I am super excited to have my friend Angela Davis from Frugal Living NW here again for this episode. Angela has been with us several times and she and I chatted a bit in episode 23 about using gift guides to boost your traffic. But today we are going to take the idea of gift guides to the next level and talk about using them to actually increase your income.
Use Gift Guides to Create Passive Income
For those of you who aren’t familiar with the idea of a gift guide, it’s a post or a page on your website that tells people what to buy as gifts. Easy, right? But what does that have to do with passive income? And what even is passive income?
Passive income is that income you create from previously completed work, without having to add anything to it or do more work with it. For example, maybe you write an ebook. Once you have written and published it, you don’t have to do any more work on it but you continue to make money from it. If you are still making money from that ebook two years later, that’s passive income.
Angela began posting gift guides five years ago and she is still earning income from them every year. It isn’t tens of thousands of dollars, but it is income. And it is income that she is no longer putting hours of work into earning. You can expect the amount of income generated from gift guides to be largest the year you publish them and to drop off in the years to come (but to still earn at least something in those subsequent years).
When we say there’s no more work to be done, let’s be clear. You don’t have to write another post or do that work again. What you will have to do is promote those guides every year. And once you have a few years’ worth of guides published, you will really begin to see the passive income begin to grow. Angela has between 20-25 gift guides published at this point!
Reasons to Create Gift Guides
Even though we are talking about creating passive income through gift guides, there are other reasons to think about creating a gift guide for your audience. One of those is simply to be helpful.
Have you ever been frustrated because you didn’t know what to buy someone for a particular holiday or event? Not only will people be grateful for your suggestions, but if you can really tap into a couple of specific niches, you can provide them with ideas that will be meaningful and unique.
Creating Gift Guides as a B2B
Simple Pin is known as a B2B, a business that markets to businesses. So I market to people who own their own businesses. Angela is B2C, business to customer. These are just regular folks who use the internet for to buy things and collect inspiring ideas. You can easily see how a B2C gift guide can be profitable, but what about a B2B?
The way I would approach creating a gift guide (which I am doing by the way and it will be out in a couple of weeks), would be to think of gifts that would speak to me personally as a work-at-home mom. I would look for ways to take away the sterile feeling that comes with buying gifts for someone you don’t know well or someone who is difficult to buy for.
As you create gift guides, you can add your own personal commentary that provides readers with the details about the item, why the item would be a great choice, and why they should trust you and your advice. This added commentary makes gift buying feel more personal and less sterile. So just add a sentence or two telling them your experience with the item or good things you’ve heard about it from others.
Where to Begin
The first thing to do when creating a gift guide is to know what your particular audience would want. And the best place to start is with yourself.
Angela always starts with what she is interested in and what she considers herself an expert on. If you are an avid gardener, then write a gift guide for the gardener. If you consider yourself a fashionista, a fashion gift guide would be the perfect place for you to start.
After you jot down items that you love, go next to the people you know. Think about your husband, your kids, your friends, your personal Facebook friends. After you have exhausted those avenues, think about your blog. What do you blog about? What is your audience interested in? What would your blog reader love to receive as a gift?
Are Gift Guides Just for the Holidays?
50% of the traffic that your gift guides draw will be in the fall and the weeks leading up to Christmas. It’s just the natural time that folks are searching for gift ideas. But you certainly can make your guides as evergreen as possible using a couple of simple tricks.
First, when you create your guide, don’t put the word “Christmas” or “holiday” in the post URL. Make the URL something very generic, like “Best Lego Sets”. When you are ready to publish it, you can title it something like “Best Lego Sets for Christmas.”
Next, after Christmas is over, go in and remove the word “Christmas”, or the year if you included it, from your titles. Go through the post itself and edit it to remove any holiday words. If you have someone looking for a gift for their grandma in May for Mother’s Day, you don’t want to have the word Christmas on your guide “Best Gifts for Grandmas.” That’s an immediate turn-off for the reader and they will keep on scrolling.
Pinterest Images for Gift Guides
When you are planning your gift guide images for Pinterest, pay attention to a couple of things. You won’t be able to create a typical image like you would for a normal blog post.
Use multiple images in your pin. We’ve experienced the most success using at least eight photos in a Pinterest image. So if you’re doing that Lego gift guide, you want a big text box at the top with 8-10 photos of Lego sets in the image itself. When people see the multiple pictures, they are more likely to click through.
I know from experience that making the image for Pinterest can be the hardest part of getting your gift guide out there. If you are going to do the collage type image, Angela has a few tips to make it easier:
- Use as much white space as possible
- Don’t include too many huge photos
- Limit your text to 1 or 2 fonts that are easily readable
If you decide to use a stock image instead of a collage (which Angela does for some of her guides), do the same thing. Use photos that obviously state what the gift guide is about. Angela has a baking gift guide that has a rolling pin and some brown eggs in the image. She also suggests that the main item in the image take up ⅓ of the space, with 1/3 reserved for text on a neutral background, and the rest left blank.
If you missed it, be sure to listen to episode #65 where we talked about how to capture people’s attention with your images.
A Mini-Course on Gift Guides
When Angela and I talked last year about gift guides, she offered my listeners a blueprint on how to create them. But I asked her to expand on that. We just released a mini-course on creating gift guides for Simple Pin listeners called How to Master Gift Guides.
The course is for both those that have never created a gift guide before, as well as those who have created gift guides in the past but want to revamp those guides and learn how to build better guides that will increase their income this season and also in future seasons.
The course will teach you:
- How to do your research – what kind of guide to create, what are you an expert in, what is going to do well on Pinterest
- Compiling your information – organizing the guide, how to niche down in your guide
- Building the post – affiliate marketing and how to use links in your posts
- Publishing the post – creating URL’s, promoting your guides
If this is your first year blogging during the months leading up to the Christmas season, and you want to learn how to create gift guides that will bring you income (not only this year but in years to come), we have priced this course especially low just for you. The course is only $27 and is hosted inside Teachable, which is an extremely user-friendly interface and what I use for all of my courses here at Simple Pin.
Go to Simple Pin to sign up today for How to Master Gift Guides!
Here’s what people are saying about the course:
“I am SO excited to share my success with my first gift guide.
For 6 years, I’ve been living and traveling on a sailboat, and I blog at savingtosail.com about ways to make money from anywhere while sailing. 5 days ago, after taking your course, I published a gift guide on 20 Gift Ideas for Sailors That Are Practical & Fun. I shared it with my email list of around 650, and I shared it in 2 sailing-related FB groups and that’s it.
Over the past 5 days, my Amazon affiliate income from that one post is $124.20. I have over a 8% conversion rate. I haven’t even shared it on Twitter or pinned on Pinterest yet! (I know, I know! It’s on my to-do list today.) I more than paid for the cost of the course with just that one post, and I know it will continue to drive even more revenue throughout the holidays.
Thank you for such a great, easy-to-follow (and implement!) course that got the ball rolling for me. Now that I see how well gift guides work to drive revenue, I’m working on an entirely new site and niche that I’ll be publishing multiple gift guides on. You ladies rock!!”
2:00 What is a gift guide?
6:40 Why, outside of income, would you create a gift guide?
8:05 How to use gift guides as a B2B
14:50 Where to begin with creating a gift guide
18:45 Are they just for the holidays?
20:50 What types of images should you create for your guides?
27:15 A mini-course on gift guides for you
Boost your holiday income with GIFT GUIDES!
Download this free brainstorming worksheet to get started making your gift guides.