Authentically + Organically Monetize your blog

organically monetize your blog and finally make money doing it via besottedblog.com i

We asked the question a few months ago, ‘is blogging ending?‘ and it would seem that way with so many bloggers just getting up and closing shop, but what if blogging is not dying but evolving (like all good things should)?  I think it’s time in the blogging evolution to discuss how people are actually making a living (and a good one at that) from their blogs. It may not be what you think. Being the pragmatic girls we are we thought it might be better to give you a real world example of someone that is making it happen.  Our lovely friend Sanae Ishida, as promised, is going to share how she went from 2 readers and making pennies on affiliate links to a 4 book (yes 4!) deal, a thriving passive income revenue stream and an ongoing consulting-authentically + organically monetizing her blog (and so can you!).

‘All of my current income has been generated because of my blog’.

We wanted to share this with you because I think a lot of people define success, especially with their blogs differently than they would any other business. Some bloggers are attached to the numbers, how many people are visiting each day/month and are waiting for sponsors to find their little slice of the internet, which in this blogging climate is probably not the best plan for blog success, but hopefully Sanae’s experience and pearls of wisdom will give you an ‘aha’ moment.

B: We know that in the blogging world numbers are king, can you tell us a little bit about your stats?

S: I actually don’t know how many readers I have since I don’t check my analytics anymore. I noticed that I started to try to create posts that would get more readers when I got obsessed with stats and I wasn’t as “genuine”. I never intended the blog to be a money-maker. It was and continues to be my happy place and trying to create content for numbers wasn’t a happy thing for me.

B: How are people finding you?

S: A lot of traffic comes from Pinterest, and a small percentage of that number turns into actual regular readers. But the vast majority of people are finding me organically, usually from other sewing/crafty blogs or Google searches about Japanese sewing books (which I’m obsessed with).

B: Can you tell us about your book deals?

S: The publishers did approach me BUT I had to come up with the book proposals/concepts. It wasn’t a given that I would get a deal, I think this is a common misconception that you get approached and just get a deal. It’s a collaboration that requires coming up with a concept that you’ll love to work on and that a publisher believes has market potential.

B: What would be one of the most important things you learned about your blog?

S: I think the main thing for me is the connections I’ve made and the community that’s formed around the blog. The kindest, funniest, smartest and most creative people have become a part of my life because of this online adventure.

Also, I can’t emphasize enough how important it is to put yourself and your work out there. I won’t lie, it was scary for me. I know so many people doing brilliant, beautiful things, quietly perfecting their craft in a vacuum with the conviction, “if I make it, they will come,” but it rarely happens that way. I don’t think it’s about selling out or doing icky things to market yourself, but about engaging with people outside of your immediate circle with things you really care about. The book deals wouldn’t have happened if my editors hadn’t read my content and seen my illustrations.

I try to push myself to get out of my comfort zone and I strive to always, always be honest. One of the posts that seemed to have the most impact was the series I did about getting out of massive debt. It was terribly embarrassing to reveal that information but I trusted my readers, and I believe they trusted me in return — I still get emails about that series!

B: We love that you have taken a blog with no ads, no sponsors and organically grew an income generator. For those that are rolling their eyes thinking they couldn’t get a book deal I would love to discuss some of your other blog revenue streams that someone might be able to implement for themselves.

S: Knowing that I either had to start generating an income or stop blogging all together (my husband was very confused as to why I was spending so much time on the blog), I developed a monthly membership newsletter that has additional content, downloads, discounts, interviews and whatever creative content that I feel might be relevant/beneficial that month. I like to think of it as a more “deluxe” version of the blog. The idea popped into my head intuitively as a way to provide value using skills that come naturally to me.

B:  Could you please share the price of the membership and what you have generated from it thus far?

S: It is $10/month, in a little over a year it has generated an additional $6,000 towards my income (which up until the book deals was zero from the blog). I am still humbled and so grateful each month that someone would want to be part of the membership.

B: We know that you have managed to develop other income streams from the blog could you tell us more?

S: Because I have a focus on sewing content + sewing projects on my blog I was approached by an Asian publisher to review a translated craft book. I then actively pursued the publisher to do translations, letting them know I was fluent in Japanese if they ‘ever needed a translator…’ I kept mentioning it until finally they contacted me  (I think they were ‘alright already!’), it has become a fruitful relationship. I have translated 3 books so far, they take me about a week and I get $1,500/book. I have also had the opportunity for the occasional art show where I have sold my art directly and I am planning on teaching workshops! I started an etsy shop too, but that’s still in its fledgling stages.

B: I think it’s safe to say that it’s about thinking ‘outside the blog’ on potential monetizing opportunities. Thank you Sanae for allowing us to pick your brain!

In essence what we wanted to get at with this interview is that you can (and should) use your blog as a vehicle to showcase your work, your products and skills. It is a valuable platform that could generate you either an additional income or like Sanae become your means of generating your sole income.  You don’t need a monster following to do so either. We know of one blogger with a mailing list of 4 people that was able to sell over $5,000 in design consults to just those 4 people, she had built up enough trust and shared enough of her work that people were interested and willing to partake in her offerings when she was ready.  If you are wanting to take your business and blog to the next level we so hope that Sanae’s story and unusual opportunities got your wheels turning on who you might be able to approach for your blog/business.

TOP TIPS FOR SUCCESSFULLY MONETIZING YOUR BLOG:

If you have a special skill use your blog as a portfolio to showcase your work, this could garner the attention of someone in need of your particular skill set!

Don’t let the numbers cripple you. It’s better to have an engaged readership of 100 than a flighty one of one off visits from 100,000 individuals.

Is there premium content you could offer? Ie. Tutorials, courses, downloads, etc.

If you see a potential opportunity from a company that has reached out to you–go for it, make it known you have a specialty in ‘X’, even if you get rejected at first your skill set may be needed at a later date. They won’t know if you don’t tell them!

If you want a book deal, research how to put together a book proposal so you will be ready when either opportunity knocks or inspiration!

If you have any questions for Sanae or us feel free to leave them in the comments and we will try to answer them as best as possible!

P.P.S. If you like this watercolor graphic (it’s a Photoshop brush!) We will be giving it away soon when we announce our next Foto Rx launch. Sign-up to be notified and in on the download!

 

Successful blog secrets revealed

Secrets of better blogging

Here are some successful blog secrets revealed (shhh, be sure to only share this information with people you want to be a success…) First, let me preface this that I am quite aware that I am like the cobbler with no shoes. I have been in branding + marketing for longer than I should like to admit (without revealing my ahem age) and I don’t always follow my own advice. That being said, when I do I usually come out a winner and we so want you to be winners too, because we like you! We won’t overwhelm you with all our secrets to running a successful blog today but we think that these sweet little bons bons should really help assist with building a better blog/web presence.

No. 1-NAME YOUR PHOTOS + GRAPHICS!

So you took this great shot and you upload it to your site/blog and the name of it is–456908img.jpeg, what the what?  Someone comes to your site and Pins it and now it is living on the interwebs as 456908img.jpeg, no one knows it is your photo, no one can find who it belongs to, it is getting repinned and posted on Tumblr like wildfire and you have a big ‘ol goose egg of exposure to show for it. So, how should you name it?  We name almost all of our blog graphics with something pertinent to the image or post (like the title) and add via besottedblog for good measure. This is also great for search engines trying to help out the ‘ol Google searcher (or Bing, Yahoo, etc. or what have you…) I gave this bit of advice to a pretty huge film photographer and she said it changed her business exponentially. You’re welcome.

No. 2-USE PRACTICAL BLOG TITLES

For years I had been coming up with what I like to believe were witty + charming blog titles, the problem with this is it mainly only amuses you and maybe your Aunt Zelda. It’s annoying to anyone actually trying to find useful information on your site and what’s worse? You aren’t relevant with those darn search engines. Write your post title so it explains succinctly and hopefully alluringly what your posts are about.

No. 3-BE CONSISTENT

Ugh!  I had been one of the most consistent of bloggers for years and then my laptop battery died and if you jiggle the plug the wrong way the laptop dies and with a toddler I may never have time to bring my laptop to Apple and this blog may never be consistent again (wasn’t that irritating?). So do as I say and not as I do…If you are going to blog, do it consistently! You don’t have to do it every day, if you are only going to do it once a month, on the last day of the month-DO IT. Don’t apologize if you don’t or make excuses (it’s annoying, reference the first sentence), but if you are only going to write one post a month, make sure it’s an epic one (albeit it doesn’t need to be long), one that is filled with information that someone coming upon it can’t find anywhere else (at least not easily), something perhaps that will be referenced for many more months to come, something that is pinnable, something that is, dare I say useful?

No. 4-DON’T DO IT IF YOU HATE IT

That one seems obvious, but maybe you just needed to hear it. If you hate blogging don’t do it. There are other ways to have a social media presence. If it feels like a complete and utter chore like getting a root canal or doing taxes–stop!  I think blogging works best when you are authentic. I love blogging, I hate the name, but I thoroughly enjoy it. I miss it when I am not here. I am constantly coming up with things I want to share with you, that I otherwise couldn’t with other social media outlets. Besides, we don’t think of this as a blog per se, we consider it a creative repository, so maybe that takes some pressure off of it. Do whatever feels comfortable for you and your situation.

I think this is enough secret spilling for one day, but we will be back with more, feel free to send us a note if you have a secret you want mentioned in the next installment!

Miss Tristan B. is the co-creator of the world’s best + easiest product photography editing tool-Foto Rx | Shopkeeper’s Helper and one of the writer’s of this delightful blog. Her lofty goal here is to make this a creative resource repository and to inspire you to fall truly, madly, deeply in love with your life.

photo by roksolana zasiadko

Product Photography Mock-up Templates

besotted modern mock up templates

modern mock up templates besotted blog

We needed a graphic for our Photoshop for Lettering Artist class pronto, but we didn’t have the time (or energy) to create one the way we had envisioned, it would mean we’d have to clean up our studio desks (gasp) get the lights out, then there’s that little bit of shooting and then editing. Luckily, White Hart Designs had the perfect photo mock-up template for us and all we had to do was add our little graphic and call it a day! We are in love with all the new photo mock-up template choices that are currently available now, this wasn’t so even a few short months ago, it’s a game changer for many businesses!Read More

Writing Software

Confucius quote via besotted blog

You really don’t need any special software to write, a pen and paper will do just fine. Michelle and I are finding in getting ready for Nanowrimo and doing our practice runs to see if we can actually hit the daily 1667 word mark (so far no dice) that long form writing can get disorganized very quickly.  We are currently using a shared Google Drive folder, the new ‘document’ feature is very much like Word so it’s not like you have to re-learn any new software (a plus), and the other plus is that we both can access the drive on line and in real time. The downside is that it is a virtual blob of all of our thoughts and the documents are rapidly piling up into what could only best be described as total chaos. We decided to look into software, not wanting to invest too much, but if something seemed a fair price then maybe. We not only discovered fair we discovered to our great delight generous! We compiled some resources (mostly Mac since that seems to be harder to find than a pc compatible software and that’s what we use).

Scrivner

This was the first software we looked into because it was developed specifically for Mac’s (but is now available in a PC version too). We looked through the tutorials and it seems very straightforward for us to learn. It also looks thoroughly organized and we can organize the way that best suits our style and if our style changes midway through this project we can re-organize a totally different way down the line. It’s very affordable at only $45 USD, but here’s the generous bit–the Scrivner developers Literature and Latte offer Nanowrimo a free trial for the entire month of November and extend it until December 7th for good measure, if at the end of November you reach your 50k word win/goal they offer the software at 50% off!  We’ve read nothing but good things about this software and this is the one we are leaning most towards. Nanowrimo 2015 offer.

Ulysses

Their motto is ‘Write anything. Anywhere.’  It’s an app for Ipad and IOS systems (your Iphone)  it is lauded for its minimalist design. Ulysses is free for anyone writing during Nanowrimo 2015! This app is not just for aspiring novelist either, journalist love it as do bloggers! Free extended trial here.

Storyist

I love that you can download the desktop, Ipad and Iphone version and sync!  It always seem that you get a brilliant idea when you are no where near a computer, but your phone? Well, that thing is usually glued to you right? Storyist has a free trial and is also offering a 50% off to all that meet the 50k word goal at the end of November

Lastly a little extra help…

Grammarly

Grammar is my Kryptonite, a bigger person might never put words out in the world if their grammar was as poor as mine, but my desire to write eclipses my fear of looking like a dolt. For you dear friends I brave the grammar police daily, hold my breath and hit ‘publish’ with aplomb. Luckily there’s a new tool to help those that feel baffled in the face of punctuation and it’s called Grammarly. It’s a subscription based tool where you can upload your writing and get your grammar checked, yes, I do need this.

If you have been on the fence with writing software maybe these free trials might offer more incentive to give them a go. Again, totally not necessary to write, but as we are quickly finding out, could be super help for more long form writing (which both Michelle and I don’t have any experience with). If you have tried any writing software that you love please let us know, we would love to share the resources! Here’s to happy writing for this November challenge!

Tools of the trade | Immersion Blender

tools of the trade besotted blogI know, seemingly odd way to start a Monday right? An immersion blender? When I first started the ‘tools of the trade’ section on the site I had visions of asking many different creatives about their ‘secret-have to have’ tools, because whenever I found out about one that would work in my life I knew I wanted to share. This here immersion blender was one of those awesome ‘tools of the trade’ secrets from a professional chef friend who swore by it for soup puree’s. I kept meaning to write about it but it never felt like a good fit, or I’d see something shiny and forget. Last night when I made a batch of the silkiest  hummus this side of the Mississippi I knew that enough was enough, I had to share.Read More