Marcie Hill runs a blog, where she helps other freelance writers, bloggers and independent publishers by sharing her own past mistakes, successes and experiences.
Revenue of $1,000/mo
Email list size of 250
Founded in 2014
Hello! What’s your background, and what is your blog about?
My name is Marcie Hill. I’m a writer, blogger, trainer and author. I left my job and 12-year career in Human Resources to become a magazine writer. Somewhere along the way I caught the blogging bug.
I created Marcie Writes to make the journey of other freelance writers, bloggers and independent publishers easier by sharing my mistakes, successes and experiences. I think people return to my site because I share information in an easy-to-understand and engaging manner. Also, I share tons of resources.
Currently, I earn a minimum of $1,000 a month as a result of my blogging efforts.
What is the revenue model for the blog?
I hate to admit that I was a late earner. I had probably been blogging for 5 years before I understood that my site was an online business. Even then, I didn’t fully understand the value of the content I offered and didn’t charge for it.
Today, I generate revenue from sponsored blog posts; freelance writing projects; ghost blogging assignments; speaking engagements; workshops and book sales. My biggest revenue generators are freelance writing projects and ghost blogging assignments.
My two pieces of advice for aspiring entrepreneurs. First, start your venture with a plan to make money and put that plan into action ASAP. Second, know your value and do not underprice your services.
What are some strategies you have used for building up the traffic?
Years ago, I had a monthly community newsletter that I sent to everyone in my email address book. That list grew to over 500 people because of people sharing my newsletter.
When I started blogging, my list grew through social media marketing and guest blogging. Twitter brings the most traffic because that’s the site I nurture most. I have a huge following here because I share article through social share buttons.
Here’s a breakdown of my marketing efforts that work when I work them:
- Twitter – I have a WordPress plugin that shares posts on at scheduled time.
- Blog – posting weekly on writing and blogging topics
- Guest posting – Researching and pitching blogs that feature topics on writing and blogging
- Friends/colleagues – I send emails and text messages asking them to read and share
- Newsletter – I write a bi-monthly newsletter for blog subscribers
- Events – I hold webinars and in-person workshops and panels
- Participating in Facebook and LinkedIn groups
The only time my efforts don’t work is when I don’t work them.
How have you grown the email list?
Currently, I have about 250 people on my email list, segmented by interests. Therefore, I have a list just for Marcie Writes. Another one for people interested in blogging, with a third one for events.
People on my Marcie Writes list gets a weekly email with recent blog posts and a bi-monthly newsletter. People interested in blogging gets a quarterly email. And I just started my events list.
Aspiring bloggers should have a way to collect email addresses as soon as they start blogging.
How do you write great content that performs well?
When I have a topic idea, I write it down. The idea could be a word; a sentence; a paragraph; or a draft of an article. All of my ideas are stored in a file for future reference.
My blog topics are selected by how I feel or what I want to share, but writing and blogging are my main topics. Last year I did a frustrated job seekers series (I notified my readers about the change in topic so they wouldn’t leave me).
I don’t really have a writing routine because I write when I feel like it. However, my blog creation process is to write a draft; flush it out; edit it; create a branded image; and publish it.
If you want readers to return, you have to create unique content that adds value. Try putting a different spin on a topic you’ve read. You should also include images; tell stories; and add personality to your posts. Consider audio and video posts.
What are the biggest challenges you’ve faced and obstacles you’ve overcome with your blog? If you had to start over, what would you do differently?
As I stated earlier, one of my biggest mistakes was not making money from my blog sooner. I didn’t understand that my site was an online business. All I knew was that I wanted to blog and I had a platform to do it.
Another mistake I made out of ignorance was not having a focus to my blog. When I created my community site, my topics were all over the place. I didn’t focus it until a year later. Marcie Writes started as a portfolio site, and that’s all it was going to be until someone told me to start blogging. I had no idea what to blog about, and it took a few years to determine my audience.
Learning WordPress took time to learn but I finally got it. I don’t have to hire people to install my plugins and get my site to working. I do need with design but I save on the technical aspects of WordPress.
I think the biggest obstacle for me, which I’m working to overcome, is marketing myself. I’m good at promoting other people but don’t do a good job for myself. This is a general challenge, not just a blogging challenge.
One of the craziest things I used to do was start a blog every time I thought of a new topic. After that excitement died, so did the blog. I’ve probably started at least 10 sites over the years, but I currently have three.
Have you found anything particularly helpful or advantageous?
Blogging for Dummies helped me get a better understanding of blogging and all the aspects of it. I attended a 1-Day WordPress training event that helped me understand the how the platform I used complemented by blogging efforts.
Sites that helped me become a better blogger include ProBlogger, BloggingPro and Growmap (general business).
Today, WordPress and blogging groups on LinkedIn and Facebook, as well local groups, are my go-to places to meet people with these interests.
The best decision I made was to start blogging. It has helped me hone my writing skills; it has helped be consistent in writing; I’m more in tune with what’s going on around me; and it has given me the courage to speak my thoughts.
What’s your advice for bloggers who are just starting out?
For bloggers just starting out, do a little research before starting your own site. Blogging is a lot of work and very time-consuming. Also, have an idea of what you want to blog about before you start. If you can come up with at least 24 topics, you can post at least twice a month. My book, Blogging Success for New Bloggers, can help you with this.
You do not have to post every day, but you do need to post consistently. You also need to be committed to creating, publishing and promoting your posts.
Make money as soon as you start blogging. If you see an opportunity to make money; take it. Even if it’s $10. You don’t have to have a huge audience, but you should have a strategy in place to grow it.
Your site should be easy to navigate; don’t make it too busy. Also, you have to tell people what you want them to do and make it easy for them to do it. For example, at the end of your blog post, tell people to subscribe to your newsletter and add a link to do it. If they have to do anything extra, they’re not going to do it.
Where can we go to learn more?