Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Why Blogging?

When I was a little girl, I thought I would grow up and become a teacher. When I would play pretend with my siblings, I would be the teacher of our school. I loved teaching. As I grew older I realized I liked being in charge. I liked to teach others about new topics. I liked to share ideas. When I was a little girl, I wrote stories and kept a journal. Through writing I was able to express feelings that I couldn't say aloud.

Blogging was not a conscious career choice. It was something I started to share my struggles and joys of raising my twin boys as a single parent. It was a way to release those feelings and to be honest with myself. When I finally had readers, they could understand and empathize. I began to share my struggles with mental health. Blogging allowed me to reach others and help them with their own struggles. 

My outgoing personality is a little bit crazy mixed with a lot of fun and tons of honesty.  I tend to make friends quickly and they actually listen to me. My bossy (almost controlling) way of life sets me up as a leader. Blogging is an easy progression to share my passions and knowledge with others on a grander scale.

The best part of blogging is that it actually pays. I saw friends talking about sponsored posts and compensation. I wanted to know more so I asked. Blogging is not a get rich scheme. It is an actual job. There is a possibility to earn a large amount of cash, but I am not at that level. Blogging alone will not pay my bills and support a life in Flagstaff, AZ. Thankfully, I only need it to supplement my income at this point in life.

Gradually I will be able to earn more money. Companies are moving more of their advertising dollars to social media. Companies want their products and services to be shared in a more personal medium. My writing allows me to share a product while sharing a personal moment. This allows the post to be more of a story than a commercial.

When I started blogging I wasn’t even sure if anyone saw what I wrote. At the beginning I did not care because I was writing for myself. Now my blog traffic is what makes me successful. Every click, every share, every download, every pin, every like, every comment helps to increase my reach.  I feel accomplished when I see my content being shared on social media sites. Those individual things do not earn me money but the traffic helps me to secure future revenue.

Let me explain: If I apply for an advertising campaign, the manager looks over my blog. They check to see that my writing is up to par for the company. They look to see what my images and graphics look like for Pinterest. They check my analytics to gauge the reach the campaign could have from my blog. They can see my analytics because of code that is embedded into my website. If the manager feels my blog is a good fit for the campaign, I am given precise instructions and deadlines.

The next step is to grow my blog. To do this I need to increase my reach or traffic. I refuse to pay for followers or subscribers, so that means I have to accomplish this the old fashioned way – WORK HARDER! The first thing step is to increase my skills in photography. While my story telling is great, it needs pictures to match. I recently acquired a Canon T5 DSLR camera and I am taking a class at Coconino Community College. I am learning how to make an image instead of just snapping a picture.

After I finish this class, I plan to take a photo editing course. Images need to not only catch the reader’s attention but want them to read more. Adding a graphic, teaser or hashtag will get them to click through to my blog. My main employer, Collective Bias has an online university that offers classes on hundreds of topics. I can watch a video lesson or read a tutorial on monetization, Twitter, hashtags usage, or vlogging. These classes will not only teach me skills but show my employer that I am a dedicated and serious contributor to their campaigns. Third step is to capitalize my trending topics on social media sites. Twitter, Instagram and Facebook are the three main streams that I use to promote my blog. I need to branch out to SnapChat and Tumblr to reach a younger demographic. Lastly, I need to incorporate video. This has not been my favorite tool, but I am taking small steps to use this as another way to get my message out to followers. With new apps like Periscope and the Live Video Streaming offered by Facebook, this will be an easy task.

A second form of income is through monetization. Including ads on my blog sidebar and footer can help to earn a small percentage when readers click through to their websites. This is not a large percentage but it can add up over time without any extra work on my part. Affiliate links can be used in blog posts to highlight a specific product. If you click on my link and buy that product I can earn a small percentage or dollar amount per purchase.

I can also be compensated in other ways. Promoting local business is a great collaboration for both parties. Small businesses generally do not have a large budget for advertising. By sharing their company/product on my blog they get free advertising. I can be paid with product or discounts. When I use these products I am also a walking advertisement. Making these relationships in your own city helps both parties involved.

I have even received tickets to events for a simple share on social media. This allows my little family to enjoy activities that we may not be able to afford out of pocket. Plus the boys do not complain about the free toys they occasionally receive as part of my work.

All in all, blogging is a perfect career for me. I can work from home while my boys are sleeping or at school. I can manage my time to best suit our schedule. My boys do not need to attend childcare which in turns saves money and allows for more time spent together as a family.

Blogging is NOT a way to GET RICH QUICK 
but it works for me.