Bloggers make money from blogging in an every increasing array of ways – but in general they can be broken down into:
- making money directly from their blog (where the blog makes money – typically from advertising or affiliate programs)
- making money indirectly because of their blog (where the blogger makes money because of their blog – for example by landing a book deal, consulting or a job)
Much has been written about making money directly from blogs – but the opportunity for blogs to be leveraged to make money indirectly is something that I think has great potential and which is largely ignored by most bloggers.
Whether it be by using your profile from a blot to sell yourself as a consultant, author, employee, blogger on other blogs, speaker, business partner or whether you use it to sell a product or service that you or your business has produced – blogs are ideally suited for this type of approach.
So how do you make money BECAUSE of your blog (indirectly)?
Let me suggest a few starting points (note: these six points made up a small part of my WordCamp Melbourne Presentation. You can see the full video here, although it’s a little sketchy on the audio at times):
1. Align Yourself with a Niche – one of the most powerful things that you can do is to pick the right topic to blog about and which is aligned with what you wish to ‘sell’ from the blog. If you want to become an author on a particular topic – you’ll want to blog on the same (or a related topic). If you wish to do consulting in an industry, your blog needs to cover that topic. If you have a product to sell – you’d better pick a topic that naturally fits with that product.
2. Establish Trust, Expertise and Authority – once you have your topic your primary objective needs to be to work hard at becoming a credible and authoritative voice in your niche. Your ultimate goal at this point is to align yourself so much with your niche that you become the first person that people think of when the topic is mentioned. This partly has to do with branding – but is also closely related to the content that you produce.
Perhaps the best example of this that I can give (best because I know it well) is this blog – ProBlogger. I chose the name ProBlogger on a whim one day (I think I was watching golf or tennis and wondered out loud if there could ever be a blogger that goes Pro). It wasn’t a strategic move – but in hindsight it was one of the best things that I ever did because ‘pro blogger’ has become a term that is now widely used to describe people who make money online. Whether the term would have been used if I didn’t start this blog I’m not sure – but the more the term is used the more happy I become as I know my brand is now aligned with the term.
3. Showcase what You Do – I discovered the power of showing people what you can do early in the life of ProBlogger when I decided to write a post about how A-list blogger Jeff Jarvis could better optimize his blog for AdSense. Looking at his blog today I’m not sure that Jeff really took a whole lot of notice of what I said – but that didn’t really matter because others did (and Jeff did link up). The power of showcasing what I could do paid off the next day when I had emails from 10 or so potential consulting clients wanting me to do what I’d done for Jeff – most of whom were willing to pay me for it. The take home lesson is to not only talk about what you can do – but to show how you can do it.
4. Give away the principles and Sell the Personalization – I spoke with an author and business coach recently who does a fair few Media appearances to promote his work and he told me that his strategy is to give away as much general advice as possible when he’s on TV or Radio in the hope that people will buy his books and come to him for coaching when they want to know how to apply it to their own lives. I think that this is a great strategy for bloggers also. A blog is a great place to spread the word of what you have to offer. Teach people the principles of what you know – but make yourself available to those who want to take it further and apply it to their own situation.
5. Sell Yourself Not Someone Else – a common mistake that bloggers make when they want to sell themselves or their own products from their blog is to also run advertising on their blogs. The problem is that those who will want to advertise on your blog are likely to be your competitors and instead of just selling yourself you’ll be selling them too. While it’s possible to do both – I find that it’s much better to choose to either make money directly or indirectly from your blog and not to mix your messages (having said this – I’ve managed to do both here at ProBlogger at different times with different levels of success).
6. Make Yourself Accessible – looking to pick up opportunities that come your way from blogging? You’ve got to make it easy for people to give them to you. While I understand a need for privacy – if you make it too difficult for people to get in touch – they won’t. In the early days of my blog I not only had an email contact form on my blog – but I also published my phone number and Instant Messaging contact details. While this did lead to a lot of disruptions to my days – it also brought in some truly amazing opportunities. Of course there’s a need to be smart on this and as my blog grew in popularity I also stopped publicizing my IM details (there are only so many hours in a day).
One last note
The above 6 steps do not just happen. They take time, they take effort, they take consistent work and they take a little luck. Step 2 is crucial and particularly takes time. Building trust, establishing an audience and being accepted as a credible source of information can take years.
Darren: This post is invaluable. Thanks so much. These are things that probloggers should be mindful of.
Nice post. I feel trust is very important. There are many people writing to make a quick buck but have no expertise.
Excellent post Darren. Thanks again!! Wow this blog is awesome
Great tips! Thanks, these tips will definitely be helpful to know when creating new blogs for clients.
Darren, I’d like to read some interviews with people who are ‘Sell Themselves, Not Someone Else.’ I’m sure you have some readers who are having some success at this strategy, and it sure would be inspiring to read their stories.
Also encouraging intelligent comments and discourse and debate from knowledgeable readers.
The collective wisdom of the crowd can be just as entertaining and helpful as the blogger – thereby adding stickiness and return visits
Great post, I think most of the money I do make from my blog is because of my blog and not necessarily the advertising on the blog. I get quite a bit of business opportunities (and I don’t mean spam… at least not all of it) due to my blog and the brand that I have established for myself.
You are spot on. Much attention is given to making money with blogs, but there can be much more to be made because of blogs. There are a ton of talented people who want to have a good Internet presence, but they don’t have the technical know how. I make a large portion of my blog related income indirectly. One day I realized that I had raised myself above the fold on Google when searching for my son’s name (Caden). I then realized that the ability to do this has got to be worth something. My Google rankings are no longer as good for Caden’s Page because I now spend most of my time on other sites rather than on my own blogs. If you have the talent to build successful blogs, then you just have to figure out how to bottle and sell that talent.
Don’t forget that in order to make money from a blog INDIRECTLY, such as consulting and so on , you need to be an expert. This means that the blogger in and their blog in question needs to be in a specific niche that is their expertise. So making money INdirectly from a blog is actually more difficult … nonetheless, good post…
http://www.newmediatype.com – web entrepreneur’s blog
These are one of the best group of tips I’ve read here on ProBlogger. My favorite is #3. Maybe I should take time implementing it.
Sly from Slyvisions.com
Thank you for the valuable informations. Your blog it’s truly a fountain of informations.
The idea of giving away the principles and selling the personalisation turned on a light in my head.
Thanks. It’s enough to convince me to watch the video – which I usually find to be just a waste of time: if people give the text it is far quicker to read/scan.
Showcasing what you do is another great idea that I want to think about.
Thanks for a remarkable post.
As someone who’s made the choice to make money *because* of my blog, it’s been a fantastic decision for me. You encapsulate some of the key approaches I’ve taken — particularly the decision not to advertise, and to work on building trust and profile in my niche.
One interesting thing that’s happened lately is that by doing freelance blogging about blogging, I’ve also become pretty experienced at freelancing, to the point where I’m now freelance writing about freelancing!
Essentially, when you make money because of your blog, you’re practicing skills which, as they develop, can unlock more opportunities. There’s that same potential for exponential growth you get when you make money directly.
Nice post Darren. I’m beginning to experience earning because of my blog. I’ve excluded the word money, because you can also earn other things. I, for example, met some of my relatives, some of them live abroad, and I had no idea about them. Now we regularly chat, and we’ll meet each other in the near future. That’s fantastic, isn’t it?
BTW, I don’t know if I’m the only one, but I had always thought that the name of your blog suggests PRO – ‘for’, ‘for the benefit of’ a brogger, you are helping bloggers earn money! Haha, really, I didn’t think it comes from ‘professional’. Actually, it’s great you have that dual meaning, and both relate perfectly to your blog.
This is good stuff to look forward to. I’m discovering that, as an artist, I come to blogging from a background that has little technical skill. I’m also discovering that as I raise my technical skill, other artists are looking to me to figure out how to do things.
Making money directly is the only way to go that I see at this time, but with more experience, maybe indirect methods of making money will become available.
Makes me wonder what the future will bring.
Thanks for this great post. I’m begining to make money from blog…
Yes I agree with your points and in my own small way I am doing these things. Will take time.
I do have more job offer when my potential customer asking me where is they can access my portfolios. Coincidentally, my portfolio is in my personal blog. So, two catch in row. I got more unique visitors as well as job offers. And I do hope that they will give me some testimonials.
Hey darren, i think you have a typo in the first line of the second paragraph:)
I love the fourth point you’re making. Thank You for that particular insight.
Nice post darren I agree with your points and I feel trust is v. important. There are many people writing to make quick money but have no expertise.
Number One is true on multiple levels. Whether it’s blogging or building new websites, generally the most successful online ventures are ones that fulfill a specific niche.
Thanks for the great tips on how and when to create blogs. Definitely i will use this in by business.
Thanks Darren. These are really great tips. However will not work if you don’t have +1000 RSS subscribers. +1000 RSS subscribers along with a good Technorati rank sells very well without doing any other self promotion.
That’s a great post.
I also have to admit that my blog has opened a number of doors for me. I’ve not reach my full potential in terms of income, but I do know it’s a question of time. Our blog is only 6 months old and it’s incredible how many great partnerships we’ve been able to form. This gives me hope that 2008 will be even a bigger year.
Considering you’ve been at it for 5 years now, it makes me believe that by sticking to something and becoming the utmost expert in that specific subject is the way to do.
wow …nice article darren
I like to think of the term making money indirectly as making opportunities from your blog. I don’t monetize, other than having a pretty much unpromoted amazon store. However, from blogging, I’ve been contacted by newspapers, a national magazine, received a book or two, was invited as a guest on a “ghost hunt,” and more.
I trhink if you establish yourself as the “go-to” person in your area of expertise, then the benefits become even more apparent.
Blogging to me isn’t a “get rich quick” scheme, and shouldn’t be. Unfortuntely, too many people think of it as such, and that’s why it’s given rise to so many splogs and scrapers.
Great point about selling yourself. In order to earn an income I promote a lot of affiliates in my niche. Which waters down the original ideas I have come up with. Gradually it would be nice phase out the affiliates, but at the moment they are paying the bills
Darren, thanks for the reminder about building trust and becoming an authority. That’s probably the hardest to achieve I have found.
Great post, I’m also starting to make money with my blog.
Hopefully pretty soon I’ll also earn some cash inderectly from it.
6 critical commandments of blogging indeed from the guru himself!
I enjoyed your article. Thanks for the tips. Do you (or anyone else) have advice for a blog just looking to make money off of tips and that is the sole purpose of the site?
Thanks for these sound, well argued tips. They help to make indirect blogging less mysterious.
Thanks a lot for the tips. Now I know where am I standing, I need to built my trust among all the readers.
I will visit this site more often to sharpen my blogging skills. Still very new to this stuff.
I like the idea of “showing what you do” because people visits my blog to learn more about what I am doing.
Thanks a lot for the tips. Thanks for these sound, well argued tips. I’m also starting to make money with my blog. Thanks again!
These are great tips — I looking forward to translate them into German and publish them for all German Bloggers.
This blog has really helped me cut through the clutter. Keep posts like this coming. For most people Blogging seems very complicated. You helped make it easy.
Through blogging, everyone has the chance to become a micro-celebrity. That part of us that excels at one thing greater than anyone else has the opportunity to shine on something like a blog. When you write about something you love it becomes much easier to put your best foot forward.
One of my niches is freebies! A problem I find the most often though is that everyone assumes its a scam. I don’t imagine most people look at your blogs and assume they are a scam or trying to undermine them…
definately going to use these tips to the fullest!
I trhink if you establish yourself as the “go-to” person in your area of expertise, then the benefits become even more apparent.
Super post Darren,only the best as we have come to expect!
Excellent post. Most people make websites and turn their hobby into a business. This can be a great way to earn some extra income.
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