Fall 2018 Guide: What Works Now For Bloggers

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Last month I started a brand new blog for two reasons. 

  1. As a fun passion project 
  2. As a case study to help teach you what is working now for new bloggers 

If you want to learn more about why I started my second blog you can here.

This month has honestly been a blast as I was transported back to my days as a new blogger. I got giddy the first time more than 10 people were on my site at once and when I made a $.91 sale on Amazon. It was so fun to celebrate these victories with my family as we’d cheer and give a round of high-fives. 

When starting I tried to set reasonable expectations for myself. I’m in the third trimester of a high-risk pregnancy and I knew that I would have to be patient with myself.

But I’ve gotta say even with a middle of the night ER visit and what feels like a million doctors appointments I am super happy with this first month's results! 

In this post, I am going to break down exactly what I did and what is working now for bloggers. 

If you haven’t started a blog yet you can check out my step-by-step guide here. 

Results

Now before I dig into what I did, what I ignored and my recommendations, you probably want to know how things actually went, right? 

Here is a quick recap of the blogs results in its first 30 days: 

Within 30 days my Pinterest account had over half a million monthly viewers. Meaning my pins came up in someone's feed over half a million times! Pretty crazy! 

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The amount that showed on my account at the one month mark was 519.3k monthly viewers, but there is a bit of a delay and usually is about a week behind. 

By the 30 day mark, I’d hit 735.5k monthly viewers. Almost ¾ of a million viewers and increased my impressions by over 2,500%!

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When I shared some of these stats over in my Facebook group Blogging Newbs I was asked a few times, okay so that is great, but how did it result in actual pageviews to my blog? 

In the first 30 days of my blog, I hit just shy of 21,000 page views. Not too shabby! When I started this site it took me about 3 months to hit that number. 

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A few other fun things happened a few days after the 30-day mark. 

On day 33 I received my first product review request. It totally fit within my brand, but I’m not taking it right now because I’m hyper-focused on the type of content I am releasing on the site right now. 

On day 34 I hit 25,000 sessions which meant I could apply for MediaVine! MediaVine is a full-service ad management company. A lot of bloggers when they switch from Google Adsense to Mediavine see an increase of 2-3x in their ad revenue. 

I haven’t chosen to use ads here on Moms Make Cents, but I plan to have that be one of the pieces in Today Mommy’s monetization plan so I am super excited to get to be able to be a part of that network. 

Now that we’ve covered our bases lets jump into what I did. 

Things I totally ignored

Now I don’t want to discredit any of the things I am listing below - but I wanted to show you that you don’t have to do everything to be successful or get traffic. 

Social Media - 

Facebook - 

I did pretty much nothing there...I used Post Planner’s repeat feature to start sharing my new posts on my Facebook page, but that’s it. 

Facebook can be a really important platform - but the reach just isn’t as good as Pinterest (which I will talk more about later!). 

I may dedicate more time to this later, but when you are short on time this is one that I think you can skip in the beginning. 

Twitter - 

This is almost the exact same as with Facebook. I set up posts to loop via Post Planner and then pretty much ignored it. 

I do recommend that you reserve your accounts to make sure that you have the handle/name that you want, but this is definitely something to come back to later. 

Instagram - 

Poor Instagram...I’ve completely ignored it. Not even posted once. I claimed the handle I wanted and then I’ve just let it sit there - but that is okay! Like I said you don’t have to do ALL the things! 

In the future, I plan to dedicate some time to grow my presence on Instagram because I know it is a key factor in collaborating with brands and getting sponsored posts - but right now isn’t the time. 

Email - 

I am a HUGE proponent for email. I have made a lot of my blogging income directly from my email list so it may seem surprising that for now, I’ve skipped it. 

With the site being so new I am waiting to see what my audience is most responsive to before I start creating opt-ins and taking the time to email my list. 

I do know that when I launch my email list for Today Mommy it will be heavily segmented so that I’m sending targeted information to my subscribers. 

Things I focused on

Content  - 

By now you’ve probably heard that content is king in blogging. You need to have high-value content to share with your readers. 

On Today Mommy I aimed to have longer posts on my site. The shortest posts are around 800-900 words while I have a couple posts that are over 2,000 words. 

Having super helpful, in-depth posts results in more shares and engagement. 

I also wanted multiple pieces that I could promote right off the bat. I launched the blog with 10 posts and then continued posting three times a week on a Monday, Wednesday, Friday schedule. While I don’t plan on keeping up on that forever, my goal has been to get to 50 posts as quickly as I can. 

At this rate that puts me at 50 posts right around the end of September/early October when baby #2 is due. 

Pinterest

Pinterest these days is favoring NEW pins. This can be pins for new blog posts, new graphics for old posts, or even old graphics with new descriptions. 

I created a TON of pins so that I would have lots of “fresh” content to share. When I launched I created three pins per post. 

I created some Pinterest graphic templates in Canva to speed up the creation process and went about my merry way :) 

Now a couple of weeks in I started playing around with some new pin styles to see what would perform the best. Two of the three original Pinterest graphic templates I have now stopped using because they didn’t seem to take off as well as the other one + the new pins I was creating. 

That is why testing is so important! Analyze what is working and what is not and then make improvements! 

Group Boards

Now I’ve been hearing a lot of chatter about Facebook groups. Are they dead? Should we leave them? How are we going to get traffic now? 

I wanted to use this as an opportunity to test it out myself and see what is really working now - even with a brand new account. 

This Pinterest account I started from scratch literally 0 followers, 0 pins, 0 boards. 

Before applying to group boards I made sure that I had a professional looking profile. I added my headshot, a bio, boards with thoughtful descriptions, high-quality pins, etc. 

I also didn’t apply for the group boards until the day that my blog actually launched, because who would want to add a blogger that has no content on their site? A lot of group board owners will want to look at your site so they can evaluate your quality to see if it matches that of the board. 

However, before I launched there were still things I could do to prepare.

I put together a big spreadsheet of all of the group boards that I wanted to request to join. By the time I launched, I had at least 100 group boards on the list. Then on launch day, I set out sending emails and Pinterest messages requesting to join. 

I recommend creating a long list of group boards because not everyone will add you and that is okay!

Some people only add contributors once a month, some have let the group board go in-active, or some may just feel you aren’t a good fit. Don’t take it personally! Just keep looking for new groups to join! 

Group Boards vs. Personal Boards

There has been a lot of talk about favoring personal boards over group boards. In my experience, I’ve still gotten great results from a lot of the group boards that I’ve joined as long as they are niche specific. 

For example: A group board that is focused on pregnancy called Pregnancy Tips For Moms is going to get a lot more action than a general board like “Pin Your Best Posts.” For me, the reach on those generic has been pretty dismal and is probably not worth it. 

Personal boards are super important right now too! You want to create targeted niche personal boards with highly relevant pins and board descriptions. 

Three out of five of my top boards on my profile in the first 30 days were my PERSONAL boards. Only two of them were group boards - even though those group boards had thousands more followers than my tiny new account. Don’t ignore your personal boards. 

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Tailwind

For this site, I’ve been doing about 90% of my pinning with Tailwind with a little bit of manual pinning mixed in there and it has been working great. 

I love using Tailwind to schedule my pins super fast via Board Lists and using their analytics to see what is working on my account. 

You can get a free trial of Tailwind here. 

I also have a whole other post that explains how to get started with Tailwind if you are new and need some insights on how to navigate the platform. 

Check out: How To Use Tailwind To Skyrocket Your Traffic. 

Tailwind Tribes

Another area of Tailwind that I’ve been diving into is tribes. These function sort of like group boards in that a bunch of collaborators come together and share their pins.

However, when you share to a tribe it doesn’t automatically share to everyone's followers. People can pick and choose which pins they want to pin. 

Most of the tribes I’ve been a part of have a rule where for every 1 of your pins you share you need to share someone else's. This is an awesome way for you to get your content in front of a new audience. 

As a Tailwind user, you be a part of five tribes and share up to 30 pins per month. If you want to join more tribes or share more pins you can purchase a power-up starting at about $5 a month. 

Click here to grab your free trial of Tailwind & Tailwind Tribes. 

Using tribes was crucial for me getting some shares from bigger bloggers in that niche early on. 

To find tribes to join. Go to the “Tribes” button on the left-hand side of the screen and then “Find A Tribe.” From there you can either search for a keyword or select a certain category. 

From there, some tribes are open for you to join and others you will need to request access to join. If you want to leave a tribe later to join another you can totally do that too - so don’t worry about committing to a tribe early on! 

Do Followers Matter?

This is another Pinterest question that I am asked all of the time - and the answer is...it depends. 

It seems like Pinterest keeps changing its mind about followers. For a while, it was pretty easy to gain followers and a lot of your traffic was dependent on your followers. Then they changed things up and it got harder to get followers and it was more Pinterest SEO focused.

Now it seems like they have settled somewhere in between. 

Recently Pinterest came out with a “Following” tab where users can go to ONLY see content from accounts/boards that they follow. 

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This is not the primary feed that they see, but they can click over to that tab and view just the pins from the people they follow. Pinterest is all about user experience so they want to give them that option! 

To help grow your followers you can use a plugin like Milotree that encourages blog viewers to follow your Pinterest account. 

Now don’t worry if you are a brand new blogger with a tiny new account! There is still hope for you. It’s called Pinterest SEO. 

Pinterest SEO

In this post I cover 7 ways to improve your Pinterest SEO, but here is the gist of it. 

SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization and Pinterest works like a search engine. You need to add relevant keywords and terms to your boards, pins, and descriptions so Pinterest can understand what your pin is about and show it to the right people. 

The biggest thing to remember is KEYWORDS! 

Think of a few keywords that are relevant to your post that you would want to come up for in Pinterest’s search. Then take those words and make sure they are in the name of your blog post, your Pinterest description, and even better if they are in the name of the board you pin your pin to + in its board description. 

Always pin your pins to the most relevant board first. Usually, this is going to be one of your personal boards first. 

So for example, if I was pinning my pin about natural ways to induce labor I would pin it first to my board Labor & Delivery Tips. From there I would probably pin it to my Pregnancy Tips board and to a few other relevant boards before scheduling it via Tailwind to my niche group boards. 

This helps tell Pinterest early on that it is related to Labor & Delivery and Pregnancy. Then hopefully as other pinners pin it they will pin it to other similarly keyworded boards to strengthen that keyword to Pinterest. 

Helpful Resources

Getting started can be overwhelming, but here are some resources to help ease the process! 

Courses: 

Mom Blogging Mentor Ebook: This is my 170+ page ebook that walks you through the steps of how to effectively start your blog. Everything from choosing your niche, setting up your theme, monetization and more! 

 

Mom Blogging Mentor Ebook + Course: If you want a little more guidance grab the ebook + course bundle! You will get the ebook + the course that has over 40 lessons, bonuses, and worksheets. This is the most affordable in-depth option out there! 

 

Pin to Profits: My five-course bundle goes way in-depth with over 80 lessons, worksheets, and bonuses that will teach you how to effectively grow your traffic income and subscribers.

This is so much more than a Pinterest course. You'll also learn about affiliate marketing, building successful email funnels, and how to scale your business (& income!)! 

Tools: 

Canva: Canva is a free graphic editing software that I use to create my Pinterest graphics. They have free stock photos, tons of font choices, and you can save your templates to go back to later. 

PicMonkey: I have used PicMonkey for almost 7 years now! They are another great photo editing tool that has a few more photo editing capabilities than Canva.

You can check out PicMonkey here. 

Tailwind: I’d seriously be lost without Tailwind. I can literally schedule a pin to all of my relevant group boards in less than 30 seconds. It is a huge timesaver and a must-have resource for anyone that wants to grow on Pinterest.

You can get a free trial of Tailwind here. 

Post Planner: This is a lifesaver when it comes to keeping fresh content on the other social platforms while you focus on Pinterest. They have super affordable plans starting at less than $10 a month. Their content recycling feature is worth that alone! 

Milotree: If want a way to increase your Pinterest followers check out the Milotree app. You also can use this to grow your email subscribers and followers on different social platforms. 

JQuery Plugin: Make sure that you have a “Pin it” or “Save it” button on your website so it is easy for your readers to share. The one that I use is called JQuery and it is free! 

SiteGround: If you haven’t started your blog yet, but want to or if your site is running slow (which can tank your traffic) definitely check out SiteGround. I am using their hosting to run my Today Mommy site and I have been super impressed.

Click here to check out SiteGround or here to view a tutorial on how to set up your hosting. 

Phew! I think that is a new record for the longest post ever here on Moms Make Cents! I hope it was helpful to you and answered your questions about what is working for new bloggers right now. 

If you enjoyed this post please share! 

How To Write A Book (Even If You're A Busy Mom)

 10 Simple Steps To Writing Your First Book - Even As A Busy Mom! 

Shortly after I found out I was pregnant with our second child, I set this crazy goal to publish a book—before the baby was born.

Those pregnant hormones can make us do some pretty crazy things.

I was a work-from-home mama with a 1.5-year old at home hustling during nap time and bedtime doing freelance writing, editing, and virtual assistant work to contribute to our family financially.

At the time, I was doing some VA work for a book marketing blog and learned a little bit about how to self-publish a book. While I liked the work I was doing, it was something that was paying the bills… but it wasn’t something I was passionate about or eager to do every day.

I knew I needed to do my own thing that excited me too.

So how does one go from ordinary work-at-home mom to published author (even if you’re pregnant)?

Here are the steps:

 

STEP 1.  BELIEVE YOU HAVE SOMETHING VALUABLE TO OFFER

This was a massive mindset shift for me. However, when I realized friends, family, and co-workers were shocked that I’d paid off all my student loans in just a couple of years on a teacher’s salary and curious to know how I did it, I found my first book topic.

I let go of the self-doubt and believed I had something valuable to offer. Now I truly believe EVERYONE has a worthwhile book idea in them that no one else can share.

STEP 2.  SCHEDULE A TIME TO WORK ON YOUR BOOK EVERY DAY

From researching to outlining, from writing to marketing, there are many steps to write a book. Scheduling a time in my day when I’d have the best chance of uninterrupted time was crucial.

For me, this was usually 5:00 – 7:00 AM before my husband left for work. My husband took care of our daughter during this time (she’s always been an early riser), so I could focus on work.

This was absolutely crucial because working at home with a baby is no easy feat. Checking emails, sure, that can be done with kids around, but writing a book with a crying little one tugging at your leg was not happening in my house.  Shout out to my husband!

STEP 3.  SET GOALS AND DEADLINES

  1. Without a deadline, writing a book can easily become a 10-year project. My goal was to complete all the steps to publish my book before Baby #2 came.
  2. Determine how many words you want your book to be. Many nonfiction eBooks are 25,000-30,000 words, while a standard novel is 60,000-80,000 words. My target was 25,000-30,000 words.
  3. Set a daily word count goal. A page is 250-300 words, so your goal doesn’t have to be huge. Setting a realistic goal for me was 1,000 words per day.  This meant I would take no more than 30 days to write my first draft.

STEP 4.  START WRITING

Next was serious “butt in chair time” for the actual book writing. I wrote a messy first draft. I researched the best book writing software to make the job easier because for me, writing an entire book in Word was a pain.

I invested in the book writing software Scrivener, which was incredibly handy when I had to go back and reorganize my entire book…three times.

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STEP 5.  GIVE BOOK TO BETA READERS

Getting early feedback from readers can be critical to making sure you’re on the right path to a great book. Let a few trusted friends, family, or editors give you honest feedback about your work.

You can even find beta readers on Goodreads to find people who are readers of your specific genre or topic.

STEP 6. REVISE, REVISE, REVISE

Next was finalizing the title of my book (With the title Pay Your Student Loans Fast, I didn’t leave much for the imagination. Instead, I stuck with something I knew people wanted a solution for.

Revising took quite me longer than expected, so it was good I finished writing faster than anticipated so I didn’t get behind schedule.

STEP 7. HIRE AN EDITOR

Next up is investing in a book editor. An editor can give you professional feedback on your book. They can look at the overall structure, your writing style, as well as spot grammar mistakes and sneaky typos.

Editing may require several rounds to make a book an enjoyable read and as close to error-free as possible.

STEP 8. FORMAT YOUR BOOK

There are two methods for formatting your book: DIY or hire. This will make sure the spacing, indents, and everything else look great for both eBooks and print books.

While the frugalness in me wanted to DIY, this was one of those things I opted to hire a pro to do especially since I decided to offer paperback books as well as eBooks using a print-on-demand service called CreateSpace.

STEP 9. DESIGN AN EYE-CATCHING BOOK COVER

A book cover is super, super important for catching the eyes of people browsing for their next book online. My cover took several rounds of going back and forth, but in the end, I was very happy with what my designer created:

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STEP 10. LAUNCH AND PUBLISH!

Believe it or not, my due date was July 16. It was crunch time trying to get all the final steps taken care of. When July 16 came and there was no sign of baby, I decided that was the day to publish.

So the final step was uploading my book files to the sites that sell books like Amazon, iTunes, and Banes & Noble.

Here’s my first copy I got in the mail…along with my 9-month pregnant belly

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And after all that, I became a published author. Hearing from readers whose lives I’ve touched through my book is completely humbling and amazing. Plus, having a published book is a source of passive income now that all of the hard work was done up front.

The best part of the whole thing, however, was the book to my then 2-year-old daughter. She saw the picture of me on the back and said, “Mama, that’s you!

She is an absolute book-lover, so it felt incredible to tell her just like so-and-so wrote that book, Mama wrote this book.

If you’ve thought about writing a book and you’re looking for another stream of income, publishing a book is an option we don’t hear about often.

Whether freelance, blogging, or writing a book, writing is a flexible and creative skill that moms can use to make money while helping thousands of people for years to come.


About the Author

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Val Breit spends most of her days trying to keep her two little minions out of the toilet and from harassing their dog. She’s a nap and bedtime hustler who could talk all day about ways to pay off debt and earn money at home. Check out her latest shenanigans at TheCommonCentsClub.com.

5 Things I Did Differently When I Started My Second Blog

This post may contain affiliate links

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Okay, so in full-disclosure Moms Make Cents wasn’t my first blog... It was probably more like my 5th. So this post probably should say 5 things I did differently when I started my SIXTH blog, but it just doesn't have the same ring to it 😉 

I’ve been blogging since 2012, but Moms Make Cents is the first blog I went into with some semblance of strategy so in this post we will compare Moms Make Cents which launched in June 2016 and Today Mommy which recently launched in June 2018.

Hopefully, this post will give you some insights on what I’ve learned over the last two years and some important things you can do to launch your blog!

1. More posts -

Moms Make Cents -

When I launched Moms Make Cents I started with five blog posts. Some bloggers start with just one post and then hit publish. However, I knew I wanted at least a few pieces that I could promote - so I started with five. The five posts were roughly in the categories I thought I wanted to cover on my blog.

Today Mommy -

With Today Mommy I started with 10 posts. My goal was actually 20 posts - but then I decided I wanted to launch it on Moms Make Cents’ 2nd birthday so I moved my deadline up. With these 10 posts, I had a few pieces of content in the main categories I would cover on my site.

This was important because then in my related posts at the bottom of each post there was something relevant to link to. This also helped because right off the bat I could interlink between posts.

Many new bloggers have a super high bounce rate because they don’t have enough related content yet.

For new bloggers, I would recommend launching with AT LEAST 5-10 posts. 20 is even better!

2. On Wordpress not Squarespace

Moms Make Cents -

I’m kind of ashamed to admit this, but Moms Make Cents is hosted on SquareSpace. (gasp!)

A really popular blogger I was following when I started MMC was singing the praises of SquareSpace so I went along with it against my better judgment.

About six months into running the blog I realized I’d made a huge mistake. There was limited functionality it didn’t integrate with certain tools I wanted to use and the PLUGINS! All I wanted were sweet WordPress plugins.

I’ve looked into having the site moved over to WordPress multiple times, but I’ve chickened out.  I’ve been told it is going to mess with my SEO and I have a post that ranks super high and brings in a ton of revenue for me and I haven’t been willing to risk losing that traffic yet.

Today Mommy -

Yep, you guessed it I am over on WordPress and loving it. I have had other sites on WordPress before so I knew the basics and grabbed the GoGeek plan from SiteGround for web hosting.

For a full tutorial on how to start your blog with SiteGround click here.

I would say set up wise it probably took me one extra day on WordPress compared to SquareSpace to get the site set up how I wanted it but it is definitely worth the customization and scalability for the future.

I opted to go with the Captivating theme from Restored 316 designs. This is a child theme on the Genesis framework.

3. Multiple graphics per post

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When I started I created one Pinterest graphic per post (eventually I worked up to 2-3 graphics) and promoted it like crazy. This worked relatively well, and I ended up with just shy of 5,000 pageviews in my first month of the blog.

However, I could have done much better and had a lot more content to promote right off the bat if I’d created multiple pins per post.

Today Mommy -

With Today Mommy I immediately created three Pinterest graphics per post. With 10 posts when I launched that gave me 30 images I could promote. I’ve also been experimenting with a couple more Pinterest graphic formats and my goal is to have at least five pins per post, eventually.

To speed up my graphics process I created Pinterest graphic templates in Canva. You can follow this tutorial for how to make a Pinterest graphic on Canva.

4. SEO

Moms Make Cents -

I’ll admit it...I’m a Pinterest blogger. For Moms Make Cents I have had the majority of my traffic come from Pinterest. Which is great and has worked really well, but I’ve been leaving pageviews on the table.

I have a few posts that rank pretty well for SEO, but mostly that was by accident 🙈. When I started Moms Make Cents, I was a busy mom with a one-year-old, simultaneously running 2 other businesses and I didn’t have time to learn SEO when I was already confident in Pinterest - so I focused on my strengths.

Today Mommy -

SEO will definitely be a big part of my strategy this go around. Although it is a newer blog and will probably take a few months to see any results from my efforts, I’m setting up a solid foundation now.

I’ve been geeking out doing keyword research and found that it is a ton of fun! I’ll put together a post soon on my favorite free SEO tools for bloggers and how to use them, but here is a couple you can check out now!

5. Had more distinct categories

Moms Make Cents -

When I started Moms Make Cents my original goal was to help empower women to understand their finances and help them earn more and save more so they could stay at home with their babies.

I had started three profitable businesses before this site and I would get tons of questions about how other moms could do that so I thought I would share my tips!

I also have a degree in Financial Planning and wanted to share tips about that too - although that category got pushed to the back burner as I fell increasingly in love with talking about online entrepreneurship.

Overall, I knew what I wanted to cover, but I had trouble tying it all together and making sure I had blog posts relevant to the same audience.

To this day one of my most popular posts is How To Pay For College When You Have No Money - but it doesn’t go with much of the other content on my site so my bounce rate for that post is super high.

Today Mommy -

With Today Mommy I have more direction with my posts and think about how everything with flow together ahead of time.

Right now there are three primary categories,

Pregnancy: Where I cover all things pregnancy like morning sickness remedies and how to sleep while pregnant.

Parenting: Where I cover parenting and baby tips like how to transition from crib to a toddler bed.

Money: This category covers all things money related. Right now I have a few posts about how to save money like this post on how to save money on groceries, but eventually, I want to add in content about making money from home too.

That will be a good opportunity for me to link back to Moms Make Cents since I have lots of posts on that topic.

I will add other relevant content/categories to the site as it develops (like I totally want a section for #momlife), but for now, that is what I am going with.

I honestly forgot how exhilarating it can be to launch a new blog!  It has been so fun over the last couple of weeks to login to Google Analytics and watch my pageviews creep up and get giddy when there are actual human beings reading my blog posts.

What would you go back and do differently if you were re-launching your blog?

How To Use Tailwind To Skyrocket Traffic To Your Blog

When I started this blog I had goals for my pageviews, email subscribers, income etc. and to be totally honest my reality has blown those goals out of the water! I was hoping for rapid growth, but what has happened has been phenomenal. I’ve been talking about this a TON lately, so I bet you can guess what I attribute a lot of my success too. Any ideas…

...My Pinterest Strategy!

I am a busy mama. I don’t have time to be on Pinterest all day and I know you have a life and can’t be on Pinterest all the time either. So how can we maximize our time so we can still kill it on Pinterest?

By using a Pinterest Scheduler! 

One of my favorite scheduling tools is called Tailwind. Today I’m going to show you my favorite features that have convinced me that Tailwind is a small business must have! 

8 Reasons to Master Affiliate Marketing Before Creating Your Own Products

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Is creating and selling your own products on your blogging to-do list?

It’s definitely at the top of mine! That’s because creating your own courses, books, and other products is a fantastic way to monetize your blog and grow your influence.

You’ve already done the hard work of sharing your amazingly helpful free blog content every day. Why not put together an actual course or write a book that goes even deeper to help your readers and pays you real money?

There’s just one thing that I strongly urge you do too before creating and selling your own products… master affiliate marketing FIRST. Affiliate marketing is simply referring other people’s products to your audience. In exchange for your friendly referral, you get a commission.

I know when I first started blogging, affiliate marketing was scary for me. I was so hesitant to offer other products to my audience because I didn’t want to alienate them or make them feel like they were being sold to. So I waited a LONG time to do it.

Then I found a few companies that I love (as the experts advise) and I simply told my audience about them. And then I made money. Wow! The money certainly didn’t roll in overnight and took tons of trial and error, but it worked!!

As I prepare to finally create my own products to sell, I realized that my affiliate marketing journey prepared me in ways I couldn’t imagine when I started. I remember very early on how I wanted to write my own book and create my own course right out the gate. Dare I say... it would have FLOPPED!

I had a lot of knowledge and skills to write and create the product, but ZERO understanding of how to sell them to my audience. It’s my experience with affiliate sales that is setting me up for extreme success.

Here are the 8 Powerful Reasons to Master Affiliate Marketing Before Creating Your Own Products

1 – You Learn What Your Own Audience Responds To

When you begin your affiliate marketing journey you’ll start by referring the products and services that you personally love and are using all the time. It’s just like when you discover a new lunch spot and can’t wait to post about it on Instagram or call your friend to tell her how this one product got your one year old to finally sleep through the night and how she’s got to try it too!

There’s just one problem, you never know how your audience will respond to an offer until you offer it. They’ll either love it or you’ll hear the crickets loud and clear. In both cases, you need to be taking notes.

Simply put, offer more and more of what they love and less and less of what they ignore. In addition, you should be paying attention to the types of products they respond well to. Do they buy all your ebook referrals but never go crazy when you refer them amazing courses?

The last thing you want to do is work tirelessly for months creating your own course, only to find out they don’t dig courses for some reason. It doesn’t really matter why, it just matters that it is and that you know it.

2 – You Get All the Sales Jitters Out Now

The biggest hesitancy for most bloggers about affiliate marketing is not feeling comfortable with selling. They just want to write their book and start sharing their great information with the world.

Unfortunately, they don’t realize early on that they are required to SELL that amazing product. Yep! If you’re going to create anything outside of the realm of FREE, you instantly become your own VP of Sales.

The good news is, you can get all the jitters of sales out by practicing with other people’s stuff. The worst thing that can happen is you hear the crickets again or someone emails you to tell you they didn’t appreciate how you referred a great product to them. Ouch.

I need you to shift your perspective for a second… that’s all fantastic information! You need to dig deeper and find out what happened. Was it the product? Probably not. Most likely it was your delivery. Ouch again.

Just keep tweaking until you find what resonates with your readers the most.

3 – It Builds Trust and Conditions Your Audience  

So, let’s talk about the person who emailed you to complain that you referred an amazing product. You need to go ahead and remove them from your email list. They’ll never buy from you and frankly, their attitude kinda sucks.

You DO NOT want people on your email list, specifically, who just want to take up space on your list. Remember, you’re paying for them to be there. By sharing your regular stellar content and tips with them on a weekly basis and weaving in affiliate sales opportunities you’re conditioning your list to hear about buying opportunities.

The ones who hate hearing about buying anything will unsubscribe to make room for someone who will. And this is a really good thing. By the time you launch your own products, your list will be conditioned and ready to hear about it.

Another super important point is, you condition your audience to buy from YOU! This is powerful because if someone buys one thing from you, the chances of them buying from you again go WAY UP.

It’s basically the part of our human nature that makes us feel comfortable with someone we’ve already judged as “safe.” This is why the tripwire and one time offers work so well. If you can get someone to buy a $5.00 resource from you, they are more likely to move up your sales ladder. Start with the small and work your way up.

In addition to all that, affiliate marketing also builds trust if you do it the right way and ONLY refer amazing and trust-worthy stuff. If your audience buys from one of your affiliates and loves it, they’ll be back for more. And when it’s time for your own launch, they’ll already trust that it’s as amazing as everything else you’ve shared with them.

4 – You Learn How to do an Effective Sales Email Campaign

There are do’s and don’ts when sending out an email sales launch campaign. There’s really a science to getting it right. And the key ingredient is practice.

You can follow all the advice and blueprints for success you want, but actually doing it yourself is learning. It takes a lot of trial and error and finesse. Your first launch campaign is sure to suck so get that one out the way quickly.

Practicing with someone else’s course and flopping hard is a no-lose situation for you. It’s like walking on a tightrope with a harness and a net! You’re getting great practice but without all the scary risk.

By the time you finish your book, you’ll be able to prime your list, have them eagerly awaiting, and buying like crazy when it’s time to launch. And that’s what you want!

5 – You Can Make Money Even With a Small Blog

Unlike ads on your site that require tons of traffic to make any decent income, affiliate marketing can make you money even if your audience is still small… if you do it right.

The key is to be strategic rather than randomly link dropping or referring products here and there. Start by making a list of affiliate products that you LOVE and genuinely want to refer your readers too because you believe it’ll make their lives better in some way. And those products MUST already fit well within your current blog’s niche. Remember, no randomness allowed.

Then start brainstorming post ideas that could help your readers begin thinking about that product such as how to use it in a unique way, or making them aware of what they are missing out on by not using this product or service.

Let’s say you are a home blogger and want to refer your readers to a natural cleaning products subscription box. Before the affiliate launch or before you begin offering this product to your readers, you can start creating content to build awareness for why we need natural cleaning products, the real-life dangers of using toxic cleaners, and simple ways or hacks to cleaning your home naturally. You’re basically priming them for your offer.

And just to be super clear, when I use this strategy, I don’t necessarily mention the product itself. I just want to attract my readers to that post(s) which is directly tied in some natural way to that product. This could be through an email or a pop-up offer at the end of the post.

Here’s an example image from one of my posts:

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If it’s a high-yield affiliate or an evergreen product, I’ll create a helpful content upgrade to get those interested readers on my email list. Then when that product launches or they have a flash sale, I can send an email to only those who showed interest and tell them about the sale.

You can certainly use paid traffic to ramp up this process. But you don’t need amazing traffic numbers to make decent income using this process.

I used this process to prepare for the amazing Ultimate Homemaking Bundle from Ultimate Bundles a few months ago. I created a post about modern homemaking and shined a positive light on how the word “homemaking” can be viewed as old-fashioned.

The post did really well, and I got a lot of sign-ups for the planner I created and was then able to email them about the Homemaking Bundle when it was released a few weeks later. You can check out the post here!

6 – You Build Key Relationships with other Bloggers

This one is by far my favorite benefit of affiliate marketing. That’s because relationships are so vitally important in this business. We need each other!

For example, I purchased McKinzie’s Pin to Profits course which is amazing and I highly recommend! I quickly became an affiliate because I believe my own audience could benefit from her expertise.

Over the course of a few months and many friendly emails, we developed a relationship. And now I’m guest posting here on her amazing blog!

This has happened with many other wonderful bloggers too. If you’re a blogger, you already know one of the pitfalls of blogging is how lonely blogging can be. Without trying to sound too dramatic, building key friendships and partnerships in blogging is life-changing!

7 – Start Making Money Now Without the Pressure and Time of Creating Your Own

Writing a book or creating an online course is A LOT of work and takes A LOT of time and focus. This means it could take months before it’s ready to sell and make you money.

Affiliate marketing is perfect if want to start bringing in an income from your blog now. There’s no waiting… except for all the practicing I mentioned earlier.

Once you’ve got it down, you can start making sales NOW… today… seriously.

8 – Get Used to Rejection and Flops

The final reason to master affiliate marketing is it gives you permission to suck. Because in the beginning, you will. Sorry to sound so harsh, but it’s true.

You need to get used to rejection and mistakes and get the initial shock out of your system. It feels terrible to totally flop on something you worked hard on, but it’s really par for the course.

Affiliate market gives you the place to fail it at with zero risk to you. And honestly, rejection and mistakes are going to happen no matter how long you’ve been doing this. But the reason you need to experience this early on, is it lessens the fear. And removes the tendency to be gun-shy when it’s time to do a new launch.

You don’t want to be passing on great opportunities for both you and your readers because you’re afraid. Simply feeling the sting of rejection makes it less painless and scary the next time. Soon, you’ll begin to expect it and your focus will turn from fear to the hustle of getting the work done.

I hope you’re fired up right now about killing it in affiliate marketing! I also hope you feel less pressure to burn yourself out with your own products and start thinking of affiliates you can start promoting to your audience right now.

McKinzie has some amazing resources right here on this blog and has a FREE resource for amazing affiliates you can join today.

Moms Make Cents - Helpful Posts On Affiliate Marketing:

How To Make Money With Affiliate Marketing

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How To Make Money With Pinterest Affiliate Links


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Brandi Michel is the creator of FamilyFelicity.com and when she's not spending time with her most favorite people on the planet – her family – you can find her drinking cold coffee and sharing her best tips and advice on creating your best "Felicity" family life on her blog! Felicity means joys of heaven, prosperity, and blissfulness. Sounds awesome, right?

One of her passions is helping moms to create their own online blogs and businesses. If you have a passion but don’t know how to get started or where to find the time, Brandi’s Passion Project Blueprint was created just for you! Click here to get your FREE copy! Plus, get access to her VIP vault full of 100+ printables to help bring out all your amazingness in your life and home! You can also get all her latest posts by following her on Facebook and Pinterest!