Let’s chat for a second, shall we?
How often are you in a blogging-related Facebook group and see a post like this pop up:
“Why does it seem like the only bloggers making money are those that are blogging about blogging or teaching people how to blog?”
I see threads pop up like this almost daily.
Listen, I understand.
When I first started blogging, it was solely for fun. Like an online diary. So I was AMAZED to learn (a couple of years down the road) that people could actually make money by blogging. Whaaaaat?!
So, of course, I started reading a LOT of blogs about blogging. They were super helpful and I am very happy that they exist.
But the fact of the matter is that blogging about blogging isn’t for everyone. More importantly, though, it’s far from the only way to make money on the interwebs.
Listen… The key to earning money online is to find a niche that you love and that other people love to read about and then monetize THAT. For some people, it happens to be blogging. That’s their jam. So it becomes their bread and butter (oh my gosh, I’m getting hungry, lol).
But it doesn’t have to be YOUR thing.
So here’s what we’re gonna do. Let’s talk about some successful bloggers who make money blogging without blogging about blogging, and then talk about some tips that you can use to be successful in whatever your own niche may be.
BLOGGERS WHO MAKE MONEY BLOGGING WITHOUT BLOGGING ABOUT BLOGGING
First up, because I love my friends, let’s talk about Danielle Stewart, who is the creative genius behind Fit Life Creative (formerly Fitness Fashionista) and Oh So Paper. Over the six or so years that I have known her, Danielle has been a HUGE inspiration for me. Not just because she is a fellow single mom, but because she is soooo fricking creative and hardworking. She is one of those people who has a ton of ideas, but then actually implements them. She spends a lot of time doing research about whatever it is that she wants to get into, figuring out the best practices (as well as what doesn’t work) then she creates a strategy and implements it. In that way, she is able to cut out anything that doesn’t get results, tweak the things that could be better, and hone in on the things that really work.
Whether she is teaching people how to live healthier lives, creating fitness printable to help them achieve their weight loss goals, or creating gorgeous products (both digital and physical) to help people get organized, she does it in a way that makes me (and many other bloggers) excited to figure out what OUR next big thing can be and to work hard at it. Here is a quick interview with Danielle to shed some light on how she has earned a living with her blog.
When did you start blogging? 2009 (but not serious just getting my feet wet)
When did you start Fitness Fashionista? 2013 after leaving the Coast Guard.
When did you make the switch to Fit Life Creative? 2016 I made the switch away from fitness blogging to more of a design/printable site.
When did you launch Oh So Paper? Nov. 2016
What are you various streams of income? Etsy shop, Printable Shop on Fit Life Creative, sponsored posts (but I am slowing down on that), ad revenue on FLC, Oh So Paper shop, YouTube Ad Revenue, and affiliate income on FLC.
Can you give a ballpark figure of how much you earn or how much you have earned over the entire period of time as a professional blogger? According to my PayPal $75,460.98 (2016-2017) however I also make money that goes directly into a bank account, so this figure is actually a bit higher overall.
When it comes to food bloggers, Lindsay and Bjork from Pinch of Yum are pretty much the stuff of legends. Lindsay is a self-proclaimed food enthusiast who started the blog back in the summer of 2011 as part of an experiment. She (and her techy husband) wanted to see if it was possible to create real income with a blog that was all about food. The answer was a resounding “YES!” Just three years later, they were earning enough for Lindsay to make the leap to full-time blogging. They documented their progress the entire time with a series of monthly income and traffic reports.
If you have ever looked for the top blogs about personal finance, chances are you have come across Good Financial Cents. The blogger behind this popular site is Jeff Rose, a self-proclaimed numbers geek. Like many industrious online entrepreneurs, he used his passion and knowledge to generate income while helping others.
Jeff’s goal is to help other people achieve financial independence. In the process, he has more than shown that it is possible to earn a living online. According to an August 2016 income report, Jeff earned well over $48k from his blog in ONE MONTH. How? Affiliate earnings made up most of that income (just under $40k). The remaining 40K came from ad networks. Like me, when Jeff started his blog, he had no clue you could make real money online and it wasn’t a goal. However, since starting his blog in 2008, he has earned more than $1,000,000 through his blog. How amazing is that?
Deby of So Sew Easy has an interesting “Why I Started Blogging” story. In 2012, she suffered a brain injury that affected her life dramatically. She lost many of her physical abilities, developed memory issues, and (not surprisingly) lost her job. She started sewing as a hobby that she hoped would help her rehabilitate and she also decided to start a sewing blog, with the hopes of earning a little extra money from advertising. As her blog grew, so did her income. She now sells her own sewing pattern designs, has a paid membership program called the “Pattern of the Month Club” and has ads in the sidebar of her site.
Collin Morgan started her blog, Hip 2 Save, as a way to hold herself accountable on her journey toward frugality. Over time, she started having more and more fun saving money and she became excited about teaching others how to save in order to reach their financial goals. In addition to saving money through being frugal, Collin earns money from her blog primarily through ads, affiliate marketing, and sponsored posts.
Created by Emily Schuman, Cupcakes and Cashmere is a blog that discusses beauty, fashion, food, and interior design. Emily started her blog as a way to document the things that she loves and has worked so hard on it that it has become her career. Emily has a very impressive resume of brands she has worked with, including Coach, Juicy Couture, and Estée Lauder. Though she does not share any blog income reports, she is open about the fact that she earns income through display ads, affiliate links, and marketing consultations/collaborations.
Formerly called “Skinny Mom’s Kitchen,” Organize Yourself Skinny is the brainchild of a blogger named Tammy Zielinski Kresge. Tammy uses her fitness and nutrition blog to generate income through sponsored posts, being an Amazon affiliate and by using Google AdSense. She also sells her own product, which is an Organize Yourself Skinny ebook plus a 4-week make-ahead meal plan. It is safe to assume that she makes a generous amount of money since she has been able to hire a team of at least three writers to help create content for the blog.
SO, HOW DO THEY DO IT?
As you can see, it is definitely possible to make good money from your blog WITHOUT talking about blogging. When you study the bloggers that have successfully monetized their blogs there is, however, an underlying theme.
They treat their blogs like a business.
It’s both easy and challenging at the same time. Bloggers who make a significant income from their blogs aren’t the ones who don’t have a clue why they are blogging. They aren’t the ones who have no clue who they are talking to when they write OR what those people want to read. They don’t just blog for fun – they blog as a passion (even if it was an accidental passion). They certainly don’t blog every now and then.
The bloggers that are making full-time incomes from their blogs are serious about what they’re doing. They have a game plan. They know the type of content that will resonate with their readers. They promote their work.
These bloggers keep their nose to the grindstone and focus on creating content based around the topics that have made them successful. They’re not telling you how much money they’re making because they’re too busy making money. They aren’t trying to sell you a blogging course. Instead, they’re raking in advertising dollars, affiliate income, and getting paid by their partners. Just because someone doesn’t tell you how much money they’re making – or how to make money yourself – doesn’t mean they’re not making money themselves.
There’s nothing wrong with blogging about blogging. It’s one blogging niche and it can be lucrative. But every single blogging niche can be just as lucrative if you follow the golden rule already mentioned above: Treat your blog like a business.
None of the bloggers listed above achieved overnight success. Few do. It’s a hustle and it’s a grind, but I’m guessing nearly every blogger would say the hustle, long hours, and late nights have been more than worthwhile since they’re making good money doing what they love.
TIPS FOR MAKING MONEY IN ANY BLOGGING NICHE
TIP #1: BECOME AN EXPERT
You should be an expert on your audience, your niche, and blogging in general. Always seek more knowledge and strive to learn new skills. Learn as much as you can about making your blog more effective and then IMPLEMENT what you learn. There are so many resources out there that it would be more difficult NOT to find information than it would be to find information. Search for “blogging” on Pinterest. Read books. Read blogs. Talk to people who are doing what you want to do. Talk to successful people outside of your niche. Watch webinars. Take courses. Ask questions. Talk to your audience.
Do whatever you need to do to become the expert that you want to be.
TIP #2: BLOG REGULARLY
If you are not blogging regularly, you are doing your audience a disservice. You have something to offer them. Possibly something that could make their lives better or easier in some way. That “something” that you have to offer isn’t going to help anyone if it is just wasting away in your brain, on a sheet of paper, in your editorial calendar, or in your drafts.
Figure out what your audience wants and needs from you and then make a conscious effort to provide it to them on a regular basis. Regular may mean every day for one person and every week for another. Or perhaps you work hard to put out one amazing piece of content each month. Just make sure there is not so much time in between each piece of content for your audience to forget why they love you. And if you make a promise to them – keep it. Don’t tell them you will post every day if you know that once a week is more viable.
TIP #3: PROMOTE, PROMOTE, PROMOTE!
Whenever you put out a new piece of content, you need to do the work to make sure it gets seen by the people who need it. You should have a detailed marketing strategy in place so that you know what the next steps are before you even hit publish on your shiny new content.
Your marketing strategy should include things like posting your content on social media with a clear call-to-action, scheduling future promotion, sharing your posts in groups when applicable, and sending out a newsletter to your email list letting them know about your amazing content (plus whatever else you have going on).
Essentially, you want as many eyes as possible on your content. Without this step of the process, it won’t matter how great your content is. If no one knows about it, you might as well have not written anything.
TIP #4: DEVELOP A UNIQUE MONETIZATION PLAN
Read this post about how bloggers make money and think about what strategies you can use to monetize your own blog. Just because one blogger makes money in one way doesn’t mean that you need to follow suit. There are myriad ways that bloggers can make money, and it’s your job to develop a unique monetization plan that works for you.
You’ll notice that none of the bloggers mentioned above have just one way that they make money from their blogs. Instead, it’s imperative that you diversify your blogging income. Successful bloggers regularly talk about having multiple revenue streams, and I can’t stress how important this is. While we’re not fans of blogging income reports, nearly all of the good ones will show that the site makes money in many different ways. Don’t rely on just one source of income because you never know when that source will dry up.
IT’S TIME TO GET DOWN TO BUSINESS
Regardless of your niche, if you want your blog to be your business, you need to treat it like a business. Stop thinking about whether or not you can make money blogging without blogging about blogging and get down to business. This means that you need to become an expert and constantly work to hone your skills, set up regular office hours (aka set up a regular posting schedule so that your readers know when to find you online), and market yourself and your services.
There is no one guideline that successful bloggers follow, but one thing is for certain: Any blogger who makes a living from their blog works their butt off. Whether they’re writing about frugality, cooking, fashion, or blogging about blogging, the most successful bloggers are constantly hustling.