With the increased saturation in the blogging world, it can be a little bit more challenging to get noticed so you might be feeling less motivated to keep going.
We recently sat down with Grant Sabatier of Millennial Money and author of the new book Financial Freedom to talk about the future of blogging as we know it. Sabatier offered blogging tips for the next generation of bloggers:
Blogging Tip 1: Define what you want to get out of your blog
For Sabatier, blogging was always a platform to reach a broader base of people and a pathway to get a book deal to reach the mainstream. Knowing where he wanted to go gave him a clear vision when it came to the tradeoffs involved in the blogging journey.
Sabatier sees 2 directions for bloggers in 2019:
This first direction involves massive amounts of content. The focus is to rank well on Google and use affiliate partnerships. They have the most reach and make the most money possible.
If your goal is to make the most money possible, this is the platform for you. Think: big reach, lots of SEO, and maximizing the best return on each click.
Deacon Hayes from Well Kept Wallet used this model to go from $942 to $6,089 per month in blog income in one year and how Kyle Taylor created one of the most popular finance blogs on the web, The Penny Hoarder.
Truly Distinctive Voices Model
The second direction is story driven. Think: vulnerability, transparency, and a means of telling your story.
If you want to craft your own unique voice, personality, brand, and community, this is the option for you.
“2019 is the year of the story. People are going to pay attention to these unique voices.” — Grant Sabatier
Blogging Tip 2: Beware of merging 2 models
There are pros and cons to both the Content-Driven Model and the Distinctive Voices Model.
The challenge, Sabatier says, comes when bloggers try to merge the two into a muddy middle. Things can get confusing when you are trying to share your story while also trying to optimize the content.
This messy hybrid can lead to blogs doing the same thing, looking the same way, and writing the same posts as everyone else.
Sabatier warns that when it comes to kind of blog you want to have, often times you will only please Google or the reader. You can try to do a hybrid of both, but the hybrid is very difficult, so just pick one.
Sabatier experimented with the Content-Driven model, but realized this option wasn’t best for him. He settled on the second model because he wanted to share his story. He was very open with his shortcomings and held nothing back.
At the end of the day, people are going to come back because they like the way you see the world. You have to share how you see the world and leave it all on the floor. Don’t be someone you aren’t or copy someone else. You have to craft your story because life is too short to be someone you aren’t. — Grant Sabatier
Blogging Tip 3: Have an honest conversation with yourself
Whether you are just starting out or are further along in your blogging journey, consider assessing your motives and what you want in your blogging career. Refocus on your “why,” realizing that you are going to have a much higher chance of being successful being yourself.
When you are doing it the right way, the people will come.
If you are just here for the money, you are going to have a difficult time doing that. If you haven’t made a single dime in a year and you are still doing this, then you are in the right place. — Grant Sabatier
Blogging Tip 4: Know when to pivot
If you have hit a plateau or are struggling to build an audience, it might be time to change your approach or consider a rebranding to maximize your return on investment. Careers are peppered with inflection points where you will see growth in not only your audience, but in yourself as well.
You either hit that inflection point and grow, or you don’t and you pivot.
Blogging Tip 5: Finding motivation when you want to give up
It can be difficult to find the motivation to keep going when you are faced with the challenges and setbacks most bloggers face. Sabatier gave up 3 times.
Motivation can come in many different ways. Perhaps the next time you think about giving up, look for motivation in these 3 places:
From your blogging community
Surround yourself with like-minded people who are in the same passion as you. Find a mastermind group or a group of friends that will keep you accountable and help you stay motivated.
It is important to meet others who have done the same and understand people who do it. Look for ways to be a distinctive voice in this space. When you keep coming back to a community where you feel supported, you will be more motivated to keep going.
From your audience
The second time Sabatier wanted to quit, he found motivation the emails and letters his community sent him. He keeps an email folder of over 17k emails thanking him for what he has done to change their lives.
Look for the people who are different because of your blog. Connect with those who send you emails, who reach out to you on social media, or even take the time to approach you at events or conferences. Focus on the audience instead of your lack of motivation.
Refresh your outlook by taking a new approach to content
In Sabatier’s third restart, he realized his motivation to write blog posts was not about the tactics or the “how to” approach. He switched from teaching people how to handle their finances and instead focused on bringing light and hope to people.
If you are tired of writing what feels to be the same thing, find a new way to approach your story and your audience.
Blogging Tip 6: Know when to partner and when to hire
Hiring and partnering are two different things.
- Partnering is when the other person has a stake in your brand and has also put skin in the game. They also reap the benefits that come with the hustle and hard work it takes to make a business or project successful.
- Hiring is more transactional. It is someone who you pay to do a certain task like a podcast editor, virtual assistant, graphic designer, etc. Those relationships can also help you to grow in certain areas and are very helpful to you and your brand. They are hired for a negotiated rate, and they will get that whether or not the company succeeds or fails.
Focus more on surrounding yourself with partners because they are more motivated for you to succeed overall. Because they are a stakeholder, they are more likely to take ownership in the different areas they are in charge.
Blogging Tip 7: Don’t chase your calling
When people asked Sabatier what his purpose or calling in life was, he never had an answer. And that’s okay.
Sometimes it’s hard to chase after a calling instead of making space for it to show up. The beautiful thing about blogging is that it’s all a reflection of you and your life. It’s what it means to be alive and human and to connect and grow. Take it seriously. If you give your all to it, you are going to learn so much about the world but about yourself. — Grant Sabatier
Sabatier’s purpose in life showed up in an email in 2016. Melanie said she said he changed her life and her marriage. For him, that email was more important than money.
Even if you don’t know, continue to question and to grow and to create. It is that creating that ultimately opens the door for your life purpose to show up. Life is too short to be doing something you don’t want to be doing. —
Of all the advice Sabatier gave, he stressed the importance of finding a community. Get more blogging tips from the community of personal finance bloggers at FinCon19. Visit finconexpo.com/fincon19 for more information about FinCon.
To hear the interview this blog was based on, listen to episode 65 of The Money & Media Podcast.
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