Hook Research recently had the pleasure of attending Stylist Live, where with hordes of other digitally savvy women, we assembled to hear Natasha Courtenay-Smith, author of The Million Dollar Blog, talk about taking blogging from a part-time hobby to a full-time job.
As we sat there amongst a crowd of ambitious female bloggers, the captive audience answered some questions. Who had a blog? Most of us raised a hand. Who was making money from their blog? The room went quiet. Whilst Natasha promised there was a way to make an income (and a very good one if you work hard), she also provided a few home truths about creating a successful blog: there are over 100,000 Google searches each month on starting a blog in the UK alone and 50,000 blogs are launched per day on Word Press. With this, a collective inhale resonated across the room.
Blogging is the new top career choice amongst the younger generations
Regardless of the apparent competition, the latest figures show that 25% of under 25s now consider blogging as their main career of choice. Their inspiration? The big stars of the blogging world – Zoella, Jim Chapman and Tanya Burr – the millennials who are making big bucks from the taps of their fingers. Zoe Sugg is now reportedly cashing in £50,000 every month from her blog Zoella and her book was the fastest selling debut since records began.
Yet is creating a successful blog as easy as it seems? According to the 2014 study, 29% of those who have selected blogging as their career of choice believe bloggers don’t have to do much work, with 16% of them believing that blogging is easy. Only a small number of blogs stay active and an even smaller number actually go on to make the money so many aspiring bloggers dream of. Zoe Sugg has been glued to her laptop, making vlogs and blog entries since 2009 and Natasha Courtenay-Smith’s conversations with some of the world’s biggest bloggers, reveal that many of them have been putting in the hours for several years, before seeing the pay off.
The Million Dollar Question: Creating a successful blog
Whilst these stats may be sobering, for the dedicated and passionate, the news that the market is saturated with abandoned blogs can be motivating. The steps to how to make a blog successful are now being analysed, revealed and shared, but how many have the time and commitment to get there? If it’s a personal hobby, then take your time, but if a book deal and a line in Superdrug is what you’re after, you may want to take note of the following:
• Do you have a personal brand? Think about what your signature is, what your identity is – the sooner your audience recognises who you are and what you’re doing, the better.
• We humans are creatures of habit, we want to know we can rely on our favourite bloggers to post every week, at the same time. Start with two posts and be consistent.
• “My creative expression must be the most important thing in the world to me (if I am to live artistically), and it also must not matter at all (if I am to live sanely).” – Elizabeth Gilbert couldn’t have said it better. In the beginning, it’s likely only a handful of people will read your posts, so don’t agonise over them. You’ll develop as your grow, just get out there.
• Be active on social media and get to know what platforms your audience like and engage with them. It’s unlikely your website will attract traffic on its own, so drive your readers to you.
There are many ways to make a successful blog and many reasons to start one in the first place – from changing the world, to changing your life, there are endless possibilities. So the million-dollar question is really, what do you want from it and how much do you want it?