You have been blogging for 2-3 years now and you are starting to feel the itch: Is this ever going to happen for me? Are you the top social media influencer you want to be? Is your phone ringing off the hook –yeah, outdated expression – because brands want you to represent them? In the end, are you making the money that helps to build the life you dreamt for yourself –and those you care about?
If any of your answers to these questions is NO, then you can start reading. We spoke about having an approach to build a business with your blogging ability instead of just blogging as a hobby or a way to express your passion.
Let’s be clear: The first ingredient to be successful in social media is to have and show the passion
for the “thing” you do. I started LatinasinBusiness.us for one main reason: to leave my legacy as a Latina business owner to thousands of Latinas who are just at the gate, or struggling with their businesses, and help them avoid the obstacles, barriers and problems I encountered during my 25 years of being in the USA.
When I talk to someone just starting their business, or someone who is thinking of a business idea, so many suggestions come to mind that then –and only then- I realize I have come a long way.
It is not necessary that your passion make you money; however, if you want your passion to become your full-time activity and, unless you have won the lottery or belong to a wealthy family –yeah, I didn’t think so–, then you would like to have that income that rewards your passion coming in steadily. After all, we live in a society that leverages success with economic value. It is up to you to define what that equation means to you… but that is another story.
For now, let’s keep the focus on the topic today: defining who you are by defining your product.
If you are writing a blog, your first idea of product is your writing, right?
Well, let think a little: a product is, by definition, a tangible or intangible “thing” manufactured or refined for sale, meaning, someone has a need you are fulfilling with that “product.” So here are your options:
- What do you write about?
Writing about your morning, your dog, or the way rain is making you feel can be your passion but… yes, there’s always a but: if you want to make money out of it, then you need to “refine” the product. Maybe your “thing” is to write fiction –a novel, an essay, poetry or any other intangible that fulfills the intellectual or artistic pulse of your audience. Your task it then not only to become the best at what you do but also find someone who believes your product will make them money, and become your publisher. And voila, now you are a fiction writer and you defined your product.
- Is your knowledge your product?
You have been writing about a bunch of topics: lifestyle, fashion, education, Latino culture, makeup, a little here, a little there, bringing in followers, maybe local people who know you or your writing, but you are really aiming at having brands contact and hire you to represent them or speak on their behalf. However, is your writing really catering to someone’s need? The only way to find your niche is to become an expert at certain products you love and write about.
Stick to your point but… yes, again… with a strategy. Your expertise is your passion and your passion becomes your expertise. Is it makeup? Then aim at the products you really, really like! That eye shadow, or this moisturizer. Concentrate on a line of products, become a true expert and tell it like it is –followers or fans do not want to be lied to, they prefer the truth as the rest of us, mortals. Even brands like to hear about things they want to improve –if said in a friendly, expertly way.
Product reviewers can make a nice living by concentrating on a line of product or a series of related products. Cars, technology, shoes, knock-off purses, the devil is in the details: the more you know, the more you will become the sought-after expert in that particular type of product line. You have now become an “influencer,” as your opinion counts towards that knowledge people are looking for.
Build a relationship between the products you prefer and the brands that manufacture them, while building trust among your customers. Open yourself to questions and pledge to always tell the truth –even if that is not glamorous; become their best adviser/social media friend. As Ted Rubin says, success is now all about Return on Relationships (ROR).
- What is a brand you cannot live without?
You are a recent mom and you have discovered that only certain brand of products work for your baby’s sensitive skin; or your child has special needs and you want to tell the world about an organization that has helped you through these tough times. Any place you go, any person you talk to knows about your passion for that particular brand. You have now become a “brand ambassador” without even knowing it.
While influencers are people whose opinion count towards the knowledge or expertise they have about a certain product, service or line of products, brand ambassadors are those who engage customers and turn them into potential customers. Some people are both influencers and brand ambassadors, or go from one to the other, however, you can have influence over your target audience who follow you for your opinion but not necessarily buy the brands you suggest. Keep that in mind when you approach a brand.
- Do you have tangible products to sell?
What about selling your own product? Do you have a talent for the arts and crafts? Do you manufacture something of your invention? Or can turn some product you buy wholesale into a retail business?
Many small businesses have started on E-Bay and many people just make a nice extra income by re-selling products on the side. Blogging about your product, your art, your interest can help you tremendously to turn those followers into buyers. Blog about the use and duration of the product, how you found the product and decided to manufacture or sell it. Tell stories about your family, friends or acquaintances and their experiences using the products. People not only like to know who you are but also get ideas on the products you build or sell that might help them make a decision about their own needs.
We used to go to the store for shoes and have someone fit our shoes, tell us about the quality of the leather, have a nice, personal conversation about the shoes and how that color or this shape will go with this or that outfit. Have this same type of conversation with your customers online. In a world where everything tends to be impersonal, having a friend talking frankly about their needs and how to cater to them can go a long way.
Keep thinking how to define your product, the basic starting point to then delineate your elevator pitch, and the rest of your business. Tangible or intangible, knowledge or expertise, you product needs to take your potential customer’s pain away. Defining your product would also help you know your role in the social media world, and devise a strategy to get there. We’ll talk about writing your elevator pitch next time.
Let me know if this article was helpful! We will keep posting on the blogging for money topic, just let us know what your questions or concerns are!