Blogging Tips, The Blogger Union

How To Monetize Your Blog: Blogger Union Founder Money Talks Radio Interview

How-To-Monetize-Your-Blog-Radio-Interview-FEATURED

Broward SCORE Radio Show 740AM/96.9 FM: Money Talks aired on 7/20/2016

Welcome to SCORE. A weekly program designed for small business with experts from Broward SCORE. For questions or comments contact broward.score.com. SCORE is a project of Broward SCORE a non-profit and a resource partner of the Small Business Administration.

Patty: “Welcome to the Broward SCORE radio show, I’m Patty Maldonado. Now joining me this week on SCORE is Paola Mendez. She’s an entrepreneur and she’s a blogger. In fact, she’s the founder of the South Florida Bloggers and created something called The Blogger Union. We are going to talk about blogging and how you can make a business out of a blog. Welcome Paola.”

Paola: “Hi.”

Patty: “Thank you for joining us. You know, actually, we’ve never spoken about blogging and turning that into a business. But it is a viable business right? You do it.”

Paola: “Yes, that is what I do for a living – I’m a blogger.”

Patty: “So tell us what blogs you have.”

Paola: “I run a blog called Coral Gables Love that talks about all things that are happening in Coral Gables. I also run a community of bloggers called The Blogger Union.”

Patty: “How did you realize that you could make a living out of a blog and do it full time?”

Paola: “Well, actually it wasn’t until I quit my job and started blogging full time that I realized that I could make all of these different avenues of income through my blog. It’s not until you take the plunge and decide to do it full time that you’ll discover all the different avenues to monetize your blog.”

Patty: “So tell us what were you doing before you decided to quit your job and become a blogger.”

Paola: “I was a programmer at a media company. They owned a bunch of different companies and we would develop in-house web applications for all the different companies.”

Patty: “And how long ago was it that you left your blog and you started blogging and realized you could turn that into a job?”

Paola: “It’s going to be about two years now.”

Patty: “So what steps did you take to make money as a blogger? What do you have to do if you are, you know, thinking about doing this. What are the steps? Since you did it.”

Paola: “Well, the business of blogging is all about growing your audience because people will pay you money to get in front of your audience. So the steps to make money as a blogger are: to first create a blog that is interesting, original and unique. So that people what you write about in other places. And then, most importantly, you have to provide value. You have to solve a problem for your reader so that they keep coming back for more. And thirdly, you have to promote your content on social media because now-a-days people are scattered all over the Internet. So when you promote your content on social media you are casting a net to corral all of your audience in one place. And it’s not until you build that audience that you will be able to monetize your blog.”

Patty: “So is your main blog Coral Gables Love?”

Paola: “Yes, that’s my main blog.”

Patty: “So what did you do, like you said, to make it interesting? How did you decide on the topic? And how do you make it interesting? People are like well, you know, they might like going to a restaurant, or the might like fashion, or they might like talking about business. How did you kind of boost the topic of what’s happening in Coral Gables and turn into something that people wanted to get more information about and visit regularly and follow you.

Paola: “Right. So, I found a need in the community. I’ve been living in Coral Gables for 15 years and I love this town. But it was really hard to find out what was happening around town. You would walk out one day and the street would be closed off and there would be a giant festival in the middle of the street that you had no idea was going on. So I found that lots of my friends and neighbors also had this frustration. So I decided to start Coral Gables Love to solve this problem for the community. And that’s been the key. I’ve always been looking for what people in the community need and I ask them. That’s the content that I write.”

Patty: “So tells us about some of the content that you write. What do you cover specifically?”

Paola: “Every week I write one post at the beginning of the week that lists the best things that are happening in Coral Gables. And I highlight the best events that you probably shouldn’t miss because they are really cool and they are coming up. We have an event calendar where anybody can submit his or her events to the calendar. The community has really taken to this calendar and the businesses are submitting their events. So if you really want to find out what’s going on, this calendar really has everything. But then, we also cover new restaurant openings, new menus, when shops are having specials – pretty much anything new that we think would be beneficial to people living in Coral Gables.”

Patty: “Okay. So how do you monetize that? Because you’re obviously offering a service, a place where somebody can post their information, their events for free. I’m guessing it’s for free. But how do you monetize that because, you know, you need to make a living.”

Paola: “Well, there are many different avenues and each blog is really unique. I feel like the more creative you are and the more entrepreneurial you are, you will find more avenues for your specific your blog. So for Coral Gables Love there’s a ton of different avenues. We do affiliate marketing: when you click on one of our links and buy a product we get a commission. We do the business directory. We charge businesses to be listed on our business directory. We work with different brands to do campaigns or promote different food festivals. The list goes on and on. It really is up to you to find ways to monetize your blog. Because people will start contacting you and want to get in front of your audience, so it’s up to you to provide value and also make a living.”

Patty: “So I’m going to ask you, how big is your audience? In terms of how many people visit your blog regularly.”

Paola: “On our blog we have about 4,000 visitors a month, but on social media we just hit 12,000 followers on Instagram and we have 9,000 on Pinterest. So if you add them all around we probably have an audience of 40,000.”

Patty: “That is pretty amazing. I’m going to ask you a question that you might not want to answer. How profitable are you?”

Paola: “Well, to be completely honest I’m also on year two. I’ve run businesses before and it’s not until the third year that we have steady income. Right now I’m going through the cycles. We have a big project that goes through and we have money, and then there’s a time where there’s nothing going on and then another project comes through. So I don’t have the stability of constant income coming in yet, but I do see the cycles getting shorter.”

Patty: “Okay. So are you doing anything else to supplement your income?”

Paola: “My husband runs Gables Guitar Studio where we teach guitar lessons. I help him run his marketing. So that’s my other income.”

Patty: “What would you say to someone because in the next segment we will be talking to someone who is starting a blog. She’s in the process of getting everything set up. What kind of advice would you give to someone who wants to enter this field?”

Paola: “So first of all, you assume that you are going to be holed up in your apartment just blogging away by yourself. But if you really want to make it you have to go out in the real world and make real connections. And that was something that was really surprising to me. I ended up building a real community where I know people face-to-face from my audience, and I have met other bloggers face-to-face, and I have met business owners. So definitely go out and network. That’s one of the keys. Another one is that at the beginning when you start blogging, you don’t realize how much work blogging is going to be. I’ve been doing it for a while now and I realize, of course it’s a lot of work! You are pretty much running an online magazine with a one-person operation. So when you start, you don’t realize you are doing the photos, you are writing the content, you are editing, you are promoting on social media, you are doing networking. It’s a lot of work and it takes a while before you see the results. So I recommend that you pace yourself so that you don’t get blogger burn out.”

Patty: “So are you the only one doing it?”

Paola: “Coral Gables Love?”

Patty: “Yes, do you have any help?”

Paola: “Actually, I’ve opened it up to the community and now I have regular contributors. I have someone called Lia and she runs the culture column. We have different food contributors and they go out to restaurants. I don’t do it all by myself anymore.”

Patty: “And are they getting paid as well too?”

Paola: “No, we are not at that stage yet. But I’m looking forward to being able to pay my contributors soon.”

Patty: “Do you look to anybody who has a blog that is regularly making money and something that you aim to reach?”

Paola: “Yeah, I think Sef Gonzalez from the Burger Beast has done a spectacular job of running a blog and taking it to the real world to monetize it. And he found a very unique way to monetize his blog, it’s not through affiliate marketing and all the different things, he decided that his thing would be to create events. He does food truck events and he does all kinds of events and he has a huge following and he really does run the blog for a living. So definitely the Burger Beast.”

Patty: ”Oh yes, the Burger Beast is great and he’s very popular throughout South Florida. So we are going to take a break momentarily, but I want you to tell us about The Blogger Union and if someone is interested in becoming a blogger – maybe that would be the first place to go.”

Paola: “Yeah, definitely. So The Blogger Union is community of bloggers that support each other through kind collaboration. Meaning that we help each other instead of seeing each other as competition. You can join our community at thebloggerunion.com. You just register and pick a city. Right now we have three cities: Miami, Ft. Lauderdale, and Houston – with others in the works. That’s a really good place to meet other bloggers because it’s definitely harder if you try to go at it alone.”

Patty: “And you can get ideas from each other.”

Paola: “Yes, absolutely. It’s easier to grow your audience if you try to collaborate and kind of try to share your audience.”

Patty: “I actually recommend that people visit coralgableslove.com. It’s a beautiful site. You have a really really nice website. I work sometime out of the Gables. When I was thinking about doing this segment, I came across you and your site is really really wonderful. I urge everyone who is listening to visit Coral Gables Love. And again, if you are interested in becoming a blogger visit The Blogger Union and we’ll be back with more from SCORE.”

How To Monetize Your Blog

Previous Post Next Post

You Might Also Like

3 Comments

  • Reply Laura Sgroi July 22, 2016 at 9:29 am

    Thank you Paola for sharing your expertise:)

  • Reply Gary Campbell August 8, 2016 at 10:38 am

    I agree to the innocent and lame ways of blog advertising. I myself have practiced this thing and really it disappoints when a handful of traffic is not able to pull up the dreams of $$ flowing in your account.
    Can u share out some more ways on advertising a long-term blog!
    Would be a great help!!

  • Leave a Reply