Blogging is not just about the written word.
Blogging is also about connections.
Unlike writers, bloggers will have to appease to their target audience if they want to build an engaged readership.
Minuca Elena realized this early on, which is one of the main reasons why she is a very successful blogger.
However, instead of posting content on her blog, Minuca took a different approach.
She specializes in creating roundup posts with influencers from different industries.
By zeroing in on this particular blogging niche, not only has Minuca become the be-all-end-all of influencer roundups, but she has built lots of connections with established bloggers.
In this interview, Minuca discusses how she was led to this career as a blogger.
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Before you started blogging, what were you doing as a professional?
I began blogging at a pretty young age. Before that, I was a college student, studying social assistance. I chose this profession because I did a lot of volunteering work in high school for the Red Cross and at a school for autistic children.
I always was an ambitious person and never struggled to get high grades; I never failed any exams, and I always had a scholarship.
Unfortunately, I wasn’t inspired when I found out the salaries in my country for this job. Social assistants work for non-profit organizations and here they have a significant lack of funds, and the salaries are very low.
I entered the world of employment when I applied for a customer service assistant role and began working four months before starting to blog. The job was to a customer service agent for an airline. I fast realized that I hated being employed and this is one of the reasons for which I love blogging so much. I am my boss, I decide my schedule and organize my task the way I want to do it.
What was the biggest obstacle that you had to overcome as a beginner blogger?
I think the biggest obstacle that I had to overcome is insecurity. I work full-time as a freelance blogger and, especially in the beginning, I just wasn’t sure if I would be able to have a regular income by blogging.
Some months I had so many clients that I barely had time to do all my projects. I finished certain jobs for clients shortly after deadlines had already passed, so I had to do more than I promised to compensate for me being slightly late.
Although my clients didn’t request this, I felt it was the right thing to do – to far exceed their expectations. I promised myself that if I can’t meet the deadline, the very least I can do is to overdeliver to make my clients happy with my work, and justify me working past the deadline.
I can’t complain in the slightest. Too many clients is a wonderful problem, one that many people wished they had especially when self-employed!
The more worrying situation was when I had too fewer clients. It’s something that happens when you are a beginner, and it’s very stressful, especially when blogging is your only income source.
Perseverance, dedication to hard work and confidence in my skills & ability to deliver are the qualities that helped me keep the faith, overcome the fears and grow my online business.
Yes! My first customer was a horror client. I first did a free guest post for his blog, and he then told me he would hire me to do regular blog posts for his site.
We agreed on a price and worked out that he would pay me half the money before I started the post and the remainder after I published it and finished promoting it.
My mistake was that I didn’t wait to receive the first part of the payment. He confirmed to me several times that he would pay me, but he was always postponing it for one reason or another.
Knowing he was a successful blogger that could easily afford my fees, I took his word and started working.
I continued sending him invoices that he ignored until one day he told me that I should stop working because he changed his mind and thought my services are too expensive!
Now, I create expert roundups. My posts aren’t something that I write by myself and can sell them to anyone. I invite experts to contribute for a roundup promising them it will be published on a certain blog.
So, I had 35 bloggers that sent me answers for a roundup post that I couldn’t publish on the blog I promised. I was very new to blogging, and my trust was already smashed.
Fortunately, I remembered another blogger that was interested in my services. I emailed her, told her what happened and sold her that post at a discount price. I emailed each one of the bloggers that had already contributed to my roundup, and they all agreed, especially because the new site had higher traffic than the initial one.
Luckily it worked out in the end, but I learned a few very valuable lessons: firstly, to never begin work until I received payment; and secondly, I realized that it was quite easy to be taken advantage of, especially if you are new to the scene. It is imperative to take the necessary time to assess whether it is worth to work with certain clients.
Which blog post you have written that you feel the proudest?
To be completely frank, I am proud of all the posts I have created. My most successful expert roundup is a huge post where 110 Top Bloggers And Entrepreneurs Share Their Most Successful Social Media Action. This post has 21K words, and it got 2.6 k shares and 155 comments.
I got to know a lot of bloggers and influencers while working this roundup and built solid connections thanks to it. This particular roundup made a huge difference to my business and lifted my status from a nobody in the blogging world to an online entrepreneur.
After this post, there was no turning back. It unlocked a whole new level for me, showed me the potential of blogging and the kind of income it could generate if I stuck with it.
It is still my most shared post today!Create consistent, high-value content for your readers and interact with them. Click To Tweet
Who among your blogging peers do you consider the best and why?
I am friends with many bloggers. It is hard to say who is the best because they all have their experience and expertise.
Russell Lobo is a friend that has a tremendous experience in the internet marketing world. This guy is an online guru. He is an expert in SEO, affiliate marketing, Adsense, blogging, social media.
I feature him all the time in my roundups because of his knowledge on a variety of topics. I particularly respect his work because he breaks barriers, experiments out of the ‘norms’ and has much success. He is always willing to teach what has worked for him, which I recommend.
Other bloggers that I admire and I am friends with are: Sue Anne Dunlevie, Zac Johnson, Brent Jones, Maj Wismann, Louie Luc, Philip Varghese Ariel.
What do you think separates yourself from other good bloggers out there?
I think that my niche is pretty unique. There are a lot of freelance writers, but my way of making posts is different. No matter how valuable I believe my content is, it’s not a great as the advice of 40 specialists.If you are a new blogger, take time and pay particular attention when you choose your niche. Click To Tweet
In an expert roundup, you get a diversity of opinions on the same topic, and this offers the reader the possibility to follow the expert they resonate the most with. It also saves you a lot of time in research as you can draw on expert experience and strategies that are proven to work.
Now, thanks to my roundups, I know bloggers and influencers from different niches. Experts in their fields with whom I would not have had a chance to become friends with if it weren’t for my posts.
List down the blogging tools that you use and explain why people should use them for their blogs.
I use Canva to make the custom images for my blog posts. It is a free tool that gives you a lot of options. Another tool that I always use is Buffer. I schedule some of my posts on Twitter with it. On Facebook, I interact in a more personal fashion, so I don’t automate anything.
I also use Social Warfare plugin in my roundups. It is a premium plugin for WordPress that makes some gorgeous tweetable quotes. It also gives you the option to set different images for social media at the recommended size you need.
For example, the images for Pinterest must have a different size than the ones on Facebook, so this plugin allows me to produce social media platform specific images to catch the most attention.
How “successful” would you consider your blog?
It is hard to evaluate my blog objectively. I consider it more of a tool that I use to grow my brand. That is why I picked my name as my domain name. It is all about me, my brand and my work. I know it sounds a bit narcissistic.
I believe, however, that the mindset is critical. I see many freelancers that still have the employee mentality. They just look for somebody to hire them for a job.
I prefer to be seen as an expert that bloggers reach out to when they need to get more traffic and exposure on their blogs.
It takes some work to overcome the “boss thinking” of some clients. You need to make them understand that you know your stuff, and you don’t need someone to check on you on every step of the way. It gets easier as you build your reputation online, and cement your credibility through high-quality work and recommendations from other trusted bloggers.
What do you think are the upcoming blogging trends people need to watch out for?
Lately, I noticed that more bloggers are finally focused on writing helpful content and not trying to trick Google’s algorithms with black hat SEO tricks. I find it to be a very significant improvement.
I also think Facebook Live is an awesome tool for bloggers. I saw that bloggers like Darren Rowse and Neil Patel go live and chat with their followers. I think this will become a trend that will empower bloggers to step into the spotlight and interact with their audience more, further building their brand.
I feel that more bloggers should pay more attention to alternative ways of creating posts, not just simple text. I very much like to listen to podcasts and see videos. Media rich content is the way to go.
People remember 10% of what they read, 20% of what they hear, 30% of what they see & 50% of what they see and hear. So, we should move from written content to audio and video content to stick in our reader’s minds.
If there’s any one advice that you would say to a starting blogger, what would it be?
If you are a new blogger, take time and pay particular attention when you choose your niche. One of the most frequent problems that I see newbies have is that they write about everything, hoping to attract everybody, but they end up attracting nobody and spreading themselves too thin.
You should always have a profile of your ideal readers and how you will help them improve their life through your content. Write for the needs of your audience, about topics that you have personal experience in. There is nothing wrong with doing research, but if you just curate other people’s content, you will not be able to succeed in the long term.
Create consistent, high-value content for your readers and interact with them. This way they will feel the connection with you and have a reason to trust you and read your blog over others. Above all, never give up. As they say, the surefire way to fail is to stop trying.