I’ve often wondered how my obsessive need to tell everyone around me everything about my life could make me money. I’ve thought about pay-to-subscribe feeds, blackmail via webcam, and a host of other slightly off-the-wall methods of bringing in some extra income and then I realized, why not keep doing what I’m doing?
By telling my followers everything I do, I’m endorsing certain products and services without even meaning to. Why not make this time-consuming yet entertaining communication method work for me and for the companies I’m reviewing?
The first thing to establish (if your blog doesn’t already have a specific topic) is what subject/area you want to focus on. What do you consider yourself an expert in? Or, what do other people look to you for advice on? Did you go to college for finance, and now work with specific programs you could recommend? Were you a video game freak once, but gave them up when you grew up?
Now would be the perfect time to pick up your old habits! Even little things, like your preferred brands of skin lotion or your kids’ obsession with particular cartoon shows could become a perfect start to your new second job. In my case, I started blogging a few years ago about food (I am a professional chef) and moved from there in a natural progression to reviewing restaurants and then kitchen equipment.
The next thing to determine is your blog’s primary audience. Will your financial software reviews be geared towards CPAs or semi-retired couples looking to monitor their household incomes and e-file their taxes? Are those cartoons your kids watch “old” enough for those kids to choose by themselves, or are you addressing their parents’ concerns more than the main character’s life story?
Remember this always if you are an engineer, you understand machines and components from the inside out, where the rest of us see thingamabobs and whose-its. Do you want just engineers to buy what you are selling, or do you want to attract a wider audience? When first starting my paid blogs, I sat down and thought about who would read my reviews the most.
Other chefs like me would go to trade magazines or their friends and colleagues to get the latest news on new gear and great young restaurants the ones that needed the advice were non-professionals that really loved to cook and enjoyed food as much as we did but didn’t have the same resources.
This led me to make sure I used the right language in my writing; by avoiding industry-specific slang, French or Italian words that are common in kitchens but not usually known in households, and big scientific labels for simple items, I made my blog easy to understand and appealing to the ones I was trying to entice to buy the products I was contracted to use and review.
Finally, you need to make time. By this, I mean you need to really make an effort to try out the products/games/shows that you are planning on reviewing, so that you can give an accurate review. The public (and the manufacturers and sources of your subjects) will be trusting you to give them the truth of things. Don’t write blogs based on hearsay; telling someone that a cartoon episode is great for 3-year-olds when 15 minutes into the show a character’s parents get killed is counterproductive to everyone involved.
If you have the time and energy to commit, the knowledge to share, and the need for a few extra bucks, there’s no reason why reviewing products in your blogs can’t become a part of your online life. Just remember to never stop learning more about what you’re reviewing stay on top of the industry you’re involved in and you’ll always be a reliable source for people seeking answers.