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Live From Blog World Expo 2010: The 7 Harsh Realities of Blogging for Bucks [Keynote]

Mark Thompson October 16, 2010

This keynote is with Darren Rowse, Brian Clark, and Sonia Simone.

There are a lot of misconceptions about blogging and making money through your blog.  Darren, Brian, and Sonia talk about 7 misconceptions and how you can succeed through blogging.

#1 – Free is Not a Business Model

People think if you give away a lot of free content and that the money will follow.  That is NOT what happens.  In order to make money, you need to sell a product or someone elses product that is related to the content you are delivering.  You need to understand what it is people are buying in your niche, then you need to promote those products/services.

Sometimes you can actually have a small readership and still make a lot of money.  You just need to really understand those readers

  • People will buy Information (that is trending up)
  • The more information you give away, the more likely they will buy in a different format (repackaging content in PDFs, Video, Podcast, etc…)
  • People will pay for the extra 10% of content to get the whole picture

#2 – The Push-Button Internet Cash Machine is on the Fritz

Darren gives examples of emails he gets from people with the subject “Help Me Make Money Fast”.  Even though bloggers understand that you don’t make money fast by blogging, but people still want to believe it. However sometimes there are ways that you can flip a switch and make money fast.  He gives the example of an ebook he created for the Digital Photography blog.  He was very tentative about releasing the product because he thought people would think he is selling them out. However when he released the ebook, he saw the flood of sales $150,000 in sales in 7 days.  That took him back to think about the 2 years it took him to write daily content, investing money into the design, answering questions, etc…and how it all paid off at the end.

What people were saying when he released his ebook:

  • I bought your product before reading what you had to say about the product
  • I bought your product just because I wanted to say thank you for the value you have delivered
  • I bought your product because I know it will be of the highest value, because of the free content you deliver

#3 -You Can Talk To Everyone

At some point you are going to have to set boundaries about how many new, meaningful connections you can make each day.  There is going to come a time that you are going to need to balance your work life and your personal life.  You can’t talk to everybody, answer every email, and make everyone happen.  Pick and choose your battles, keep listening, but don’t sacrifice yourself to social media.

#4 – No One Actually Wants That Much Authenticity

Have boundaries about what you talk about in social media.  Begin transparency/authentic and sharing everything is a fine line.  You need to maintain your authority, but don’t give away the farm.  You don’t want to post things that are boring, very personal, or negative thoughts.

Anita tells the story about a lady who talked about how she got her hand stuck in a wine box, and it really helped launched her blog.  It showed that she is human and it shows her personality.

Be the best person you can be to your customers and readers – Brian Clark

#5 – Social Media Hates Selling

Even though social media hates selling, you need to still sell to make a living.  People don’t like being sold to, but social media changes the landscape of how people are being sold to.  You can’t do this directly, it needs to be more indirect.  You need to sell YOURSELF and have others to talk about you.  Give valuable content and that’s how you should be selling – through your content.  Have your audience do all of the selling for you.

Back in the older days of CopyBlogger, Brian had to go out and build relationships to help spread your content.  Until you actually grow a readership and fan base, you will need to rely on your network to help promote your content.  If your content sucks or is too salesy, nobody will want to promote you.

Good salespeople educate first, then show how working with you can deliver value to your business.

People hate to be sold, but love to buy – Brian Clark

#6 – A Blog is not a Business

Darren realized that after 6-12 months of blogging, that he wasn’t really making any money.  So he had to brainstorm ideas of how he could make money through his blog.  He tried a donate button, adsense ads, banner ads, etc….

Darren’s wife had made an ultimatum that he needs to make a full time income in 6 months of blogging.  That was the day that changed that changed his life and blog.  This is when he stopped dreaming and started doing, including:

  • Picking up the phone to call advertisers
  • Learn what his readers wanted
  • Analyze your analytics
  • Stop dreaming about making it a business and actually turn it into a business

You need to start taking action!

#7 – No One is Reading Your Blog

There are hundreds of blogs that are created everyday.

Give it time!  You don’t put the penny in the machine and you see instant traffic.  You need to focus on a core group of people who really love what you talk about.  You don’t need a huge audience to be successful.

2 Route you can take your blog – Entertaining and Useful.  If you had to choose which route, choose useful.  If you can do that with spark and show your personality, that will be an added bonus.

8 comments
Jeff's Online M
Jeff's Online M

Thanks for these reminders. The tips you've shared inspired me to get back to this blog that I have started to take for granted.

Gail Gardner
Gail Gardner

Thank you so much for sharing your notes from this keynote. So many bloggers need a reality check when it comes to making money - and to listen to bloggers like you and NOT the ones telling everyone to create something to sell or start yet another paid community in niches that are already saturated! There is one simple thing that all bloggers can do to increase how much money they can make. I wrote about this long enough ago that the post is not available in CommentLuv so I do hope you will forgive me for sharing it in the body of this comment. The easiest way to increase your ability to make money with a blog is to Choose Blog Niches that position your blog where the demand for advertising will be. The other key is collaborating. It is far easier to increase traffic and build links when you have relationships with other bloggers who know SEO, understand anchor text, have established Social Networking accounts, use CommentLuv and are in your niche. If you can't find them then lead quality bloggers to that knowledge.

Mark Thompson
Mark Thompson

Awesome feedback Gail! I agree that collaborating is so much easier than trying to generate a following on your own. There are so many other bloggers out there, that are trying to do the same think you are doing, so why not team up and leverage each others blogs and content. It was such an awesome session, hope the live blogging was helpful and made everyone feel like they were there!

Cara Celli
Cara Celli

Hi Mark, And thanks for all the advice! I am just starting out with my blog, and am grateful I've discovered your site. It's already made me realize what more I need to do to promote it. I already have a base of regular readers, but nobody is leaving comments! What does that mean? I know it's good, and there's a lot of useful content on it, but no comments! Hey, is anybody out there:D?

Mark Thompson
Mark Thompson

Ask for those comments! Sometimes that can be the easiest way to stimulate discussion. I know when I first started my blog, it took a while until the comments started coming in. I feel like once you get to a certain point, everything will start to click and it becomes much easier to increase subscribers, comments, and traffic.

Financial Samurai
Financial Samurai

Thanks for these notes! Saves me the trip and the $800 bucks! However, it sure would have been fun to network and feet folks. Sam The Yakezie

Mark Thompson
Mark Thompson

You're welcome. Hope that my notes were helpful in gaining some insights into each of the sessions :-)

Dave Doolin
Dave Doolin

I'm so glad I'm in this for the long haul. I've had the experience of people buying from me just to thank me for the effort I put it. It feels pretty good. Really good, actually.

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