How To Turn Your Blog Into A Career

with Jessica Festa

Taught by journalist, writer and photographer Jessica Festa, whose clients include national brands like General Motors, Microsoft and American Airlines. Jessica is also an expert at turning passions into income producing blogs.

This class is designed for those who already have a blog set up, a solid idea of what the blog is about and are looking to take it to the next level. In this 8-week course you’ll learn how to take your blog from hobby to professional presentation, beginning with developing an effective content strategy, drawing up a business plan and using tools to better understand your readers. From there, we’ll delve into the different ways to grow a following and make money with your website, using case studies, examples and with concrete directions for guidance. During the course, you’ll also learn about Search Engine Optimization (SEO), freelance writing, finding your voice, social media for business, driving traffic to your site, working with brands and much more. Moreover, the homework for the class will not only teach you how to create a website that generates income, but will also provide unique content and tools for your growing website

No books are required: each week the teacher will provide multiple links to recommended reading.

*Please note: While we discuss writing and content strategies, this is a more technical class for those looking to build a successful blog.

It’s strongly recommended that you have a blog set up and know what it’s about before taking this class. If you’re not there yet, or if you are but aren’t quite ready for an advanced class, click here  to check out Jessica’s beginning blogging course, which will take you through the steps of creating a blog and best practices for maintaining it. Graduates of the beginning class receive a 20% a discount when they return for the advanced class.

Course Outline

Week 1: Creating An Engaged Community
  • A Note On WordPress Themes
  • Getting Into A Business Mindset
  • Getting To Know Your Audience
  • Attracting Subscribers With An Incentive
  • Promoting Your Incentive With A Content Series
  • Setting Up Your Content Upgrade
Week 2: Search Engine Optimization
  • A Practical SEO Strategy
  • SEO Through Link-Building
  • Helpful Plugins
Week 3: Social Media Strategizing For Success
  • Choosing Which Social Media Platforms To Be Active On
  • Crafting Yoru Social Strategy
  • The Power Of Pinterest
  • What To Do When Someone Steals Your Pins
Week 4: Making Your Post Publish Read (+ How To Promote It)
  • Making Your Blog Post Publish-Ready
  • How To Legally Source Photos For A Blog Post
  • Using Help A Reporter (HARO)
  • Promoting Your Post
  • A Sample Syndication Request Email
  • Tips For Better Blog Posts
Week 5: Monetization
  • The Best Strategies For Blog Monetization
  • How To Nurture New Email Subscribers
  • Other Avenues For Monetization
  • Creating A Media Kit
Week 6: Making Money On Your Blog Through Affiliate Marketing
  • Affiliate Marketing: A Step-By-Step Strategy
  • How To Ask For A Higher Commission
  • A Note On Disclosures
Week 7: Working With Brands
  • What To Do When Brands Pitch You
  • Pitching Brands: The Pre-Pitch Phase
  • Pitching Brands: The Pitch Phrase
  • Pitching Brands: The Pitch Follow-Up
  • Updating Your Media Kit
Week 8: Freelance Writing 
  • What Is Freelance Writing?
  • What Does Freelance Writing Have To Do With My Blog?
  • How To Pitch A Story *How NOT To Pitch A Story
  • Follow-ups & Thank Yous
  • Sample Pitch Later
  • Finding Publications To Pitch
  • Staying Organized

Student Feedback for Jessica Festa:

Jessica was great! She was willing to give constructive, useful feedback on our blog designs and topics, and I felt like she wanted us to succeed. I was very happy with the lessons and assignments. I feel that they did exactly what I had hoped they would do, which was give me a jump start with social media/blogging. - K R Parkinson

Jessie really knows her stuff and is very generous sharing her tricks of the trade. She did a great job not only sharing the technical aspects of blogging but also sparking ideas for content. Catherine Proppe

The content itself was great and really reached far into new materials I've never read. Jessica was fantastic about responding to posts and emails. - Lisa Dearen

In addition to great class content, Jessie provided thoughtful, helpful and professional feedback delivered in a respectful manner.  The class was exactly the push I needed! Look forward to taking another class with Jessie this fall. - Sherri Davis

Jessie was great. She was responsive to the students’ needs and questions. I found her comments useful. Her care for the students came across in her advice and feedbacks. She helped me put together a reasonably good blog site (which I hope to make into a great site during the next stage of her workshop). - James Polk

I just wanted to thank you for all the great, thoughtful, constructive advice and hard work that went into each and every one of your lessons and discussions! I learned so so so much and had a blast doing it! I saved all of the lessons and I will be slowly finishing my business plan and starting a photography class next month which I really need. I am so glad the class was as fast-paced and jam packed with the readings and information as it was. I really thrive that way. It helped kick my butt into high gear and I am very happily blogging away! I could not be as far along as I am without your help 🙂 -Sarah Stewart

Jessica is lovely, very encouraging, with specific suggestions to improve your work. The course content was very impressive - rather a lot in comparison to other courses. - Judith Worrall

Jessie is very well informed about her craft and eager to share it with others.  I appreciated her prompt response to all questions.  - Bonnie Rose

The class contents was amazingly comprehensive. I loved Jessica. (She) is such a well versed instructor.  She answers any and all questions with respect and fabulous information. I will be calling on her in the future to help me out with my blog. - Kim Hanson

I really enjoyed the class. I was really impressed with the teacher’s thoroughness in covering all the aspects of blogging. (Jessica) was great. Plus, she set up a Facebook group for former students, so I really appreciate that I can still check in for advice. I have enjoyed and gotten a lot from all the classes I’ve taken through  - Pamela Hunt

This class does have a lot of content but it is all good. Some of the assignments - like creating your categories take some serious thinking time. However, the resources, thoughts, etc were spot on. It wasn't at too low a level -it was challenging and stretched me. Something I prefer. Jessie was always incredibly helpful - responded quickly to questions and gave good insights. I realized I needed either a push or more targeted knowledge to get it off the ground. Jessie gave me both. Kristie Wilson

Loved the class. very informative. The material, both what Jessica provided and created was well thought out. I saved everything to look through at a later time. Like you said, there was a lot of material to cover. Jessica was great. Very personable and approachable. I had no problem asking straight forward questions. And I appreciated the honest answers I got in return. I've taken several classes of yours before. Four I think. I would, and have recommended your classes to other wannabe writers I know. Keep at it. The content, class choices and teachers have all been very good so far. Loring Felix

how to become a professional travel blogger with jessica festa


Jessica Festa is a Brooklyn-based travel and lifestyle blogger and the creator of the sites Jessie on a Journey and Epicure & Culture. After obtaining her BA/MA in Communication & Rhetoric from the State University of New York at Albany she decided the 9-to-5 office wasn’t for her, and instead traveled the world while building up her blogs into the sustainable businesses they are today. She is an expert on how to turn your passions into a blogging career. She has worked with with brands like General Motors, Microsoft, South African Tourism, Starwood, American Airlines, Visit Australia, Arch Insurance and many others. Her byline has appeared in publications such as Discover Magazine, Up! Magazine, Details, The Huffington Post, Business Insider, The Daily Meal, AOL Travel and more.