How To Start a Political 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 political blog today.

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

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What Is Your Blog About?

Since you are reading this right now, chances are you already know the basics of what you want your blog to be about - politics! But you will need to go a little deeper to determine what exactly you want your blog to accomplish if you want to stand out. Are you writing a political blog for teens? A political blog for retired women? A political blog centered on Marxism?

There are many different ways you can refine your blog subject to ensure you reach an audience.

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 try to take on Politico all at once, you will find yourself overwhelmed and feeling like quitting before you make any progress.

You need the right sized subject - one that is not too wide, such as “politics”, but not too narrow, like “political parties in rural Appalachia in 1929”. Trying a subject that is too wide will keep you from standing out. Trying a subject that is too narrow will keep you from reaching a big enough audience. 

Some examples of niche political blogs are:

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.

Are you writing to political junkies who follow every slight shift in the political scene, or are you writing to everyday people who only think of politics now and then? Whatever the core focus of your blog is, you need to consider the people you want reading it so that you can decide your tone and your content needs.

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:

Bob Buxton 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 political 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 political blog may include:

  • Politico.com
  • ThinkProgress.org
  • NationalReview.com
  • TalkingPointsMemo.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 political 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.

A good option for evergreen content on a political blog is reviews of political books in your niche. While reviewing new books is definitely necessary, you can create strong evergreen content by reviewing classics or other political books that have remained popular over the years. People will continue looking for reviews of great books, which means you can attract new readers by having reviews that they are certain to be searching for.

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.

Many political blog readers appreciate video commentary on political topics - which means you can appeal to those readers by making your own videos. You can keep an eye out for topics or events that you think are worth making videos about, then try your hand at producing your own video content. Do not stress too much about producing a perfect video, especially at first. You will get better at making videos by... making videos! Soon enough, you will have the skills you need to produce the level of quality you can be happy with.

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.

A political blog is a great place for news-type content. After all, you see constant news stories about what is happening in politics. It is not much of a stretch for you to write your own blogs about these events. Just pay attention to what is happening in your niche and choose topics that you think will make good news-type blogs. You do not have to go too in-depth with these, either, unless your niche demands it. Since they will only remain useful for a short time, it is best to produce them regularly without worrying too much about creating long-form pieces.

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.

A political blog gives you several options for image-heavy content. You can find images online to use on your blog and you can take your own photos if doing so makes sense based on your niche and the topic you are covering. 

There are plenty of political images produced every day for news stories covering politics. You can find images that make sense for your blog content and include them in your blogs regularly. You will get better at sourcing images with practice. Just make finding images a part of your research process when writing each of your blogs and you will quickly develop a system that works for you.

Mix and Match

Your blog needs a variety of content delivery strategies to attract the most readers. Some readers prefer one type of content over another - and you probably prefer creating one type of content over others. But making an effort to stretch yourself and mix things up will be good for you and your audience. You will gain new skills and your reader will have even more great content to check out each time they visit your blog. Try making videos, taking photos, and writing different types of content to keep things interesting.

How To Make Money From A Political 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 political 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.

The Amazon Affiliate program makes sense for a political blog because it allows you to link to so many different products based on your niche and your preferences. It is also very easy to incorporate into your blog.

One way you can work in Amazon links into your blog is to recommend political books to your audience. You can review the books for your blog and include links to Amazon so that your readers can purchase those books. Readers expect links to the products you are writing about, so don’t hesitate to add links as you write. You will get a small commission for every sale you facilitate, which can add up to a lot of money over time. 

Many political bloggers start with Amazon Affiliates because it is so simple to use. Many stick with it because the program is a reliable source of income. You may make a few dollars while your blog is small, but as you grow the amount will only increase.

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.

A great example of a digital product you could create as a political blogger is gated content. For instance, if you do an in-depth analysis of politics, you could offer a membership program on your site that allows subscribers to access your library of analyses. Since you put so much work into the content and your audience appreciates the level of detail and accuracy you provide, they will be happy to pay a premium to gain full access to that content. You could charge $50 a month or more for access.

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 may seem difficult to think of products that you could sell through a political blog, but it can be done. You could begin with branded items like stationery, writing tools, and apparel. If people like your blog, they will like to show off that they are a reader. You can get such products for only a few dollars apiece, and then mark them up significantly to sell to your audience. Later on, when your blog grows, you could create your own products - such as a book - and sell it on your site.

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.

The service you offer your audience will depend on your niche and your skill set. You could put on seminars where you teach political writing, for instance, or you could offer political speechwriting services. Figure out what you are good at and what your audience wants, then create a service. 

You can charge a premium for your service because of your blog, so don’t forget to keep your blog going strong. It is easy to overcommit yourself with services, especially when the demand is high and the pay is good. Try to balance your blog with your service offerings to ensure you don’t let your blog slip. Without your blog, business will not be nearly as good.

Next Steps To Get Your Political 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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