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 how to use gift guides to create passive income 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 the 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 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.
Related: How a B2B Uses Pinterest Successfully
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 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.
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
Hi great article. I see gift guides are a great idea for passive income around the holidays. One thing I noticed it didn’t touch on was copyright issues of using these images. How does one source these product specific images without infringing on copyrights? Curious because I always see these image guides on Pinterest. For instance the “Girl Boss Gift Guide.” Thanks again!
Celeste Noland says
I was wondering the same thing…
This is exactly what my question was going to be…
Ruthie Gray says
Oh my goodness, I just finished listening to the podcast and it was super helpful!! I’ve been gearing up for this, but now I feel like I know how to update last year’s post and knock it out of the park this year. LOVE the suggestions for making it relevant year round! Thanks so much to both of you!
Evelyne McNamara says
Does the course include how to create a collage the way they look above?
Kate Ahl says
No yet but we’re going to work on a video this week. 🙂
Vera Cabais says
I am a Pinterest for Business Newbie and would like to know if you would recommend any other courses as well if I am seeking to monetize with affiliate marketing on Pinterest quickly? I see one that says you can make money within 24 hours but just want some opinions on other teachings?
I’m also thinking this course on Gift Guides is not only right for the timing with holidays coming, but could kick start income just as well.
Thinking I should just do this one and forget the other one.
Kate Ahl says
Do this one first for the time of the season and year. Then tackle this one listed in this podcast for overall affiliate marketing tactics.
Asa Suriano says
I loved this Podcast! I learned so much and just published my first of four planned guides for this season. It was super time consuming, but worth it.
Thank you so much.
Kate Ahl says
I never even considered how putting in “Christmas” or holiday type words into the actual link itself would hurt your SEO (i know, rookie mistake) so glad I read through this. Gained a lot of insight! Thanks!
Kate Ahl says
Glad it was helpful.
Tanya Gioia says
This was an awesome podcast. I really like the down to earth approach and the focus on does it make money. The course is good too. Just completed it in 2 hrs. My one request would be some actual gift guideposts in the course just as samples. Maybe a few beefer worksheets or more videos dissecting a good gift guide verse a poor one. Thanks for Amazon tips. I have been using it but with our much success.
Kate Ahl says
Great ideas! We will work on implementing some of these.
Pam from BrownThumbMama says
Woohoo! I have gotten SO much traffic from a niche gift guide–gift ideas for fans of “Little House on the Prairie.” Thanks for the tips on improving this post!
Kate Ahl says
I love that!!! They are die-hard fans 🙂
These ideas are wonderful!! Thank you for posting! I love exploring new presents ideas. They are much more personal. Great post!
Kristen Roberts says
It was mentioned above but I didn’t see an answer: I stopped doing gift guides because I’d read companies could come after you for using their product images. Do you have any thoughts on this? If I’m an amazon affiliate, can I use amazon images in my guides? Thank you!
Kate Ahl says
Yes, Amazon has the ability to pull in images with your affiliate link. I would ask permission from smaller companies or individual sellers before using.
Julie Briones says
Kate… do you know what this means as far as creating images on Pins? Are we allowed to use the Amazon images on our pins?
Kate Ahl says
I would create a single image using a stock image for the pin images.
Very useful article and explains a lot. I love gift guides so easy to create and helpful!
Great article on the right time, I will PIn it!
kate ahl says
Thanks so much Alejandra!
3M 9502 says
You’re doing a excellent job Ma,,Keep it up.
Thanks for this blog post. I learned a ton about gift guides and affiliates. I do not have any gift guides on my blog and will definitely be writing some now.