How to become a successful blogger?

Every blogger must have been thinking about this question at least once during their writings. It’s not easy to start your own blog, make it different, get readers and on top of all this start to get income from it. How many of us even think it is possible to become a professional blogger who pays her bills by only writing stories to a blog? Well, I do. And after this blog post you do too.

On the 15th of October we Culture Export Management students had an inspiring guest lecture to hear about blogging from Veera Bianca Papinoja. How she first started blogging and later managed to get income from her work and become an award winning blogger, professional travel blogger and is now creating a new travel app for iPhones to help users to plan their trips. She started her blogging career with just a dream and later she realized her dream had come true.

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Veera’s professional blogging journey started from a hobby. In 2010 she started her own travel blog in Rantapallo called Running With Wild Horses. She had absolutely no idea about blogging, how to use social media the best way or even what was a WordPress. In 2011 she got accepted to HAAGA-HELIA Porvoo Campus to study tourism so she started blogging about her tourism studies, travelling and her everyday life. She wanted to go for an exchange to Asia and that’s what she did. She found herself from Hong Kong and started posting more about Asia. In 2013 she was awarded as `The Best Asia Blog in Finland 2013`. After this she got an internship at Finnair which lead to a career as a professional travel blogger for Finnair. Nowadays she also works for Wanderlust Expert and in 2015 will work for Expedia Singapore. She is also an Asia expert, a freelance travel journalist and a Community Lead & World Traveller at CreateTrips. How she did all this? What she had was a dream and a lot of passion.

CreateTrips was founded in 2013 and already in July 2014 it was launched globally and reached the list of the Top 10 travel apps in over 70 countries. CreateTrips is a social trip planner app for the smart traveller who wants to create her trip by herself or with friends. CreateTrips puts together your whole travel plan including all the maps you might need. After downloading the app you are able to use it even without an internet connection. It’s now available for iPhone users and has already over 100 000 users and is growing every day with thousands of new users. You just simply download it and you’re ready to start planning your next trip.

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So I’m sure you all wonder by now how to monetize your blog and how Veera Papinoja did it. First I will write about the common and the most traditional way of getting an income from your blog and then I will share how Veera herself did it.

Advertising

First you need advertising. The best way is to make direct advertising and most important, do it under your niche. Don’t put random ads on your blog. If your blog is about travelling leave the cat food ads for other bloggers. So make sure your ads are your own and that you get paid from them. Also what you should have is “advertise with me –page”, where companies can contact you directly and offer their ads to your blog but you still have to know your audience. The most important thing is not to sell yourself for money.

Consulting

Second you can do consulting which means becoming an expert on your niche and a professional on social media. When you become an expert on your brand you can talk about it and help others and this way get more income. Also becoming an expert on social media will open numerous of job opportunities for you.

Blog trips

In third place are blog trips where for example you can get invited to a hotel in a different country and to write about your experiences there. However you must remember to have a clear structure about what you write. They will pay you for your writings because you provide content for them which is very valuable for the company.

Affiliate marketing

Fourth place goes to affiliate marketing which can be made directly with companies. For example you can have a direct link to a hotel’s own booking website from your blog. This can be a great way to get more income.

Sell your own products

Last you can sell your own products on your blog. When you have built your own brand online and your readers know you and trust you, you can start selling for example your own eBook, photographs or other services.

Finally last but definitely not least I will share how to monetize your blog on Veera’s way.

Be yourself. Everyone else is taken. – Orcar Wilde

Personal branding

You can be inspired of other bloggers but you need to find your own passion and do that. When monetizing your own blog it is important to think of yourself as a brand. Ask yourself what do I want to become and then build it around you. Try to find a new way of thinking. Another thing you need to do is to audit your online presence so that you know your own area. Start early to build your social media and do t now, not after because the longer you wait the harder it gets. You can also make your own personnel website as a portfolio to tell who you are, what you do and what is your profession. Finally the most important thing is to NETWORK. One great tip for students from Veera was to start building your network during your studies before you graduate, not after it! Network with teachers, lecturers, print your own business cards if you go to events or seminars. Think yourself as a real professional and not just as a student. Another important thing is to know your audience and how to offer them direct value in your blog posts.

Now all you need to do is start your own blog, make it look like you and start monetizing it!

Good luck! And remember..

It’s not what you do but why you do it.

Text and pictures by Heli Laaksonen

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