Read This If You Want To Make Money Blogging
I’ve spent 4 1/2 years blogging before I made one even one dollar of revenue directly from my blog.
Does that have to be true for you as well?
But you will certainly have to invest an extensive amount of time into your blog before you are going to be able to make it profitable. And even then, money will probably start coming in slowly, not exponentially.
A blog is not a good business to start.
If you want to build a business that brings in revenue quickly, then find a niche for a product or service and start selling it ASAP. You don’t need a blog to make this happen.
You see, a blog is not a business at all.
A blog is just something where you create content and get traffic. In other words, in the context of a business, it is just a lead generation tool.
It gets people who didn’t know you earlier to discover your name and (potentially) to subscribe to your e-mail list.
Let’s just assume that you were uber-successful (which is very unlikely) and managed to attract thousands of subscribers to your e-mail list in a short period of time.
Even at this point, you still don’t have a business.
Because you still don’t have a product to sell. Because you still don’t have a working business model. Because you still haven’t set up a system that will reliably bring in money for your business.
So, why the hell am I blogging?
Quite honestly, because I was a naive fool and when I got started. I was 21 years old and saw this hype around blogging. I saw that there were some people who made good money from it.
And I was a PR student.
I thought that it was a good fit for me.
So I threw myself at it. And I quickly fell in love with the process. I loved blogging for what it is: a tool for self-expression. I loved that I could write about the stuff that really interested me (intercultural communication) and maybe, one day, actually earn money doing so.
Basically, I became addicted to blogging.
What was the first thing I always ended up doing whenever I started a new business? Setting up a blog.
It’s not the most logical thing to be doing. And deep down, I’ve probably always known that.
But I just love the process so much.
If that wasn’t the case, then I wouldn’t be blogging anymore. Instead, I’d be focusing on just building a business. Only once I had been successful in setting up a system that reliably generates cash-flow, then I’d be starting a blog.
What is a blog from a business perspective?
1. A blog is a lead generation tool
So, I’ve mentioned this before. But I would like to get into more detail about this point. Essentially, a blog is nothing more but a lead generation tool. Just like traditional advertsing, it is one form of marketing.
If you advertise, you need something to advertise.
A blog evokes the illusion that this is not the case.
It makes you feel as if you have a complete business, even though all you have is a website that gets traffic and ideally is successful in converting this traffic into subscribers.
A blog doesn’t do much beyond that:
- It doesn’t convert your leads into sales
- It doesn’t help you much to nurture existing customers
- It doesn’t help you much in terms maximizing customer lifetime value
The only thing that a blog does (beyond lead generation) is to facilitate trust with potential customers over time. So somebody who has been reading your free content for a while, is more likely to purchase from you later on.
2. A blog is an asset
The assets of farmers are things like farmland, animals and their employees. The assets of factories are machines, employees, brands and so on and so forth.
Your blog is ONE such asset for your business.
Let’s just say that you want to start a business selling camera equipment.
If you have a blog that already has thousands of readers who are interested in camera equipment, then your blog is certainly going to be a useful asset helping you in the sales process.
But it’s not the whole business.
Your blog isn’t a system that automates the sales process. Your blog doesn’t take care of customer relationship management. Your blog doesn’t ensure that you have a great product to sell.
Your blog doesn’t even guarantee that you will get any sales at all, even if you have thousands of readers who are interested in your products.
They might only use your blog to get information.
And then make the purchase from somewhere else.
What’s your business model?
If you want to start a blog, then answer this question first. If you already have a blog and are struggling to make money from it, then answer this question RIGHT NOW.
A blog that is not part of a wider business model is a hobby.
If all you have is a blog, then all you do is to give people free information. And that’s fine. You probably enjoy it a lot. But hey, be very clear about the fact that it certainly won’t make you any money.
You won’t get a mysterious call out of nowhere telling you:
“We absolutely LOVE your blog! We want to set up products and business systems for you to make sure that your blog is going to profitable forever!”
Maybe your thoughts went something like this: “Oh, well. I am going to put advertising on my blog and do some affiliate marketing. That’s my business model!”.
Honestly, that’s not gonna work.
You might make a few cents here and there. But in order to make money from advertising, your blog needs insane amounts of traffic. Maybe the top 1% of blogs will be profitable that way. And that’s it.
No, if you want to make your blog profitable, then there is no way around having your own products and/or services.
Your blog becomes a complete business, if:
- you are clear on who your target customers are
- you are clear on what problems you are going to solve
- you are clear on how you are going to solve these problems
- you are clear on how your products are going to look like
- you are clear on what systems you need to put in place besides your blog in order to make this business work
Once you’ve done that, you use your blog for what it is — a lead generation tool. You design your content in a way that attracts people who might be interested in your products and converts them into e-mail subscribers.
And, obviously, you set up systems that take care of all the other aspects that the business entails.
Some final words:
If you want to make money blogging — forget it. Nobody makes money blogging. A blog is an asset helping you in the marketing process, but nothing more.
You might ask:
“But there are people who are bloggers….?!”
Yes, there are people who are bloggers. Yes, they might spend the majority of their time producing content for their blogs. But their blog will nonetheless only be a small part of their business.
They will also spend time on things like:
- product development (e.g. writing books, developing online courses, providing coaching services etc.)
- customer research (e.g. surveying potential customers, asking questions, discovering problems to solve etc.)
- lead nurturing (e.g. running a newsletter and occasionally running sales promotions etc.)
- customer relationship management (e.g. staying in e-mail contact with customers, solving complaints etc.)
- business strategy (e.g. thinking about where their business is going, what new products they are going to offer, what new marketing strategies they can use etc.)
- human resources (e.g. outsourcing part of their work to copywriters, research assistants, virtual assistants etc.)
Overall, running a profitable blog involves everything that any other business also involves. Providing great content and driving traffic to your blog is only one small part of a blogging business.
So, if you haven’t already started a blogging business but are considering it:
- Are you very clear on why you are starting this blog?
- Do you know where the blog is going to sit in the overall business?
- Do you know what problems you will solve?
- Do you know what kind of products you are going to sell?
- Do you have an exact plan on how your blog is going to help you to sell these products?
If you don’t have exact clarity on these points, then you might want to consider starting a different kind of business. Perhaps running a blog isn’t even necessary for the kind of business that you want to build.
If you are currently running a blog, but unable to make it profitable:
- What do you need to build beyond your blog in order to turn your blog into a business?
- Do you have real clarity on your target customers, the problems you are solving and the products you are building?
- Do you have a complete marketing funnel in place?
- Do you have consistency between the content that you are sharing on your blog and the products that you are selling?
- Do you just provide information on your blog or do you write your content in a way that has the potential to convert into sales?
Maybe you have started a blog because you don’t really like sales. Maybe you started a blog because you can just provide information and then, hopefully, somebody will buy your stuff.
Unfortunately, it doesn’t work like that.
A blog gets people to know you and helps to establish trust. But that is not enough in order to sell something. After that, you still need to convert this lead into a sale.
If you are following this approach, then you are like a salesman who only comes to somebody’s house to have a nice friendly chat with the potential customer and then moves on to the next person.
Understand what real value of a blog is.
And then build a business around your blog.
Call to action:
I’ve put together a free step-by-step guide on how to build a profitable business around your blog. You can get the guide by clicking here.
This week we have chosen to write about the question of ‘when does a blog become a business?’. Check out MR. Molly Maguire’s article on the same topic by clicking the link below.