In this Part 2 interview with Monica Froese from the blog, Redefining Mom, we delve into the easiest ways to make money as a blogger.
If you’re trying to monetize your blog quickly, this episode is for you!
Monica shares why Pinterest is the best platform for affiliate income and why you should invest in Promoted Pins. Plus we talk about how to pivot your business as you grow, and why you shouldn’t be scared to do it!
*Some of these links may be affiliate links and I might make a small commission at no cost to you if you click.
Host: [00:00:03] Welcome to The Blogger Genius Podcast brought to you by MiloTree. Here’s your host, Jillian Leslie.
Jillian: [00:00:10] Hey everybody. Welcome back to the Blogger Genius podcast. I am here with Part 2 of my interview with Monica Froese. I don’t know if you remember, but we left off with what to do if you’ve got six months and you need to make money and your husband isn’t understanding what you’re doing. So without further ado, here is Part 2 of my interview.
Jillian: [00:00:35] Let’s say I’ve done this and I’ve got a six month runway to make a business, to prove to my husband that this isn’t just a pipe dream. Now what what are some of the easiest ways to start bringing income in?
Jillian: [00:00:51] I put up a blog right. I get that up and running. Now I have no people. I don’t even know what I’m doing. Where can I quickly make money?
Monica: [00:01:01] The quickest wins I’ve ever had online came from Pinterest and affiliate marketing, these are the two quick wins. Especially affiliate marketing with Pinterest. You know they had cut it off for a while. They didn’t allow affiliate links at all.
Monica: [00:01:19] And I’m going to be honest, I’m not a big believer in putting direct affiliate links on Pinterest. I prefer to drive people to my site.
Jillian: [00:01:30] OK so let’s go through what each of those is.
Monica: [00:01:35] The first way that you could do affiliate marketing on Pinterest is you could make a pin and link it to an affiliate link so that when someone clicks on it they’re not going to your site.
Monica: [00:01:44] Let’s say just as an example, you took a blogging course. You really love it. Now you’re an affiliate of it and you want to promote it on Pinterest, so you would link directly to that person.
Jillian: [00:01:56] And you would add your affiliate link to the pin.
Monica: [00:02:00] Yes.
Jillian: [00:02:01] Now Amazon is not happy about that anymore, is that correct?
Monica: [00:02:05] That’s correct. You cannot use Amazon affiliate links on Pinterest.
Jillian: [00:02:10] OK, but you could for example though, let’s say I love this pan from Amazon. Can you do this? I love this pan. I take pictures of my pan in my house. I then do a blog post about these awesome pans. Then I use that as a pin on Pinterest, it links back to my blog. But that is an affiliate.
Monica: [00:02:33] Yes. And I strongly believe that is the better way to do it, even if Amazon was totally fine with you linking directly to them, even though they’re not.
Monica: [00:02:43] But even if they were, I strongly recommend getting the person to come to your site first. For so many reasons. The first reason being that you are, you’re now getting the pageview. So you could choose to monetize your site with ads which could make you money.
Monica: [00:02:58] But if you don’t want to do ads, which I didn’t do ads for the longest time and I’m actually just doing it now as an experiment, and I don’t even know if I’ll keep it. But right now I am running ads.
Monica: [00:03:07] The other thing is I’m a huge huge believer in converting Pinterest traffic into email subscribers because once they’re an email subscriber, you can market to them with affiliate links and all sorts of different ways forever as long as they stick around.
Monica: [00:03:22] But if you think about it, if you get a click to an affiliate link to someone else’s site you’ve lost them, you’ve lost all ability to do anything with them at that point. So that I just kind of take off the table personally.
Monica: [00:03:34] Then if you take the tactic of getting them to your site with the purpose of explaining something affiliate driven. Whether it’s like a course that you want to tell them about, or products on Amazon, that’s great too.
Monica: [00:03:49] But the method I actually prefer is giving them value in the post, a value driven blog post. And giving a single call to action that gets them on your email list and then once they’re on your email list by all means direct them to your affiliates.
Jillian: [00:04:09] Interesting. OK so you, because your business is all about helping moms grow businesses, you are picking affiliate programs or products that fit in with that.
Monica: [00:04:23] So I have two sides a little bit. The side I focus on and my most revenue generating side is by far marketing tactics. So helping moms start their businesses and really understanding the data behind it. I like data driven stuff.
Monica: [00:04:40] So how you can leverage different analytic things to bring traffic to your site. Mainly I focus on email marketing and Pinterest for that.
Monica: [00:04:49] But I have a side of my business that is more passive that I have a lot of old content, mom driven content and especially when I had Maria this march. I had a lot of second-time mom content that I was putting up.
Monica: [00:05:04] Like second time c-section stuff and things like that. And those I drive primarily using affiliate links I send them through a different funnel once they get on my email list, like a mom funnel kind of.
Jillian: [00:05:20] That’s so interesting. And then what kinds of products are you promoting?
Monica: [00:05:26] So there’s some Amazon but I have others. So Crystal Payne from Money Saving Mom, she has some really great courses for time management for moms with Make Over Your Mornings, Make Over Your Evenings which I actually found extremely beneficial balancing my own time. I took both and it really helped me.
Monica: [00:05:44] So I recommend those, I try try to find courses, products, ebooks, checklists whatever it might be from other bloggers because I feel I would love to help other mom bloggers in the space grow their income and their following.
Monica: [00:06:02] So when I was pregnant, and I was doing more c-section posts and second time mom post I was looking for breastfeeding courses, and there is one that I found just by networking and Facebook groups and other blogging Facebook groups. I would just ask. “I have this post going up about you know C-section recovery. Do you have any products you recommend?”
Monica: [00:06:28] So a lot of the products I linked from Amazon some of them from Target and I honestly I feel like that side of my business is very passive.
Monica: [00:06:38] I know people say there’s no such thing as passive income and it’s not like I don’t put work into it. A blog post is work, getting the affiliate links is work, setting up the email funnels is work and there’s certainly work went into it and now they run pretty much on their own.
Jillian: [00:06:53] Wow. So what’s interesting about you is you’ve been able to take your life. The two sides of your life, your business side and your mom side and create small subset businesses out of both.
Monica: [00:07:07] Under the same brand.
Jillian: [00:07:08] Under the same brand, like you’ve been able to, and we talk about this on the podcast a lot of like niching down and not spreading yourself too thin.
Monica: [00:07:17] So I just listened to your episode with Rachel Miller and I am in Rachel’s course, her Facebook course and she is the niche down queen. She I mean she really hones in on things and builds them into explosive businesses. And she capitalizes on trends and all of that.
Monica: [00:07:37] And I thought about this a lot. Especially when I was listening to that episode because I do feel like you can have a brand that is multifaceted but there are areas and different times within that brand that you are super focused.
Monica: [00:07:52] Like right now, my business is super super focused on Promoted Pins. I found it as a spot that people needed education in. People were asking for it, so I created a course around it.
Monica: [00:08:06] A lot of my day to day now is focused on helping people with Promoted Pins. Whether that’s DIY or helping people actually get their campaigns up or running, campaigns for people.
Monica: [00:08:21] I feel like I’m very niched there, but I didn’t create a whole new website for it. I just pivot what I’m putting out at that time. And over time you get good at segmenting your email list, you send things to the right people.
Jillian: [00:08:36] Right. And what email service are you using?
Monica: [00:08:39] Convertkit.
Jillian: [00:08:41] Convertkit. Yeah yeah okay.
Monica: [00:08:43] So I have segments set up in there where I have a lot of funnels. I am a one woman show at this point. I have some contractors but very limited help that I get at this time, and I have a six figure business.
Monica: [00:08:59] I’m a perfectionist and Type A, and I’ve had to learn to let go of some of that because not everything is perfect all the time. Sometimes I have typos and sometimes people cross pollinate in my funnels and so they might get more than one email in a day and it’s unintentional but it happened.
Monica: [00:09:21] I have this philosophy that I do the best I can. And I always have my reader at the forefront of my mind and I try to do what’s best by her. And you know it might not be perfect all the time but it’s as close as I can get it.
Jillian: [00:09:36] Right and you know there was a previous episode with my friend, Becky Mansfield, and she is very similar in that she is a family lifestyle blog.
Jillian: [00:09:46] But as her kids grow and she faces new things, she has seven different products, seven different lines to her business. And she too has different email funnels where she is being of service. But one could be about clean eating. And one could be about potty training.
Monica: [00:10:09] Yeah I am follow her. Your Modern Family, right?
Jillian: [00:10:12] Right exactly.
Monica: [00:10:13] Yeah I watched her talk two years ago, that’s where she was talking about her funnels how she sets them up. There are seven different ones that people go down each and they might cross over into the other one.
Monica: [00:10:25] Actually I feel like she might have been one of the turning points for me, when I listened to her talk. Because I did feel the pressure that when I was pivoting.
Monica: [00:10:34] Because I started as a working mom blog and it was a lot of corporate topics, talking to corporate working moms. A lot of time management, how to balance working outside the home. And as I got further away from that I couldn’t really sustain a blog on that because I don’t leave the house to work.
Jillian: [00:10:49] Right. Right.
Monica: [00:10:51] So I had to pivot, but that doesn’t mean the content that I had put up is bad content. It still drives me traffic. It still drives me sales and I don’t even touch it anymore. So I don’t see the problem with evolving with your brand.
Monica: [00:11:07] My name was an accident. My brand is Redefining Mom. Which if you think about it, you can always redefine yourself like I can always use that brand for other things.
Jillian: [00:11:16] Yes. You know what I like about this, is again your first piece of advice which is just start. And then it’s like, you don’t have to have all your ducks in a row. You don’t have to know exactly what your niche is, like start with a niche and see how it goes.
Jillian: [00:11:32] And as you change and evolve and as your baby grows or your family changes or who knows what, you can then do what you’re doing.
Jillian: [00:11:40] Which is now Promoted Pins. And again it’s the internet, so maybe that will last forever, maybe it will be in six months you find something else. But that you can then figure out how to grow that.
Monica: [00:11:58] There was a great post I just read from Michael Stelzner from Social Media Examiner. He said essentially that influencers come in and out of the space. People burn out of talking about the same topic. So they’ll go.
Monica: [00:12:16] And you can see it in a lot of big influencers, too. But someone will like hone in on Pinterest and they’ll do it for a year or two maybe even three and then they’ll get burned out and they’ll start pivoting towards a different topic in the online marketing sphere.
Monica: [00:12:31] And so it’s OK to come and go from different topics based on where you are in life if you’re a lifestyle blogger. You know in 10 years from now, I hope to still have my brand and you know I can’t predict necessarily where I’ll be in 10 years. But I know I’m not going be talking about c-sections in 10 years, I’m done having kids.
Monica: [00:12:52] But that content is still there and it’s just in the background. Even if you go to my site today, you’re not going to see this splash page of c-section tips for new moms or second time moms.
Monica: [00:13:04] Really the only way you’re going to get to it is if you find it on Pinterest and I keyword it well. That’s why I love Pinterest to be honest with you and Google, but I can’t profess to be best at organic search on Google. But I am very good at keywording on Pinterest.
Monica: [00:13:26] And so I could have all these different areas of my business because I can rank for c-section, I can rank for time management, I can rank for Pinterest tips on Pinterest.
Monica: [00:13:37] But the people who are looking at that are not the same people. They’re searching for what they need in the moment and arriving at that post that they need in the moment and they’re taking action.
Monica: [00:13:50] If I leave you with anything, it is that every post, if you’re a blogger ,should have a singular call to action.
Jillian: [00:13:59] Singular. Yes. We talk about that. Yes. In fact we created MiloTree with that in mind. Which is one action.
Jillian: [00:14:11] You know we have a variety of popups, but notice it’s one pop up the shows to one user. It’s not, hey follow me on Twitter. Wait, follow me on Instagram. Wait, join my email list, because you will burn out your user. They will have paralysis. So I am a huge believer in one call to action.
Monica: [00:14:33] So now, I’ve actually had a student ask me that. So I think this is a good point with MiloTree. So when I was telling her about the single call to action she went to my site and she saw my MiloTree pop up and I have it set up so the first time you visit. you get the Follow me on Pinterest pop-up.
Monica: [00:14:50] And she said OK is that your call to action? Because really the call to action at the post was to get on my email list which is 95 percent of the time what I want you to do.
Monica: [00:14:58] I said, well if you think about it, if someone clicks the follow me on Pinterest, it’s actually opening up a new browser so I’m not taking them away from my site. It’s opening in the new browser for you to follow me on Pinterest but my site is still there with the original what I want you to do.
Jillian: [00:15:13] Yes. Yes exactly. Exactly. And if they follow you on Pinterest then chances are they will see your content. And you know when they’re on Pinterest or whatever because you’ll show up and then they will end up back on your site. And then they will be joining different lists.
Monica: [00:15:28] Which leads me back into the whole promote thing, because once they found you on Pinterest, then if you want to get in front of them. I always say Promote Pins are the way to skip the line.
Jillian: [00:15:38] I like that. I like that. Explain that.
Monica: [00:15:45] OK. So at the end of the day Pinterest needs to make money. They employ people, they need to make money. And they, like any platform, they don’t make money by sending you away from their site.
Monica: [00:15:59] And that’s what their whole business model is based on, is actually sending people away from their site. So they need to make money. How do they make money? They make money on ads of people sponsoring content on their platform.
Monica: [00:16:12] So if that’s how they make money, and they’re in the business of making money like we’re in the business of making money, I’m a believer of giving them what they want.
Jillian: [00:16:20] I like that.
Monica: [00:16:22] The thing about Promoted Pins is, it’s the ad that keeps on giving. Like I do pretty well with Facebook ads and I love Facebook ads, but when they’re done they’re done. It disappears off their platform. Nobody’s clicking on anymore.
Monica: [00:16:37] When you run a Promoted Pin. I always run traffic campaigns, which is you pay for the click. But by the nature of Pinterest, people are also saving the pin. So I’m promoting it. People are clicking and saving it.
Monica: [00:16:51] Those saves that I get from the promotion, I paid for the click. I’m not even paying for the person to save it. But they do. Now through that person’s account, that person’s board. Those are called earned clicks, so you can actually see it in your analytics. And I believe that’s what they actually call it.
Monica: [00:17:07] You can see your paid metrics and your earned metrics and most of my campaign that I promote. I’m seeing after it’s done, I still see from last summer I ran a promoted pin campaign and Google Analytics at the end of the URL in your google analytics it will be P=0, that means that you paid for that click.
Monica: [00:17:29] Or PP=1 which means you earned that click, it came from after, it came from like someone saved your pin and then someone else went and clicked on it from a promoted campaign.
Monica: [00:17:41] And I have from last summer, I ran a campaign for a month and I still get earned clicks on that. Every single week.
Jillian: [00:17:50] Yes. And tell me if this is right. Which is, you run a promoted pin campaign and somebody then saves it, clicks through and saves that pin. You don’t even know that person.
Jillian: [00:18:05] But I see that person’s pin somehow or maybe I followed that person and it shows up in my feed or I’m doing a search and I see that person’s saved pin and I click on it. You are not paying for me to click on somebody’s pin they saved from you. Does that make sense?
Monica: [00:18:22] Yes. You’re not.
Jillian: [00:18:24] That’s free?
Monica: [00:18:25] That’s free, yeah. And that’s what comes up through your Google Analytics that PP=1
Monica: [00:18:30] Or when you’re looking at your analytics and the ads dashboard pictures actually called out paid metrics versus earned metrics and earned means you didn’t actually pay for it.
Jillian: [00:18:40] Yep yep. OK. It’s amazing. So I’m a mom, I want to build a business. And you say, start a blog. Start it. That’s the first important thing. Talk to your husband, negotiate, fight, whatever you need to do. Carve out some time, then start to figure out what your first niche is.
Jillian: [00:19:03] OK. Doesn’t have to be your final niche, just first niche. Go for it. Start writing blog posts. Start cultivating, figuring out how you can be of service to people within this niche. Hopefully it’s a niche you know very well.
Monica: [00:19:19] I recommend that it is a niche you know very well, it will make it a lot easier.
Jillian: [00:19:23] Right. So it’s not skydiving, if you’ve never gone skydiving. Pick something that feels right. You know, start doing some research on going deeper into this area.
Jillian: [00:19:35] Start finding products that you either have used yourself, or courses you’ve taken, those kinds of things, join their affiliate programs. Start writing really useful blog posts that will help people, and your content in and of itself should be helpful. But add the links to those affiliate programs.
Monica: [00:19:57] Yeah and you know, MiloTree is a great example. When you find something that you can talk about without even getting paid for it, like I was talking about MiloTree before there was an affiliate program for it all.
Monica: [00:20:09] It just came so naturally because it was something that worked for me, so I would mention it all the time. So things like that.
Monica: [00:20:16] If you’re talking to a friend, if you have a lifestyle mom blog and you’re talking to a friend about a product that you just love and you talk about it all the time. Write a post about what’s so amazing about it and add your affiliate link, monetize it.
Jillian: [00:20:30] Love that. I love that. I love that because somebody said to me, “but I feel like maybe my audience won’t trust me if I’m monetizing off of these links.”
Monica: [00:20:46] Okay, so blogging is at the end of the day it can be a huge mindset game. A lot of things can make you feel uncomfortable when you’re first doing it, and you might get a negative comment and it can derail you.
Monica: [00:21:01] I’ve gotten people tell me that I shouldn’t have had kids if I didn’t want to raise them and I mean crazy stuff I’ve had. And you know what, the first couple of those really did derail me.
Monica: [00:21:11] I mean, for every 100 compliments one negative erases the 100 right? And so mindset wise and I’ve really started to just own things now. So what I say about the monetization side of it is, I’m not running a charity and it can’t be a business if I’m running a charity and I’m doing this.
Monica: [00:21:35] I’m taking time away from my family to run the business and I have to be compensated for it, and as long as you’re talking about something that you genuinely use and believe in there is nothing wrong with you making money off of it.
Jillian: [00:21:50] I like that. I agree. I like the idea of it’s not a charity.
Monica: [00:21:55] It is not. Otherwise it can’t be a business.
Jillian: [00:21:57] Right. And as women I think we’re so used to giving you know and giving for free, that it is a mindset shift.
Monica: [00:22:07] It is. And you are still giving. I mean you give so much value. A lot of bloggers are giving away a lot of value on their free content that they put out there. I tend to give more away and my email content. But still it’s free. You’re not paying to be on my email list.
Monica: [00:22:25] I have one friend who runs a pretty big blog, and she got to the point where she actually says I welcome people to unsubscribe from me because if you were never going to pay me for anything then you know, this is not a two way relationship.
Jillian: [00:22:45] Right. And by the way, email service providers are expensive.
Monica: [00:22:49] They are. You are costing me money to be on my email list. So there’s a level of, you shouldn’t just look at everyone is just a dollar sign.
Monica: [00:22:58] I think that that might be hard for women to do, especially moms who are just getting into this, but you should always have in the back of your mind that you’re serving them and you wanted to serve them so well that they want to buy stuff that you recommend, or they want to buy something that you create because you’ve given them so much value.
Jillian: [00:23:19] Right. I agree. OK, so the first way that I can make some money hopefully fast is through affiliates. Then what is the next place that you recommend I move?
Monica: [00:23:33] So if you’re doing typical blogging stuff, like a typical blogger model you can make money off ads and sponsorships with brands. Whether that’s social media sponsorships or writing a blog post sponsorship.
Monica: [00:23:46] I just started experimenting with ads five years in and that was just really like a way to enhance my own skills because it’s something I didn’t really do before.
Monica: [00:23:55] But I personally don’t like sponsorship work and that’s a personal preference. And the reason that is is because it makes me feel like I’m working for someone and that’s why I left corporate. I wanted to not feel like I was working for someone.
Monica: [00:24:07] So it wasn’t something that I really liked. But it is a way to quickly form some relationships with brands out there. So that’s one way you can do it.
Monica: [00:24:17] The second thing, my preferred way, is to create something of your own and it really doesn’t have to be something elaborate. You know I’ve I have bought printable packs from people for fourteen dollars.
Monica: [00:24:35] Once you are driving traffic to your site and you understand what your audience wants to get. I have a spreadsheet, a budget spreadsheet is the best way I can illustrate this. I have a budget spreadsheet. I do not talk about budgeting. I don’t talk about money. Besides how to make money online. I guess technically.
Monica: [00:24:52] But I don’t talk about budgeting at all. And I have a spreadsheet that my husband and I use when were both paid in commission in corporate and it’s a very easy way to project out your finances for the year. And you know understand different levers you can pull with money coming in.
Monica: [00:25:08] I put up the sales page on a lead page and I charge seventeen dollars for it. Last year it made me $10,000 and the only thing I do to promote it is I pin two pins on rotation through Tailwind and that’s all I made $10,000.
Jillian: [00:25:27] Wow I love that. OK I love it.
Monica: [00:25:30] And who would have thought of that because it has nothing to do with my niche whatsoever. And if I listen to all the popular advice out there I never would have put it up for sale.
Jillian: [00:25:40] And you just had created it for yourselves?
Monica: [00:25:42] Yeah. My husband and I can remember clear as day when we did it because we missed commission on one paycheck and we’re like. Now what? Because we lived paycheck to paycheck when our first daughter was born and so we came up with the system and it’s really not difficult.
Monica: [00:25:59] I have like a 22 minute video that I give you with it showing you how to use each tab. There’s not complicated formulas. And I have like a intro video on the sales page so people know you don’t have to have these wicked advanced Excel skills to figure it out or anything like that, and it sells only through Pinterest.
Jillian: [00:26:22] Wow.
Monica: [00:26:23] And that’s the power of keywording right there.
Jillian: [00:26:26] OK. This is terrific. This is absolutely terrific. All right, Monica, and you have a variety of products on your site, courses that you’ve created.
Monica: [00:26:37] Yes I do. Now that I had my second, I really have to focus my time, and I just came to the realization that I have to lighten that load a little bit because it’s hard to keep things updated, and I do feel a sense of responsibility to keep things updated for people who pay me money, so I’m really narrowing down and focusing on Promoted Pins.
Monica: [00:27:01] But I also have an organic Pinterest course that goes hand in hand. Like if you don’t understand Pinterest to drive free traffic, it’s going to be really hard for you to understand Pinterest to drive paid traffic.
Monica: [00:27:13] So I do feel like they both go hand in hand and those are those are my primary focuses right now. And then I have some evergreen.
Monica: [00:27:20] I have a course about how to start an online business for moms, which is pretty evergreen because that doesn’t really change, you are talking to your husband, setting up your finances, time management. All of that. That is what it is right. That doesn’t really change so I have stuff like that up there too.
Jillian: [00:27:36] That is incredible. And you also do coaching.
Monica: [00:27:39] I do. I have a little bit less time for that now, but the primary way I work with people are in strategy sessions. Especially if you’re just trying to wrap your mind around getting started. I get a lot of people that are in the beginning and they just need some advice on what to do next.
Monica: [00:27:59] And then the second I would say the most popular way people work with me are in Promoted Pin strategy sessions.
Jillian: [00:28:06] That is terrific OK. And if people want to reach out to you what is the best way?
Monica: [00:28:11] Well you can just go to my site redefiningmom.com. I have a contact tab on there. And then I also have a Facebook group which is probably the easiest way to get me in real time because you can tag me, and I see it almost instantaneously and you can get that by going to redefiningmom.com/Facebook.
Jillian: [00:28:30] Monica, thank you. Honestly, I’ve learned so much from you and congrats on your new baby.
Monica: [00:28:37] Thank you so much for having me.
Jillian: [00:28:39] Let’s say you are a blogger or online entrepreneur and you want to grow your social media followers on Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, YouTube, or grow your e-mail list and you’ve been wanting to try MiloTree but you’re not that technical.
Jillian: [00:28:54] We have launched a service called MiloTree fast track where for $50 we will install it and optimize it for you.
Jillian: [00:29:03] If you are interested just reach out to me and Jillian@Milotree.com and of course you will get your first 30 days of MiloTree free.
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