One of the best things you can do for your craft blog is to create and publish a free tutorial. Tutorials serve as anchors for your blog, continually bringing in traffic and new readers for years to come. A great tutorial helps to establish you as a designer and expert and is a free gift to your faithful readers.
Putting together a high-quality tutorial involves a lot of different skills including being a designer, writer, editor, and photographer. All of this work takes time! Once your tutorial is published, you should do everything you can to get the most mileage out of it. The more times it gets linked to, pinned, or shared, the more traffic your blog will get and the more potential you’ll have for building your readership. A larger readership means more customers for your products and more opportunities for you as a designer. It’s win win.
What's an aggregator?
A quick and easy way to make your tutorial work as hard as possible for you is to submit it to craft aggregator sites. Aggregators are websites that constantly collect and post new material from around the web. These sites serve as hubs, curating the web by highlighting what’s new and interesting. That’s a useful service for many people! As a result, aggregators have huge readerships.
The two biggest aggregators in the craft world are Craftgawker and Craft Gossip. Craftgawker averages 5 million pageviews per month. Craft Gossip’s readership is about 1/4 that size, but still impressively vast. If your tutorial gets reposted on either site (or on both!), you’ll see an intense traffic spike. The post will get pinned and repinned and some of that traffic will endure.
Both Craftgawker and Craft Gossip encourage bloggers to submit the tutorials for consideration and both publish lots of content every day. Just follow the submission guidelines on each site. It's free to submit takes about five minutes. Both sites accept a wide variety of crafts. You don’t need to be an established blogger, either. If you’ve got a great tutorial, even if it’s your first post, submit it!
I’ve had many posts picked up by both sites over the years, but I’ve known about Craft Gossip the longest. The other day I began thinking, “Who is Craft Gossip”? The site is heavily peppered with ads so this is clearly somebody’s business, right? I had to find out.
Here’s the story behind Craft Gossip
Craft Gossip was founded in 2007 by Australian husband and wife team, Shellie Wilson and Vikram Goyal. They also own Craftbits. Their goal with Craft Gossip was to start a site that would cover the entire gamut of online craft, from the small craft bloggers to the industry behemoths like HGTV. In order to cover every category of crafts, Craft Gossip hires independent editors for each category. The editors are required to post new links and articles five times each week, although many post much more often. Craft Gossip now has 20 editors and the site publishes 30-40 posts each day.
Each editor has total independence when it comes to what they choose to publish. Some of the ad revenue from the site is used to pay the editors, and their pay is in part dependent on the traffic they bring to their pages. According to founder Vikram Goyal, the editor of the most heavily trafficked Craft Gossip site regularly earns $2500 a month.
An editor’s perspective
I got in touch with Craft Gossip’s sewing editor, Anne Weaver, to find out more about her job and what she’s looking for in a tutorial. Anne has been the editor of the Sewing category of Craft Gossip for five years. She told me the Sewing site on Craft Gossip averages 200,000 hits per month. Anne says working for Craft Gossip is, “the best part time job ever!”
Here are Anne’s tips for getting your tutorial published on Craft Gossip:
“There are a few hard and fast rules for determining what I publish on Craft Gossip. The main things I look for in tutorials are clear and accurate instructions. When I read through a tutorial, I work the steps in my mind. Good photos of the finished project and of important steps in the construction are also helpful. I also look for newly published material, or at least projects or designers that are new to my readers. After all, Craft Gossip is about the goings on in the crafting community. Fresh gossip is always welcome!”
“I try to get a good mix of project types and difficulty levels each day because readers come to Craft Gossip with a variety of sewing interests and experience. I like to see an original idea, but I also know that different authors’ instructions about the same topic can appeal to different readers and different learning styles. For example, I’ve published many links to tutorials showing how to install an invisible zipper. They area all showing essentially the same technique, but each tutorial explains it in a different way.”
What can you do with a sudden traffic spike?
It’s important to take a step back for a moment to think about this influx of readers from the aggregators. Most people who come in this way will be on your blog for only a few seconds. What do you want them to do?
It only takes a second to share or pin a post if there are social media icons right there at the ready so add them to your blog! If someone takes the time to comment or thank you for the tutorial, respond quickly and be warm and welcoming. If a reader makes the project from your tutorial, highlight it on your blog or Facebook page to inspire other people to do the same. Every interaction is important.
Some portion of those who click through from the aggregator will linger. If they can easily subscribe to your blog or newsletter they will become faithful readers and, over time, customers.
Building a relationships takes time. The first step is bringing people in.