Recently, I read an article over at ProBlogger that talked about making money blogging. David Risley, a successful 6-figure blogger talked about how bloggers need to find a product. As a blogger who has a product, I can vouch for the points David brought up in his article and can say that making money blogging is done through having a product, not through blogging articles.
I highly recommend you read David’s article at ProBlogger, as a lot of the points I’m going to be making in this mini-series will be based on some of the points he made in that article.
In January, I launched a product of my own. This was the first product I have ever sold, and my first real attempt at making money from a blog. When I put the product up for sale, it occurred to me that this was the way I was going to make money through my blog.
If you read David’s article, he said that if you want to make money blogging – have a product. If you read this article, (and a past article on the subject), I will say the same thing. His exact words were:
Most bloggers today operate in a dream world of made-up business rules. They try to make money with their blogs when they have nothing to sell. They’ll try to monetize the eyeballs only by littering the blog up with banner ads to sell other people’s stuff. It doesn’t take long for most bloggers to realize what a freaking difficult way to monetize a blog that is!
So if developing a product “isn’t your thing” and making money through your blog isn’t your intention, then stop reading. Nothing I have to say will hold much value to you.
Oh yeah, and if you are impatient and don’t understand that success is achieved over time, click the “x” button at the top of your browser. Because what I have to say needs time to develop.
Now, I’m not a 6-figure blogger like David Risley is, or really earn enough online to support myself (I’m only 16, so whatever I make goes a long way). But, I have earned enough money from selling just one product in the past 41/2 months to tell you that there is hope for your very own product as well.
The Cycle of Making Money Blogging
I have created what I believe the process of making money through selling a product is. The good news is that because it’s a cycle, it repeats itself. So, once you go through the cycle once, you have the capability to go through it again and again and earn more and more each time you sell a new product.
This cycle will be explained over the course of two articles. The first 3 of the 6 steps will be explained in this article, and the other 3 will be explained in tomorrow’s post.
I’m going to go over with you the first three steps of the process, prepare, research, and choosing your product. These are the three planning parts of the cycle, where you generally do more of the thinking and analyzing than actually doing anything else.
You can’t approach something like this without a plan. It took me one year exactly to get my product ready for sale. I know that sounds like a lot of time, but there’s more to planning something like a product than the actual product itself.
What’s the one thing you need to sell something? People. You need readership; an audience who trusts and respects you. Think of the last time you bought something. You either bought it because:
- Someone you trust told you about it, and because you trust them so much and see value in the product, you bought it.
- You have read that persons blog or website for a while now, and you trust them enough to be willing to give them your money in exchange for whatever they have to sell.
So, in short: you need to have built some authority and have created a reputation for yourself.
Blog posts are not your product. They won’t get you paid.
As David said (and I agree with heavily), the articles you publish on your blog aren’t the things that get you paid. So many bloggers find different ways to monetize their blog articles, and if they are lucky – they will earn a few bucks doing it. The articles you publish onto your blog are NOT what makes you money.
They build your reputation, your readership, and really reflect the kind of blogger you are. The community you have on your blog is a result of the articles you publish, and how much you are going to earn from your product reflects the kind of community you have built.
So it took me about a year of consistent blogging to be able to build an audience that would look at my product, and buy it. For some, it takes longer. Some, not as long. But the most important thing, even more important than planning the actual product, is to have an audience to sell to.
2. Market Research
This isn’t the most enjoyable task, but it’s important nonetheless.
You are in complete control of what product you want to develop and sell. You have as much freedom to choose what you want to sell as you did when it came time to choose what you wanted to blog about. But unlike choosing your niche, you have to look at more than just your passion.
Once you have a pretty decent community built up (I had about 1,300 subscribers when I launched my product), you will be able to figure out what kind of people they are.
I can’t stress enough the importance of blog content for this step. Not only does the content you write bring your potential customers to your blog, but it reveals the kind of buyers they are. When I established my product, I knew these three things about my customer base:
- I know that many readers in this community are new bloggers without much to spend. I had to take that into account with the product I developed, and I have to remember that for the future. I found this out by actually talking to them in the blog comments, and seeing what their reactions were when I mentioned a paid blogging tool.
- I also know that a lot of users in this community use the Thesis Framework, which is what my product was built on. My reputation in the Thesis community helped sell the theme, and that reputation was established through all the work I have done on this blog.
- The theme that Blogussion uses has always been well-received by nearly anyone who has ever talked about it. I have been asked multiple times in the past to sell it, and have had offers thrown at me already.
It’s often the tiniest bit of information you can find out about your community that will help you decide what to sell, how much to sell it for, and when to sell it.
3. Find your product
Once you have your community and know what kind of buyers you have in it, it’s time to figure out what you want to sell.
The product you choose has to be something you are totally committed to. Finding a product to sell and choosing your blog topic are so closely related because they tie into your ability and willingness to actually do it.
So, with your market research in hand and the same process(es) you used to pick your original blogging topic, you can come up with the best product for your community.
Tomorrow: Part II
Tomorrow I will explain the other half of the cycle. How do you think it will tie into the first half? What are your thoughts about the first half of the cycle? See you tomorrow.