Home » BLOG » The Blog

Category: The Blog

Blogging Legally: 6 Legal Issues You Need To Understand

In our Bloggers Facebook Group (join here!) a little while ago, I asked what people were struggling with.

One of the questions that came up was a bit more clarity regarding the legal aspects of blogging: What you do and don’t have to do to cover your butt when working with sponsors, doing giveaways, and making money.

Luckily I knew exactly who to turn to for that stuff – Jackie from Jade and Oak.

Blogging Legally | Following all the laws regarding copyrights, trademarks, images, disclosures, and more? Click over for the blogging legal basics - what you need to know to avoid any trouble!

Jackie is a lawyer in her day job and blogs on the side, and I have been following her blog for years. I sent her a message to see if she’d be willing to pop on over here and share some of the blogging legally basics…. and lucky us, she agreed!

jackiejadefr-2

 

I’ll let her take it away…

 

////////

Blogging is big business and I love that more and more people are treating their blog like a business. Being a business means that you also need to make sure you’re covered on the legal side of things. So I’m so happy Gemma invited me to post today about the legal basics of blogging.

My name is Jackie and I’ve blogged at Jade and Oak for over 4 years and have been an attorney for over 6 years. I provide legal info and tips for bloggers and small biz owners on my blog, so today I’m here to educate on the legal basics you need to know as a blogger.

(PS >> Although I am an attorney, I’m not your attorney and this post does not create an attorney-client relationship. As an American attorney, this post was written with US laws and regulations in mind. If you live in another country, research your country’s laws. This post is legal information and should not be seen as legal advice. If you need legal advice, be sure to consult with an attorney who specializes in your subject matter and jurisdiction.)

 

1 // Legal statements on blogs

Most blogs need several different statements (in order to protect yourself and your readers). At the very least, you need to have a “privacy statement” if you are collecting any personal info on your blog. Most blogs are collecting some sort of info, either through the use of cookies for Google Analytics or even just email addresses when people leave comments. If you collect personal info, you must have a privacy statement, letting your readers know what info you collect, how you collect it and what you do with that info.

It’s also important to include a terms and conditions statement, which basically lets people know the “rules” of your blog, including what kind of behavior is/isn’t okay.

Lastly, disclosure statements are necessary anytime you are working with a company or brand and are being compensated in any way (through a sponsored post, getting a free product or getting paid an affiliate commission).

It’s important to have these statements to show that you are running a professional blog and you understand legal requirements to have a legit business. This will help to put your readers at ease because they know you’re educated regarding the law and aren’t running a shady operation. Definitely a good thing.

 

2 // Copyright issues

In the US, your work is actually copyright protected the moment that it is created. As a blogger, that’s great – it means your work is protected without needing to formally go out and do anything. BUT that won’t necessarily stop anyone from stealing your work (the internet is obviously an easy place for people to take other people’s work).

So it’s a good idea to include a general copyright statement on every page of your blog – with the © symbol and/or “copyright,” your name/blog name and year or years of publication. Mine says: Copyright 2012-2016 Jade and Oak.

You should also include a longer statement somewhere on your blog indicating what you are/aren’t okay with others using.

For example, if you want people to use your stock photos for any reason, indicate that. But if you don’t want anyone to reuse your work or you require a link back, lay all of that out as well. (You can read more about copyrights here.)

 

3 // Linking to other content

Speaking of links, as a blogger you will likely be linking to other people’s content or blog posts.

Most people are more than happy to have you refer to their content if you are providing a link to their site. Just sharing a link isn’t a copyright issue, but if you are sharing someone else’s photos, graphics, videos or quoting a huge section of their blog post, you need to email them and make sure that they are ok with it.

 

 

4 // Your email list

If you are using email marketing for your blog or business, there are a few things to consider to make sure you’re not breaking the law.

The most important thing is to include an address in every email newsletter (physical address or a PO Box). This is to help prevent spam. In general, you want to avoid being spammy with your email list and want to make sure you aren’t emailing people who have opted out.

You can learn more about email lists and the law on my blog.

 

5 // Protecting yourself from liability

Blogs are an amaaaaazing source of info – I love that you can learn so much from fellow bloggers. However, you should be careful to make sure you won’t be held liable for something that could be seen as professional advice. Just like how I included a legal disclaimer at the top of this post, consider if you need any disclaimers for info that you provide.

For example, if you write about weight loss on your blog, it’s important to remind your readers that you aren’t a health professional and your blog posts are for informational or entertainment purposes only and should not be relied upon for health advice. (And if you are some sort of professional, remind people that you aren’t acting in your professional capacity and providing them with any specific or personalized advice.)

Most people will realize that your blog posts are informational in nature and aren’t medical, legal, health, tax, etc advice. But it doesn’t hurt to just remind people that you aren’t providing professional advice, so include a clear disclaimer as necessary. If someone could maybe mistake it as professional advice, err on the side of caution.

 

6 // Money issues

Yay you’re making money on your blog! Now you just need to make sure that you’re properly reporting it to the IRS for taxes.

In general, once you are making more than $400 per year, you need to start reporting that to the government and pay taxes as necessary. However, you can also take advantage of legitimate business expenses or deductions for your blog as well (things like your hosting service, email service provider, graphic designer, etc.)

Whether you’re a brand new blogger or you’ve been making money for awhile, start tracking your income and expenses right now so you can be ready when it’s tax time.

(**Canadian bloggers –> This is the same for us! You need to claim your income and any gifts received in your income taxes.)

 

Free Email Course

I know the law can be daunting and overwhelming. These are some legal basics to get you started but there is more to know! If you are interested in learning more, sign up for my free email course, Legalize Your Blog, to get legal tips sent straight to your inbox.

Also check out my blog Jade and Oak for even more about running your blog and biz legally! If you have any more questions about the legal side of blogging, let me know!

Blogging Legally 101 | Following all the laws regarding copyrights, trademarks, images, disclosures, and more? Click over to the post for the blogging legal basics - what you need to know to avoid any legal pitfalls!

 

Thanks a mill, Jackie for popping in here and giving up some Legal 101 Scoop!

Guys, be sure to head over to Jade and Oak for all your legal questions. 

 

Do you want to launch your own online shop?

I went from hobby blogger to full-time biz owner when I launched an online shop as part of my blogging business. Want to know how I did it? Make sure to snag my Manufacturers List here! I’m spilling ALL the secrets in there about the drop-ship manufacturing partners you can work with to do the same.

 

Aaannnd, remember to sign up for my my FREE Facebook Group

One more thing, if you want to hang out with me and thousands of amaaaazing other bloggers and online entrepreneurs, make sure to click here to join my FREE, private Facebook Group!

 

Related Posts:

How to Easily Increase Blog Traffic

How to Use an Editorial Calendar (with FREE printable!)

5 Mistakes Bloggers Make when they Monetize Their Blogs

Free #Blogging #Goal Setting #Printable Worksheet | How to set goals to maximize your productivity and grow your blog fast!

How To Grow Your Blog Faster By Setting Blogging Goals [FREE printable!]

When I finally got serious about treating my blog like a business, I started setting blogging goals.

Do you do this? I can’t even tell you how much it has helped me.

By actually sitting down, having brainstorming sessions, getting laser clear about my focus, and then setting those goals and planning out all the steps I need to do to get there, my productivity has gone through the roof. No more spending time on things that don’t get me closer to where I want to be. It makes everything SO. MUCH. CLEARER.

And as a mama who only gets work-time during naps and sometimes evenings, I needed that clarity. I couldn’t waste time on fluffy stuff.

I thought I’d share the method that is really working for me so you can maximize your productivity too!

Free #Blogging #Goal Setting #Printable Worksheet | How to set goals to maximize your productivity and grow your blog fast!

How to set blogging goals to grow your blog, including a free goal setting worksheet and printable editorial calendar!

FREE Goal Setting Worksheet

Before we dive in, get instant access to the goal-setting worksheet AND printable editorial calendar here. These two resources are going to be SO helpful in getting you organized and insanely productive… promise.

 

What are NOT blog goals:

Let me be clear on what I consider goals to be.

Something like “publish 10 posts” doesn’t count.

I don’t actually consider blog posts and newsletters “goals”. This is where my editorial calendar comes in. I have a certain schedule that I stick to (for example: blog posts on Sundays and Tuesdays and a newsletter on Wednesdays).

That content is just my regular, weekly stuff that doesn’t change. I plan out my content on the editorial calendar, and tackle my goal-setting and related to-do list for that on a separate sheet.

 

So ARE blog goals?

My blogging goals tend to be things that are growing my biz outside of content and newsletters. It’s like working ON my business instead of just “in it”.

Things like developing new products to launch, working on site improvements, creating an email sequence, pitching sponsored posts, doing webinars or collaborations, working on my social media strategy, updating old posts with new pinnable images, etc.

See how those are different from regular content production?

If I forget to set goals, then all I end up doing is producing more content but without my working on strategies to continually grow my blogging income.

 

Alright, let’s dive into the goal-setting method…

 

1 // Set 90 Day Goals

I personally like working in 90-day chunks, but you can work in 30-day if that is better for you.

The reason why I like 90-day is because since I tend to be setting quite large business goals, I need to give myself enough time to actually accomplish them.

The 90 day chunks means that your year is broken up into 4 quarters:

  • Quarter 1: January – March (deadline: April 1)
  • Quarter 2: April – June (deadline: July 1)
  • Quarter 3: July – September (deadline: Oct 1)
  • Quarter 4: October – December (deadline: Jan 1)

Here are a few examples of some 90 day goals: 

  • 90 Day Goal: Launch new line of art prints
  • 90 Day Goal: Go live with new blog design
  • 90 Day Goal: Start blog newsletter and have 5 opt in spots across blog
  • 90 Day Goal: Audit and update old blog posts with better SEO, affiliate links, and pinterest image
  • 90 Day Goal: Launch a new webinar series of DIY project tutorials on blog

See how those are pretty big goals?

You don’t want to set more than 2-5 goals for the 90 day period. Keep them attainable and realistic. If you always set too many goals or goals that are too big, it’ll just get overwhelming.

On the other hand, if you don’t set any goals, then you’ll probably spend your 90 days producing blog content, floating around on social media, but not actually moving your business forward.

Have a brainstorming session once per quarter to flush out these big ideas. I make a morning of it. I grab my coffee, notebook, and carve out a few quiet hours to dedicate JUST to brainstorming. I get so much more done this way and I can plan out months of work, tasks, content, in advance.

Blogging Goals | How to set goals for your blog and business | Blog Goal Setting Worksheet | Using a blog planner and editorial calendar

 

2 // Break Goals Down into Tasks

Once you’ve written out your 90-day goals, it’s time to break those down into task lists. The task list might be long and that’s OK. I want you to literally break it down as much as you can so that these become very specific items that you can cross off your to-do list as you work through it.

So let’s take the 90-day goal of “Start a blog newsletter and have 5 opt-in spots across blog”. The task list for this might look like:

  • Research and decide on email system to use
  • Sign up for email system
  • Design overall template to use for newsletters
  • Find your top 3 most popular blog posts on Google Analytics and brainstorm opt-in freebie for each post (opt-in might be a worksheet, design guide, printable, etc)
  • Create opt-in freebie #1
  • Create opt-in freebie #2
  • Create opt-in freebie #3
  • Develop opt-in sign up boxes and embed them into the 3 blog posts
  • Embed those opt-in boxes in any additional blog posts where the freebie might be relevant
  • Add general opt-in box to blog homepage
  • Add general pop-up opt-in box to blog
  • Create newsletter schedule

See how that’s a big list? It’s a lot. That’s why you want to focus on just a handful (or less) of goals over a 90 day period so that you can actually see them through.

It’s the worst when you only get things half finished before moving on to the next, and then you never go back and call it done.

3 // Allocate Tasks into Calendar

Once you have those big lists written out for each goal, then it’s time to take those lists and plan them into your calendar.

You may not know exactly which day you are going to work on each thing, but you might plan it out by week. So for instance, week 1 you would want X, Y, and Z done. Then week 2 you’d move onto the next 3 things. That way each week you know *exactly* what smaller tasks you need to accomplish in order to be able to cross that big goal off the list after 30 or 90 days.

Having this sort of to do list for each week, along with my overall blog editorial calendar for content, means that I always know exactly what I’m meant to be working on. There is never a morning where I get to my computer and say “Hmm, what do I feel like doing today?” It’s already planned out for me. This saves me so much time and has put my productivity into overdrive.

Blogging Goals | How to set goals for your blog and business | Blog Goal Setting Worksheet | Using a blog planner and editorial calendar

 

4 // Keep tabs on Progress

At the end of every month I’ll check in to see how I’m doing against the bigger list. Sometimes things have gone off the rails (hello, life!) and that’s cool. I’ll just try to course-correct and see what I can do to try to still accomplish the 90 day goal.

By checking in at the end of each month, it means that I can see pretty clearly if I’m getting done what I need to.

 

5 // Re-visit and Move to Next Quarter

When you get to the end of that quarter? Daaaamn it feels good to check those big goals off the list. You actually feel like you accomplished something BIG instead of just keeping up with the status quo.

If you don’t get all of them crossed off, then evaluate why that was. Maybe life just got crazy and it wasn’t feasible. Maybe you bit off more than you could chew and planned too many big goals. Maybe you under-estimated the task list associated with each goal. Whatever it was, try to understand it so that you don’t make the same mistake again.

Like I said earlier, I tend to only have say 2 big 90-day goals at a time. There is still lots of other work going on from writing blog content, writing newsletters, managing etsy shop, scheduling social media, etc. I want to stay realistic about what I can accomplish.

Blogging Goals | How to set goals for your blog and business | Blog Goal Setting Worksheet | Using a blog planner and editorial calendar

 

Grab The (FREE!) Goal Setting Worksheet

I designed these printables for myself to use and have LOVED using them. I write out my goals and brainstorm the tasks on the goals worksheet, and then allocate the tasks to my editorial calendar and to-do list for that week.

 

Do you want to launch your own online shop?

I went from hobby blogger to full-time biz owner when I launched an online shop as part of my blogging business. Want to know how I did it? Make sure to snag my Manufacturers List here! I’m spilling ALL the secrets in there about the drop-ship manufacturing partners you can work with to do the same.

 

Aaannnd, remember to sign up for my my FREE Facebook Group

One more thing, if you want to hang out with me and thousands of amaaaazing other bloggers and online entrepreneurs, make sure to click here to join my FREE, private Facebook Group!

 

Related Posts:

How to use an Editorial Calendar to maximize your productivity

11 Affiliate Networks you should join to increase your income

My Fave go-to Blogging Resources

How to Start a Blog

#Affiliate marketing is a great strategy for making money #blogging. Click for how to get affiliate links and which affiliate networks to join.

The 11 Best Affiliate Networks For Home and DIY Bloggers

Let’s chat affiliate marketing. As a blogger, are you optimizing the potential of affiliate marketing?

It can be a hugely successful strategy to monetize your blog in a way that doesn’t feel sleazy, so long as you are honest and straight-forward about it.

But do you know where to go to get affiliate links?

Don’t worry if you aren’t sure, because I have rounded up the best affiliate networks for you to join.

#Affiliate marketing is a great strategy for making money #blogging. Click for how to get affiliate links and which affiliate networks to join.

 

How Affiliate Networks Work:

To get affiliate links for products, you need to be signed up for the brand’s affiliate marketing program. Some brands may manage their affiliate program themselves, but most work through affiliate networks.

Basically you sign up for the network, then request join the brand’s individual program, and then once accepted, you can go in and grab links for that brand’s products that will be embedded with your unique referral link. It means that every time a reader clicks on that link from your blog to go to the product, there is tracking and if a purchase is made, you get a commission.

The affiliate networks listed below are the ones that will get you access to a huge range of great brands – from Etsy, Target, Anthropologie, Lowe’s, Wayfair, and so many more. I’m personally a member of 8 out of 11 of them!

**IMPORTANT**  You don’t need to be a part of every single network.

Choose the ones that have the brands that best suit your blog and style. The biggest thing here is NOT to link to a brand from two networks (for example, you can get Etsy affiliate links through both Affiliate Window and through RewardStyle). The reason you don’t want to do this is because you run the risk of them cancelling each other out. If there is a brand that is a part of two networks, always stick to using the affiliate links for it through ONE network (you can make a note of this on your tracking sheet!).

#Affiliate marketing is a great strategy for making money #blogging. Click for how to get affiliate links and which affiliate networks to join.

 

1 / Amazon Affiliates

Apply here

This is such a great affiliate program, especially as your first one. Amazon offers a huge variety of products so you can usually find a few things to link to within each blog post.

The other great benefit?

After a reader clicks your amazon link, anything they add to their cart for the next 24 hours and purchase, you get a commission on. Even if it wasn’t the thing you linked to originally. How sweet is that?

 

2 / Share-a-Sale (part of Awin)

Apply here

Another really popular affiliate network! Share-a-sale is geared to predominantly online-only merchants. Think Shutterfly, Wayfair, Craftsy, One King’s Lane, Land of Nod, and Joss & Main.

There are no requirements to join.

 

3 / Affiliate Window (now called ‘Awin’)

Apply here

This one is more popular in the UK, and although there aren’t strict requirements for joining, there can sometimes be a $5 joining fee.

What do I use this network for? ETSY! If you love Etsy products and want to link to them on your blog, sign up for this network.

Anyone who is sweet enough to want to link or promote my own Etsy shop products, I always tell them about this so that they can earn commission on any sales made.

 

4 / CJ Affiliate

Apply here

Even though CJ Affiliate is one of the largest affiliate companies, it is not hard to gain access to. Their brands include Lowe’s, Domino, Indigo, Pier 1, Bed, Bath, and Beyond, and Fabric.com.

Once into the CJ Affiliate network, then you need to apply to the brands directly to get into their individual programs. Note that sometimes getting into the individual brand’s affiliate programs can be more strict.

 

5 / Impact Radius

Apply here

Can you say Target? Yes, this is the network that has the Target affiliate program. Halle-lu-jah! They also have Pottery Barn, World Market, and other goodies.

No requirements to join.

 

6 / PepperJam Network

Apply here

PepperJam seems to have a lot of smaller, online retailers. In the home/DIY niche, they have Ace Hardware, Lulu & Georgia, and Kelly Wearstler.

 

7 / Rakuten Linkshare (formerly ‘LinkShare’)

Apply here

This one is a large worldwide affiliate program and works with companies like Anthropologie, Nordstrom’s, and Macy’s. No requirements for joining.

 

“Sub-Affiliate” Networks:

Sub-affiliate networks are a little bit different. Instead of applying to individual brands within the affiliate network, once you get into the sub-affiliate network, you have access to all of their brands.

 

These are the more popular sub-affiliate networks out there:

8 / RewardStyle

Apply here

RewardStyle is a popular sub-affiliate network, especially with fashion bloggers. They have some great home décor brands too, like Target, Anthropolgie, Wayfair, and more.

They are the creators of the “Like to Know It” app which helps influencers monetize their instagram with affiliate marketing. When a reader “likes” an Instagram image, RewardStyle sends them an email with the shopping list of the products shown in the Instagram pic.

RewardStyle is notoriously hard to get into and usually only accept bloggers with an established following and like a clean, bright aesthetic.

 

9 / ShopStyle Collective

Apply here

With ShopStyle Collective, you earn money per click instead of per sale. They keep track of the clicks that go to retailers and calculate a revenue share based on the volume and quality of the traffic. The more your shopper buys, the higher your per-click rate will be.

They work mainly with lifestyle and fashion bloggers, and include brands like Nordstrom and J Crew. You can check out the whole list of brands here.

ShopStyle has a tool for monetizing Instagram. It’s similar to RewardStyle, and more accessible since it’s easier to get into the ShopStyle program. FYI – if you get into RewardStyle, you don’t need to ALSO be in ShopStyle Collective. It’s an either/or sort of thing.

 

10 / SkimLinks

Apply here

SkimLinks comes with a technology that bloggers might find helpful, particularly if the tech stuff is challenging. The way it works is that it turns all of the links on your blog into affiliate links automatically using an internally-generated HTML or java script code to monetize different brand keywords. There aren’t any requirements to join.

Some publishers who have used them include Apartment Therapy and Huffington Post (street cred!).

 

11 / Viglink

Apply here

Like Skimlinks, Viglink creates a code on your page that turns regular links into affiliate links. No requirements to join but some retailers have limitations, so you may need to directly apply to some brands to be a part of their programs.

Phew!

I know there are a lot, but I don’t want you to leave cash on the table by not optimizing your posts with affiliate links.

I am NOT suggesting that you start writing posts with the sole purpose of dropping affiliate links left right and center (comes off sleazy for your readers), but if you were going to link to a product anyway, have a DIY supplies list, doing a “shop our house”, or wanted to do a round-up, then those links should definitely be affiliates. If they aren’t, it’s totally a missed opportunity.

 

Do you want to launch your own online shop?

I went from hobby blogger to full-time biz owner when I launched an online shop as part of my blogging business. Want to know how I did it? Make sure to snag my Manufacturers List here! I’m spilling ALL the secrets in there about the drop-ship manufacturing partners you can work with to do the same.

 

Aaannnd, remember to sign up for my my FREE Facebook Group

One more thing, if you want to hang out with me and thousands of amaaaazing other bloggers and online entrepreneurs, make sure to click here to join my FREE, private Facebook Group!

 

Related Posts:

5 tips for increasing your affiliate marketing earnings. This one is a must-read!

24 Ways to monetize your blog

How to start your own shop with drop-ship manufacturing

How to start a blog

Why You Need to Build an #Email List as a #Blogger. The 5 reasons why you should grow an email list to increase your sales and traffic.

5 Reasons Why Every Blogger Needs To Build An Email List

Email lists are having a moment, and as a blogger I’m sure you’ve read over and over again that you *NEED* to have one.

When I started blogging in 2010 blog email lists weren’t really a thing – you had RSS feeds where each of your posts would pop into the reader’s email inbox, but it was all automated and you didn’t have to produce extra content for it. Then newsletters slowly became more popular, and now NOT having an email list is pretty shocking.

I didn’t start collecting emails until 2015 (5 years into blogging!!) and damn if I’m not kicking myself for starting earlier.

Why You Need to Build an #Email List as a #Blogger. The 5 reasons why you should grow an email list to increase your sales and traffic.

Why You Need to Build an Email List:

If you are still on the fence about whether you want to start collecting emails, I think you are about to be convinced.

Here’s why…

 

1 / You Own It

With social media platforms, you can build up your audience like crazy, but then one day the algorithm changes and all of a sudden only a small portion of that audience actually sees your stuff. Or your account could get hacked. Or maybe that platform goes away all together. Or your blog might go down. You just never know.

With an email list though, that bad boy is ALL yours. You own that list and can pop in on your readers there whenever you need to.

 

2 / It’s a Direct Line of Communication

Getting an email is SO much more personal than seeing an update on social media or a new blog post. It’s more like getting a little love note from a friend.

Having such a direct line of communication is an amazing tool. You know your readers are probably checking their email multiple times a day (unlike social media or your blog itself) and will see your email no matter what.

You can also ask for feedback via email way easier than with blog posts or on social media. Ask your list what they would like from you. Ask them to take a survey, or ask their opinion on something. It’s a great way to figure out what kind of content you should produce and what potential products you could develop in order to serve your audience better.

The biggest thing about an email list is that you want to be providing them with TONS of value. They should be your VIPs – getting all the insider scoop and be the first to know about everything.

 

3 / You Can Build Stronger Relationships

Because email is such a personal form of communication, it is a great way to build a really strong relationship with your audience.

Make sure you personalize those emails (after all, they signed up to hear from YOU, so don’t be shy!). Elicit conversation by asking them to hit reply and tell you what they think. Respond to them when they do write to you.

All of those things help to foster a meaningful connection and trust. You want to cultivate an engaged and loyal readership in that list – people who are going to be your biggest cheerleaders and who can’t wait to read what you have to say. Plus, building up that trust and credibility? Well when you have a product to sell, well that’s gonna convert into more sales. We all like to buy from people we feel like we really know and like.

 

4 / It’s Your Best Sales Tool

Your email list is going to be your absolute best sales tool. It’s the most effective and targeted way to make sales, and get your product or service seen.

Once you have an email list setup and you have a product to sell, you will want to create a “sales funnel”. Basically this means that you get people to sign up to your list by offering some kind of opt-in incentive, and then walk them through what you can do for them that will help them.

So let’s go through an example. Say you had an opt-in incentive which was a design guide to decorate a room, and your product is a course on how to decorate your house or a service like design consulting, then you would want to create a series of intro emails that give the reader lots of value but also pitches them (in a non-sleazy way) what you’re selling. You might send them 2-3 emails on various tips on how to decorate, but then also 1-2 emails that pitch your product.

There is a whole art to creating sales funnels, so google around for more info on that if you want to do further reading!

 

5 / It’s A Monetization Asset

Beyond selling your own products or services, you can also monetize your email list in other ways. You can insert a display ad right into the email. You can highlight affiliate products really well in email and drive those affiliate sales.

Be clear on the rules of whatever affiliate program you’re using (Amazon for example doesn’t like you to use affiliate links in emails) and you always need to make it clear that affiliate links have been used.

Similarly, ff you are working with brands on sponsored campaigns, offering them a mention in your newsletter can help you drive up your sponsored post fee. If the brand knows that they are going to get a mention in front of 500 or 5000 eyes on email, that’s a huge asset.

 

My best advice? Grow your list with intention.

This is my one caveat when it comes to list-building.

Be intentional about why you are creating your list and who you want on it. Even if you don’t have any products or services to sell yet (that’s cool!), think about what kinds of products you might create in the future and who might buy them. You need to be really clear on your target market and make sure you are getting those people on your list.

Just having random people sign up to your list for all kinds of various opt-in’s will build your numbers, but it will be a disjointed list that doesn’t have a common theme. You’ll likely get a lot of unsubscribes and be at a loss for what type of product to create since everyone’s interests will be really different.

You want to make sure your opt-in freebie relates to the end product you will be trying to sell. For example, if someone signs up to your list because you offered a free meal planning printable, then it wouldn’t make much sense if down the road you were trying to sell them interior design services. They don’t really connect well, you know?

Plus, if you have this great targeted list and build up that community, then it will be much easier to know what to write about in your newsletters. Because you know what those people are interested in, you will be able to come up with lots of ways of providing them value.

As always, you need to think of your blog as an overall brand and biz if you’re going to be successful at building it up into a super profitable gig.

 

Do you want to launch your own online shop?

I went from hobby blogger to full-time biz owner when I launched an online shop as part of my blogging business. Want to know how I did it? Make sure to snag my Manufacturers List here! I’m spilling ALL the secrets in there about the drop-ship manufacturing partners you can work with to do the same.

 

Aaannnd, remember to sign up for my my FREE Facebook Group

One more thing, if you want to hang out with me and thousands of amaaaazing other bloggers and online entrepreneurs, make sure to click here to join my FREE, private Facebook Group!

 

Related Posts:

Email Marketing: Holiday Sales Campaign Template

My Honest ConvertKit Review

8 Ways to Increase your Blog Traffic

24 Ways to Monetize your Blog

How to Create your Own Shop using Drop-Ship Manufacturing

Blogger Email Lists 101 | If you aren't building an email list as a blogger, you're making a HUGE mistake. Here are the 5 reasons why you should build an email list to grow your sales and increase your audience from the beginning. Click through to read why, and tips on getting started!

10 Amazing Blogger Facebook Groups You Need To Join

When you are trying to grow a blog and build a business, creating community is one of THE most important things you need to do.

Having a posse of fellow entrepreneurs is not only going to help you promote your site, but also to collaborate with others, get advice, share strategies, and stay motivated. I have found one of the very best tools for doing this is through Facebook groups. Facebook wasn’t where I expected to meet others and connect, but it has REALLY worked for me.

About a year ago I joined a whole bunch of groups, weeded out the ones that didn’t do much for me and were overrun with spammy promos or lacked content, and now am active in a handful that I personally love. If you are a blogger, especially one in the design / DIY / home niche, then I really recommend you join these groups. I can safely bet that they will soon be your go-to spots for advice on all things blogging biz!

10 Facebook groups you NEED to join if you are a blogger. If you blog about DIYs, home decor, or design, these groups are going to be your go-to spots for collaborating, building community, sharing resources, and generating traffic! Click through for the full list

 

First up…

1 / Monetize Your Blog with Gemma Bonham-Carter

Is it totally TACKY to start with my own? OH WELL!

Yep, this is my Facebook group that I love and nurture like a baby.

 

If you are looking to collaborate with other bloggers, get advice, share your posts in our weekly thread, and build your community, this is the spot. The group is dedicated to chatting blogging biz strategies with bloggers in your same niche – so the advice and tips will be really actionable and relevant.

Oh and I pop in just about every week on Facebook Live to chat biz tips, launching a shop advice, and more! It’s so much fun – I love the community and connection.

How to join: Request to join the group here. Can’t wait to chat with you in the group.

 

2 / Think Creative Collective

Abagail and Emylee are the BOMB. These girls chat biz strategy like no one else.

Such a great community of strong business leaders in here!

How to join: Request to join the group here.

 

3 / Savvy Business Owners

This group is THE spot for any female entrepreneur. It’s hosted by Heather Crabtree and is full of super supportive women who help each other build their businesses. It isn’t specific to bloggers, but any entrepreneur will get a ton out of this group. I have posed questions in here before about all kinds of things from looking for feedback and advice on something I’m working on, to where to find certain products for my etsy shop, and always get amazing responses. You kinda feel like you get a big ol’ hug in this group – it’s just THAT nice.

How to join: You need to be a business owner (make sure you have your blog/biz listed in your facebook profile), and then sign up for Heather’s email list here in order to join. Once you’re signed up, she sends you a link to join the facebook group.

 

4 / Social Boss

Caitlin Bacher hosts Social Boss. Specifically useful for tips and resources on how to use facebook groups effectively to grow your audience and make sales. This group isn’t just for bloggers – there are other types of creative entrepreneurs – but I find a lot of the information is still valuable and relevant to bloggers.

How to join: Request to join the group here.

 

5 / Photography for your Blog + Biz

This group is hosted by Chaitra from PinkPot. It’s a group dedicated to photography and visuals, which is a bit different from the rest. Chaitra is an amazing photographer. She hosts weekly threads that include sharing your own stuff, what’s on your to-do list, tipday tuesdays, etc.

How to join: Request to join the group directly here. Plus, check out the link in the group description to get a free photo pack from Chaitra (they are gorgeous!)

 

6 / Blogging with Becky and Paula

Becky and Paula both run successful blogs, and then got together to run their own site dedicated to helping other bloggers grow their own blogs and businesses. This is a large group and I would say has a lot of bloggers in the mom/parenting/lifestyle areas (based on the threads I  read in there), but I do find that there can be helpful tips and good advice. Becky and Paula themselves regularly post tips and share strategies in the group.

How to join: Request to join here.

 

7 / Blogging Boost

Blogging Boost is a huuuuge group and spans any topic imaginable when it comes to blogging, so sometimes things might not apply or be a little random, but it can be a useful place to get blogging-specific advice or tips.

How to join: Request to join here.

 

8 / Blog Beautiful

Blog Beautiful, the group by Marianne of Design your Own Blog, helps creative female solopreneurs create beautiful online appearances that match their unique work and personalities.

Marianne shares tech resources, tutorials, and threads in her facebook group that focus on blog design. So if you have a wordpress plugin question, advice on a logo, whatever, this is your spot!

How to join: You need to sign up for Marianne’s list here, and then you’ll be able to join the group.

 

9 / Blogging Over Breakfast

Gina from the Shabby Creek Cottage runs this Facebook group. She pops in live all the time to dish out blogging tips and advice and it is a really great spot to connect with other DIY and home bloggers (since that’s also Gina’s niche!).

How to join: Head here to ask to join the group.

 

10 / Mind Blowing DIY Bloggers of Awesomeness

This group is specifically for DIY bloggers. I wouldn’t call it a very active group, but if you are looking to get a specific DIY question answered, this is your spot! There are opportunities posted in here occasionally from brands looking to partner with DIY bloggers or from other bloggers looking for other DIY blog posts to feature in round-ups.

How to join: Request to join the group here.

Hope to see you in these groups! 

Do you want to launch your own online shop?

I went from hobby blogger to full-time biz owner when I launched an online shop as part of my blogging business. Want to know how I did it? Make sure to snag my Manufacturers List here! I’m spilling ALL the secrets in there about the drop-ship manufacturing partners you can work with to do the same.

 

Aaannnd, remember to sign up for my my FREE Facebook Group

One more thing, if you want to hang out with me and thousands of amaaaazing other bloggers and online entrepreneurs, make sure to click here to join my FREE, private Facebook Group!

 

Related Posts:

How to Start a Blog

How to increase your blog traffic

6 Reasons To Sell on Etsy 

How to grow your blog with #Pinterest! Click for tutorial on how to setup #Boardbooster | Put your pinning on autopilot and use this scheduling tool to repin your content and automate your pinning.

How To Explode Your Pinterest with BoardBooster [Tutorial]

I have mentioned on numerous occasions about how much I love Boardbooster.

How to grow your blog with #Pinterest! Click for tutorial on how to setup #Boardbooster | Put your pinning on autopilot and use this scheduling tool to repin your content and automate your pinning.

 

What is Boardbooster?

Boardbooster is a tool for scheduling your Pinterest activity.

Boardbooster changed the game for me. I went from having this super overwhelming Pinterest strategy that I couldn’t keep on top of (who has time to pin a zillion things everyday?!), to a system that runs on auto-pilot, brings in a vast majority of my blog traffic, and has meant a steady increase in Pinterest followers. It was the first scheduling tool I invested in for my blog, and has been hands down the most worth it. And it’s really inexpensive – plans start at $5/month and go up to $30/month.

I wanted to share all the details on how I setup Boardbooster, because it can be a little daunting to setup at first. It’s not a super intuitive or pretty software to use, but once you get the hang of it, it’s easy peasy.

 

 

3 main features of Boardbooster:

Looping –> Takes old pins and re-pins them to the top of your board

Scheduler –> Allows you to schedule pins for pinning at a later date

Campaigns –> Pulls random pins from a given board and pins them to multiple other boards (good for pinning to group boards)

Using these tools from Boardbooster is going to make you look active on Pinterest while saving you time, helping drive traffic to your blog from your pins, and ensuring that you continue to get followers on Pinterest. You want to use all three of these features to have a solid pinning strategy, so I’m going to go through each feature below.

You want to appear as an “active pinner” and look good to Pinterest so that they re-pay the favor and put your pins higher up in their “smart feed”. In order to appear active, make sure you pin every day (there is debate on how many pins – but I would say no fewer than 15 and no more than 100), and be sure to pin a mixture of your own content AND other peoples content.

 

Free Trial of Boardbooster:

You can try Boardbooster out for free through my affiliate link, and then sign up for one of their monthly plans (starting as low as $5/month). Honestly, it’s the best money I spend for my blog traffic.

 

How to Set Up Looping:

Looping is the bomb. At first I was skeptical because I didn’t think re-pinning stuff I had already pinned made a lot of sense, but then I realized that only a small number of my followers would have actually seen all those pins (kind of like how only a small percentage of your followers actually see each of your facebook posts) and they were stellar pins, so it made sense to recycle them up to the top of my Pinterest boards. It also meant that I could attain a certain number of pins a day, without having to spend a my whole life on Pinterest.

Here is how to get it all setup:

Go to your Boardbooster Account > Pinning Tools > Looping.

Click on “Add Boards” and a pop-up like the one below will appear. It will give a list of your boards. All of my boards were setup for looping except this holidays board, which is why that’s the only one you see in my pop-up below. Click on the board you want to setup for looping and hit ‘Continue’.

boardbooster-looping1

This screen is the next one that will pop up. These are the settings for your board looping. It’ll be preset to loop 1 pin/day at 8:00am.

boardbooster-looping2

If you want to loop more than 1 pin per day, then click on “multiple pins per day”. Input the settings you want. I have it set to 2 pins/day and like them to occur at random times between noon and 10pm, which is the more active time of day for my followers on Pinterest. I like that it loops chronologically, so it’ll take my oldest pins on that board and loop them up to the top.  You could set this to random if you preferred, though. You could also switch up the timing and the days, if you didn’t want it 7 days/week.

boardbooster-looping3

 

The “deduplication” is so that you don’t end up with multiples of the same pin. If you select “enabled” for automatic deduplication and then set the number of days below (in this case 5), what that means is that after 5 days Boardbooster will delete whichever pin has fewer re-pins. So it’s constantly weeding out the lower performing pins and making sure you don’t have duplicates. I really recommend you keep this setting on so that you don’t have to go back and manually delete duplicate pins.

“Protection for viral duplication” is a feature that is there in case you end up having two pins that both get really high re-pin numbers. You can set it so that it doesn’t auto-delete one of these pins. The idea here is that you might move one of those viral pins to another board. I keep it disabled as I don’t find it necessary and even if my pins do well, I don’t plan on moving them to other boards, so I would prefer for Boardbooster to just delete whichever one has under-performed.

“Protection for pins with comments” is a bit similar. It means that it won’t delete any duplicate pins if they have comments on them. Having comments and general interaction on your pins is a marker of a “good pinner”, which makes you look good to Pinterest, so up to you if you want to enable that one or not. I personally just keep it disabled.

Click “submit” and that’s it! You’ve just saved your looping campaign. You can always easily go into any of those campaigns and change out settings if you want to down the line. Repeat this process for all of your active boards. Just be sure that the boards you are looping are nice and full of pins already – you don’t want to be looping like only 15 pins through a board as it would be too repetitive.

boardbooster-looping5

 

How to set up Scheduler:

Even though you loop pins, you also want to make sure you’re regularly adding new pins to your boards. This is where the scheduler comes in. What it does is creates secret boards that correspond with each of your public boards, so that you can fill up the secret boards with pins that get dished out over time.

So for example, I have a secret board for my DIY Projects board. When I sit down to do some Pinterest browsing, I just pin whatever DIY projects I find and love into that secret board. Then I have it setup so that it pins 2 pins a day from that secret board onto my public board. By doing that plus the looping, each of my boards gets some level of activity every single day, and I don’t have to stress about finding all new things to pin all the timeSometimes I’ll get a notice from Boardbooster that one of my secret boards is empty, so I know to focus on filling that particular one up.

Let’s get yours setup:

Go to your Boardbooster Account > Pinning Tools > Scheduler.

Click on “Add Boards”. This screen will pop up, listing all of your boards (including group ones). Click on the board you want to setup for scheduling and click “Continue”.

boardbooster-scheduling1

You will come to this screen where you can configure your settings. I tend to do 1-2 pins per day for each board, and again edit the time to be a bit later (noon till 10pm). Once you’ve set everything, click “submit”.

boardbooster-scheduling2

It will “think” for a sec and “talk” to your Pinterest to setup that secret board. Once finished, this screen pops up. Next time you go into your Pinterest, you’ll see a new secret board that will have the same name as your public board but with a “-” in front of it. That’s the board that you want to fill up with pins.

boardbooster-scheduling3

Once you have set up all of your boards for scheduling, you’ll have a dashboard that looks something like this. If you want to edit settings for any of them down the road, you can easily go in and do that.

boardbooster-scheduling4

try-boardbooster-for-free

 

How to set up Campaigns

Campaigns are useful for pinning to group boards. The idea here is that you can setup pins to go out from a source board to one or more group boards.

Go to Boardbooster > Pinning Tools > Campaigns. Click on “New Campaign”.

This screen will pop up. I’m just going to go over random campaigns, because I find them more useful. Feel free to do more reading on the scheduled campaigns over on the Boardbooster website. Click “Select” for Random Campaign.

boardbooster-campaigns1

This next screen will pop up. Say one of the topics you blog are DIY holiday projects and want to create a campaign for those posts. You might name it “DIY holiday projects” and then add your source board. If you have a board that is dedicated to just your holiday projects already, then use that, but if not, create a secret board where you fill it up with those posts. You will likely do this for all the broad level categories you blog about. For example, I have several secret boards that I title “MY BLOG – ___”, with the type of posts to fill in the blank. So, “MY BLOG- DIYs” and “MY BLOG – blogging biz posts” and “MY BLOG – interior decor shots”, etc etc.

boardbooster-campaigns2

Once you’ve chosen your source board, then you select the target boards you want those pins to go to. In this example you can see that I have told my secret biz tips board to repin to 6 different group boards I’m a part of related to that topic. You can vary how often a pin gets pinned to those boards, and so you can be sure to regulate how many you have going through (some group boards will have rules on this).

boardbooster-campaigns3

Click on “save” and you’ll be all setup! I recommend watching how your pins do in those group boards and adjusting them as necessary. If a group board isn’t doing much for you, leave it. And don’t be spammy with your group boards either. Overall you don’t want to only be pinning your own content – Pinterest doesn’t like that- so keep group pinning somewhat limited.

 

Adding your New Content

The last thing you need to think about is making sure to add your latest content to Pinterest on an ongoing basis. So whenever I publish a new blog post, I pin the relevant images to any appropriate boards, including my secret boards that are for campaigns.

 

Phew! 

Hopefully that’ll save you some headache when you sign up for Boardbooster (I went through some trial and error trying to figure it all out!).

Like I said, Boardbooster has been a game changer for me. I SOOO recommend it!

 

 

Free Trial:

Grab your free trial of Boardbooster to see how you like it (their monthly plans start as low as $5/month). I have a feeling you’re going to LOVE it!

try-boardbooster-for-free

 

Do you want to launch your own online shop?

I went from hobby blogger to full-time biz owner when I launched an online shop as part of my blogging business. Want to know how I did it? Make sure to snag my Manufacturers List here! I’m spilling ALL the secrets in there about the drop-ship manufacturing partners you can work with to do the same.

 

Aaannnd, remember to sign up for my my FREE Facebook Group

One more thing, if you want to hang out with me and thousands of amaaaazing other bloggers and online entrepreneurs, make sure to click here to join my FREE, private Facebook Group!

Boardbooster Tutorial | How to automate Pinterest with Boardbooster | Pinterest Scheduler | Increase blog traffic

 

Related Posts:

Key Strategies to Brand your Pinterest and Grow Your Account

8 Easy Ways to Grow your Blog Traffic

How to Start a Blog

How to Create a Blog Media Kit That Brands Will Love

Are you a blogger who wants to start working with brands?

Well, you are going to need a stellar blog media kit that will make you look professional, show off your work, and basically make brands line up to work with you. It’s like your ultimate sales pitch tool. I can guarantee you that if you pitch a brand without a media kit, your chances of them saying yes to a collaboration are waaaay lower.

Note: Affiliate Links have been used in this post. Please refer to my Policies page for more information.

Blog Media Kit | How to make a media kit | Pitch brands | Sponsored Posts | Media Kit Templates

 

Elements Every Media Kit Should Have:

A Description of You & Your Blog

You need to introduce who you are and what your blog is all about in your media kit. The description should be a short paragraph letting them know your name, your blog name, and the general topics you blog about. I also like to include location in here. For me being based in Canada, sometimes that is an advantage or can be restrictive to potential sponsors, so I like to get it out on the table right away.

 

Amazing Photos

Next up are photos. You don’t want your media kit to come off as all-text because that would be seriously boring. It needs to look good and convey a sense of personality and your blog. I want you to include your best headshot so that the brand can feel like they are getting to know you, and then a handful of other images that demonstrate some of the most stellar work from your blog. Make sure these are beautiful photos that are well-lit, edited nicely, and form a cohesive look.

 

Audience Demographics

Next up are your audience demographics. You want to give the brand a sense of your readership so that they know whether this fits into their target market. If you head into Google Analytics, you can look up the sex, location, and age of your readership. You should have a general sense of this anyway, and the overall interests of your readers just based on your interaction with them. A one to two sentence description of your audience is sufficient.

 

Stats

Your blog and social media stats need to be on the kit somewhere. The key ones to include are:

  • Your followers count across your social media platforms
  • Monthly page views to your blog
  • Monthly unique page views (“users” in Google Analytics)
  • Newsletter subscriber count (assuming you have a newsletter setup)

To get your page views and your uniques, head on into to Google Analytics, as it has the most accurate numbers. If you don’t have Google Analytics setup yet for your blog, definitely do it. It’s going to be the best way for you to get a sense of your readership.

Blog Media Kit | How to make a media kit | Pitch brands | Sponsored Posts | Media Kit Templates

Check out Shannon’s media kit here. She does a beautiful job at packing it full of info AND keeping it pretty! 

Collaboration Options

You want to describe the kinds of ways you could work with brands. This is where you are saying what you offer – whether it’s blog posts, social media posts, newsletter mentions, photography, original video, etc. I recommend you include your rates within your kit so that it’s all in one spot. You want to make it as easy as possible for the brand’s PR/marketing person.

 

Contact Information

It’s kind of obvious, but make sure you have your contact information readily available in the kit. An email address is sufficient, and your handles for social media is good to have there too.

 

Testimonials / Press

This is optional, but having testimonials from other brands you have worked with can be a great way of selling yourself. Or even just having the logos of brands you’ve worked with is still an awesome way of adding that credibility factor to your blog.

If you have received big press coverage with your blog, then it’s nice to highlight that as well. Again, it shows that you have a big reach and helps you to be taken seriously.

 

General Tips:

Make it a PDF – Your kit should always come as a PDF, unless you have created it online so it has its own URL. Don’t send something in Word or as a JPEG, it just doesn’t look as professional and may be difficult to open up. A PDF will always look exactly how you created it, no matter who opens it up on any device.

Lots of white space – You don’t want your kit to feel text heavy. Make sure you have lots of white space to make it look great and be easy to read.

Not too long –  I don’t think that there is a hard and fast rule to how long your media kit should be, but kind of like a traditional resume, I wouldn’t let it get out of control long. People aren’t going to take the time to read anything that goes on forever, so aim to keep it under 3 pages.

 

Media Kit Templates:

If you are savvy with design software and can create your kit on your own, then totally go for it… BUT using a template is what I recommend. It will save you tons of time and headache, and will ensure your kit looks super amazing.

There are lots of great templates out there, but here are my faves. The best part? All of these can be customized using Word, so you don’t need Photoshop or any other special software. It makes it easy to edit and you can save as a PDF no problem:

template1

template2

template3

  • Graphicadi  – use coupon code THESWEETESTDIGS for 10% off!

template4

template5

 

Do you want to launch your own online shop?

I went from hobby blogger to full-time biz owner when I launched an online shop as part of my blogging business. Want to know how I did it? Make sure to snag my Manufacturers List here! I’m spilling ALL the secrets in there about the drop-ship manufacturing partners you can work with to do the same.

 

Aaannnd, remember to sign up for my my FREE Facebook Group

One more thing, if you want to hang out with me and thousands of amaaaazing other bloggers and online entrepreneurs, make sure to click here to join my FREE, private Facebook Group!

 

Related Posts:

How to pitch a sponsored post

24 Ways to Monetize your Blog

How to Launch Your Own Shop with Drop-Ship Manufacturing

The 3 Biggest Blog Monetization Myths (and what to do instead)

Between outdated information and just the huge amount of articles out there, it can be really hard to know where to start or know what really works when it comes to monetizing your blog. There are some general things I hear over and over again, that really just aren’t true.

Let’s take a deeper dive into these 3 big myths about how to make money blogging.

*This post contains some affiliate links. Please see my Policies page for more information.

Blog Monetization Myths | Want to make money blogging? Make sure you ignore these blog monetization myths!! Click through for the full scoop on what they are and what you can do instead. Plus more blogging biz and social media tips!

3 Blog Monetization Myths:

 

Myth #1: The only way of making money is through ads

In the early days of blogging, selling display ad space on your site was often all you needed to do in order to make some decent dough.  Bloggers could just throw the ads up there, focus solely on content, and call it a day. Sadly nowadays though, display advertising doesn’t pay much. Even if you test out all kinds of different spots on your blog and put up a zillion ads, you still aren’t going to make an income you can live off of, unless you have crazy high traffic (we’re talking hundreds of thousands of page views a month, or into the millions ++).

So, it’s all about getting smart and diversifying. I started out just with display advertising and still use (even if it doesn’t make a huge amount – it’s still so nice and passive!), but I have focused on creating other revenue streams that are strong. And now I’m making an income that actually pays our bills.

You need to tap into affiliate marketing that is done in a way that is actually going to convert into sales. If you want to work with brands, you need to know how to pitch them successfully and charge a fair fee. You need to think bigger picture and come up with a strategy to develop a product or service that you can sell through your blog. Rather than your blog being the be-all-and-end-all, you need to think about it as the “headquarters” for your larger brand.

 

Myth #2: You can only make money as a blogger if you have huge traffic

Obviously having a higher readership is going to be good for your revenue streams as a blogger. There is no doubt.

But you know what? It really isn’t ALL about traffic. If you are using outdated monetization strategies and relying solely on display advertising, then yeah, traffic is going to be the only way to increase your income. But if you are diversifying your revenue streams, working with brands that are paying you fairly, using affiliate marketing in an effective way, and using your blog as a marketing vehicle to sell products and/or services, then you don’t need huge numbers to make a good income.

When I started working with brands I had no idea how to pitch and what to charge, and was doing work for waaaaay too little. Even if your traffic isn’t huge, if you have cultivated an engaged and targeted audience and produce beautiful content, that is going to be super valuable to brands. Head over to this post about how to pitch brands sponsored posts.

If you are smart about how to use affiliate marketing in a way that doesn’t feel sales-y and are able to integrate it into a lot of your blog and social media content (particularly blog posts that are going to be popular and evergreen), then you can convert that into sales even if your numbers aren’t high. Some of my favourite affiliate programs are: Affiliate Window (they have Etsy), Share-a-Sale (they have Joss & Main, Land of Nod, One King’s Lane, Shutterfly, etc), Amazon, and RewardStyle (this one can be harder to get into – but they have sooo many brands).

I was able to introduce a small product line of art prints when my readership was under 50,000 page views a month and market it in a way that meant I was making about $1000/month (net profit) just from that stream. It depends on the product of course, but Etsy is a great spot to start an online shop.

If you want to introduce a service, sometimes all you need is to book out 1-2 clients a month in order to meet your revenue goals. You don’t need huge numbers for that.

Honestly, it’s not ALL about traffic. If you are smart about your monetization strategies from the beginning, you can make money. And then as you also work on growing your blog and see your traffic grow, inevitably your overall revenue will too!

 

Myth #3: It takes a lot of time and money to create a product line or service

I know that creating a product or coming up with a service to sell seems overwhelming and like a huge amount of work. And I’m not going to pretend that it isn’t – you do need to hustle and work damn hard to turn your blog into a thriving biz. But here’s the thing. It is also TOTALLY do-able. I promise!

I bet that you are spending oodles of time creating amazing content for your blog, doing outreach on social media, and sharing your work all over the place right now, right? But with smart systems in place to do those tasks more efficiently (hello, social media scheduling and batch-working!), cutting out the things that don’t provide a return on investment, and re-focusing some of that time toward product creation or providing a service, you might be surprised at how much you can actually get done. You need to have a business plan, set goals, and be strategic about how to get there.

And as for the monetary investment? There are so many product ideas and services you can come up with that cost either nothing or very little to get started (see this post for a big ol’ list of ideas!). From third party fulfillment products, digital products, and online services, there are lots of avenues you can explore. The best thing is to start small and test the waters, then scale up as required (you need to have a plan for scale-ability!).

I started my Etsy shop with a $20 investment and slowly figured out what did and didn’t sell. I went through a few different product ideas before finally landing on something that sold. It took some time and trial and error, but I now have a product line that sells both on Etsy and wholesale to boutique shops across Canada and the U.S. without requiring a crazy amount of time by me.

 

Do you want to launch your own online shop?

I went from hobby blogger to full-time biz owner when I launched an online shop as part of my blogging business. Want to know how I did it? Make sure to snag my Manufacturers List here! I’m spilling ALL the secrets in there about the drop-ship manufacturing partners you can work with to do the same.

 

Aaannnd, remember to sign up for my my FREE Facebook Group

One more thing, if you want to hang out with me and thousands of amaaaazing other bloggers and online entrepreneurs, make sure to click here to join my FREE, private Facebook Group!

Related Posts:

How to Launch an Online Shop with Drop-Ship Manufacturing

24 Ways to Monetize Your Blog

How to Pitch Brands for Sponsored Posts

Blog Monetization Myths | Want to make money blogging? Make sure you ignore these blog monetization myths!! Click through for the full scoop on what they are and what you can do instead. Plus more blogging biz and social media tips!

How To Pitch A Sponsored Blog Post And Land It

Have you ever wondered how bloggers land sponsored posts with amazing brands?

Ever wanted to work with a company but had no idea about how to go about getting in touch with them?

I have done a lot of sponsored work in my blogging career to date (some good, some not-so-good!), and have come up with a system that I use on how to pitch a sponsored post. You can get sponsored work through advertising agencies, but usually working directly with a brand is going to pay better and give you more creative control.

Before we dive right in, I just wanted to give a word of warning.

You don’t want to overdo sponsored posts as a blogger. There is a mix you need to strike so that you are generating revenue (this is a biz after all) but also staying true to your brand and keeping your readers as your #1 priority. Don’t do any sponsored work just for the paycheque – make sure the company you’re promoting is one you genuinely like and use. It should feel natural and never forced. Basically, just always keep your readers as your #1 priority.

OK, back to the pitch process.

How to pitch brands to get sponsored posts and campaigns as a blogger. Click for my step by step process, including pitch email ideas and blog media kit templates.

 

Let’s walk through the whole pitching process:

 

The Pre-Work

The first thing you want to do before starting anything, is to make sure you follow the brand you want to work with on all social media platforms.

Then make sure you interact with them – retweet their tweets, post about loving  a product of theirs on facebook and tag them, etc.

This is going to get you on their radar and turn yours into a name they’ll recognize when your email lands in their inbox.

 

Step 1: Find the Contact Person

Sometimes you might randomly get a press release emailed to you from a PR person regarding a brand – and if it is one that you want to work with, then you’ve hit gold and know exactly who to contact. If you want to work with a brand you’ve never been in touch with before though, you need to seek out the appropriate contact person. Most brands will have either a PR department or a PR person who handles blogger collaborations.

Here are the steps I take to find that person:

-Look on the brand’s website and search around. Maybe there is an “About Us” or “Departments” page, or something else that might lead to the right email address. You are looking for their PR or media person (or firm, if it’s a big brand).

-Ask your blogger friends. I find most bloggers are willing to share their contacts, so hit up the facecbook groups you’re a part of, or send an email to your blogging besties, to see if anyone has worked with that brand before.

-Sometimes if you google “brand + press release” you might get a press release that the brand put out. Have a look and scroll to the bottom, as that is usually where a PR person is listed for possible follow-up.

-Because you’re already following the brand on social media, simply ask! Send them a tweet or facebook message. Sometimes even the person managing the social media is the same person who handles blogger collabs.

Step 2: Send the Intro Email

Now that you have an email address, you need to open up the lines of communication.

Send them a brief, polite email that indicates who you are, a one-liner with what your blog is about, that you LOVE their brand, that you are interested in collaborating with them, and attach your media kit. Don’t get specific here about the project you want to do with them or what products you might want to review. You are simply feeling them out to see if they are even interested in working with bloggers.

A Note: Always send the media kit with this email. This is what is going to make you look profesh. I have rounded up my favourite media kit templates (and laid out exactly what you need to include in your kit).

 

Step 3: Pitch the Project

If you don’t hear back after that initial email, send a follow up about a week or two later to see if they got the email. If you still get crickets, just move on! And sometimes it’ll be a flat out ‘no’, and that’s OK too. Onto the next!

However, if you get back some interest (yay!), now is the time to follow up with a more specific pitch:

What product(s) or service of theirs would you like to showcase? Ask if this would be in line with their current campaigns / promotions.

What exactly are you offering in return? A blog post?  Social media outreach (if so, on which platforms)? A video? Product photography (indicate number of photos)? Newsletter mention? Be clear about what you offer in your “package”.

What is your rate? Be clear about what your rates are. Don’t undervalue your work – ask for a fair fee plus the free product you’ll be reviewing. Take into account all the time that goes into creating, photographing, writing, editing, and publishing a blog post or social media mention, plus the value of your audience size and engagement.

Make sure to really sell yourself. Emphasize your amazing readership (even if the numbers aren’t huge, if you have great engagement, highlight that), talk about how your blog post will be an evergreen piece of content on your site, how you will create an amazing Pinterest-friendly graphic to help boost reach on that platform, etc. Whatever you do really well, highlight that.

You want to make it really obvious that you LOVE the brand and that what you are offering will be amazing promotion for them. You want to angle your pitch from a position of how good it will be for them, versus talking about what you want from them.

You can include samples of past sponsored work, if it’s relevant, or testimonials from other brands you’ve worked with.

 

Step 4: Get it in Writing

You’ll likely have a bit of back-and-forth and potentially some negotiation, but once you’ve got the green light to go ahead, make sure to get everything in writing. Usually just over email is sufficient, but put together a contract for both parties to sign if that makes you feel more comfortable.

Some things to have clear:

  • Deliverables: What exactly you are required to do (Is it 1 blog post + 1 post on each of facebook, twitter, instagram, pinterest? Or a series of instagram posts? A video?)
  • Dates: What is the go-live date for the post or posts? Will the social media go out on the same day? (Note: Make sure to give yourself enough time to create the post. You don’t want to scramble and not produce quality content!)
  • What links would they like you to use within your blog post? (note: these must be “no-follow” links – it’s the law!)
  • Do they require seeing a draft before the post goes live?

You want to ensure a professional approach when you’re working with PR firms and brands so that you can build confidence, trust, and hopefully have a long-lasting relationship.

 

Step 5: Do the Work

Time to create your amazing content!

Always make sure to weave the sponsored product in naturally to your posts. Something that feels forced comes off as so disingenuous and is a total turn-off to readers. Have beautiful photography, teach something, write a detailed post. The best sponsored work is when the reader doesn’t even notice that it’s sponsored – it comes off super naturally and isn’t just a plain review of a product.

Always always always make sure to have a disclaimer at the bottom of a post that indicates it is sponsored. Don’t be breaking the rules, guys! You gotta be honest about this stuff.

 

Step 6: The Follow Up

So the day that you post, you need to send in your invoice (unless you had another arrangement where the fee was paid in advance). I create my invoices using Wave Apps and love their software – it’s free and you can make your invoices look super profesh.

I give 15 days to pay, and ask for payment either via paypal or cheque. Within the invoice itself, I also include a link to the blog post, the date it was published, and links to the social media mentions as well.

Usually payment happens super fast, but if it doesn’t come through on time, don’t hesitate to reach out and ask about it. This is a business after all.

Now if you really want to stand out from the other bloggers, do a 2-week follow up email with stats. Include how your post did, any screenshots of comments, shares on social media, views from google analytics, etc. This is really the cherry on top and the PR person or firm is going to be super impressed by this. This shows a level of professionalism that they will remember and want to work with again.

 

And that’s it!

Not too complicated, right? Just remember not to get bummed if you get a bunch of no’s before a yes. Some brands don’t have budgets to work with bloggers, or they might just not realize what a great opportunity it is to tap into an engaged readership, so don’t sweat it. Just move on to the next.

Do you want to launch your own online shop?

I went from hobby blogger to full-time biz owner when I launched an online shop as part of my blogging business. Want to know how I did it? Make sure to snag my Manufacturers List here! I’m spilling ALL the secrets in there about the drop-ship manufacturing partners you can work with to do the same.

 

Aaannnd, remember to sign up for my my FREE Facebook Group

One more thing, if you want to hang out with me and thousands of amaaaazing other bloggers and online entrepreneurs, make sure to click here to join my FREE, private Facebook Group!

Blog Editorial Calendar | Free editorial calendar template | How to use a blogging content planning system | Blogging tips

 

Related Posts:

Do you want to launch your own online shop?

I went from hobby blogger to full-time biz owner when I launched an online shop as part of my blogging business. Want to know how I did it? Make sure to snag my Manufacturers List here! I’m spilling ALL the secrets in there about the drop-ship manufacturing partners you can work with to do the same.

 

Aaannnd, remember to sign up for my my FREE Facebook Group

One more thing, if you want to hang out with me and thousands of amaaaazing other bloggers and online entrepreneurs, make sure to click here to join my FREE, private Facebook Group!

Blog Editorial Calendar | Free editorial calendar template | How to use a blogging content planning system | Blogging tips

 

Related Posts:

Want to work with brands? Here is my step by step guide on how to pitch sponsored posts.. and LAND THEM! This is a great way to make money as a blogger and monetize your blogging biz. Plus there is a free tracking sheet to download to keep it all organized! Click through for the how-to.

The 5 Mistakes Bloggers Make When They Monetize Their Blog

Back when I started my own design and lifestyle blog in 2010, most fellow bloggers were also just starting theirs as a hobby – an interest in sharing their creativity and developing a community online.

I feel like today there are a lot more people who start blogs for business, with an intention of monetizing their new venture.

Either way, whether you start as a hobby and then eventually monetize, or monetize your blog right from the beginning, there are mistakes that I notice over and over again.

If you’re wanting to launch your own blog, listen up. Here are the 5 biggest mistakes to avoid.

Oh… and how do I know? Because I made every single one of them myself. #truthtime

Want to make money blogging? Don't make these blog monetization mistakes. Click through to find out what they are and how to avoid them.

5 Biggest Mistakes Bloggers Make When Monetizing:

Alright. Here they are.

The 5 mistakes I don’t want you to make.

Mistake 1: Under-valuing your work

As a new blogger, one of the biggest questions that I had when I started working with brands was what the heck to charge. I’m pretty sure I did an in-depth blog post and campaign in exchange for one can of paint.

As much as I want to support and work with brands that I trust and love, you also need to get paid for the content you are providing. Freebies are wonderful, but they don’t pay the bills, you know?

As a blogger, you are running your brand and your business. You need to treat it as such. Your time, costs, and skills all have to be taken into account when setting a rate for working with brands. You have taken time and effort to cultivate an engaged audience who trust what you are saying, and that is hugely valuable from a marketing point of you.  You are offering some great PR for a brand when you highlight a product to your readership, and so that needs to be compensated accordingly. You are providing amazing photography, possibly even a video, social media outreach, and a piece of blog content that is going to live on the internet. All of that means something.

Make sure your rates are fair for all parties involved.

 

Mistake 2: Bombarding readers with display ads

Have you ever landed on a blog and can barely read the article or get a feel for the blogger because there are ads coming at you from every direction?

Yeah, me too.

And I hate to say it, but I have totally been guilty of this myself on my own blog.

There is nothing worse as a reader than getting totally bombarded with ads. You can’t really blame them for quickly exiting from your site when there are a zillion things flashing, popping up, and possibly even making noises at them. And how are you going to build a loyal and large readership like that?

It can be exciting to think that you can make money by placing ads on your website, but you need to weigh that against the experience for your reader. Ultimately the more you are able to grow your readership, the more you’ll be able to make from your blog in all revenue streams, so you don’t want to turn people off. If you do decide to place display ads on your site, you need to do it in strategic spots that are high revenue-generators without being totally off-putting to your readers.

 

Mistake 3: Not having a strategic business plan

Often when people start a blog they think of it as an online diary. Usually there isn’t any forethought into what the blog might grow into, or what the ultimate business goals are. And that’s totally cool if you want to just be a hobby blogger.

But if you are serious about making an income from your blog, then you need to get your business hat on and realize that you are building a brand. You need to have goals and a direction, and as I mentioned in this post, you need to be thinking about what products or services you are going to start selling. This is how you are going to diversify your revenue streams and have the opportunity to build a business for yourself that is going to pay well.

What is your ultimate monetization goal for your blog and how do you plan to get there?

You need to have a concrete vision of where you want to go with your blogging biz and map out the steps you need to take to achieve it.

Want to start making money blogging? Do it the smart way and avoid these 5 mistakes every blogger makes when they monetize their blog! Click through for the full post and more online entrepreneur biz tips.

 

Mistake 4: Forgetting to focus on creating amazing content

When you decide to monetize your blog, you can get totally swept up in trying to understand how to do it, optimizing ad placements, reaching out to brands, sharing a zillion affiliate links, brainstorming product and service ideas, and figuring out how to approach marketing them.

But here’s the thing: You still need to focus on creating really amazing content for your blog to build that readership.

None of those avenues of monetization are going to pay you a dollar if you don’t have anyone to sell it to.

Display ads rely on traffic, affiliate marketing relies on having an audience that are going to trust your opinion and buy products, brands are only going to want to work with you if you have a reasonable following of engaged readers, and you aren’t going to be able to sell any products and services if you don’t have an audience to market them to.

So while I don’t want you to ignore monetization, you need to also make sure you spend enough time creating super stellar content that gives tons of value. This is going to be what cultivates that amazing readership who trust what you say, who actually want to hear from you, and eventually will feel comfortable buying from you.

 

Mistake 5: Not building an email list

You can have a huge instagram following, big numbers on facebook, or large audiences on any other social media platform, but here’s the catch: you don’t OWN any of that.

Any of those platforms can make a change in their algorithm or disappear tomorrow, and you wouldn’t have anything to show for it.

The most important thing you need to be focusing on? Building your email list.

These are folks who are going to let you into their inbox every week – that’s HUGE. It isn’t just some passing pic in a feed that they may or may not see, this is major access right to them. This is going to help you monetize in so many ways.

Want to work with a brand? Tell them how many email subscribers you have and how you could offer a mention of their product in a newsletter.

Want to sell a product or service? You aren’t going to get better conversion numbers than from the people on your list.

Want to do some affiliate marketing? An email list means direct access to people who trust your voice.

Work on providing insane value to your readers so that they not only want to join your list, but look forward to opening that email from you week after week. Create opt-in incentives and make sure you have obvious places on your blog for readers to sign up.

 

 

Do you want to launch your own online shop?

I went from hobby blogger to full-time biz owner when I launched an online shop as part of my blogging business. Want to know how I did it? Make sure to snag my Manufacturers List here! I’m spilling ALL the secrets in there about the drop-ship manufacturing partners you can work with to do the same.

 

Aaannnd, remember to sign up for my my FREE Facebook Group

One more thing, if you want to hang out with me and thousands of amaaaazing other bloggers and online entrepreneurs, make sure to click here to join my FREE, private Facebook Group!

Blog Editorial Calendar | Free editorial calendar template | How to use a blogging content planning system | Blogging tips

 

Related Posts:

Want to start making money blogging? Do it the smart way and avoid these 5 mistakes every blogger makes when they monetize their blog! Click through for the full post and more online entrepreneur biz tips.