The Number One Way to Flip Your Blog into a Business


Tons of blogger experts and digital insiders promise that you can earn money as a mom blogger, and indeed, it’s true. If you really want to flip your blog into a business you must focus. There is no other way to put it. You have to focus on your time, your talents, and your readers, but most importantly you have to focus on your point of view.

Few mom bloggers can seamlessly turn a traditional mom blog into a consistent moneymaker. After all, that requires striking a strong balance between your blog, brands and your readers. That’s not easy to do. To remedy the difficulty in fusing a personal blog with working with brands, you must have a very strong point of view or expertise. Do you know who does this beautifully: Audrey McClelland of Audrey Confidential and Mom Generations. Audrey has an extremely solid point of view. When you think of Audrey, you automatically think fashion, but at the same time you know she is the mother of four small boys. That means while Audrey maintains her mom blogging focus, she has also brought in a professional fashion element into her blog that we all respect and know her for.

Also, think of Christine Koh of  Boston Mamas. When you think of Christine, you immediately think green, organic, minimal, and design. She has consistently retained this point of view and never wavers from it. At the same time, you know she has a daughter, Laurel, and a husband, Jon. Her consistent outlook and theme for her blog allow her to work with brands that share her vision, but in doing so she still writes from the point of view of a real mom.

And, last but not least, think about Renée Ross of Cutie Booty Cakes. When you think of Renée you automatically think fitness and exercise. But you also know she has a son named Mekhi. Her strong fitness point of view affords her opportunities to work with brands that fit and support her niche while still writing from a mom perspective.

All three of these women have successfully flipped their blogs into businesses because of their commitment to their craft, willingness to always be open with their readers, and maintaining a consistent point of view. They discovered the theme for their blogs by simply extending who they are onto their blogs and have benefited from their consistency. They are three successful mom bloggers who understand that it doesn’t matter how many brands you work with. Rather, they know what matters is the quality of the brands they work with and whether or not the brand fits their blog’s overall theme. That is why all three of these bloggers have made the impact they have not only with their readers, but with the mom blogging community as as whole. And, it is why brands l0ve to work with them.

Now, I know you’re wondering: How can I do the same thing? You have to ask yourself: Does my blog have a strong point of view? Can I break down my blog’s theme in four words or less? If you can’t do that, you need to go back to the drawing board.

One of the benefits of having a strong point of view is it becomes really easy for brands to work with you and for you to earn money from your blog. So, if a brand is looking to hire a spokesperson to tout their fashion brand, they’ll go to Audrey. Or, if a brand is looking for a fitness blogger to be a brand ambassador, it’s easy to hire Renée. The same goes for Christine for green brands.

So, before getting into the nitty gritty of successful blogging like blogging consistently and writing well and potentially incorporating SEO into your posts, think about the big picture. Then worry about the little things.

52 thoughts on “The Number One Way to Flip Your Blog into a Business

  1. That’s true. However, if you don’t work with brands on some level (whether that’s through advertising or being a brand ambassador or a spokesperson, etc) then you won’t make much money. What did you have in mind for next steps after building your own brand?

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  2. Great post Jennifer. Very good points made. I know that there are plenty of very successful bloggers who could probably be described like the famous phrase from Jerry Seinfield… “it’s a show about nothing”, but that doesn’t work for most of us little people.

    I actually spoke on this subject at Gleek Retreat… developing your niche. Having a clear focus and niche on your blog makes it easier to come up with content and as you said… easier for brands to identify with you when it comes times to find a blog to advertise on, etc.

    Here is the short recap that I did on the subject… http://littletechgirl.com/2010/06/02/gleekretreat-2010-recap/

    As usual, I love your posts.. Keep up the good work! And sorry that I missed you when you were here in Chicago, but I look forward to seeing you probably next month. :)

    Kris

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  3. I love your article Jennifer. I’ve actually been asking myself what makes my blog stand out, or rather what can I do to make it stand out among the millions of mom blogs out there. I like to compare mom blogging to actors. There are so many out there and really only a few make it big, so having what you call a strong point of view is important in our blogging world.

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  4. I agree with you completely! I´m glad I read this now because I am doing some research–this is the topic I´m speaking about at Blogalicious 10. The exact topic is how to find your niche and STICK WITH IT.

    I find that so many bloggers may start out with the best intentions to focus on their niche, but get easily sidetracked once the PR pitches start coming in. That initial romance stage blinds them.

    So, not only know your niche, but be faithful to it. There are so many ways to be creative with your topic. No matter how narrow it is, most of the time there is an angle you and the brand can work with.

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  5. Jennifer – what a terrific article and I love your examples of success stories. Over the years, I struggled to figure out my true focus for my site too and finally realized that I have a passion for entertainment, humor writing and PR so I combined all three and it seems to be working. And lets not forget events – I absolutely love spearheading events and that has become a big focus of my business. Stay true to yourself, apply your expertise from your past professional life into your writing and the revenue stream will follow – it just takes time!!! Oh – and one more thing…pay it forward!!! If someone helped you get ahead, then help someone else just starting out. It’s simple, nice girls do finish first!

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  6. Thanks for the great post Jennifer. After floundering for over a year, I’ve been slowly, very slowly mind you making changes at Mom Start and a brand has noticed the difference and picked me up for their micro site. I’m so excited about a paid position as a blogger. Thanks for all of your support whenever I see you! You always have great advice!!

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  7. Awesome blog. How do we get recognized. I participate in an affiliate program through linkshare and have what I feel are great ads on my site but I certainly would rather have a company pay me because of the traffic my blog already attracts.

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  8. Thanks for the insight, Jennifer! I am finding that as I become more comfortable in my niche, I feel less apprehensive about saying no to offers that come my way. Initially, when a brand contacted me, I was uber-excited and ready to roll. Now, I look at whether it truly speaks to my readers and the points of view I assert, and unfortunately, most of the time so far, they don’t. So, I continue to read articles like these and remind myself that QUALITY supersedes quantity any day!

    Much appreciated!

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  9. As usual, well written and excellent advice. I am sort of a completely random humor blogger, so I have been lucky that my ‘embrace mediocrity’ theme has caught on with others tired of feeling like “perfection failures”- I’ve been able to land some great paid post deals and will continue to return to you to help me learn more ways to monetize without losing my voice/soul.

    Bravo!

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  10. It’s true there is a lot of “stuff” out there that doesn’t necessarily help your blog be itself. But is is hard to resiste the attention when its all you’ve got!
    In those times I try to focus on just enjoying the process and not hoping for a pay check!

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  11. I just discovered the mom bloggers and now i’m wondering where i’ve been these last three years my blog’s been online. I’ve found my Niche and I just need to put A + B together to create C. I’m enjoying browsing through all the different browsing communities and even though I’m a Ning Network community owner, I feel i’m not utilizing my talents in the direction of branding myself. I agree totally with this aritcle about Branding and I feel it’s something I need to look into more… so thanks for this ariticle… great job!

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  12. This is fantastic advice Jennifer! I am still finding my niche too because as a mom who focuses on doing news, it’s really hard to find brands that coincide with that… Thanks for the great advice, as always…

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  13. Jennifer, thank you so much for mentioning me, I am honored to be in the company of Audrey and Christine. You know I admire you and really think of you as a mentor, so Thank You!

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  14. Great article Jennifer! I do still struggle with this – I’ve got finance and travel as my niches but my review site is all encompassing. I need to spend some time taking a step back and thinking more about what I want to focus on.

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  15. That is such great advice Jennifer! It really makes me wish that I felt strongly about just one thing. For awhile now I have been trying to redefine my focus but its a pretty slow process for me. Mainly I am trying to infuse more of me and my daily life into my blog, besides just product reviews. The stuff that happens at my house is serious blog fodder but I usually just have time to write up reviews. Still looking for the perfect balance which is tough with three kids running around. You give sound advice and plan on implementing it as soon as possible!

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  16. I racked my brain to find a small niche when I first started blogging, but that just wasn’t me. (I’m a generalist because I’m interested in too many different things – food; light green products; educational products, gaming; etc.). I like for things to be simple as possible (too bad “simple mom” was already taken!) and fun. It’s ironic though, who I am became my niche. I am a mom who loves living in the city (hence “mom in the city”). That has become the core of my business. I get hired to write, speak and consult from a “city mom” perspective. I also get paid to host events primarily in the city that I love surrounded by NYC area moms (bloggers & “everyday” moms) whom I happen to adore. So I guess NYC is my “niche” – I’ll take it! :-)

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  17. I adore Renee 1st of all… :)

    and I just had to say that although I haven’t necessarily been the most consistent blogger because i don’t post often and I am not on Twitter all day…I have managed to turn myself into a brand which is now my business. I started blogging really because I felt like I needed to for my children’s clothing company and it was almost instantly that I connected with people like Trisha Haas and Maria Bailey and mom Bloggers Club as a whole and saw that there were plenty of business savvy MOMS working from home and I just grabbed onto that and said “I am going to do this!’

    Now, I have connected with Maria Bailey as a part of the MomTV team, I’m freelancing for 360PR’s MomSquad and I make decent bucks writing sponsored posts as well. So, not so much turning my blog into a business but I used it as a platform to be me and to share who I am and that in turn opened doors to business…if that makes sense. :)

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  18. I think I have a niche. I write in positive terms about a new lesson I learn each day. (hence blog name New Day New Lesson)

    I was curious , do advertisers end up coming to you, or do you go out looking for them? Any ideas for me? Thanks. Have been enjoying your blog.

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  19. Great information! I began my blog to share my running and training adventures and I also threw in some of my parenting as well as stories about just life . Along the way, I had the opportunity to review products related to fitness. This became a very beneficial avenue for me during times of injury or recovery. Now, I’m pregnant with baby #3 and I’ve had to take a break from running, so I’ve been sharing more stories about my family. I think it works since I’ve always said “I’m a mom on the run”.

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  20. Hey Chica!
    I so agree that finding that strong, defining voice as a blogger is so critical- and feels like such a risk. It really seems like going out on a limb to say “HEY! This is who I am, and what I think.”

    And yet it’s what fits you into a solid enough niche that readers know what to expect. It’s like milk being delivered at 9 am on Tuesdays- if that’s what it is, 4 pm on Thursday just won’t work for people. If Audrey woke up tomorrow and decided to write only about movies, I would be disappointed, confused, and very shabbily dressed.:) I rely on her perspective.

    And yours…you always make me think. Thanks for that.

    xoxo, L

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  21. Sigh. I have a niche, but I’m bad about sticking with it (or at least emphasizing it). I am just interested in so many things and I already have a niche topic at About.com (Family Computing). I’m going to make this my goal over the next few months because I always find myself cringing when I describe my blog. I have my elevator pitch, but I don’t stick with it. know my content doesn’t quite match it yet.

    I do want to say, though, that I think writing well may be even more important than a niche. You can always shift into a niche, but your old posts are there to stay, bad writing and all. At the very least, some people should make friends with a basic spell checker. There are some blogs that are written so poorly that I can bear to visit them, even if the content is interesting.

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  22. Good advice and very true, but it much depends on where you live and also on the subject of your blog. Obviously interior design and trends are not that good niche, but I am happy with what I have achieved for several years writing on that. Still, being a foreigner writing in English probably is one of the reasons I can’t get much contacts from brands.
    btw I like so much your picture above – it is my dream of working environment:)

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  23. Thank you for this article and reiterating what I know but need to stick to! I have a hard time with it – I have thrown myself into being the Maui Family Travel expert and I love helping readers who email me for advice and writing for other travel sites. But I also want to share broader more “mom” topics (see my vlog from this week). Mixing the personal with the niche is a bit tough for me at times.

    Thanks for a great article, once again!
    Sarah

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  24. Jennifer – this is wonderful – I so appreciate your insight and truly admire the women you mentioned. It is a challenge to truly niche yourself….I believe I have a theme, but the 4 words? I must work on those :) Looking forward to seeing you at BlogHer!

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  26. That 4 word thing is hard for me. I don’t think I could say “hello” in 4 words without feeling like I was too quiet! My niche is education from the perspective of a Mom and a teacher– and you’re so right because its totally working in working with brands. I’m also very fortunate to have a niche that lends itself to so many other opportunities that its very easy to have a balance.

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  27. Jennifer, you are among the women I admire most in this space — not just your smarts and freakishly on target intuition, but your kindness and generosity of spirit. It is an honor to be referenced by you and also alongside Audrey and Renee — who I would limp alongside in a 1/2 marathon any day!

    It’s so important to stay true to your passions with blogging; in my opinion, it’s pointless to try to jam your peg into an ill fitting hole because nothing will flow freely and well. A passion for writing and sharing is the all important, essential heart.

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  28. Pingback: If Ads Don’t Earn You Money, Ditch Them « Jennifer James Online

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  30. Thanks, I think that it sounds like pretty good advice to focus on something you really have a passion for. Just one question. What is SEO? Search Engine Optimazation? and how is that to be incorporated into my blog?
    Does that just mean with tags and keywords?

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  31. What youre saying is completely true. I know that everybody must say the same thihttp://www.adsense-id.com/forums/images/vtc/36_002.gifng, but I just think that you put it in a way that everyone can understand. I also love the images you put in here. They fit so well with what youre trying to say. Im sure youll reach so many people with what youve got to say.

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  32. Great article and reminder to stay focused on my blog’s core message of featuring recycled products and reducing waste. I keep dabbling in business ventures on my blog and enjoy testing the waters to see what connects with my readers.

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  33. Hey Jennifer! This post was really enlightening. I mean, I knew I needed to think outside of myself and family a little more, but I still haven’t figured out in what way. And you’re post hit the nail on the head – I’m looking for my “niche.” Other than being funny and a bit wacky, I don’t know what else my niche could be. And the hubby was no help. Actually, his advice was to keep on plugging away and see what emerges. Maybe he was more help than I thought!

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