Blogging. It’s quickly become one of the best ways, if not the best way, to provide valuable content to target audiences. At one time, blog sites and forums may have been seen merely as a way for parents to share stories and experiences, but they are now the must-have tool (and skill) for any individual or business wanting to build a brand.
• 6.7 million people use blog sites
• 61% of U.S. consumers have made purchases based on a blog post
• 37% of marketers believe blogs are the most important type of content marketing
• 126% more leads are generated by small businesses with blogs
• 81% of U.S. consumers trust advice and information from blogs
• 77% of Internet users read blogs
And, because of this final statistic, online advertisers are willing to pay a pretty penny for ad placement on blogs with considerable traffic, making it entirely possible to not only build a personal brand from the passion in your blogging, but to earn a living at it as well. In fact, 14% of bloggers earn a salary doing just that, with an average annual earnings of $24, 086.
Of course, there are those who seem to have mastered this concept a bit more than others. Take the example of Ruth Soukup, the brains and blogging behind Living Well, Spending Less. Providing a voice for those with a desire for living well on a budget, her blog consistently ranks in the top ten mommy blogs, and takes the #1 spot in her category.
And, then there is John Kinnear, the hilarious and completely true-to-self dad behind the blog, Ask Your Dad. A top-ranking daddy blogger, a 2013 Babble Readers’ Choice, and a regular Huffington Post contributor, Kinnear has become a pro at reaching people by saying the things all parents think.
The Simplest of Beginnings
What these bloggers demonstrate is the foundation blogs provide both individuals and businesses for building their brands, even when brand-building isn’t a part of the goal. “I started the blog because I was desperate,” says Soukup. “I was spending too much money. I was put on a budget, and was mad and upset that I couldn’t shop. I started blogging instead.” She goes on to explain that it was blogging that held her accountable about her spending habits, while also helping her build a persona with which many fellow moms and wives could identify.
Much in the same vein, Kinnear turned to blogging as an outlet. “I have always journaled and written,” he explains. “Before I started blogging, it went into a shoe box under my bed. At my wife’s urging, I stepped into the dad blogging world. I never expected to find people who liked my writing, but it was a nice surprise when I did.”
Of course, once you’ve identified a topic of passion to throw yourself into, the other side of the coin is engaging readers in a way that not only keeps them coming back, but makes them want to tell others, and grows your readership. For Soukup, she believes blogs do this because they fulfill a need people have for connecting with others. “Everyone wants to connect with people who stand for the same things you do; a kindred spirit of sorts,” she explains.
For her own blog, she says that connection is made with readers who want to have a nice life and are looking for alternative (cheaper) ways to achieve it. “I am also real and authentic by laying it all out there,” declares Soukup. “I am looking for that connection, and saying the hard things that people don’t say. I also provide encouragement by letting them know we are in this together.”
Kinnear mirrors this thought. “People like to know they’re not alone,” he explains. “I think parents in particular want to know that what they are experiencing is relatable, which is funny, because it’s not like being a parent is a rare thing. Yet, at times it can feel isolating.” Kinnear says his personal search led him to the Internet, where he wasn’t able to find the answers he was after. What he did find, however, was a community of parents in similar situations.