This post was guest blogged by David Risley, a pro blogger who generates six figures per year in his blogging business. David Risley dot com is a pull-no-punches tale of his life as an Internet entrepreneur.
The simple truth is that most bloggers out there would like to be making a lot of money blogging, but they don’t. They read sites like Problogger, Entrepreneurs-Journey and John Chow. They imagine themselves making as much money as these guys and enjoying the dot-com lifestyle, but they don’t. Why is that?
I think the simple truth of the matter is that most bloggers suck at marketing. They just don’t understand it. The traditional model of “post often, throw some ads up there, cash the checks” is a VERY slow road to a full-time income. That isn’t marketing.
Here are a few simple tips I wanted to pass onto aspiring professional bloggers.
1. Start Building a List Right Now.
If you do not have an opt-in form to a mailing list on your blog, you are wasting an incredible opportunity. Realize that email marketing is still one of the premium ways of making money online. Email also happens to be the lowest common denominator of internet based communication. All of your readers have an email address. So, capture it!
You use your email list to keep people coming back to your blog. You use it to market to your readers. You use it to foster a relationship between you and your readers. Keep in mind that most of the world has no clue how to use an RSS feed. So, don’t sit back and hopelessly wonder why your RSS subscriber count is what it is. If your blog serves a non-technical niche, chances are your audience doesn’t know how to use RSS.
So, you build an email list.
2. Build Your Brand.
What makes a blog stand out in a market is branding. Building your personal brand is very important and I think you’re going to see much more emphasis on this in 2009 and beyond. Realize that business is personal again. People want to do business with a real person, not an anonymous corporate entity. If they feel a sense of empathy and trust with you, you’re light years ahead of other players in your market.
John Chow actively brands himself on this very blog as a “dot com mogul”. He posts a lot of photos of himself enjoying the various benefits of the dot-com lifestyle. Ted Murphy, of Izea, has actively built up a brand for himself as well. It involves lots of orange and tongues sticking out. 🙂 Whatever a person’s brand, it remains consistent. Readers begin to associate certain ideas with you as the blogger. That’s your brand.
Business is personal. So, build a brand around yourself.
3. Study Internet Marketing
A few months ago, I wrote a post for ProBlogger where I talked about the vast chasm between blogging and internet marketing. In that article, I said that the most successful bloggers out there DO understand internet marketing. In other words, there shouldn’t be any gap between these two worlds.
If you understand the principles and tactics of internet marketing, you are well ahead of other bloggers out there. If you view your blog as a lead generator, set up a sales funnel, then use your blog’s content as a tool for conversion into a sale, you will quickly realize why a blogger is in an AWESOME position to make money.
REAL money as a problogger isn’t found in hosting ads for other companies. Sure, you can make money that way (sometimes pretty good money). But, real money lies in solid marketing and driving your site’s readers into your offer (whatever that may be).
4. Leverage Social Networks.
Social networks like Twitter, Facebook and others give bloggers immense marketing opportunities if used properly. These networks obviously allow you to connect with others. They also allow you to set up outposts for your blog. Another great utilization of these networks, though, is that they allow your blog to go viral.
As an example, both John and Shoemoney have both recently held Twitter contests. By re-tweeting a certain message and, of course, following them on Twitter, you enter the contest. By it’s very design, the contest goes viral. The message will appear all over Twitter. By providing an incentive, it invites follow-through. This is a fantastic example of social media marketing in action.
Content Is Still King
At the end of the day, blogging is all about the content. Your focus should be on providing solid value to your readers and being truly helpful. However, if you do have desires to make money through your efforts, you need to learn to be a marketer, too.