Are there bloggers you admire, who make a full-time living from their blog?
You may have wondered how they got where they are?
Also, if there isn’t a way you could join them in the favored ranks of those who have figured out how to make a living from anywhere in the world, armed with just a laptop and Internet access.
The good news is, you can do it. You can learn from the A-List bloggers and grow your own blog.
I know, because I did it.
OK, I’m not exactly pulling in $1 million a year, but I’m able to earn a decent living from my blog. And I started from pretty much knowing nothing about blogging and online marketing, back in 2009.
How can you figure it out?
Just like blacksmiths and wheelwrights used to be apprenticed to masters in their craft, you can create an apprenticeship program for yourself where you learn about blogging.
Here are the methods I used to learn the ways of top bloggers I admired:
- Read your favorite bloggers like a textbook. Stop simply reading your favorites’ posts and going, “Wow, that’s superb!” Instead, start analyzing everything about the post. How is it formatted? What sort of headlines do they use? What is the first sentence? How does it end? Where does it link to? How simple or complicated is it? How many points do they cover? Once you see the elements that make it work for you, you can begin using some of those same techniques in your own posts.
- Do a lot of guest posts. A lot of people may not know this about me, but I once cranked out 60 guest posts in a single year for a blog which at the time had a similar, small audience to my own, WM Freelance Writers Connection. Why would I do such a crazy thing? I wanted to learn more about blogging for clients, and what it was like to write posts for a different audience than my own. I considered my guesting stint my own custom-designed blogging school. It laid the groundwork so that when I had a chance to guest post for Copyblogger — and when clients wanted to pay me $100+ a post to blog about their topics — I was ready.
- Analyze the edits. Any time you submit an article or blog post, be sure to compare the published version to the one you submitted. If you can’t immediately see why the change makes the piece better, ask the editor why they changed it. I used to do this weekly when I wrote short news articles for the L.A. Reader, and it provided me with a free, ad-hoc course in how to write breaking news. With blog guest posts, I’ll still frequently sit and compare my draft line-for-line with the finished work to learn more about what top bloggers want.
- Host guest posts on your blog. Another great way to learn more about the variety of approaches in blogging is to ask writers you admire to guest on your blog. These may not be A-List type bloggers at first, but just ask bloggers you like. Note the differences in style and subject matter in what they give you. See what you might want to incorporate into your own approach.
- Check out their products. What most big bloggers have that you may not is quality, big-ticket products they’ve created themselves. Consider their landing pages a class in how to write landing pages. Look at how they put their offering together, how they get people excited about it, and how they drive sales. They’re doing what works. Steal their marketing ideas and create your own product.
- Join their community. Some top bloggers now have a membership community you can join. Spend even one month in there, and you can learn a ton about their blogging philosophy, and also might get noticed by the A-lister. In the alternative, you might try interacting with your favorite blogger by leaving intelligent comments on their blog posts.
- Get a mentor. If you can take a course or do mentoring with a successful blogger whose work you like, you have a chance to gain priceless insights into the methods they used to be successful. You get the benefit of skipping all the trial-and-error they did coming up, as they give you their tips on how to grow your blog. This also gives you a chance to connect on a more personal level with that blogger, which might pay off in some useful introductions to other big bloggers in the future.
How do you learn about blogging? Leave a comment and tell us.