Happy Saturday and welcome to the 41st episode of the ‘Blogger Confessions’ interview series on the blog. Today, I’m bringing in Kevin from Next Level Finance to talk about blogging and how they’ve managed to keep everything straight as a personal finance blogger. 

Kevin, take it away.

Blogger Confessions with Kevin from Next Level Finance

1: In at least 100 words, describe the target audience of your blog.

My goal is to write for a semi-advanced personal finance crowd.

Since there’s a plethora of Dave Ramsey style financial advice out there for individuals looking to get out of debt, save a respectable emergency fund and put away enough money for retirement, I figure it’s better to hone in on a more specific niche.

I’m interesting in producing content for the crowd that has a decent amount of investable assets and discussing various investment strategies. Additionally, with my computer science background, I’m interested in writing content aimed at other computer science / quant types who are interested in utilizing algorithms for trading and other financial endeavors. 

2: What makes your blog different from other blogs in the PF blogosphere?

I have a computer science background and have dabbled in machine learning with respect to financial markets, so I hope to bring that computational approach to both investing and personal finance topics.

Again, such a focus can be useful in distinguishing my blog from the myriad of personal finance blogs available.

I also try to do a mix of posts. Some are more long-form, insightful on a specific topic while others might be more of a journal type post about my daily thoughts on the stock market. I find that the mix of polished, long-form content and more casual content can be nice.

3: What’s the thing that you’ve struggled with the most since starting your blog?

As anyone knows when starting a blog, it takes a while to generate traffic and an audience. I’ve had success with other sites in the past, so I knew going in that it’s a pretty “fruitless” gig in the beginning.

But still, when you’re in the midst of attempting to build an audience, it can still be discouraging. I’m in it for the long game, however, and frankly don’t anticipate much return on my efforts for at least a year.

4: Do you publish your net worth on your blog? Why or why not?

I don’t as of now. It’s not something I’m opposed to doing, but again, with a relatively small and new audience, I don’t see the need as of yet.

Also, I’m not sure it’s relevant if I’m writing high quality content on topics that I have at least a decent level of expertise on. The goal of my blog isn’t necessarily to point out how much money I have. Rather, the goal is to provide information and insight into financial topics that I (and hopefully others) find interesting. 

5: Have you monetized your blog (ads, affiliate marketing, etc)? Why or why not?

I haven’t yet. Again, I’m in the audience-building phase.

Eventually, monetization is definitely the goal. At a minimum, I’ll explore ads and affiliate marketing. If I can generate a high quality audience, I might opt to pursue a more subscription based revenue model versus advertising, but that requires a really engaged audience.

6: Would you rather be loved, hated or controversial? Explain, please!

I’m definitely not aiming to be hated or controversial. If I had to pick one, I’d pick loved, but more than anything I’m hoping an audience engages with me more than loves me. I’m hoping the content speaks for itself and it generates discussion and builds a loyal audience.

7: Who would you be horrified to know read your blog?

At first glance, I was going to say nobody, but perhaps I’d prefer people I know personally to not read the blog. It’s easier to be a bit more vulnerable, especially on the financial topics, when there is a layer of anonymity to the content. That’s something I’ll have to think through as the blog grows.

8: What’s your most favorite, least favorite and most embarrassing post on your blog?

My favorite posts are the ones on which I spent the most time because they are pieces of content that I’m proud of.

For instance, I have four kids, and I’ve put quite a bit of thought into how I want to teach them about the stock market. So, I put those thoughts into a long-form piece on teaching the stock market to kids. It’s a piece I’m proud of and hope others find it useful.

My least favorite or embarrassing post is probably some of my early pieces that are shorter and a bit more rushed. Again, I’m hoping to maybe write fewer pieces, but ones of higher quality. 

My favorite post: Money and Confidence As a Way to Living Your Best Life.

9: Explain your writing process

I start with an idea, then typically move to an outline process.

I also review other pieces online that are talking about the same topic. As I review the other pieces, I ask myself “Am I saying anything new? Am I offering something more than these other pieces?”

If I struggle to answer these questions, I consider dropping the idea.

If I don’t think I’m offering something insightful and useful, then what’s the point? Another question I ask myself is, “If someone reads this, will they think it’s really smart? Will they learn something?”

I think these are good questions to ask during the outline process as it helps hone the overall narrative on the subject.

Next, I typically write the first draft in one sitting. I then go through an editing process where I try to eliminate the fluff and keep it relatively concise. At that point, I’m usually ready to publish!

Overall, this process lasts anywhere from a couple days to a week.

10: What is your favorite blog in the PF blogosphere (other than your own!)?

I casually read probably 20-25 personal finance blogs as I stumble upon them in any given week. In terms of websites I make an effort to read on an ongoing basis. Oblivious Investor and Mr. Money Mustache are two that I enjoy quite a bit.

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