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The Business of Blogging: A Bufferchat Recap

Jul 28, 2016 5 min readBufferchat

This week on #bufferchat, Val Geisler of ConvertKit stopped by to share her expertise and advice on the business of blogging! We discussed strategies for building an engaged readership, tips for creating a content plan, suggestions for multiple revenue streams, and much more!

Catch our weekly Twitter chat, #bufferchat, at TWO times every Wednesday for valuable industry insights and networking with nearly 400 other smart marketers and community managers. Same topic, same place, just at different times – feel free to join in to whichever chat time works best for you!

For our community in Asia and Australia (or anyone in other timezones that like this time the best!): 4 pm AEST (Sydney time, UTC+10)

For our community in North/South America, Europe and Africa (or others!): 9 am PT (California time)

Bufferchat on July 27, 2016: The Business of Blogging

This week’s stats:
1st Bufferchat: 103 participants; 530 tweets; reach of 960,721
2nd Bufferchat: 281 participants;1,931 tweets; reach of 1,985,391

Q1: How do you define “success” for a blogger?

From Val:

  • Success looks different for everyone. For me it’s knowing that I can leave work and focus on family at the end of the day.

From the community:

  • “Success is when audience loves their content, getting accolades from industry leaders. @denharsh is perfect example.” @DaljeetkKaur
  • “‘Success’ for bloggers means when the blog starts to sustain itself, or when you gain skills you need to advance your career.” @rhizaoyos
  • “Success is not based on vanity metrics but rather the willpower and determination to continue despite obstacles.” @MktgInnovator
  • “Are people reading your words? Do people talk about what you write or leave comments or thumbs up?” @rouxroamer
  • “The value & success of your blog is determined by the readers not the authors…. Listen, Engage & Provide what they want!” @iSocialFanz

See all the great answers to question 1 here!

Q2: What skills would you recommend for someone who’s interested in building a blogging business?

From Val:

  • Time blocking. Learning to manage your calendar and prioritize is crucial to being successful. Know what matters every day.

From the community:

  • “You need to have a command of language. Communicating succinctly a big plus.” @adamrodricks
  • “Photography, communication and social media skills are a MUST. You need to know how to connect w/others.” @SprouseRachel
  • “Try to write daily, even if you don’t hit publish. The best weren’t the best the first time they wrote either.” @J_Rouser
  • “Goal setting, patience, creativity, writing, editing, SEO, HTML… there really are a lot of skills involved.” @zacharyfenell
  • “With no hesitation Perseverance is the skill to build a blogging business, you can easily learn the rest.” @diveinthecrowd

See all the great answers to question 2 here!

Q3: What are some key strategies for building a really engaged readership?

From Val:

  • Get engaged with them. Email them, reply to their comments, do webinars. Being human goes a long way.
  • The same word that keeps showing up here today, @buffer: CONSISTENCY.
  • Teach everything you know.
  • Tell stories, not lectures. Give them something to relate to and find the human element in everything you do.

From the community:

  • “Communicating back! No one wants to talk to a wall – responding back to followers is key & truly builds relationships.” @verb_house
  • “Ask questions. “Feature” customer/reader posts submitted to you on your page, use visuals whenever you can and be consistent.” @sarahtaqvi
  • “Building engaged readership: thru your content – solve problems, make people imagine, tell a story and ask questions.” @thinkdesignvis
  • “Showing your personality, I think that’s why livestreaming is so popular, readers interact w/ the person behind blog.” @moniekjames
  • “Don’t limit how generous you can be. Your audience will be the most loyal when you’re the most giving.” @Schmittastic

See all the great answers to question 3 here!

Q4: Which 1-3 social media platforms are the best for promoting and supporting your blog, and why?

From Val:

  • At @ConvertKit we love Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. We’ve also experimented with Pinterest lately.
  • Where our readers are. Going where they naturally hang out is so much easier than trying to reel them in somewhere else.
  • We’ve used FB Live lately to drive engagement and it’s really paying off. Again: consistency is key!

From the community:

  • “Quora/Reddit and forums specific to your niche are untapped resources to build audience, try to engage there.” @funnelsavvy
  • “Twitter is such an incredible tool. It’s conversation, promotion and connection. Really brings everything full circle.” @Schmittastic
  • @Medium is an amazing place for editorial writing and linking to your own site. For promo FB / LinkedIn depending on content.” @timothymehlhorn
  • “The best place to promote your blog is where your readers are. Take the time to identify your target audience and get em.” @EliteYouTubePro
  • @Facebook gets a lot of quick hits because the post stays there on my timeline as one of few. It’s attractive for sharing.” @AKKerani

See all the great answers to question 4 here!

Q5: How can you create multiple revenue streams for your blog?

From Val:

  • Teach what you know. Build out an email course. Or consider taking on 1×1 clients until you feel confident to build the course.
  • Emailing your list is the #1 way to increase revenue. Email converts $12 for every $1 social does.

From the community:

  • “Develop partnerships with brands to cross promote products or services.” @SearcySledge
  • “Display ads, affiliate links, sponsored content, product reviews, events attendance.” @monajarshall
  • “Education is a big trend right now, email list, exclusive monthly content, digital goods and printables.” @karalayne
  • “Think about genuine sponsorships with brands, honest affiliate marketing + related guest posts for other blogs.” @joeallam
  • “Always sign up for typical ad revenue programs, but keep in mind that building a brand is key for long-term success.” @kookypixel

See all the great answers to question 5 here!

Q6: Do you have tips for creating a content strategy/plan?

From Val:

  • Consider your ideal customer’s journey. Take them on it with your content. Plan it out in advance and work ahead.
  • Working ahead means you never worry about what goes up that day. It’s all laid out and you can focus on other things.

From the community:

  • “Plot things out, do your research for your optimising opportunities & be strict with yourself – get it done in advance!” @TrafficJamSarah
  • “Write evergreen content. Publish, then reschedule social pushes on regular basis. @buffer excels at this.” @itstrulymkt
  • “Editorial calendar w/ Asana is tops. Know your themes; tags & categories. Consistency + persistence.” @JanetBrent
  • “Build your website and content FIRST. Once there’s a good chunk on there, then start marketing.” @laura_bauman
  • “Bonus #content #tip: Establish your voice; be personal. Who you are is the one thing others can’t duplicate.” @_SmartEDits

See all the great answers to question 6 here!

Q7: If we challenged you to make $100 as a blogger today, what would you put into action now?

From Val:

  • An email course! Setting up a simple email course teaching what I know and then using email to sell it.
  • The key (with whatever I’d create) is to sell it first. MVP. Create enough to market it and then build it later.

From the community:

  • “Create an immediate sellable product/service from your best skill. Create a great landing page and go full out on marketing.” @Geomk
  • “Offer a paid webinar on blogging (or a topic related to 1 of my blogs).” @_KirstenT
  • “Set up some merch that is related to my blog’s main theme.” @TheWanderLyz
  • “Find a $1,000 answer to a $100 question (it’s a great bargain!).” @gettwofit

See all the great answers to question 7 here!

Thank you so much to Val for sharing all of her awesome insights, and to everyone who participated in this chat!

Catch #bufferchat each Wednesday at 9 am PST, 12 pm EST, 5 pm BST (GMT+1)  **OR** at 4 pm AEST (Sydney time, UTC+10). Join our Slack community with over 2,000 members to continue these awesome conversations all week long!

Do you have any comments or answers to these questions? Leave your thoughts in the comments! We’d love to hear from you!

Image sources: UnSplash

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