Blogging has become an outlet for pretty much every type of person out there. However, content marketers and copywriters will always have a special place in the world of blogging, as content is king. The good news is, anyone can start a blog and it doesn’t matter how well you can write, or even what your level of education is — instead, it’s all about the content and message you are trying to deliver.
Eric Brantner is a perfect example of someone who has been blogging for several years now, while also moving his focuses around to different areas — while also having experience in the world of copywriting and internet marketing in the process. Learn more about his blogging journey in this latest installment of Meet the Bloggers.
1.) Please tell us about yourself and how you got into blogging?
My name is Eric Brantner, and I’ve been a blogger for over a decade. I got my start in the mid-2000’s when I took a job as a copywriter at a local internet marketing agency here in Houston, TX. A big part of that job was learning content marketing, so I did a lot of blogging for clients and helped promote their content using various methods.
Soon after getting into the industry, I decided to start serving clients on my own as a freelance blogger. For several years, my primary focus was on blogging for my clients, but over time, I frankly got burned out on client work.
So, I started building my own blogs on the side. The first few blogs I started didn’t really catch on or hold my interest, but I was finding my way. Over time, I had some minor successes, and finally, after years of learning by experience and constant studying, I broke through with a blog I launched with my brothers, CutCableToday.com. The idea of the site came from a problem we were dealing with at the time – cable TV was too expensive and we were interested in learning about how to cut the cord and still be able to watch various TV shows and sports we loved. There weren’t many great resources on the subject available online, so we decided to launch our own. We were in the right place at the right time and the blog caught on like wildfire, attracting millions of visitors.
Since that time, I’ve launched a few other blogs, like SleepZoo.com, and have had a lot of success putting the lessons I’ve learned over the years into practice.
2.) What is the focus of your blog and why did you choose that niche?
The main blog I focus my time on is CutCableToday.com, and that site covers the cord cutting movement where people are getting rid of cable TV and replacing it with streaming services like Netflix, Sling TV, Hulu, etc. The reason I chose this niche was simple – it was something I was going through at the time. We were trying to get rid of cable because it was way too expensive and we only watched a few channels, and we were looking into what the alternatives were. There weren’t any websites out there at the time that really had all the info needed to know how to cut the cord and still watch the TV shows, sports, etc. we wanted. So, we decided to launch our own site based on what we were learning at the time.
I think it’s an important lesson. The best blog ideas come from personal experiences. Don’t try to start a blog in an area you aren’t knowledgeable or passionate about.
3.) How are you currently monetizing your blog traffic?
Our blogs are monetized in a number of ways, including affiliate and Adsense.
4.) What do you know now that you wish you knew when you first started blogging?
I wish I knew about some of the different tools that are out there to make life as a blogger easier. One of my favorites is Coschedule, a blog calendar tool that makes it super easy to plan out your content calendar months in advance and create tasks for your team.
5.) What are three blogs that you visit almost daily?
Just 3? This is tough, but I’d have to say the blogs from Moz, Backlinko, and Buzzsumo are the ones I check out most often.
6.) Can you give us three recommended tools/services that you use with your blogging?
My favorite tools are:
- Coschedule (mentioned above) — Makes it easy to create and manage a content calendar for your blog.
- Ahrefs — My favorite SEO tool right now. Has a great keyword research tool, competitor analysis features, and a whole lot more. It’s the most well-rounded SEO tool I’ve come across to date.
- Buzzsumo — Awesome tool for understanding social media opportunities and refining your content marketing to make your posts more share-worthy.
7.) What advice would you have for someone who is just starting with their first blog?
Blog about something you’re truly interested in and passionate about. If you try to start a blog on a topic just because it’s trendy but you don’t really care about it, you’ll burn out pretty quickly, and your lack of passion for the niche will show in your content.
8.) What’s the best advice or tip you’ve discovered about blogging since getting started?
Patience. Success rarely happens overnight. It can take months to build quality content and start seeing some decent traffic trickling in. The average blog dies after 100 days. Many bloggers are too quick to give up. Their expectations aren’t in line with reality. Take your time, and if you have a clear vision for your blog, follow it.
9.) If you only had $100 to start a new blog, how would you use it?
Obviously, you’d have to purchase the domain name and hosting, so that would eat up a little bit of that $100. I’d definitely take advantage of the free trials offered on most of the search and social tools out there, and get as much info out of those as you can to avoid spending money on them. I’d also try to get a decent free or cheap WordPress theme and make it look as good as possible. Maybe I would put the rest of the money toward a targeted Facebook ad around a great piece of content I had written.
10.) How can readers of the blog get in touch with you?
Thanks again to Eric Brantner 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.