Elaine Rau is an international blogger who interviews female entrepreneurs all over the world and highlights their businesses on her popular blog, http://www.ladybossblogger.com. You can find her sitting on her balcony overlooking the city of Tegucigalpa, Honduras, while drinking lemonade, eating apples with nutella, listening to smooth jazz and blogging all at the same time! Here is Elaine’s interview:
Tell me about yourself and what motivated you to start blogging?
I am half Chinese and half American and grew up in Taiwan. I moved to the states when I was a junior in high school then attended Wheaton College and went on to work after graduation in the wedding industry. I climbed the corporate ladder quickly and within 2 short years, I was the National Wedding Sales Manager of one of the largest wedding companies in the Midwest. During that time, I also wrote for Halfstack Magazine in Chicago and covered press events for them all over the city. I got to attend private parties, review new restaurants and interview TV stars… I absolutely loved it! However, I wasn’t making any money and realized that a lot of bloggers create content for free on a daily basis because they love it. But I wanted to figure out how to blog for money and make it a full time job so that I could be my own boss and have time freedom. My chance came when I decided to quit my job since I had hit the glass ceiling and moved to Honduras to be with my fiancé while he worked on getting a visa to get back to the states.
Since I didn’t have anything else to do, due to being in a new environment with no job and no friends, I had all the time in the world to work on creating a blog. However, it was also a really lonely time. I am an extremely social person and not being able to go to networking events or even speak the same language as other people to communicate was really difficult, so I decided to interview the people who I like meeting and networking with, which is female entrepreneurs, and started making new friends online! A few weeks after the blog’s launch and after I had some content on my site, I created a sales packet, sent it out to a handful of leads and a few days later earned my first $5! The money, the fact that I can work 100% for myself whenever I want, and elevate females in the process have been the motivating factors!
Describe your experiences with some of the people you’ve met while blogging?
I love it when I actually get a chance to meet the ladies I blog about since I live in Central America and the majority of my following is from the states, specifically the three big cities: Chicago, New York, and California. I went back to Chicago to visit my besties in October where they threw me an amazing surprise bachelorette party. One of my clients (Dominique Jones aka Chef Nikki) personally delivered 8 mouth-watering cupcakes made from scratch to my party and that was the first time I met her; I was so delighted! Not only did I get to meet her and share some funny stories, but I also got to taste her cupcakes that she made from scratch, which by the way… after going scratch, I can never go back!
What networking do you do that helps your blogging business?
Honestly, if I could go to a networking event I would! This year is a bit restricting since I live overseas, but come August when I move back to Chicago, I will definitely be out there networking! Currently everything I do is online, which is a very accepted form of networking and connecting nowadays. I connect with people on Instagram for the most part and about 1 out of 10 of my followers have become my clients!
How do you come up with material/content for your blog and keep ideas fresh?
Even though my interview questions are the same, every single blog post is about a different person and a different profession so it is always fresh. Everyone also has their own take on the answers they provide even if they are in the same industry, so it keeps readers interested and engaged.
What’s your strategy with your blog in general?
Being consistent with content and branding. I post at least twice a day to my blog, once in the afternoon and once at night. That means I have to always make sure I am ahead of the game and have several interviews lined up a few days ahead of schedule so I can stay on track. I also post to all my social media accounts in the same manner at the same time and everything that is created has the same color scheme, theme and simplicity to it so that my followers know what to expect. I want people to start recognizing things like “oh that must be a ladybossblogger post” because of the same look and feel to everything.
What’s the best thing a blogger can give to his / her readers?
Providing content that is engaging and filled with insight that makes the reader want to come back for more and check in every day!
What are some tips for people interested in making money from blogging? What are some realistic expectations in regards to what can be made?
a) Your target audience must have money to spend. For example, if your target market is a teenager, it may be harder because you actually need to be marketing to their parents.
b) I am still learning about affiliate marketing myself and haven’t picked that up yet, but what I have done is create a platform where people pay to get featured on my site. Every post gets tons of traffic and traction due to me having lots of subscribers and followers interested in my content, so I created a sales packet with my stats that I send to potential leads I collect from my various social media outlets.
c) Look at your blog from someone else’s eyes, does someone really want to know “What I did with my cat today?” or would they prefer to read about “5 ways my cat taught me to write.” Your titles should provoke curiosity and intrigue as well as your content. When people are interested, they will pay to see more. You could have a section that is for the public and the juicer articles are for paying members only or something like that.
What has been your strategy for creating visibility to yourself and your blog?
Post on all social media outlets, even those that aren’t quite as apparent or popular, such as Google+ and LinkedIn because it helps with your SEO.
What was the most challenging moment in your blog content development process and why?
At the very beginning before I got a rhythm going, I wanted to do everything and not narrow my content down (like all blogging pros advise you to do) because I wanted to cater to a wider audience. However, as ironic as it is, the more niche your blog is, the better and more engaged your following will be. So I stuck to doing one thing, interviewing female entrepreneurs, honed the process and created a very systematic way of generating content, and magically it began to work like a clock and I stopped running off on rabbit trails trying to please everyone because I had found my niche. It is rapidly becoming a hub where women come to get interviewed and recognized for their hard work in their relative fields of work.
If someone was interested in blogging, what would be a few things you would suggest?
a) Choose a topic you would like to talk about 5 years from now.
b) If you find you like talking and writing about a certain topic, stick on one aspect of it and create a system to produce content.
c) Always have something in your pending folder and be ready to post every single day.
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