‘Get Rich Blogging’ by Zoe Griffin is a chunky paperback book by a Sunday Mirror former showbiz gossip columnist which is touted as the only thing you need (apart from a laptop and an internet connection) to blog your way to wealth. Zoe’s blog, ‘Live like A VIP’ is clearly based on lifestyle tips and superficial celebrity chat. These kinds of celebrity sites do absolutely nothing for me, but apparently they sell.
The book begins with a summary of what Zoe wishes she’d known before she began. Quite early on it became clear that the book wasn’t going to give me what I thought I needed. I’ve never been much of a fan of PR and marketing, even when I’ve really needed to do it. But I LOVE writing and that is why I blog. But, according to this book, it is only possible to make any kind of income from your blog if you include a LOT of advertising and follow some fairly rigorous rules. It also seems to indicate that the only reason for blogging is to make huge wads of cash. Of course, I should have guessed from the book’s title. Durrrr.
But this is what gets me down, as does the fact that the blogs the author focuses on are those which mirror her own interests. The final third of the book comprises of sections on different types of blog: fashion, beauty, parenting, technology and business, food and drink, and film, music and celebrities. Of course, this is necessarily reductionist but it was also irritating. What about those who review and test power tools or kids’ toys or those that talk about literature or sport or walking routes?
Having said all this, if you were to replace the word ‘blog’ with ‘website’ or ‘business’ then a lot of the advice would be equally valid - and there is quite a lot of decent advice in there. I learnt a lot that I didn’t even think I wanted to know.
I picked up the book, wanting to read about good writing, but what you get in this book is marketing, advertising, engagement and advice on selling yourself. Zoe talks about how it is important to update, to index and to ensure your new posts generally feature at the top of the page. She talks about how important it is to create something readable, with wow elements, how to promote other bloggers so they will reciprocate, and how to look for indirect revenue through collaboration, public appearances etc. She goes into flagship content, consistency, style and so much more.
In general, the advice is good, for example, how it is important to know what to blog about, in the same way as businesses have to know their target customers and how to satisfy their needs. Also it’s important (but kind of common sense) to know that if you blog on a subject you love and other people care about, it has far more chance of growing. With this in mind, the book gives readers exercises to work out what they care about then asks them the questions: 1) Can you contribute anything unique? 2) Will anyone care in 12 months? And 3) Can I start conversations about my blog?
Though I found it disappointing to read that you MUST have ads on a site to make money from a blog, I was not at all surprised. And much of the other stuff was self evident. Unfortunately when I am confronted with something so prescriptive I always want to rebel. I don’t want to write about things that celebrity-loving people want to read. I want to write what I want to write, and hope that someone interested eventually comes along.
I’m not in this for the money. I’m in this for the fun(ny).
With the knowledge that this was definitely where I was going wrong, I closed the book, sighed, and prepared for a big rethink! Perhaps the book didn’t give me what I thought I needed, but instead gave me a way to change and see how things could be if I tried a different angle. I may or may not do anything about this, but - like I said - BIG RETHINK!