Gone are the days when blogging was just a hobby. Today, when done well, it is a really viable business opportunity to rake in some serious bucks.
A great example of this is Jen Bishop of leading interior design blog Interiors Addict, who early this month launched a second site Reno Addict, targeting the renovation bug that has bitten Australia.
Jen turned Interiors Addict from just a hobby into a full-time job after leaving her role as editor and publisher of Dynamic Business magazine in 2013.
As a business, blogging has gone so well for Jen that she could afford to go on a six-month overseas holiday with her husband, while continuing to run the blog and see it grow even further!
Riding the reno wave sweeping across Australia
Renovating is booming in Australia with the number of home renovations increasing by 147 per cent since 2010, and Australian home owners spending $1.77 billion in the September 2014 quarter on renovating their homes, according to the Westpac Renovation Report of November 2014.
Furthermore, renovating is hot on TV too – the recent return of The Block, for example, was highly anticipated. The top six renovating TV shows for 2014 had a total of a little over 13.3 million viewers.
“With the massive interest in renovating and the growing number of TV shows on the topic, Aussies’ appetite for this is clear and it seemed a natural extension to the brand,” Jen said.
Reno Addict will be a lot like Interiors Addict in that it will feature regular news, interviews and real life projects to inspire, with all the advice shared in an accessible way.
The blog will offer the millions of Australians hooked on renos help and inspiration from some profile resident experts including Charlie Albone from Selling Houses Australia, Baz Du Bois from Channel Ten’s The Living Room, Alisa and Lysandra (The Twins) from The Block, House Rules judge and architect Joe Snell and renovator Naomi Findlay of The International Institute of Home Staging.
Interiors Addict: Reno Addict’s successful big sis
Reno Addict’s sister site, Interiors Addict, which will celebrate its fourth birthday in April, has seen steady growth ever since it started.
It currently attracts close to 100,000 unique readers and almost a quarter of a million page impressions per month, and has been featured in Belle, Real Living, Marie Claire, Cleo and Home Beautiful magazines as well as The Sydney Morning Herald’s Sunday Life and The Age.
Jen is now represented by two agencies selling advertising and sponsored content and has hired her first full-time employee, UTS journalism graduate Olivia Shead as a writer. Olivia had worked for Interiors Addict part-time as editorial assistant for the past year.
Before quitting Dynamic Business in 2013, Jen had accumulated 15 years’ experience as a journalist, editor and publisher on newspapers and magazines. She says the skills she gained over those years came in really handy with Interiors Addict.
“Having spent the majority of my career in print, it is now fascinating to be in the digital game, with the ability it gives us to see what our readers like most and to show our advertisers how well their campaigns perform,” she remarked.
How can you become the next Jen Bishop?
Jen is really passionate about showing that blogging can be professional, ethical and commercially successful. She spoke to Anthill about her top tips for other bloggers out there who would like to achieve business success like hers with their blogs. Below is what she had to share.
To make your blog a success I think you need to remember to treat your blog as a business just as much as any other. While blogging is seen as a fun job, you still have to pay your taxes, GST and your employee’s super.
And like most self-employed people, the hours are long, but worthwhile. So ultimately, you need to have a commercial head and not be ashamed of being paid for the work you do.
You always need to bear in mind that it’s more about what your readers want to read and keeping them happy, as you’d be nowhere without them!
Even though I have the benefit of a background in journalism to help me work out what makes a good story, it isn’t rocket science, and by looking at your website analytics, you’ll soon work out what your readers like and want more of.
For example, when I feature interviews and competitions with high profile designers such as Darren Palmer, Shaynna Blaze, Charlie Albone and Greg Natale, it is easy to know that those stories will be popular with my readers.
However, a deeper understanding of their interests that I gain through interaction on social media and reviewing the most read articles, can give me insights that lead to giving my audience more of what they want, such as Reno Addict.
It is really important to run your business correctly – even if it is a blog as a business.
For me, that means being transparent and ethical, working with people and brands I trust and respect and being professional and helpful in my dealings with people.
As a blogger, your personal brand is a big part of it, whether you like it or not, so you have to stay true to who you are and the easiest way to do that is to just be yourself and be honest.
I also believe you should pay anyone working for you a fair wage and not exploit interns, you should never use someone else’s images without crediting them and if you’ve been paid to write about something, you shouldn’t hide that from your readers.
Never stop learning – it’s so motivating – and seek out collaborations with other bloggers where you can tap into each other’s strengths and help each other with your weaknesses. It can be a lonely job if you keep all your cards too close to your chest.