This might be the most important blog post I ever write for SYWB. We all want to make money, obviously. No matter how defiantly hateful you are of capitalism, that little bastard is a reality we have to deal with. There is absolutely nothing wrong with wanting to be paid for your work, and there’s nothing wrong with wanting to start a blog that is profitable. In fact, I encourage you to go into blogging with an action plan on how you’re going to make money, and to have a very good idea of what income outlets you’re going to put work into. But I think it would be irresponsible to even discuss those things without a few words about blogging with authenticity and integrity. So how do you do that?
Your readers are not mindless consumers. In fact, if you’re blogging correctly, you will be attracting people who are incredibly informed on the niche and market you are working within. We have to constantly ask ourselves “is this something that is useful to my readers?”. If you are in a technology niche your readers will not be impressed with a sudden food subscription box sponsorship showing up on your page (unless that food box comes with a robot that makes the food for you – that is always impressive). You don’t want to create posts around products thinking that stacking your posts with products is how you will make the most money. Your posts need to be driven by a need, and in turn written for that need. As you address that need you will likely find things that may be useful to your readers that will also earn you a small amount of money. Or maybe you will write something that mentions no products and gives you no chance for any affiliate income – that’s ok!!!! If it is useful to your readers it is essential for your brand. Not everything you make will create income, but everything you create does have the potential of making you an expert in your field, building your audience, and showing that you have integrity and care about your readers, and that is invaluable.
Find Your Voice
Academia has no place in blogging. Ok, that’s a bit of a generalization. If you are constantly sharing scholarly articles maybe it does (but also dear God why are you blogging about that?). Throughout most of our young lives we are taught to write in a way that dulls our voice. We get so used to writing for our teachers that we forget what it’s like to write in a way that is engaging and casual. Blogging gets us reacquainted with that. You’ll notice that in most of my articles I use words like “we” and “us”, that’s because I am writing as if I am talking to my friends – because I am talking to my friends! Blogging is about building a community and space to share yourself and your ideas. Remember who your audience is, and find a way to speak casually while also speaking with authority. You do not need to sound like an academic to sound knowledgeable, all you have to do is be useful (see what I did there?).
How many times have you been told that after an interview you should hand-write a thank you card? Do you always go to the same mechanic – the one who knows your name and remembers that you will have a complete melt down in the middle of their shop if they tell you your a/c is irreparable? There is a reason thank you cards and your mechanic don’t go out of style. It’s because we love interpersonal relationships. Everyone wants to feel special, because everyone is special. This may be the most difficult part of blogging. Not because being yourself is some impossible task, but because it means you have to be vulnerable. When you share parts of yourself your readers feel connected with you. Not everyone will always identify with everything you’re saying. Some people may not even like the parts of yourself that you are sharing, those people are not your audience, and that’s ok.
When we begin branding ourselves we can get stuck trying to figure out how to make everything we say palpable for all audiences. The truth is – it’s not going to be. There is 0 percent chance that everyone will like everything you talk about and the voice you talk about it in. Get over it now. Don’t let it hold you back from blogging with authenticity. Talk about your experiences both good and bad, share your goals and values, and be honest with your readers. Remember that when you write, you have control over how much you share, sometimes letting people in and knowing there’s a human behind all these words is just what they need to settle in and feel comfy.
That’s it, ya’ll. I know, it sounds pretty simple, and it is! Make sure you’re checking in with yourself every couple months and thinking about your authenticity and integrity to so that you’re serving your readers well. Blogging, marketing, and building a brand is something that you want to be able to do for a lifetime, not just a couple years. Maintaining your voice, and staying useful to your readers will ensure that you have a long lived, well respected career that you can continue to feel proud of.
What is your favorite way to share your voice with readers? How do you relate to people you interact with on social media? Do you feel connected with your audience? Let us know in the comments down below and feel free to ask any questions you may have!
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