When Google changed from an information company to an advertising company – circa 2001 – dollar signs appeared in eyes of moonlighters everywhere. Just think…you can sit at home, write a couple of online ditties and make thousands of dollars from Google ads. To wit, according to Pro blogger.net, 46% of bloggers blog to make money. Maybe you are one of those folks. Or maybe you started your blog to help add revenue to your business. Whatever the reason you began blogging, you no doubt expected some duckets to follow its birth.
Flash forward to 2010. There were 152 million blogs, more than 600 million people on Facebook and 175 million on Twitter. The latter platforms have updated numbers, but no one seems to be tracking blogs any more since Blogpulse.com shut down this year. Blogs, it seems have lost some of their luster, in favor of shiny new platforms such as Pinterest, Facebook and Twitter. And as far as making money, well dig these stats from a survey conducted by Problogger :
Nearly 70% of bloggers make less than $500 a month.
About 29% of bloggers make $10 or less a month
Only 9% of bloggers make upward of $20,000 a month
Blogging for Money Takes Vision
The days of plopping a virtual topic awning in the Internet market space and raking in the cash are over – heck, they never existed. If you plan to make money from your blog you must run it like a business. That means you should:
Conduct market research
Create strategies to acquire and retain customers/readers
Separate yourself from the competition by building your brand
If you seriously want to take your blog to the next monetary level then you might need a paradigm shift – think of your blog as a business not just a hobby. The first step in achieving this goal is to write a business plan for your blog.
A business plan can help you answer some of the essential questions to determining whether your blog is a product or service that the marketplace will support or just a parking lot for Google ads. You may not have the answer to these questions either. They may be more effectively answered by your blogging audience. Either way, going through the rigorous exercise of writing a business plan for your blog will help you decide how professional your blog could become.
Matt Powers is an Internet Marketer at Blue Soda Promo, an online promotional products company. BSP imprints logos on items like sunglasses, tote bags, stress balls, koozies and stress balls at ridiculously low prices. We make your brand POP!
Michael Drew is a revolutionary in the publishing industry. In just 14 years, he’s put 72 books on National Bestseller lists, including books with Lisa Nichols, Marshall Goldsmith, and John Assaraf.
Michael’s secret? He’s invented a specific step-by-step process not just for quickly overcoming writer’s block – but for creating content so powerful, it makes an immediate impact when released.
He calls this process The Creation Method. It’s been silently circulating for years among top shelf writers, expert coaches, change agents and trailblazing companies.
And now, it’s a 60-minute workshop available to us on March 13th at 6PM PST
The Writer’s Hour is a once in a life event where you will get the opportunity to listen the best practices and secret tricks from expert Michael Drew. Michael became the #1 Best Seller Book Publisher and is the man responsible for getting 72 authors in The National Best Seller lists, The New York Times, USA Today, just to name a few.
This workshop will be a great resource for:
- Writers (fiction or non-fiction)
- Speakers or Presenters
- Advertising or PR Pros
- Anyone that creates content (and isn’t that all of us now?)
Thanks to Mindvalley, I’ve received permission to offer two folks to this workshop free, here’s how:
Choose your writing platform: A comment below, a tweet, a Google+ post, a Facebook message, a blog post of your own, an Instagram, whatever … (mention my name or link back to this post so I can find it).
Tell me about your content creation headaches: Is it time, words, too many thoughts, you don’t have a process (yet)…
To find out more about The Writer’s Hour, click the ticket:
The tools we use to conduct business are moving and changing faster than ever before. Its a wonder anyone can keep up. What used to take 12 years to gain critical mass use is now taking 12 weeks.
Sometimes, as a business owner warms up to the idea of finally implementing a “new” tactic or tool, that is already yesterday’s practice. Thankfully, the core elements of doing business have remained for centuries – even though the tools are changing faster than we cook microwave popcorn.
Horse and Buggy on the Highway
In the mid-90s, there seemed to be a gold-rush towards getting your own “dot com”. Yet, still more than 30% of small businesses don’t own their own website or domain. If they do have THEIRCOMPANY.COM, they often don’t “own it” or “operate it” because they’ve “outsourced it”
When you think about it, 30% is a large number considering the “dot.com” rush began just over a dozen years ago. That number isn’t talking about companies without blogs, social media, or mobile sites and apps – it’s businesses who don’t have their own web sites.
The number is probably much higher if we consider independent contractors and people who might work from home or don’t operate with a business license.
Last year, Google released two numbers that should’ve woke up the sleeping small business: 20% and 40%. Both have to do with searches for local business: 20% of all web-based searches are for local businesses and 40% of all mobile searches are for local businesses.
If a business does get found (“if”), what does the searcher find? Well, if it’s one of those businesses in that 30% that don’t own their website, it’s a 3rd party site. Who knows what the reviews say, if there is correct contact information, and are the descriptions and images accurate? That’s why it’s so important for a business to own their own site, the content that gets displayed, and their presence and applications on different platforms.
Does Your Company Operate, Supply, and Measure its Own Web Presence?
In recent posts, we looked at the importance of a company’s web presence. The call is to “Own it“, to “Stock it“, and to “Measure it“. Unless you’re a 100% web-based business, your web site is not a destination point – it’s an access portal. One that connects customers with you – and vice versa.
When your customers come in your front door (an access portal), there is a path to you – be it an aisle or a recognizable fixture like a desk or counter. When your customers call you on the phone (an access portal), they recognize you by how you answer the phone. When customers go to your web site … you do have one, yes? … the web becomes an access portal.
Would you remain in business if you closed other access portals off from customers? Likewise, you should keep access open with a web presence and a mobile presence. This is part of being in business these days.
It’s Not About the Technology – Think Talk-nology
Stop thinking “technology” and start thinking “talk-nology” – You probably didn’t build that front door to your store, but you use it. You probably didn’t wire the telephone system, but you use it. And you don’t have to design your website or blog or mobile app – but learn how to use it.
It’s simpler than you think – and you’ve probably been doing the same thing (with different tools) for years. One way to do that (at your own pace with a community of business owners) is The Dialing 8 Project:
Companies that are engaging and employing social business are reaping the benefits. That’s because they plan on staying in business.
When I was in the retail business, I had a regional manager once ask me how my sales of “blank wall space” and rental of the “vacant carpet squares” were going?
I raised my eyebrows and waited for the lesson to be delivered. I didn’t have to wait long:
“I love white space as much as the next person,” he said. “But we’re not in advertising. This is retail. Floor space and Wall space? That’s for our inventory. Keep ‘em full, clean, and looking good. Move a few things around once in awhile. We can do quantity and quality at the same time.”
He wanted customers who visited to always be thinking:
Two instruments we use in navigating uncharted travels are a compass and a map. We can do likewise with social media, too. Our compass can be our strategy, our purpose (a good compass lasts a long time).
Our Map? What’s our next step. Sometimes we get wandering while wondering what to do next. The acronym MAP might quicken your pace in the right direction.
M.A.P. = Meaning. Announcements. Personalization.
Make Meaning (70% of the time): While you should use other tools of social to “make meaning” for your information consumption (infosumption), when publishing or sharing content, look for ways to “make meaning” for your reader. We both know in our heart of hearts that your business can help them, but more times than not – share things with them that will improve their life/work/bottom line. Things that aren’t about your business – but their lives.
Make Announcements (20% of the time): By sharing and writing most often about stuff that helps your readers, you quietly earn the right to promote your work, your sale, your event. Be a resource twice as often as being a bullhorn – but don’t neglect the bullhorn either.
Make Personalization (10% of the time): This is the “chit-chat, hey how’s your cat?” type of chatter that personalizes social media. Remember that this process of MAP is a guideline. There will be some days you chit-chat more, and some less. But as a business, 10% is a gauge for personalizing your professional platform.
This is a variation on the 70-20-10 guideline we practice on Twitter, and it works across the landscape of social media. So get your compass (your purpose) and your MAP (your plan) and enjoy your journey.
How many of you have a camera on your phone, raise your hand …
Whether you have a smart phone or not, the opportunities for taking your own stock images are plentiful. Additionally, improvements and growth of mobile apps such as Photoshop Express and Instagram make capturing, editing, and sorting images a breeze.
I’ve seen a lot of folks invest 20 minutes writing a blog post, then spend another 20 minutes looking for the right image. Better to take a few minutes here and there to be prepared.
Create some stock images of your own. Have a library ready to help tell your story. Just as you should Listen to Your Day in writing your blog, Watch Your Day for capturing great storytelling images.
Ask the sports fans … the crafting hobbyist … the thrift store shopper. Watch the Trekkies.
Is there just one place, one site, one convention?
Or is it all of them?
There’s always room for one more good one.
That baseball fan getting ready for her fantasy league draft? She’s not looking at just one site or one magazine. She’s got them all. That quilters in your life? They don’t just go to one store, they know them all.
Before you doubt yourself or change what you’re good at because someone else is already doing that …
There’s always room for one more good one.
Next time you go to the book store, check out your favorite section. Not only are there many titles to choose from, there are more coming.
Be you. Be the best you that you can be. And remember …