5 Ways to prepare your blog for Content Marketing
In the post, ‘What is Lifestyle Blogging? Why is it ideal for content marketing?‘ I had promised to come up with a post on how to prepare your lifestyle blog for content marketing and improve your chances of working with brands in India.
With the trend of digital marketing picking up, brands are increasingly looking at lifestyle blogs as vehicles for influencer marketing that can digitally spread the “word-of-mouth” about their products and services. Content marketing presents monetizing opportunities for bloggers. In this post, I have elaborated upon how I have geared up for content marketing, and how can you too.
One of the questions that arise before most bloggers, is how to grow the blog. Even for those of you who have been blogging for a while, it may have sometimes been challenging to figure out where the priorities should be and which metrics or channels should you focus on. While it is indisputable that ‘Content is always the King’, even good content needs to get the right visibility.
If you are a blogger, you may have deliberated on one or more of these questions:
- ‘Should I be commenting on other blogs to get comments on your own? If yes, how many blogs can I possibly read and comment on without suffering from a digital overload?’
- ‘Should I quickly key in a monosyllable comment like ‘Awesome post’ for or should I always think and write a meaningful comment?’
- ‘Should I like a large number of blogs to get back as many likes?’
- ‘Should I be focussing on the number of blog followers or on the Alexa Rank of my blog?’
- ‘How much should I focus on Search Engine Optimization (SEO)?’
- ‘How much do I need to focus on social media channels?’
All these questions and more can become very confusing, and though all of these parameters are important, it becomes tedious or impossible to focus on each of these.
But, if you know what brands look for when they select bloggers or influencers, your job becomes much easier.
You can prioritise the areas that you should focus on in order to improve the use of your blog for content marketing. That is what I am going to share with you now.
You may also want to read How Brands Promote Content With blogs
Here’s how to prepare your blog for monetization with content marketing
1. Identify the niche of your blog for content marketing
Some blogging niches attract more traffic than others and content in those niches are more in demand than others. If you want to monetize your blog, then it is preferable that you select a profitable blogging niche.
However, it is not always easy to start with a profitable niche. Most of us start blogging without consciously selecting a niche.
I, for instance, did not start with a Lifestyle blog, nor did I try to choose the best niche. I started blogging to have an online presence as a consultant and coach for professionals. I wrote on management topics such as Leadership, Industry and market trends, economy, strategy and Innovation. These were oriented towards the professional community.
As I continued blogging, I realised that to grow my readership base, I need to write on topics that will appeal to a wider set of audience. So, I diversified into writing about personal development, personal finance, and use of digital technology in our personal lives. I also started sharing my travel experiences and wrote about health and wellness.
I clubbed together the themes under Lifestyle, with a focus on Making Life Simpler, Smarter, Happier and Healthier.
Thus, what began as a blog oriented towards professionals gradually became a lifestyle blog. It was only after I was approached repeatedly for assignments in certain niches, I realised that some niches are more in demand than others.
Search on Google reveals that some of the high paying blogging niches in 2017 were:
- Make money online,
- Banking and insurance,
- Family and relationships,
Make Money Online attracts a lot of traffic as millions crave to make money on the internet. However, this is also the niche in which a lot of spam content in produced, so one needs to be careful.
In an upbeat market insurance and investments pick up, so does the demand for personal finance bloggers. Increasing focus on online transactions contributes to the increase in demand for bloggers in personal finance niche. When housing projects near completion, demand for real estate bloggers go up.
It becomes very important to select your niche judiciously. If your brand is in one of these niches or has a good fit with one or more of these niches, your earning potential automatically increases. However, it is imperative that you should be proficient in the niche so that you can persistently deliver good quality content. If you are not competent or genuinely interested in the niche, you will struggle to create good content on a regular basis, you may get worked up and eventually quit.
2. Focus on the social media reach of your blog
Social media has become a vital part of business marketing, particularly for consumer-oriented brands. Brands, these days do campaigns where they create their own hashtag and get it trending for a few days. As such brands look for your social media reach as much as they look at your blog reach, or maybe even more.
Though social media followers can be purchased, when you buy followers, it doesn’t always help in increasing the engagement level. If you grow your social media reach organically to an extent, then you get a good idea of what works best for which channel. You may then consider campaigns or sponsored promotions to increase the social media reach of your blog.
⇒Here, we have some excellent books that talk about the need to embrace digital marketing and how to do it.
3. Keep track of blog page views and unique visitors
Ideally, the compensation for blogging should grow in proportion to your page views and unique visitors. However, the real scene may pan out differently, unless your blog attracts a really high volume of traffic.
If a brand needs bloggers (say 20) for a campaign, your chances of being selected will be higher if the existing content of your blog is good and the blog has higher traffic. Having said that, I would like to point out that increasing the blog traffic by a vast amount may not easily convert to a significant increase in the amount of money you will make. The reasons could be many:
- Traffic quality
- Traffic source
- Budget allotted for the campaign may result in a cap on the blogger’s payment at a certain amount.
Taking all these factors into consideration, there will be sites with 200 visitors a day that make more than a site with 1,000 visitors a day. Though traffic is important, it is not the only criteria for content marketing. A smaller niche audience may result in a higher level of engagement.
So, it is practical to aim for and maintain the quality of content while growing traffic and garnering a steady decent level of engagement. At the same time, you need to work on growing the social media reach of your blog.
4. Add visual content to blog
Some brands look for attractive visuals and your Instagram feed. As of now, this holds good mostly for travel, food, fashion & beauty brands, smartphones and drinks. Having a blog with visually rich content and a good Instagram feed improves the chances of being considered for brand campaigns under the above categories.
5. Build online credibility with your blog
To establish your fitment, brands (well most of them) look for content similar to their requirement that you may have written in the past.
The About page of your blog should have your contact details. It is a good practice to prepare a media kit and display it on your blog. I have put the Media kit for this blog and my social profiles on the About page of this blog.
You can use this link to Create your media kit on Webfluential.
Register on influencer marketing platforms such as Indiblogger, Influencer.in, Webfluential etc. A good working relationship with the members/ employees of the brand influencer collaboration platform and good feedback on your content from the brands also improve your chances of being approached for future campaigns.
As a blogger, one has to work to build credibility with the readers. It is always good to research the topics well and not to write things that you yourself do not believe in, even for a post that has been paid for, because your own credibility is at stake.
Blogging for brands
Another facet of lifestyle blogging is that there will be many brands who may want you to work with them or support their campaign without any compensation. This is where it gets tricky. If you need to spend a lot of your time in researching about the topic or structuring the content required by the brand, it is reasonable to expect to be paid appropriately for it.
Here, it helps to remember that there are no free meals.
If you are not happy with the compensation offered,
- You may want to politely refuse, or
- You may opt to work with them in case it comes with some intangible advantage such as increasing your visibility as an expert in your field, or
- You may want to work with the brand if you really are passionate about the cause.
Lastly, growing a successful blog requires a lot of patience and tenacity.
With this, I come to a closing note. Thank you for reading. Hope you found this useful in gearing up your blog to avail content marketing opportunities.