That being said, as someone who has blogged professionally in the past, the idea of being a “casual” blogger on the side is very appealing to me. I mean, I don’t want to really plan anything. It’s almost like I just want to have a blog about nothing, but everything, at the same time. I don’t want to be bothered with optimizing search engines or any of that. I just want people to occasionally take a peek and say hello.
But what do I really mean by “casual” blogging? How should you treat blogging for pleasure VS blogging for business?
From my personal experience, you sort of have to do both. Let me explain.
Once you’re a blogger, you want to have some sort of direction. Now, if you’re not really blogging primarily as a business, you don’t have to have as strict of a plan. However, even when you’re not blogging with compensation in mind, you still want to have a general theme. When you’re blogging with pleasure, you don’t have to necessarily try and carve a new niche and be strict with your topics You can allow yourself to me more open-ended.
As someone who has been blogging for business for over a decade, it’s nice to just step back and use my blogging to just help other bloggers and aspiring content creators. I just want to share some thoughts, discuss some ideas with fellow content creators, and just have fun with writing again. I got burnt out trying to figure out how to make money with it. That’s why I tend to blog more “for pleasure” or “casually” at this point.
But if you’re blogging for business, what exactly do you have to do to turn a “casual” blog into a money maker?
Even when you blog for pleasure, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t monetize your content if you can. It’s just that the pennies are a bonus. When you’re trying to make it a living, though, what steps should you take?
Take it Easy
This is where I think a lot of bloggers get burnt out really quickly when turning a blog into a business. As I’ve written before, you don’t have to post daily to get great results. That doesn’t mean that you can’t or shouldn’t, though. You really just do what works for you. Really, don’t just take the “tried and true” methods of blogging success because that’s what 99 percent of people are going to try. And sometimes it works. Most of the time, it doesn’t.
I see people who blog once a week and do extremely well. Others can write multiple posts a day and do well. For me, my sweet spot seems to be three to five posts a week. That’s how I keep my thoughtfulness and purpose in each of my posts. I start to find the quality of my content wander after that. Really, you have to find the point where you feel the burnout start coming and stop there.
Take it easy. Don’t stress too much how each individual post does. That’s something I only recently started telling myself as I wrote this article. You have to watch the bigger picture, and if things are trending in the right direction, relax and just do your thing.
Don’t Be Afraid to Go Outside of the Box
It’s really enticing to write about trending topics and get brands wanting to share their products with you to review. There’s nothing wrong with these things and people make livings off of them. But it’s also OK to go outside the box once in awhile and go a bit off-topic. As long as you can tie everything together in the end back to your blog’s overall purpose, you’re good. And sure, you’re going to have an off-the-rails post once in a while. But we’re all human, and believe it or not, these posts that go off the beaten track often become your best posts.
So yeah, it’s OK to be different. Whether you’re blogging for business or pleasure, it’s OK to take some risks. Success doesn’t come from playing it safe, after all.
Always Be Goal-Oriented, But Don’t Worry About the Numbers
This sort of goes with “taking it easy” but it’s actually a bit different. Goals are great, but in the past, when I put too much of an expectation on a number, I’m almost always disappointed. This is why I am trying not to really care about numbers as much as trends. The goals for your blog should NOT be about numbers.
OK, I know this is probably an unpopular opinion, but I find that numbers are extremely misleading. I’m not saying that reaching follower milestones is worthless. Far from it. But what I mean is that people put these goals of reaching 100 followers by this time and 1000 followers by that time. I find that this doesn’t really work for most people. If you’re close to a milestone, sure, that’s great. But always focus on your content and your overall direction. If you’re writing what you really want to write, that alone will bring you followers. Believe me, I’ve started doing that, and it DOES work!
Your goals should be about the benefits that your blog brings to yourself and others. If your goal is to write more, that’s a great goal. If your goal is to write more thoughtfully, there you go! If your goal is to have a blog that helps people, that’s awesome! If your goal is to bring more community around your ideas, then, freaking amazing!
If you really are going to town on making your blog work as a business, your goal to work with brands you care about is a good one. I wouldn’t set a number in mind. The numbers tend to create these really cut-and-dry expectations that really depend on things completely out of your control. Your goals need to relate directly with things within your OWN control.
So, really, whether you’re blogging for business or blogging for pleasure, it’s all the same. You still network, you still promote your content, and you still do the research on what your intended audience wants (or doesn’t know they even want yet). Just when it comes to pleasure, you can be a bit looser about things… but not really. You still have to treat your blog like your baby. Because, believe it or not, most successful bloggers started out as quote casual bloggers end quote.
Basically, it’s what I always say: have fun. If you love what you do, you’ll never work a day in your life. Yeah, that’s pretty cliche, but you know what? If you blog for pleasure, then you still blog for business, too. In the end, it’s all the same. It’s just what you want to put into it.
Questions, comments, concerns? Let me know in the comments :)
~ Phoenix <3