A few years back Al Ferguson, a teacher from my children’s school (Mr Ferguson has he was known then!) set up his own blog called The Dad Network. It all started after he and his wife Jen went through the awfulness of having a miscarriage on their wedding day and he discovered there was very little information or support for dads in these circumstances.
Over the past four years, and several more miscarriages later, The Dad Network has gone from strength to strength…
- a really comprehensive blog with lots of information specifically aimed at dads
- over 50,000 likers on Facebook
- a busy Youtube channel
- viral photos in the media (you’ve almost certainly seen the baby poo one >>>)
- appearances on breakfast TV
- a multitude of big name brands have paid him to sponsor and for him to write reviews of their products
- Heck, Peter Andre has even been to tea at their house!
I think it’s fair to say that Al has made a big success of blogging. So much so that 2 years ago he even left teaching to do it full-time.
So Al was definitely the right person to ask for some guidance and tips about how to blog, and how to make money from it, and I asked him to come along to share his expertise and experiences with us at our Tunbridge Wells Mums in Business meeting.
Al covered a lot of incredibly useful information, too much to cover here, but here are his Top 10 Tips for business blogging and how to make money from it…
Tip 1 – Find your niche and become an influencer
Find your niche and narrow your audience to help you focus, blog about relevant content and become their “go to” expert. “Influencer” is definitely the buzz-word of the moment, suddenly it seems to be everywhere – by providing relevant and interesting content to your audience it’s very likely that you’ll influence their behaviour or opinion in some way – whether that’s what they do, where they go, what they buy.
Tip 2 – Apply your brand consistently
Make sure you apply your brand to your blogging for consistency – not just your logo but your values, to set it apart from the competition and help people know what to expect from you so that they keep coming back.
Tip 3 – Publish your blogs at regular intervals
Publish your blogs at regular intervals, whether that’s 9 a.m. on the 1st day of each month, or 5pm every Friday. That way your followers will come to know what to expect, and the giant robot that is Google will get into the habit of sweeping your website more regularly too.
Tip 4 – Capture your readers’ email addresses
Capture email addresses of your followers using sign up to integrate with e.g. Mailchimp (a note from me, make sure you comply with the new GDPR data protection rules when you’re doing this). It makes you a more valuable prospect to sponsors and advertisers and helps keep bringing people back to your website.
Tip 5 – Use WordPress and Yoast
Al recommends using WordPress as a platform because there is a plugin available for pretty much anything you want to do on your blog. Make sure you add Yoast plugin to make sure that search engines help people find your content.
Tip 6 – Getting paid
Lots of companies will pay to have their products or services promoted to your followers in some way – whether that’s by advertising them or reviewing them on your blog, or simply mentioning them positively in a post about something else (e.g. a yoga teacher mentioning their favourite kind of yoga mat in a blog).
Payment might take the form of hard cash or a free product for you to review (or a combination of the two). Find out what a company’s marketing budget is BEFORE you tell them how much you will charge – they may well be prepared to pay a lot more that you were planning to ask for!
Tip 7 – Social media
Probably an obvious one, but worth saying anyway – use social media to reach your audience and promote your blog, The right platform will depend on your niche and where your audience is most likely to be.
Tip 8 – Revenue streams
Monetising your blog doesn’t happen quickly and will take time. There are two key revenue streams to help you monetise your blog, Business to Consumer (B2C) and Business to Business (B2B), with different opportunities to monetise them as follows:
- B2C – through things like selling products, private member areas with tutorials etc
- B2B – through things like affiliate marketing, ad space, product reviews, sponsored articles, advertorial, freelance writing, email marketing, sponsored videos and social media exposure
Tip 9 – Media kit
Add a media kit to your website explaining your reach and the options available. This tends to be put in the footer of your website but sometimes is more obvious in the menu bar.
Tip 10 – Forward planning
Don’t forget to forward plan and have a sales strategy in place early on – for example be planning your Christmas gift guide really early so that you can contact potential sponsors well in advance.
How to find out more
So thanks Al, you left a room full of women busting with ideas and inspiration, and we can’t wait to put it all into practice. If you’d like to find out more about our meetings and see what’s planned for future talks, visit the events page of our website.