Client attraction. Business growth. Pretty profits.

#DPCON12: Blog To Business

G’day Everyone!

Today I’m blogging live from the Digital Parents Conference 2012. I’m super grateful to be here and know I will learn so many valuable ideas, tips and strategies which I’m going to share with you.

Warning: This is my first ever attempt at live blogging and using a tablet (iPad) to boot. Hopefully I won’t make too many horrendous mistakes but please hang in there until I get the chance to correct them.

So then this session is Blog To Business!

Speakers for the session are:
Renee Mayne, Bra Queen
Laney Galligan, Crash Test Mummy
Emma Ashton, Reality Ravings
Nikki Parkinson, Styling You (moderator)

NP: It’s an exciting experience to go from part time blogging to a full time business. The good news is it really is possible. There’s no one right way. It’s about you and what you want to do with your blog. Look in your own backyard and make sure you are ok with it. You have to have the drive, passion and personaility behind it.

EM: I started Australia’s leading reality tv blog four years ago as a blog. After six to twelve months I realised I had the niche and there were opportunities with that. People started contacting me. By the beginning of last year the blog was more than full time. I went to the Problogger Conference and he said to use it to make money.

LG: My business is still in the beginning stages but my background is sales and marketing. During my pregnancy with my second child I decided to learn digital marketing. After a nervous breakdown I decided to have a go and realised the concept of crash test worked really well with brands. Now I’m about to launch a community for product reviews.

RM: I had an online lingerie business and heard blogging was really good for your business. I bought ProBlogger’s book and learned to do it the right way. I ended up selling my business, trusting the process and it’s really happened organically.

NP: I started my blog to promote my personal styling service. Now I make my money from my blog which I couldn’t have dreamed of on my business plan four years ago. What has blown me away with blogging is how much more interesting sponsored posts can be versus advertising in traditional media. I fully disclose my relationships with brands and that has actually led to opportunities i.e. Big W. I was quick to say yes because the brand alignment was right. The same for Maybelline at Melbourne Fashion Week as I will be blogging about transitioning from catwalk to everyday.

EA: The ‘aha’ moment for my blog was when it was untenable to be working on my blog and keeping a day job. I thought about what could I do. Advertising wasn’t it. I had been contacted a lot of people about how to do reality tv and now part of my consulting is helping people apply for places on the shows. I’ve had to hustle. I have to say “you need to pay me.” I have to think like a man. I do lots of collaborations such as research projects. Think about how you can you combine prior work experience with your blogging. Trevor Young says in the future blogs will be little media empires.

LG: Before you put a strategy together you need to know what is your online marketplace. What are your competitors doing? Where are your customers online? What are your strengths and weaknesses? Do a situational analysis. Your game plan is how you are going to make money online i.e. advertising, affliates, consultancy. Where are your customers buying online? How are you going to get to them? What stage are you at? Awareness or acquisition? Sales or retention?

RM: To be sustainable I asked myself what were my core values. I set my business up in a way to mentor businesses around the world without one-on-one contact. I can speak to numerous people on many platforms. The best thing I did was setting up three different programs.

NP: How are you getting your message out there?

EM: Don’t discount the old fashioned press release. Create relationships with people and places that are relevant. Network with people you know and online. Twitter and Facebook are huge for me. LinkedIn I don’t use as much as I should. It’s a great way of meeting like minds. Pitch freelance articles to relevant organisations. Advertising is key online i.e. Facebook in America is where my market is. Just keep contacting people and ask or push yourself.

LG: As bloggers you’re naturally good at social media. Other ways of getting you message out online include your site, leveraging your contacts’ networks, search engine marketing, online advertising, pitching other bloggers, email marketing.

RM: Look at your sales funnel. What are you doing for sales generation? Take care of the back end too. Make sure you develop diverse income streams.

Q&A with audience:

Q. What can you claim on tax deductions for your blog?
NP: Everything bar the clothes. Once you get a to a threshold then you can start to claim more. It’s in line with what a freelance journalist can claim and the same for working from home.

EA: Make sure you trademark your business.

Q. Where do we go to understand what our time is worth?
NP: Nuffnang has tiers based on traffic for their sponsored posts. For infomercials there are contacts who can set that out for you. We almost need a blogger’s union to help us all understand where pricing is at. I am happy if people don’t want want to pay what I ask. Be strong in what you want to charge.
RM: I started at $100 an hour. Each time I got a new job I put it up and people were ok with that. Yaro uses a formula of page views per month divided by ten for blog advertising. It seems to work really well.

Key Takeaways:
– Make sure you have a unique product.
– Be prepared NOT to make money from your blog directly straight away.
– Sustainable = diverse income streams.
– Seek professional advice in your areas of weakness.

6 Responses to #DPCON12: Blog To Business

  1. Hi Caylie,

    I enjoyed reading your blog here — so impressed you did that live 🙂 I also appreciate the key takeaways at the end, esp the “be prepared NOT to make money straightaway!”

    • Hi Erin,
      Thanks for reading and commenting!
      The takeaways at the end are not my ideas – there are actually shortened from the slide that was on the overhead. I can’t take credit for that.
      Live blogging was full on but a great challenge. Hope you get the chance to try it as well.

    • Thanks Martine!
      I really appreciate you reading and commenting. I hope you might do a wrap up of the writing workshop. I’ve heard fabulous feedback from it.
      Cheers, Caylie

  2. Wow Caylie! Thanks for sharing all this wonderful information with your community! It so nice to hear how others have been successful. Some of the best advice is in hearing real life stories about what worked for others. I like the advice about doing a situational analysis (and about trademarking your business). Thanks for sharing!

    • Hey Kim,
      Thanks. The men and women who spoke were brilliant. It was such a great event!
      I agree real life stories are very helpful. I regularly read the biographies of business owners.
      Laney, who suggested the situational analysis has a marketing background and you could tell as there was a fair bit more formality in her planning than perhaps most bloggers. It’s also reflected in her great results.
      Cheers, Caylie

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