What Is Your Blog About?
The fact that you are reading this article means that you are planning on starting a writing blog. But you need to think a little harder about exactly what you want your blog to accomplish because there can be a lot of variation in writing blogs. Are you starting a writing-for-a-living blog? A writing for teens blog? A memoir writing blog?
Getting clear on what your blog will be about is a necessity because it allows you to focus and get started on creating the appropriate content.
There’s a quote that fits this situation perfectly:
"If you try to be everything for everybody, 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 Grammar Girl all at once, you will find that you cannot make significant progress and may want to give up in disappointment.
The goal should be to find a niche that is just right - not too broad, like “writing”, but not too narrow, like “writing with typewriters from 1977”. A niche that is too wide is impossible to stand out in, while one that is too narrow will leave you with little to write about or an audience that is too small.
Some examples of niche writing blogs are:
Name Your Blog
Once you’ve found your niche, it’s a great time to start brainstorming a web domain 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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Brand Your Blog
The strongest and most memorable businesses are built on a solid brand. When developing your brand, think about what your business stands for. Customers and clients are looking for companies that have a compelling brand, as much as they are shopping for high-quality products and services.
Creating a logo for your business is vital for increasing brand awareness. You can design your own unique logo using our Free Logo Generator. Our free tool will help you brand your business with a unique logo to make your business stand out.
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 are you writing your blog for? Are you writing for those who want to learn how to write, or for those who want to take their well-established skills to the next level? Whatever your niche happens to be, knowing your audience will make it possible to choose the right voice to reach that audience.
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:
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 writing 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 writing blog may include:
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 writing blog. They include:
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.
Evergreen content for a writing blog will depend a lot on your niche, but you can generally assume that covering the fundamentals of your niche will always produce evergreen content - like the fundamentals of writing short stories, or the fundamentals of grammar. You can write articles that cover these topics and those articles will remain relevant and accurate for years down the line, if not decades. And if something major does change, you can always go back and edit your work to bring it in line with the changes!
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.
When you think of content that focuses on writing, you think of words, not video. But plenty of bloggers that focus on writing have created compelling video content. If you teach your audience how to write by hand, you can make videos that demonstrate the process. If you teach your audience about grammar, you can make video animations showing the process you go through to achieve correct grammar in your work. You may have to get a little creative, but that’s all part of being a blogger anyway.
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.
When thinking of news-type content for your writing blog, one sure way to discover new topics is to pay attention to the news you read about your niche. Is an author you love releasing a new book? Have there been changes in the writing requirements for college entrance exams? Whatever your niche, there is news out there that you can discuss on your blog. Keep your eyes open for new, intriguing info and write your news-type posts quickly to capture the moment and the traffic that comes along with it.
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.
It may seem difficult to come up with image-heavy content for a writing blog, but you can do it if you try. You might write some book reviews and incorporate plenty of images from the publisher. You can write news-type posts about authors and use press photos available online. Or, you can take your own screenshots of your writing projects to demonstrate what you are doing to your audience.
Regardless of your niche, your audience will appreciate the addition of images into the content when they are appropriate. However, be careful to avoid adding images just for the sake of adding images. If they are not relevant to the content it can start to look weird for your readers. One great image is better than five images that have little relevance to the topic.
Mix and Match
Your blog should incorporate a variety of content delivery strategies when possible. It is totally normal to have a preferred content style that you like to use. Since you are creating a writing blog, chances are you prefer writing - and likely long-form content. While it’s great to lean into your strengths, be sure to branch out regularly and try new things. Making videos, incorporating images, and trying other options will keep things interesting for you and your readers. It will also help you appeal to the widest possible audience with your blog.
How To Make Money From A Writing 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 writing 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 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 is a great fit for a writing blog because it gives you so much flexibility in what you can recommend. Books, media, technology, writing supplies, and other options are available for you to link to, which means you can probably find money-making opportunities in most of your blog posts.
Amazon Affiliates is easy to incorporate into your blog. Sign up for the program, insert links as appropriate, and start earning income. You get a small commission for every sale you facilitate, which can add up to a respectable payout - especially as your traffic grows. Your audience will expect links and be grateful for them, especially links to things that you recommend they buy. You save them the trouble of searching for the product and get paid in the process.
Many writing bloggers begin with Amazon Affiliates and continue to participate in the program for years. While you may make a few dollars a month to begin with, you can make thousands if your traffic generates enough conversions.
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.
An Ebook is ideal as a digital product for a writing blogger. You are already passionate about writing and do a lot of it. You can develop and write an Ebook that serves your audience and establishes you as an expert in your niche, and then sell it for a respectable profit. Many bloggers start their research for Ebooks by asking their audience what they want most. It will depend on your niche, but chances are your readers would love an in-depth work that addresses their questions. You could sell the Ebook for $20 or more, depending on the topic and the length.
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 challenging to sell products through a writing blog, which is understandable. However, you can start small and see how things go without much financial investment on your part. For example, you could purchase branded writing journals with writing prompts you create for just a few dollars apiece, then mark them up considerably before selling them to your readers. If they love them and snatch them up, maybe you can design a more expensive product later on.
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.
If your writing blog focuses on editing manuscripts, you could sell your services as an editor. If you focus on scriptwriting, you could offer to write scripts for filmmakers and producers. The services that you offer will need to be based on your skills and your niche.
Since you have positioned yourself as an expert on your blog, you should be able to charge a premium for your services. When demand is high and you get paid well, it can be easy to overcommit - try to avoid doing so, because you could wind up letting your blog slide if you are too busy with your services. Your blog is what drivers your business and keeps people coming back, so you need to put enough time into it to keep it going strong.
Next Steps To Get Your Writing 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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