This guest post is by Sean Davis of SDavisMedia.com.
Blogs do not produce income. Simply writing and publishing content does not increase your bank account balance.
The idea that money is a direct result of blogging is a myth that the best bloggers have dismissed, but most choose to treat it as a law of the blogosphere.
What a shame.
Many new bloggers will jump out of their online careers just as quickly as they jumped into them when they realize that it’s not enough to simply create content.
There is, however, another goal for creating content. It’s not until you understand this goal that you will know how to make money from your blog.
The goal of blogging is not to earn money. It’s to earn attention—the attention of those who will, in turn, provide the revenue you’re looking for.
Why you need to focus on attention
“If you build it, they will come.” We can argue all day about whether this is true or not. No matter what, though, we should all agree that just because people come to your blog doesn’t mean that they will buy your product, sign up for your email list, click your advertisement links, or whatever it is you need them to do in order to produce income.
As a personal testimony, I created an infographic about four months ago that seemed to be pretty popular on the internet for a day or two. The blog I published it on was only about three months old, and the infographic brought me over 1,000 visitors in one day. For some, that’s nothing. For me, it was the attention I had been dreaming about.
Take a wild guess at how many email subscribers I earned from that infographic.
If you guessed zero, you’re wrong!
The answer is actually one. One lonely person out of over a thousand visitors signed up to my free newsletter, which, by the way, offered a free gift for those who signed up.
This is when I learned that blogs have the power to bring attention, however, it’s what you do with that attention that matters most.
Introducing Monroe’s Motivated Sequence
If you’ve ever taken a college-level language course or a speech or communications class, chances are you’ve been introduced to the art of persuasion.
Simply put, in the business world, whether it be brick and mortar or internet marketing, you have to know how to persuade people to take action—especially when they are visiting your blog.
Almost a century ago, Alan Monroe of Purdue University introduced a persuasion method that takes the human mind through a natural cycle of establishing a need, developing a solution to satisfy that need, and then becoming enthusiastic about implementing that solution.
There are actually five steps to this sequence:
- Attention: The first step is to gain the attention of the target audience. You can do this with a story, a thought provoking question, or anything that makes the audience stop what they’re doing with curiosity and focus.
- Need: This is where you explain to the target audience what their need is. This can be an obvious, well-known need, or a need that you create on the spot. Often, a need is established by giving an extreme example of some unfortunate event that should never happen again.
- Satisfaction: Now that your target audience understands the need, it’s time for you to fly in like Superman and save the day. Provide a solution to erase that need and prevent the aforementioned unfortunate event from ever happening again.
- Visualization: Tell your target audience exactly how your solution can be implemented and how it will solve the problem. Also, tell them how things will progress (that is, get worse) if your solution is ignored. This is where you would provide proof—preferably a previous instance in which your solution was implemented—that convinces your audience that your solution will work. Politicians do this a lot when referencing what other nations have (or have not) done, and why it is important that we make the same (or different) decisions.
- Action: Get the target audience involved. You’ve already explained to them what the need is, how to satisfy that need, and what things will be like for them once the need is satisfied. Now, you have to convince them that they play an important role in making that change happen. In other words, you introduce an action that they can take to implement your solution.
If you take a step back and thoroughly observe TV commercials, political campaigns, sales pages, etc., you will notice that the most persuasive ones follow this sequence. Why? Because it was developed to follow your own natural thought patterns.
It was developed on the basis of human nature.
How to use this persuasion technique on your blog
What if you could use Monroe’s Motivated Sequence in every area of your blog?
From the content you produce, to your blog’s unique design, you can follow the steps in the sequence to lead your readers down a path that causes them to take action.
Derek Halpern of SocialTriggers.com enlightened me a few weeks ago on why he doesn’t write the typical “17 Things You Can Do To Blah Blah Blah” articles on his blog.
He said that he encourages the reader to focus on one action to take with each of his articles. As a result, his readers leave his blog with something they can actually implement instead of a list of options—something that’s been shown to be less effective at prompting action, by the way.
Considering Derek builds email lists like crazy, it’s safe to say that he understands human psychology and what makes people tick online.
Does he use Monroe’s Motivated Sequence? I don’t know. But imagine the results you could produce, article by article, if you focused each one of them on one specific action to take, as Derek does, and you used Monroe’s Motivated Sequence to do so.
Are the ideas flowing yet? I hope so.
Remember: blogs don’t earn money. Blogs earn attention. Once you have attention, which is nothing more than a visit to your blog, you have to know how to guide the visitor down a path that leads them to an action you’d like them to take.
Whatever your goals for your blog, you can start using Monroe’s Motivated Sequence right now. Simply break something you want your visitors to do down to one single action, and then follow the steps of the sequence.
Take a few moments to think about communications you encounter every day and how they follow this sequence. And imagine the possibilities for your blog if you can master this technique.