This is the final post in a series about blogging your personal brand. I’ve written a post for beginners, as well as intermediate and advanced users. Please review those posts before reviewing this one.
1) Podcast your brand on your blog
Whenever I talk about podcasts, I typically think of video, but many bloggers choose to record their voice or an interview through the telephone or a voice recorder and then publish it. You can do the same and there are services that will aid in the publishing process, such as PodBean.com. Audio podcasts are great for people who are scared to show their face or are in situations where they don’t have the necessary equipment to shoot video.
Video is the best way to interact with your audience, especially if you’re charismatic and personable. People can get a sense of you from reading your posts, tweets and social network messages, but when it comes to real interaction and emotional connection, video is king. Purchase a webcam or a video camera and hook it up directly to your computer using a USB connection. If you want to be a professional, and possibly interview other people for an internet type show, then you may want to buy a microphone, a sound amplifier and possibly an HD video camera (they cost less than $1,000 now).
Then you’ll want to get the video on the top video sharing websites in the world. To do this, all you need to do is upload it on TubeMogul, using the name, description and keywords that you feel will be optimize the video for search engines (as well as the video sharing search engines). TubeMogul will put your video on YouTube, Vimeo, Viddler, and more.
Finally, you’ll want to use the embed code from the video on either sharing site to use on your blog. You can either post the video as a blog post or decide the transcribe it, in addition to placing the video on the post.
The two best “lifecasting” sharing sites are Qik and UStream.tv. I recommend getting comfortable doing audio or video podcasting before you decide to do live video. When it comes to live video, you have to be authentic, and be cautious as to what you say and do. When you sign-up for one of these services, you are given your own branded web page, where you can use your phone or your webcam to film yourself or other people. While you are lifecasting, people can view this page and see you live, while having the ability to type messages to you. It’s your ability to get to know your audience more and visa versa.
The end result of your time spent lifecasting is a video recording that you can embed on your blog as a post. If you choose to do this, you should give a summary of how your session went!
3) Start your own mailing list
If you want to start a mailing list, then make it different than your blog. A lot of the best bloggers use mailing lists to give their most loyal subscribers additional tips and strategies for signing up. Typically, your readers or viewers that care enough about you and your material will signup for your mailing list to receive more content. Before starting a mailing list, you should think about how busy you are and if you’re able to spend time on such a project. Also, you’ll want to decide how many emails you want to send in a specific period of time and the value that list will receive.
Your mailing list and blog should market each other, which means you’ll want to add links to cross-promote both and any other products or services you want to sell. I recommend the following three email marketing services for your mailing list: iContact, Get Response and Contact Contact. For an example of how a newsletter is attached to a blog, please review Shoemoney’s blog.
4) Place advertisements
There are many different kinds of advertisements you can place on your blog to drive revenue (passive income). Before you start calling, emailing and Facebook’ing possible blog sponsors, you’ll want to create an advertising page on your blog, so people can see the sizes of the ads, what they’ll be receiving in terms of traffic/subscribers and the different options and packages you have.
To find advertisers, you should Google terms relating to your blog and click on company’s that are paying for AdWords. You can also find good sponsors by emailing people who comment on your blog and through natural (organic) search. Email them your pitch and then a link to your advertising page, so they can make a quick decision.
I’ve seen a few different kinds of advertisements on blogs:
- Text links
- 125/125 graphic (possibly animated)
- 468×80 header banner
- 180×180 single post banner
- Product / website review posts
- Sponsored blog posts
You should charge based on your monthly visitor stats, feed subscribers and overall blog credibility and reputation. If you want to see how much traffic you’re bringing in, I recommend Quantcast. Alex Shalman has a great advertising page on his blog if you want an example.
5) Setup an affiliate program
Affiliate marketing is an Internet-based marketing practice in which a business rewards one or more affiliates for each visitor or customer brought about by the affiliate’s marketing efforts. You only get paid for when you people click on advertisements on your site and pay for a company’s products or services.
There are many affiliate programs out there, such as Amazon Associates and Yahoo! Affiliate Programs. Don’t expect huge returns unless you already have a lot of inbound traffic to your website. The money you make from affiliate programs (possibly with other bloggers) will help fund your ongoing blog initiatives and upkeep. If you have deeper interest in affiliate marketing, then you should visit Zach Johnson’s blog.
6) Poll your readers
As a blogger, you should be interested in what your readers think of your blog, the types of posts you’re doing and any topics they would like to learn more about. Also, you may just want to poll them to gather quick feedback, to measure your success or out of curiosity. The best poll service for blogging is Polldaddy, which is actually integrated into WordPress.com now.
7) Build a team blog
A team blog is a blog that has multiple authors. The are a lot of benefits of having multiple contributors to your blog, such as having a variety of voices, more content and saving your time for other purposes, such as marketing the blog. If you’re an expert blogger, you should have a strong network of fellow bloggers to select for your team blog. Using WordPress, you give bloggers permission to write entires and then submit them for your review. You should give them the right to use their avatar, name and a link to their own blog.
I’ve seen team blogs with over 10 authors and they are highly successful. Blogs like Mashable, TechCrunch and The Huffington Post have a lot of bloggers, which allows them to become more of a business media site. You can do the same!
8 ) Use your blog at a platform
A blog can lead to bigger and better things. The most notable are speaking engagements and consulting gigs. By showcasing your interest in receiving those opportunities, you are more likely to garner them. So setup pages with those titles on your blog and if you’ve spoke or consulted in the past, use endorsements, video and a topic outline to show people what you’re made of.
You can also use your blog to sell more of your products, services and introduce people to other sites you own. Your blog will allow you to promote anything you want!
9) Write an eBook / book
After writing hundreds of blog posts, you will naturally want to tie your writings into a book of some sort. Some of you will try and get a literary agent and a publishing deal in order to get your ideas out there, while others will draft an eBook that captures many of your posts. You can sell the eBook and market it on your blog. If you’re interested in having a physical book, you’ll want to have more original content for that, but the eBook doesn’t have to always be original.
10) Start more blogs
When a single blog (or team blog) isn’t enough, you can always start multiple blogs. Obviously, it’s going to take up even more of your time, so think through your current situation before you make the jump. There aren’t too many bloggers who are willing to have yet another blog to build content for. The one’s that do, usually do it on a completely different topic to satisfy their other passion.