If you’ve had a chance to check out part 1 of “Make Money Blogging,” you would have learned some concepts on how to make money blogging for yourself. In this article, we’ll take an in-depth at some of the concepts involved on how you can make money blogging for others. Let’s begin!
Blogging for Others
For most business owners, putting together coherent articles and blogs has become a big part of their business strategy, but they are pretty time-consuming for those that don’t specialize in crafting coherent written work. That’s where you come in to save the day.
Without web traffic, the business will have to rely on word-of-mouth, expensive outbound marketing campaigns, and a physical location to draw in clients. Blogs offer a way for customers to be drawn into the fold as part of an inbound marketing strategy.
Inbound marketing is a huge topic, but the gist of it is that potential customers (the target audience) are directed towards a business by the website’s content. Instead of soliciting customers through emails, mailings, advertisement placements, and so forth, inbound marketing leaves the decision up to the consumer; they choose to read the content or leave it alone.
Blogging plays a large part in this process. Instructional articles that are posted in a blog format are called whitepapers. Essentially, a whitepaper proposes a problem, then solves it for the consumer. In fact, you’re reading a whitepaper right now. There’s a bit of a blurring of the lines of what constitutes a blog versus an article, but they function the same.
Opinion pieces also play a part of inbound marketing. By being the voice of a brand, you seek to connect with an audience by aligning the morals and beliefs of the audience with the company. For instance, the company Lululemon could probably feature a blog about the benefits of yoga; they probably won’t be lauding the nootropic benefits of nicotine via cigarettes anytime soon. Also, current events-oriented opinion pieces that tie into the company are often great excuses to keep the brand fresh and vital in the audience’s eyes, reaffirming just where the company stands on the zeitgeist. If you’re selling ethically-sourced eggs and John Waters happens to make a new film, you might be writing a scathing blog indictment of Pink Flamingos.
You may think that there’s no correlation between popular events and certain businesses, but you’d be surprised how you are can spin the most esoteric topics into the most unlikely businesses. As a blogger, it might just be your job to make garlic and ice cream go together. And if you don’t think it can be done, may I suggest you go to Gilroy, California, sometime.
Press releases also can fall into this category of blogging. Typically, if you’re hired to produce these in blog format, an informal tone “directly” from the CEO or key employees creates a human connection that blogs can provide (see Tone below). The audience of the blog can experience the excitement of the new products/services, contemplate upcoming industry-specific events, or tell how the company is responding to changes in the economy (just to name a few). Blogs become the mouthpiece of the company; as a blogger, you’re the speechwriter.
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Ok, the blogs have been assigned and written. But are they written with SEO in mind? Wait, you’re a blogger and you don’t know what SEO is? Well, step right this way…
SEO (which stands for “Search Engine Optimization”) writing is closely related to blogging. Basically, by following a number of ambiguous rules that follow ethical practices set forth by search engines, a webpage is ranked according to how closely it mirrors a search query. If you type “make money blogging” in Google, you’ll find articles and pages that are related to how you can make money blogging; if you type this same query and get information on Swedish death metal bands, you wouldn’t use the search engine as a reliable source, would you?
Those queries are called “keywords.” Virtually every search engines use them to determine how a webpage matches up: the more relevant the info, the higher the ranking. Blogs play a huge part in determining the ranking of pages; heck, even this article is part of SEO practices (kudos if you got to this page from a search engine, which is more than likely the case).
Keywords placed liberally within a blog tend to rank higher, though abusing them can have the opposite effect. If the keyword is relevant to the subject matter, then the page ranks higher. However, if you have a blog about cat furniture and you’ve placed “make money blogging” to manipulate the rankings, your page will a) look stupid, and b) rank lower. Don’t be stupid.
(As an example, I dare you to look up the keyword “make money blogging” and see how many times it appears in this article. It’s what the article is about, right?)
The frequency of posting original blogs is another key tenet of SEO—that’s why scoring a contract/hourly blogging gig with an employer is more likely down the road as your prove your writing talents and value. As a rule of thumb, the more often that relevant content is produced, the more that search engines boost the pages ranking.
Again, using the cat furniture example, if you’re page is all about cat towers and catnip and what have you, a webpage dedicated to “Keynesian economics in relation to Venezuela” isn’t going to rank well. Should have just stuck to catnip.
This is why when bloggers are signed on to a company and have proven themselves, they tend to get assigned lucrative bulk gigs. Businesses seek to create lots of content to edge out the less-active website in similar industries.
Size matters when it comes to SEO. Bigger is usually better, but it’s not a direct correlation. What larger documents create is more instances to insert variations on keywords that fit more naturally. Instead of using the above example of the keyword “making money blogging,” a larger document could allow for more natural uses, like “how to make money blogging,” “blogging for money,” and “how to get paid online,” which are high-ranking keywords but mean generally the same thing in the context of the blog.
Black Hat Techniques
Search engines employ strategies to filter out what’s known as “black hat” techniques. In other words, people using unethical tactics to manipulate search engine rankings in their favor. Blatantly copy-and-pasting content from sources is a big no-no, as a hidden/tiny text, irrelevant links, and so forth.
The particulars of what make up black hat techniques are beyond the scope of this article and always in flux (It’s a never-ending battle between good and evil). The reason for this is that search engines (ie. Google, Bing, Yahoo, etc.) use a combination of “secret” algorithms when trying to decide which content should go higher in the rankings.
You’re going to hate me, but laying out the specifics of SEO is like trying to herd cats. As soon as most people find out how to properly manipulate the algorithms of the search engine, the engineers at these companies shift their tactics to throw manipulators off the scent. So, for the time being, I’m just going to say that SEO specifics “are beyond the scope of this article.” However, one thing that always remains true: CREATE QUALITY CONTENT THAT’S RELEVANT.