I received this little gem of a book as a Christmas present (thanks Steve!) and I haven’t been able to put it down! The Million Dollar Blog by Natasha Courtenay-Smith is the borderline bible for blogging, covering the blogging industry as a whole for both personal and business use.
From a marketing perspective, this book offers lots of tidbits about content marketing (since blogging is a form of content marketing) and as Natasha points out in the beginning pages of her book “In the business world everyone is using content marketing and this market is now worth a staggering £4 BILLION in the UK alone”
Every blog starts from somewhere, blogs are not immediate overnight successes and are all about building your audience and community of readers. A bit like businesses, blogging is all about understanding your niche – what can you bring to the digital world that no one else is? Understanding your niche is essential to understanding your audience, allowing you to share your interests and passions with each other to build a community.
The book also covers how to make money from blogging through various forms of advertising, affiliate marketing, sponsored posts etc. in addition to a basic checklist every blog should have in terms of platform/software, website design and content creation. I found this section of the book pretty interesting and it was helpful to have things like affiliate marketing explained in a simple way, although for me personally making money off my blog is not a priority as this is more of a hobby for me.
Throughout the book are sets of interviews from a wide range of bloggers who write about a vast range of topics – from marketers and businesses to political bloggers to food bloggers to fashion, beauty and lifestyle bloggers to mummy bloggers. You name an interest and there’s someone out there creating content about it (Notable mention: The Chicken Whisperer)
Personal branding is a key theme throughout the book and is something I thought a lot about last year during my Brand Development & Communication Strategies unit at university. Whether we realise it or not, we are constantly giving out impressions of ourselves through the way we look and talk to what we post online, and by building a blog and a digital presence on social media you never know who is looking at your posts and what opportunities can appear from this.
I think it’s easy to sometimes have self-doubt when blogging. Putting yourself out there (in blogging or real-life for that matter) can be a bit scary and feeling like your content isn’t good enough or feeling like a similar blogger is doing better than you can make you second-guess yourself. BUT the best thing about being online is that there is room for everyone in blogging and the trick is that you do just have to put yourself out there and see where it takes you! Natasha ends her book with this nugget of wisdom which I found inspiring and encouraging to be more confident with blogging:
“Don’t wait, don’t over-analyse, don’t paralyse yourself with procrastination and definitely don’t wait for permission from anyone else. Don’t be scared, don’t be shy, don’t worry about the whats, the hows and the whens”
Parting thoughts: Whether you’re a brand new blogger, have been blogging for years or you’re a business I definitely recommend giving this book a read!