Aside from aspiring to be a “mountain woman” influencer, Millennial Boss is a rising superstar blogger on many fronts.
In addition to her personal finance blog (FIRE aimed at millennials), which I’ve seen a TON of people praising on Twitter and elsewhere…she also just launched the FIRE Drill Podcast w/ co-host Gwen!
She’s super bright, driven, well-spoken, a delight to speak with….and also completely unafraid to counter my own opinions live on the podcast.
When she agreed to come on, she straight-up told me she wanted to debate me on promoting Bluehost affiliate links and placing ads on blogs. And I gotta tell you, she makes a compelling argument 🙂 Really great wisdom there.
[lasso ref=”bluehost” id=”7431″ link_id=”370747″ rel=”bluehost”]
- How NOT being an anonymous blogger can cost you your dayjob
- “Your audience is not you” and tips for finding out what your audience craves
- A few SEO bombs towards the end
- Why you SHOULD put ads on your site
- Why Bluehost IS a solid affiliate to promote
I love this episode, and Millennial Boss is an absolute rockstar. Definitely, definitely going places! Enjoy!
Listen to my episode with J from Millennial Boss!or listen on Apple Podcasts \\ Google Podcasts
Show notes and referenced links
- J’s blog – Millennial Boss
- Bluehost hosting wooo!
- J and Gwen’s podcast – The FIRE Drill Podcast
- Adventurous Kate – recommended travel blog from a few podcast guests
- The 1 and only 4 Hour Work Week – must read for entrepreneurs. The reasons I am who I am. Seriously.
- My interview w/ Neil Patel
Key takeaways from today’s episode with Millennial Boss
1 – Why you should (or could) put display ads on your website
Don’t get me wrong, I stand by my personal opinion on this: don’t do it.
BUT…Millennial Boss makes a solid, solid argument why this might be ok, and even encouraged.
Her point is this: She follows certain bloggers and gets a ton of value from their site. Why not support them in any way possible so they can continue producing content that helps her?
Furthermore, it doesn’t “cost” her any cash at all to view and skip over ads, while still supporting her favorite bloggers in some way.
Warning: J still stands with me on the whole “low traffic but serving up display ads.” Unless you have enough traffic to make it worth it, just don’t do it. Your fans won’t be supporting you much anyways ($0.79 a week is not worth showing ads).
2 – The importance of anonymity
If you are the slightest bit worried about how your blog might shape your career (or current dayjob), you should absolutely blog anonymously.
There is too much at stake.
The chances of replacing a full-time income from your blog are slimmer than you think, takes time anyways, and you might not even want that. But blogging can cause unintended negative effects in your dayjob.
It’s a sad truth, but one we must come to grips with.
J tells the story of a former employer that discovered her blogging persona, and it didn’t end well.
I’ve already had corporate recruiters (in finance and accounting) literally tell me I need to remove all traces of blogging/entrepreneurship from my LinkedIn profile if I ever want a job again.
I’ll save my MASSIVE rant on this for another day, perhaps. (want to hear this rant? Let me know in the comments)
If I had to start over today, I’d blog anonymously.
3 – Your audience is not you.
J’s example was promoting Personal Capital.
She LOVES PC and thought her audience would too. But, they….didn’t? Not so much?
She couldn’t figure out why at first, then it hit her: Not everyone is delighted to watch their net worth.
From this point, J made it a point to discover the products, services, and content her audience WOULD like…and she eventually did.
For whatever reason, she discovered her audience really appreciates online surveys. How to find them, use them for extra cash, etc.
So, she blogged about those. And it worked.
The point –> Your audience is not you.
They’re likely similar to you in many ways, but their needs and desires will never 100% align with yours….and you must keep this in mind when creating products and content! Rosemarie Groner calls this her blogging “avatar.”
Spend time discovering what your audience more than anything else, and give it to them. Success incoming.
Here’s 2 practical ways to uncover what your audience really wants:
- Ask them
- Talk to them *enough* and you’ll figure it out.
- Experiment, track, repeat
1 – Ask them
Take your top 20 email subscribers (i.e. your super fans) and ask them. Email back and forth, Skype with them, send a quick survey w/ product ideas and see which ones they like.
Email your entire list w/ a 2-min survey. Send them a little freebie in exchange for taking it.
2 – Talk w/ them *enough*
And by “enough,” I mean A TON. This is my personal strategy at Do You Even Blog.
I sieze every opportunity I can to interact and chat w/ my readers and listeners. Not only does it make me happy and gives them an interesting story for their day…it provides me with valuable info.
I tend to start with…
- How are things with your blog?
- How are you feeling about your blog these days?
- Happy with your blog these days?
- What’s in the pipeline for your blog?
Etc, and these usually lead to…
- I see, what’s been hard about that?
- I see, that IS frustrating. What have you been doing to fix it?
- Nice! Any specific strategies you’re using to do that?
- Nice! Anything you need from me?
You see where these go. I’m trying to legitimately get to know these bloggers, so I can better understand my audience.
If I’m to add value to their lives, I need to figure out how, when, and what to help them with!
3 – Experiment and Track
You should really listen to the podcast episode for this one…J lays it out nicely.
The idea here is to offer up different kinds of products, affiliate promos, and pieces of content…and see which experiments perform…and which ones fall flat.
And there is no way to tell this unless you purposefully experiment and actively track results!
I recommend choosing something you want to experiment with, and creating a 5-min Google doc.
List out the different variables and how you plan to promote each. (Ex: I want to see which affiliate products my audience wants the most. I’m going to choose 10 different products in different categories, and aim to promote them in roughly the same way over the next several weeks. I’ll track clicks/sales for each one, and examine my findings).
The greeks say “know thyself.” I say “know thy blog audience.” (Tweet This!)
Did you enjoy the talk with Millennial Boss????
Drop me a comment!
You KNOOOWW I love the comments.
<3 the Do You Even Tribe
Thanks so much for having me on! I had such a good time and I’m glad we could include a little fun debate in there too! PS – your show notes are awesome and Gwen and I need to take note.
Thanks MB. You’re a rockstar 🙂
Wow!!! Super great podcast Pete. Loved the Millennial Boss. Unless you have enough traffic to make it worth it, just don’t do it. (Ouch) I’ve been contemplating this myself.
Luckily, I don’t have enough traffic to even consider it 🙂 🙂
Thanks for being here Richard!
I have just started out so my traffic is just above zero, but anyway I don’t think I will put ads on my site anytime soon. Creating the seemingly mandatory “How to start a blog” guide, promoting a hosting provider seems acceptable to me but not at all the “The look this is that easy, five mins and you will be rich” style. Maybe with a longer post explaining everything step by step with a title like “Killing the 5-minute blog myth” or something. Or maybe even the way wpbeginner.com does, if you use their affiliate link, they will assist you with the initial setup. Also recommending a product which you are absolutely satisfied with is acceptable for me too (if the method is not too pushy and all over the place). Anyway, if you have enough true fans and you can successfully use patreon it is better than any of these.
I am a college premed and I started mine a few months ago. [It’s definitely not anonymous.] I was hoping that the business in medicine side of it might be a tool to help me get jobs (shows that I understand that side of medicine.) I wasn’t planning on writing anything controversial like “I hate Medicaid” either. I assumed no one would care about the personal finance side. What do you think?
1 – definitely blog. You will learn things, hopefully have fun, and it *might* end up being an asset come job time.
2 – The anonymity thing is completely up to you. (and I don’t think it’s ever too late to go anonymous. Some people will remember, but that’s ok)
If you keep your name attached to it, just make sure it’s an asset, whatever that means to you 🙂 🙂
Thanks for reading (listening?) Will.
1). would you ever consider having the transcript up? Sometimes I’m not able to listen bc I’m not in a environment I can wear earphones but would gladly marathon through a transcript :).
2). You got Neil Patel on this?!?! That’s so cool! How?
3). I’ve looked over swaayed and was curious how the offer all that stuff for free? I’m guessing they get a % of the sponsored post from the advertiser? Nonetheless, seems like a cool piece of software.
1) Totally, but only once I get enough blog revenues to pay for it. Given I usually provide short summaries and takeaways anyways…it hasn’t been requested much before. Still, it’s on the “want” list.
2) Just pitched him 🙂
3) Not completely sure. I don’t recommend them for social media management anymore (since I’ve discovered SmarterQueue, and since they haven’t completely the feature build-out yet), but it’s definitely a great idea. I’m still checking in on them every few months 🙂
Main take away for me: Your audience is not you… you need to research your avatar. New idea for me. Thanks! Very helpful.
These are all great tips! J really is amazing and never ceases to give great tips and advice.
Hey thanks Rachel!
I <3 J. Literally the best 🙂