Sponsored posts, ads, affiliate links. It seems everywhere you turn some blogger is trying to push something in your face for profit, right? Many times these strategies seem ill-fit and can be a put off for readers. No one wants to feel taken advantage of, especially those loyal readers who come back time after time after time. But, running a blog takes money–money that most of us don’t just have lying around–which is why I believe that a well run monetizing strategy isn’t just a bonus for blogging, it’s a necessity.
The key phrase here is “well run monetizing strategy”. Believe me when I tell you that there are plenty of ways to make money blogging. I’m sure we all know “that blogger” who takes every opportunity to peddle products he/she has never tested, or sticks unannounced affiliate links into every sentence. Those monetizing strategies do nothing but hurt all the way around. Readers are hurt because they feel taken advantage of, and the blogger is (eventually) hurt because they have no more readers. It really doesn’t have to be this way…
There are plenty of ways to monetize (still using sponsored posts, ads, and affiliate links) that won’t turn your readers against you and will actually increase the value of your blog! The first step is to take a look at your audience. Who are you interacting with? If your audience largely consists of men in their 40’s who are interested in cars and football, that baby bootie affiliate link you’re posting isn’t going to appeal to them. Know your audience, but more than that, know what you want your brand to be.
The Rule of Fives
I recently heard a talk by Marie Bonaccorse (the sassiest person on Twitter) at Blog Elevated. She suggested to write down 5 things you are and five things you are not to help you develop “voice”, but I thought this would be the perfect way to streamline my blog and help me pick out the things that are a good fit, and are not a good fit. I see so many great bloggers who have amazing content, but I think they get distracted (as do I) with things they think they should be doing and they don’t build up the things that are already working for them.
By using the rules of fives, I am able to easily decide what is and what is not a good fit for my blog: content, monetization methods, and associations. This is a valuable tool when choosing sponsored posts, ads, or affiliate links because you’re always staying true to what your brand is, and never deviating.
What Your Brand Is
Think of five things your blog is doing (or that you want it to be doing) and write them down.
Here are the things Making Mrs. M is:
2. A place to learn
These are the 5 things that I think my brand should be. I feel like if I can encourage someone, teach something, make it fun, explore my creativity, and keep it real that Making Mrs. M will be everything I want it to be and more. I aim to make every post, every add-in, every interaction a part of one of those 5 things.
Now, it’s easy to say “that’s just inherent to me” (shout-out to my girl, Paige! Instead, she uses this anti-blogger burn out method). I understand that writing down your 5 things may seem silly to you, but for me it’s a way of giving myself a check system. I’m a one woman band. I play every instrument in this blog to make up the symphony that is Making Mrs. M. It’s easy to forget where my big picture focus is: to provide a place where women feel inspired to pursue their passions.
What Your Brand Is Not
Think of five things your blog is not. These are the things that you never, in a million years, want to portray.
Here are the things Making Mrs. M is not:
One may argue that these are subjective, and I would agree, but your brand is a product of what you make it. What’s “not boring” to me may be totally boring to you, but if I’m taking sponsored posts about things I find boring, the message will be boring to everyone… and Making Mrs. M isn’t “boring”, so I won’t take that post.
These 10 things aren’t necessarily how others view-or do not view-you (although it’s a bonus if they pick up on it, too!). These ten things are more of a way to make sure that you’re putting your efforts into things that support your brand and don’t distract from it.
If I’m putting my efforts into content, monetization methods, and relationships that are encouraging, promote learning, are fun, are creative, and are real, Making Mrs. M will turn out to be the brand that I wish it to be. If I stay away from pursing things that are rude, unoriginal, haughty, boring, and fake, I will feel like my brand is something to be celebrated.
I encourage you all to try the rule of fives out for your brand (or your personal life!). Let me know what you think of this check system, or how you zero in on the things that you want your brand to become!