hanging Out?

No web content exists in a vacuum. While you should strive to create uniquely entertaining content for your blog, your target audience is almost certainly already out there reading other blogs, engaging on specialized forums, and using social media. Finding the sites where your audience already mingles is a great way to discover what topics they are most interested in, what language they are using, and what valuable content you can add to that mix.

Some examples for your movie blog may include:

  • Rottentomatoes.com
  • CinemaBlend.com
  • ScreenCrush.com
  • BirthMoviesDeath.com

Visiting these sites is also a great way to begin engaging with your audience before your blog has even gone live. Jump into conversations on forums and in comments sections and get to know the people you’ll be writing for. This is a great, organic way to build relationships and direct people to your blog in its early days. Sharing your passion with like-minded people will make them more excited and passionate about supporting you in your blogging endeavor.

How Will You Present Your Work?

Traditionally, when most people think about a blog they picture written content on a page. However, there are several different ways to present your ideas on your blog, depending on your subject matter and target audience. Every blog will thrive with different formats, so it’s important to think carefully about how to best showcase your content before you start.

There are several effective methods of presenting the material on your movie blog. They include:

Evergreen Articles

As the name suggests, evergreen articles are composed of content that lasts. These articles are designed to have a long shelf life and continue drawing readers to your blog over time. They are typically long-form, text-based articles that delve more deeply into a particular topic.

Your evergreen content for your movie blog should focus on topics that you know - or at least strongly believe - are going to stay somewhat constant in the coming years. For instance, if your blog is about making movies, you can create evergreen content about the various fundamentals of filmmaking, like cinematography, sound, and lighting. While the tools, styles, and tech may change year by year, the basics of how these practices work do not change much.

Videos

While the video format is not new, the explosive growth of YouTube and the advent of new and innovative video-based tech like Snapchat and TikTok have shown the true power of video as an online medium. While you may think that creating video is much more difficult and expensive than writing your content, you have access to all the technology you need to make high-quality video content right on your smartphone.

You have plenty of options for video content with a movie blog. If you like to review movies, you could create video reviews of each movie you cover. If you teach people about making movies, you could create how-to videos for the various lessons you teach. It all depends on your niche and what you think your audience wants and needs. Try not to worry too much about the quality of your videos when you are first getting started, either. Your audience will appreciate your effort, especially if you steadily improve over time.

News-type Articles

News articles or other “announcement” type content can be a great way to gather new readers. One benefit of news content is the short-term but powerful increase in search volume during an event. While this bump may be temporary, it can be a great tool for grabbing new readers who end up coming back for more.

Writing about current events or new happenings also means there will typically be less competition for readers. Other blogs and media sources are all getting the information as it develops. Since the base of knowledge available is smaller, this gives you a good opportunity to add your own flavor to the article.

The downside to news-type articles is that they tend to lose popularity much more quickly than evergreen content. While the interest for an event may be very large one day, the next day people may already be moving on to the next shiny object.

Finding topics for news-type articles should not be hard when you are writing a movie blog. There is a constant barrage of movie news that you can sift through. Decide what is relevant to your niche and your audience and write news-type blogs covering those stories. If you write movie reviews, you can talk about the movies that are coming out soon. If you write about movie stars, you can write blogs about the latest celebrity gossip.

Image-heavy Content

While most people expect to be reading when they visit a blog, image-heavy content can be very appealing and break up your text-focused posts to keep people’s attention. Depending on the topic of your post, displaying multiple images per page on a single subject can give your audience a better sense of what you are trying to convey.

While some topics may take to images very easily, like a car blog or a celebrity gossip site, others may require some deeper thinking to make this strategy work.

Movie blogs lend themselves well to image-heavy content. Movies are a visual medium, and the companies marketing movies are constantly releasing images to excite fans and get people talking about those movies. 

You can make gathering images a part of your overall research and writing process - something most bloggers have to do since almost every blog needs image-heavy content. When you are doing research for your blogs, such as a review of a movie, you can grab images of the movie poster, pictures taken on set, interview pictures, and more. Then, when you write your blog, you can incorporate those images into your work.

Mix and Match

Your movie blog needs a variety of content to stay fresh and interesting for your audience - and learning to create those different types of content will keep your work exciting and challenging. It is natural to have some types of content that you prefer creating, such as long-form movie reviews or news-type blogs about celebrity gossip. Your audience will probably love you for what you are good at and passionate about, but they will also want some variety. Producing a variety of content also makes your blog more appealing to a wider audience, which has obvious benefits. Stretch yourself and create as many different content delivery strategies as you can.

How To Make Money From A Movie Blog

One of the main reasons people start blogs is to generate some sort of profit. Whether you’re looking for a few hundred dollars per month or a job-replacing income, blogging is still an excellent way to make those dreams a reality.

There are a few great ways to make money from a movie blog:

Display Ad Networks

Display ads are the simplest way for websites to generate any sort of income. Ad networks, like Google Adsense, are fairly simple to be accepted into, and implementation onto your site is streamlined and clean. If you’re just beginning to see some traffic to your blog and want to turn this into dollars, display ads are where most people start.

There are a few downsides to display ads, however. The first is that some feel they detract from the user experience on your blog. Most people have been to a site where large ads pop up and block the content in the middle of reading. This can be distracting, frustrating, and even drive people away from your blog. While it’s possible to clean up and control the type of ads you use, it can be a constant battle to balance effective ad placement with aesthetics and readability.

The other main downside is that they don’t pay a lot. These networks generally use a pay-per-click (PPC) model which, depending on the niche, can pay anywhere from $0.01 to $1.50 per click, most on the lower end.

While display ads are a great way to make your first dollars, you’ll want to make sure any negatives they bring are worth the profits they provide. Once you develop a solid following, you can consider moving on to more lucrative and effective profit-making options.

Affiliate Marketing

Affiliate marketing programs like Amazon Affiliate have become much more popular over the past few years, as they take the payment model from pay-per-click to cost-per-acquisition (CPA). This means you can refer as many users to an advertiser’s product as you want, but will only get paid when the user makes a purchase.

Both advertisers and publishers benefit from an affiliate marketing setup. The advertiser pays nothing until a sale is made and the publisher enjoys much higher commissions than the pay-per-click model.

You have a variety of different affiliate program options for your movie blog, each offering different commission structures. Check out all the different programs available to see which ones fit your style, your niche, and your desire for specific commission levels.

Fandango is one of the most popular affiliate programs for movie bloggers because it is the top seller of movie tickets online. They offer different ways to make a commission through your blog, such as promoting movie gift cards, movie rentals, movie ticket purchases, and movie purchases. Each has a different commission rate, with the top being a 5% commission for movie purchases. 

SecondSpin is another affiliate option. They offer a 5% commission when you facilitate the sale of one of their CDs, DVDs, 4K, Blu-ray, and game products. They are the biggest buyer of used products in this market, so they have a lot of various products that you can promote.

Sell Digital Products

Digital products are an online entrepreneur's dream. You create the item once, then sell it as many times as you can, with little to no cost of reproduction. This means that you can scale your business to infinity.

Examples of digital products are:

  • Ebooks - A piece of writing, generally in PDF format. These can contain literally anything that your audience would want. They can either be true book-length all the way down to a few pages of content. Depending on your niche, audience, and subject, these can run from $1 to $100 per sale fairly easily.

  • Gated Content - This is content that is served on your website just like any other article, except that is behind a “paywall”. If you are creating content that you don’t want to be released to anyone but your true followers, you have them sign up for an account on your site and charge them a subscription fee for access. Generally, authors charge anywhere from $5 to $200 per month for access to gated content.

  • Online Courses - If you can teach a skill that your audience wants to learn, you can create an online course to sell to them. These courses can be formatted in whatever way makes the most sense to you, but most nowadays are video courses. Online courses can sell from $10 to well over $10,000 per course, obviously depending on the subject matter and audience.

The right digital products for your blog will vary depending on your niche, but you should be able to come up with some ideas - especially after you look at what other movie bloggers in a similar niche are creating. If you like making long-form analysis videos of movies, you could put the majority of that content behind a paywall. You could charge a subscription fee for your audience to access the best of your content. You could charge anywhere from $5 a month to $20 a month, or more, depending on the depth and complexity of your content.

Sell Physical Products

Selling physical products is the original money-making strategy. You gather an audience that is hungry for something, you sell it to them, and everyone wins. You don’t have to be an inventor, designer, or manufacturer to sell products. Sites like Alibaba and AliExpress import already-made items into the United States and sell them for a markup.

The two main methods for the distribution of these items are: dropshipping and self-fulfilled.

Dropshipping is a method where you advertise a product on your site that you do not own. Once you make the sale, you inform the manufacturer, who will handle the shipping and handling to the end-user. While this is simple because you don’t have to worry about storing or shipping any items yourself, you’ll find that the margins can be quite slim.

Self-fulfilled sales are much more of a hands-on approach to sales. You buy the item from the manufacturer, store it, then ship it to the end-user once you have made the sale. While there is much more work involved, you’ll find that the margins per sale are much higher.

It might seem difficult to come up with products to sell on a movie blog, but it can be done and is done successfully by other movie bloggers. The key is in finding which products are appropriate for your niche and which are most desired by your audience. If you create reviews for movies that attract a good-sized audience, you could purchase affordable items like stickers, magnets, patches, and t-shirts and put your logo on them. Such products can be purchased for a few dollars apiece and then marked up considerably.

While it can be very profitable when done well, selling products is not generally recommended for the beginner blogger. It’s best to secure an audience that you know will be receptive to the product before making a large investment in product development or acquisition.

Create A Service

Providing a service is another very basic money-making plan. If you can provide a service that you know your audience needs, you have a viable business on your hands.

Whether this service is delivered through one-on-one interaction with the user, through a piece of software that you develop, or by directly completing a task for the user, this is a great way to monetize your skillset and your blog.

There are a variety of services you could offer as a movie blogger. If you blog about movie-making, you could offer seminars on how to make movies. If you write movie reviews that attract a big audience, you could teach seminars on writing movie reviews, or you could offer one-on-one coaching.

You can charge a premium for your service because of the popularity of your blog - your audience sees you as an expert and will pay accordingly. Just remember that you can overcommit yourself when offering a service and trying to maintain a blog. Your blog is what drives your business, so you need to keep it going strong. Balancing your service and your blog may be challenging at first, but it can be done!

Next Steps To Get Your Movie Blog Started

Now that you have the strategies in place to build and grow your own blog, check out our free course: How To Start A Blog.

This course includes all the essentials on how to get your blog out of your head and onto its own website. Starting a blog is simple and inexpensive, so there’s no reason that you shouldn’t start today!

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