Everyone would like to turn their love of writing and teaching into a full time business through their blog. This is exactly what Heidi Cohen has been able to do over the past several years through her online writing and consulting. At age 8 Heidi knew she wanted to be an author, and by 18 she was working for her family’s local newspaper business… and now her blog has been named a Top 10 Social Media Blog in both 2012 and 2013 from Social Media Examiner. All great stuff and there is a lot we can learn from Heidi, which makes her a great choice for today’s blogger interview.
1.) Please tell us about yourself and how you got into blogging?
Before starting HeidiCohen.com, I had twenty years of experience in digital and direct marketing including eight years teaching graduate level marketing at NYU and six years as a top ClickZ columnist. Based on these activities, I learned how to explain the complex and changing elements of marketing in plain English. My blog, HeidiCohen.com, evolved out of this experience.
2.) What is the focus of your blog and why did you choose that niche?
My blog, HeidiCohen.com, is focused on actionable marketing, mainly social media (including blogging), content marketing and mobile. My teach and writing experience taught me that, while there are lots of blogs focused on current marketing trends, there was a need for someone to explain these trends and show readers what to do.
3.) How are you currently monetizing your blog traffic?
I monetize my blog traffic with affiliate marketing.
4.) What do you know now that you wish you knew when you first started blogging?
Blogging is about running a media entity, not just about writing. The five Ps of blog-related activity are plan, pen, publish, promote and participate. (Here’s full blog post on “What I Wish I Knew When I Started Blogging”)
5.) What are three blogs that you visit almost daily?
While I read a lot of blogs on a regular basis, I highly recommend that bloggers read (Here are my top 14 blogs about social media)
- Quick Spout. Entrepreneur and search expert Neil Patel’s personal blog provides valuable step-by-step information.
- The Sales Lion. Marcus Sheridan useful information on using blogs and social media to drive sales.
- ViperChill. Glen Allsopp’s long blog posts are worth your time to read.
6.) Can you give us three recommended tools/services that you use with your blogging?
- WordPress. Great underlying software to manage blog content.
- Flickr. Useful for finding engaging images which have commercial rights.
- Google Analytics. Comprehensive analytics package available for free.
- Social sharing icons. Display those icons most pertinent to your audience’s interests.
- Commenting software. After a comment from Mari Smith got caught in my comment spam, I switched to Disquis. I recommend accepting comments unless they include a URL.
7.) What advice would you have for someone who is just starting with their first blog?
Since blogging well takes hard work, understand what you want to accomplish by blogging. To this end, set measurable blog goals that are aligned with your business or personal objectives.
8.) What’s the best advice or tip you’ve discovered about blogging since getting started?
Blogging takes time to gain traction. To succeed at blogging, like any other craft requires on-going care and nurturing. This extends beyond writing regular posts. Blogging success goes to the tortoise who keeps creating new content and engaging.
9.) If you only had $100 to start a new blog, how would you use it?
With only $100 to start a new blog, you have to spend more time planning since you have less leeway to cover costly mistakes. To this end, do your homework before you dive. Determine your blog goals, select your niche, understand your competitors, both direct and indirect, and knowing your customers.
Depending on your area of expertise, try trading services for technical support and branding. Be creative in matching your skills to your audience’s needs. Both of these areas are important to the long-term health of your blog. Separately, each has a cost in excess of $100.
Based on these factors:
- Select an optimal name and URL. Use part of your cash to pay for the URL and related hosting. I use WebFaction.
- Pay for email provider. It’s critical to start building your email list and to keep it going. This cost will increase as your list grows.
10.) How can readers of the blog get in touch with you?
Thanks again Heidi for taking the time to share your advice and story with the Blogging Tips community. If you would like to learn about other bloggers and how they are finding success online, be sure to read through our blogger interview series.