As many of us small business owners know, Cornwall is a great hub when you’re running your own company. The SME community is vibrant and friendly and there are plenty of people on hand if you need advice or people who can refer your services on. Perhaps most importantly, you’ll build relationships with great people who end up sharing your journey as you go through the highs – and lows – of running your own business.
That helpful and friendly community has been the foundation of a new partnership between Cornish Partnerships and the Federation of Small Business (FSB). Once a month, Cornish Partnership events will be held in Association with the FSB – meaning the two organisations can broaden their links and help businesses build new relationships with companies that otherwise they may not have come into contact with.
The idea is beautifully simple but effective. We recognise that people coming to our events are busy people. By encouraging the two networks to come together we’re able to keep things fresh and engaging – making the most out of everybody’s time. If you’re not already an FSB member you’ll also benefit from some special events on business skills, which are open to anyone who is interested.
The new partnership starts in June with a Cornish Partnerships open house event on 21st at the Victoria Inn, Roche. It will involve a regular ‘Roving Connect’ networking event that takes place on the 2nd Thursday of every month and a new static event on the 1st Thursday of each month.
The main thing is that this is a relaxed network where all are welcome. You can leave the suit at home if you want to – this isn’t a stuffy networking experience – it’s simply about opening doors to anyone who wants to come along, meet new folk and chat about their business.
There must be a million and one articles online telling you how to make money from your blog. The truth is, that many of those advocate writing a blog and selling advertising from it, and in today’s world where there’s a wealth of free articles online, that’s getting harder and harder to do.
My name is Viki Carpenter and I run Gloss Media, a marketing company based near Helston. Among other things, we get paid to write blogs for clients. But what perhaps sets us apart is that I started my own blog right at the start of the business and today that blog has over 15,000 followers, with a reach of up to 600,000 and it is a profitable business. The blog is called Dog Friendly Cornwall and today it is also published as a print magazine.
In short, we have created our own money-making blog. The purpose of this article isn’t to brag about that, but to share some of the ways that we made this happen in the hope that you can do the same for yourself.
Step One: Leave your ego at the door
A good blog isn’t about beautifully composed prose, although of course it helps, and blogs certainly shouldn’t be about the writer, although it helps to establish your credentials. In today’s world, anything you offer up online has to be useful, inspiring or entertaining for your particular audience.
Step Two: Don’t sell
People don’t like to be sold to — at least not overtly. If you must sell, give something back in return for the attention your reader has generously given to you, for example, useful information or a beautiful picture gallery to inspire them.
Step Three: Get the headline and image right
It’s worth taking more time on these bits than the rest of the entire article. Choose a poor, blurry image, or a boring one, or an uninspiring headline and you could be the next William Shakespeare, but no-one will ever click through to find out. There’s an article here with more detail about how to craft a headline (and some awful examples) and click here for some great tips on finding (or even making) the right images for your blogs.
Step Four: Prepare for tumbleweed
When you start writing your blog — unless you already have a membership or following, you’ll probably be writing to an audience of one — yourself, and perhaps a few close friends and family. These early stages are disheartening and you can end up giving up after a few weeks when the world doesn’t fall at your feet. In order to get any kind of loyal audience, you have to keep on going. When I started Dog Friendly Cornwall, I had about five followers for the first few months but I kept going, because I knew I was building a resource that would be useful for dog lovers.
Step Five: Weave your web
If you only ever publish your blog on your website you won’t find new followers. Sharing it out on social media platforms and writing blogs for other sites (like this one, if you’re a Cornwall Partnership Member) will help you to reach new audiences. There are a number of clever ways you can get everything published to all your social media platforms with the press of one ‘Publish’ button.
Step Five: Keep going, but have a plan
Once you’ve got into the swing of your blog, it’s important to keep going. This is what makes a difference between success and failure for many people. The other deciding factor is thinking about how you will make money. I decided early on that selling advertising on my blog was only ever going to bring in a small revenue, and I would probably ruin my site to boot. Instead, I was inspired by my readers who asked me to create a map of all the best dog friendly places in Cornwall that I had written about in my blog. So, I did some basic market research and created a directory and website that my customer base had already told me they wanted.
Here are just a few other ways (apart from the traditional advertising path) you could monetize your blog:
- Set yourself up as an expert in your field and get paid speaking engagements or teaching opportunities.
- Use your blog following to create a customer base for things they would like to buy online and sell things. (We sell our magazines and beach guides, for example).
- Join affiliate schemes such as Affiliate Windows and get commission from anyone who books with your affiliate partners online within a certain time frame of visiting your blog.
- Offer one-to-one consultations in your area of expertise and advertise the service on your blog.
- Run competitions with commercial partners and get paid for the data capture.
- Collate your blogs into an e-book and sell it online.
There are a few other ways and this article by Neil Patel goes into them in more detail.
Step Six: Be prepared to change your plan
Being a bit flexible and listening to the market is really helpful, but if your content is good, your audience enjoys and shares it and you are persistent and consistent, there are many ways you can earn money or even build a successful business based on your blog. Good luck, and please do get in touch if you have a blog you would like to write for Cornish Partnerships, we’re happy to share…
Hello and welcome to the blog of Cornish Partnerships.
Like all good networking circles, Cornish Partnerships is based on the very simple foundation of like-minded people getting to know each other so they can build relationships, learn about each other and their businesses and help each other through collaborations and referrals.
It all starts with taking time to get to know each other. Founder of Cornish Partnerships David Brock (pictured with his wife Katrina) is usually much more interested in getting to know about the people and businesses he meets, but we persuaded him to share a little bit about himself.
Brock, as he’s known by most people originally hails from Orlando in Florida. “I started out in the US Navy, where I worked for 25 years before I married my wife who is a Brit,” says Brock. “We moved to Cornwall and I have to say that I really love this place, and in particular I love the people. It’s 100 per cent my home now, and I’m really grateful that I’ve ended up in such a beautiful, friendly part of the world where there’s a real sense of community and people supporting each other.”
“After moving to Cornwall I spent several years working in management, retail and sales for various Cornish companies. I met many of the people who have now joined me in Cornish Partnerships during that time. Along the way, a couple of good friends commented that I seemed to enjoy bringing people together and referring businesses to potential clients and that perhaps it might be a good idea to formalize what I was doing into a networking group.
“As soon as I heard that idea, it just made sense. I love meeting new people and bringing the contacts that I have together so they can help each other and collaborate. I get a great sense of reward when two people or businesses that I’ve helped to connect end up creating a really successful new project or helping each other out in some way.
“Also, myself and others in the Partnership make a lot of friends and have some good times along the way. Cornwall is such a great place to do this, because of that sense of community and I have been really thrilled at how well Cornish Partnerships is working for all involved.
“I do hope that when we meet, we can have time to talk and you can let me know how the partnership can support you and your business. Also, feel free to attend an event if you are not already a member and get to know the great people of Cornish Partnerships.”
Invitation for all Cornish Partnership members to attend this new networking group in Looe. Informal meeting at Porthbyhan Hotel, West Looe on 5 March starting at 9.30am.
Please sign up via the Eventbrite link below.
Another great event was held on 15 September at the Victoria Inn, Roche. The breakfast buffet was extremely good as usual and so was the atmosphere. Businesses from Devon attended and again we had a packed house. We had Shane from the Cornwall Channell attending and he filmed the entirety of the introductions live via The Cornwall Channell facebook page feed. (more…)
Open House for Cornish Partnership – Sponsored by Cornwall Channel – The power of online video
The first meeting last month had over 60 in attendance and thousands of pounds of business was produced from contacts via the meeting. It was a great event with great connections being made. The facebook video shows just how relaxed yet productive the event was.