While your blog can be a labour of love, it can also be a profit centre for your business or the centrepiece of your entire business. It all depends on the makeup and stats of your readership. Here are four strategies to consider in order to make money from your blog.
This is an excerpt from the Book Rapper issue We Blog – a book summary of Michael A Banks’ book Blogging Heroes: Interviews with 30 of the World’s Top Bloggers; Wiley Publishing, Indianapolis, 2008.
A number of the interviewees in Blogging Heroes are paid to blog. If you want a blog job, your personal blog is your advertisement. It speaks to your skills, style and attitude. Bring your blog and your business case to the attention of your current employer or potentially new employer. Blogging may be a solo exercise, like a journalist running their own newspaper. As in the case of Autoblog, the job-bloggers are part of a 24-hour global team posting new content on the hour.
Action: To give yourself a shot at job-blogging define your area of focus, create a professional-looking site and refine your writing skills. Develop a business case to market yourself within your organization or to potential clients. For instance, better customer service.
Your blog may be the seed that builds the audience that sells the product/service, that builds your brand. Did you know that Chris Anderson wrote his book The Long Tail as a blog? During the process, he invited comments from the readers of his blog. He has acknowledged that this reader, or community, involvement enhanced and enriched the subsequent book. It was a smart move. As Anderson wrote and published more posts, he built up his audience. When his book was finally published it was to a large, warm and receptive audience. Be willing to learn as you blog – and share what you learn as you learn it.
Action: What are you building? Write down what you want in the future. For instance, if you’re writing a book, your future desired outcome informs what you write about today.
Free content paid for by advertising or sponsorship has been the basis of TV, radio and, to a lesser extent, newspapers (subsidized cost) for many years. This strategy may also work for your personal blog. A good place to start is to check out Google Adsense. And then, when you really start drawing attention to your blog you can confidently approach bigger fish. The key question to ask with regard to advertising is: “Will it undermine my content?” The right advertiser may add credibility to your blog, whilst others may create a conflict of interest.
Action: Time to decide. Am I going to advertise now, or not? Will I advertise in the future, or not? Make your intentions clear from the beginning as it can shape the loyalty of your readers.
Write your blog to promote your current product or service. It’s a smart thing to do – provided it’s not simply a bunch of one-sided press releases that brag about how good you are. That’ll never work. No audience there buddy! Whatever it is you want to sell, you need to educate and inform to attract an audience. Don’t sell to them.
Action: Make a list of what you might sell via your blog. This might be obvious or it may present a whole host of new opportunities. Be willing to look. No one said you only had to sell your own products…