As a founding member of the Food Bloggers LA community, I’ve come to learn that growing a circle of peer bloggers is a first step to unearthing the true benefits of blogging. The mere definition of “success” in blogging is subject to debate, but most of us are “serious” bloggers who agree with the following five goals. Consider them for your own blog:
1. To grow trafficAside from validation for delivering valuable and worthy content, blog traffic can produce real payoffs: money, visibility, deals. Building a loyal following will grow readership, which in turn helps generate revenue via advertising exposure. Many blog platforms provide insightful statistical information, although some of us admit to often obsessing about traffic to the point that stats drive us crazy. Growing traffic is a complicated challenge; a strong focus on marketing helps. Tweet your posts, add SHARE buttons, publish photos on “shared content” (aka food porn) sites, use Facebook and other social media along with face-time with real people. Your first step: create a business card for your blog. Then, step away from your computer and use it.
2. To be treated as bona fide mediaBloggers influence consumers just like magazines, TV, newspapers, radio. And many feel strongly that our influence ranks up there for such considerations as trade show press badges, junkets, swag, backstage passes and more. Opportunity knocks for members of the media. Over the course of my career, I’ve known quite a few editors of national publications and regional newspapers, and their “power” often parallels celebrity status. Getting to that level of respect is often predicated on a blog’s traffic, but not always. Working hard on your visibility, reputation and personal contacts often can override the roadblock of lackluster stats.
3. To make decent moneyNot every blog has ads, but lots of bloggers earn income via subsequent cookbook deals, speaking engagements, spokesperson work, freelance copywriting, teaching assignments and other prized gigs. Dovetailing efforts to build income from a variety of sources is a lucrative approach. To use your blog as a personal portfolio, make sure it has a businesslike biography and that you’re easy to contact. You don’t have to publish your home address, but give your market (I’m Los Angeles), email address (not just a contact form), and solid credentials. A respectable photo doesn’t hurt, either.
4. To be recognized as a brandSerious bloggers really want to establish themselves as unique for their content, talent, style, outlook. Standing apart matters. How to do that is a constant struggle in this highly competitive field, yet making a name for yourself is the most effective method to step away from the herd. If your blog title is your brand, create a logo. Register for a trademark. Use your blog name as your Twitter name, your comment name (I publish comments as Patti at Worth The Whisk), on your business card, stationery, luggage tags and more. Go so far as to identify with a color (mine is pink) and an icon (mine is an oven mitt). To be recognized as a brand, act like one.
5. To be wooed by money gatekeepersJoining the elite circle of marketing insiders is a major springboard to the big leagues. PR agencies, advertising agencies, research firms, publishing houses, corporate marketing departments are the People With Money to Spend. For bloggers, making their acquaintance can be the Holy Grail. These important contacts are sponsors at conferences, exhibitors at trade shows, speakers at conventions, fellow members of industry trade associations. So, step away from your desk and start making the rounds. Growing your network of influential contacts doesn’t happen overnight, it takes ongoing dedication. If you stand out, they take notice (see numbers 1-4, above).
Do you have goals for your blog? Share them here, and tell other readers the steps you are taking to reach them.
Patti Londre is president of The Londre Company PR, blogger at Worth The Whisk and creator of Camp Blogaway Bootcamp for Food & Recipe Bloggers. The Food Bloggers LA group meets on a regular basis to network and share information about blogging, marketing, community relations and more. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org if interested in their next meetup.