Building a Long-Term Blogging Business: How to Thrive in the Information Age (Part 1)
Content is king. I’m sure you have heard the statement more than you can count, but really this is very critical. If you are running (or plan to start) any sort of online business, content is something you must consider as part of the business strategy.
For a blogger who makes money from selling ad space, you need content to be able to sell. Most of your business and marketing activities are content-driven.
Why Content is Important
Well-written content is important for a few reasons:
- Engages the reader and builds an audience.
- Increases traffic and search engine juice.
- Encourages link love from other bloggers.
Up to 50 percent of the time you use to build and grow your blogging business should be allocated for content creation. Not everyone will agree, but many of my marketing strategies revolve around content. From special report to e-course, article marketing, blogging and podcasting, all of them require that I produce content, better if regularly.
Content is so important that I will not call it a day if I haven’t added to my content repertoire. Every day, I write a few blog posts, articles for syndication on other web sites, and of course, move my product ahead a bit at a time by adding to it.
Content creation and marketing skills are two things I spend most of my working time on.
Finding Your Strength and (Re-)Modeling Your Business
As an online business startup or owner, you also need to know your strength in content production. If you are not a fast writer, you have to model or remodel your business so you are focusing on the right thing. Perhaps seminar, teleseminar and podcasting are better ways to creating content and getting your message out online.
If you do whatever others told you to do, but you really hate it — I mean, hate in an extreme way, not an exaggeration — you are going to suffer. If not failure, at least you will set yourself up for some frustrations. I don’t know about you, but I think that is not worth it, especially if you have the chance to do it right upfront.
Perhaps outsourcing or hiring staffs is not something you can afford right now. In fact, I recommend that if you are going to build a blogging business, you should go through the process of building one yourself, at least for the first time.
You should systematize everything and then when it is time to outsource, you already have a process that you can rely on. This applies to everyone even if you are just starting out. You need to orient your business so you can let others do what you’re not good at and help you get things done.
A friend of mine, a fellow netrepreneur and blogger, is an idea guy. He can come up with lots of great ideas for content, products and creative ways to do something. He had difficulties in turning his ideas into reality, but then he finally hired someone to write for him, someone who could resemble his personality. Now he enjoys his business more than ever.
Here’s another example that is related to blogging, from a graphic designer who launched her freelance and service business with a blog. Nancy (not a real name) always likes talking about graphic design, but she hates going from one networking event to another to find clients. She started a blog to convey her message, show her portfolio and educate her audience. She told me that often when her clients call, they feel as if they have known her for a long time!
That’s because they have been reading and watching what she produced, sometimes for months before they decided to call.
Passion as a Competitive Advantage
You can turn passion into an advantage on the long run. When you are passionate about a niche and in helping the audience solve their problems or achieve their goals, you empathize. It is hard to fake empathy.
Passion shows in your blog, the product you create and even in the email you answer. When you have passion, it makes up for a lot of other stuff that are not your cup of tea. I don’t mean that you should neglect other parts of the business. By all means learn how to do it better, but that should not stop you from moving forward.
You don’t have to be perfect to get started, but passion is not something optional.
Just look around the blogosphere. There are currently millions of abandoned blogs right now. I was guilty to start a few of them. A lot of bloggers lose focus very soon, and that’s most likely because of lack of passion.
Skills can be learned, but passion is something very hard to fake.
“The Only Reason I’m in the Business is for the Money and Lifestyle…”
A lot of people started out that way. They dreamt about becoming their own boss and working at the comfort of their own home. Some of them worked very hard and succeeded. They actually hit their lifestyle goal but then a few questions kept appearing on their mind.
“Why am I dreading the 2-hour workday? How can I make better use of my time?”
Blogging and running a business may soon become a routine that is killing you if you don’t anticipate it from now. The topic is what really matters.
It is much better if you can take your marketing and business skill to profit in a niche that you are passionate about.
Introducing Jack and Anne
They are fictive identities, but Jack had built a quite successful business in the rose gardening niche. He started a business around the niche because the competition was not that stiff. In fact, he didn’t care about the market at all. He grew that business to six-figure in three years based on his solid business and marketing experience. He writes great sales copy and closes the prospects well.
Anne is an entirely the opposite character. She walks the talk, lives and breathes her market. From the moment she wakes up to the time she closes her eyes, she grows and thinks about roses. She absolutely loves everything about this market. Her brick and mortar business recently failed, and she was planning to turn to the Internet and see if teaching others to grow roses is a feasible business. Anne has much less experience than Jack in business and marketing and she haven’t even heard of the word copywriting (does it have to do with writing for a legal firm, as related to copyright?)
Who will you think be more successful five years for now?
They are running the same business, perhaps selling the same stuff to the same market.
If you answer Anne, you are correct. And here’s why (I can back my answer up)…
The Key to Online Business is Relationship
In online business, you rarely meet your audience, at most you can do it via webinar but that is just one way communication. As a blogger, you can record your voice or talking head and stream to your audience in audio and video formats, but there’s nothing like face-to-face interaction.
You convey your personality and cultivate relationship through your writing, voice and talking head.
People get involved with Jack. Although they like his content and his writing style, they always feel something is missing, but they don’t know what it is. They like Jack, but they never feel he is someone who can sit with them by the fireside talking about roses.
On the other hand, when they interact with Anne, they feel the warmness in their heart. They actually think she is someone who gets them. Not only being passionate about her business but also do her best to make sure they are reaching what they want. The more they communicate, the more they like her. They like to be involved in every part of her business.
What Jack Does to His Business
Jack doesn’t have a strong feeling towards roses. He doesn’t hate it nor does he like it, but he doesn’t care about whether his customers are getting the most out of his information. Many bloggers and writers who hate what they write even make a good living with it, so what’s wrong with Jack?
Business owners who are not passionate about their business…
- Can’t communicate as well to their audience.
- Are easily satisfied. They don’t think they want to push their limit and take their business to the next level.
- Procrastinate. They check their emails every 5 minutes just to see if any of their friends send interesting stories.
- Would rather outsource. If someone is willing to run the business for them or take over it in an acquisition, they will not think twice.
- Dream about the day they could let the business die when they have some other businesses started.
Determining the Fate of Your Blogging Business… Now!
How will you compete with someone who comes into a market much later, but absolutely loves everything about it?
You can’t rely on sophistication, perhaps you can for a short term, but they will keep up and leave you behind if you are struggling with energy but they don’t because of their passion.
Will you give up and lose? Or will you fall to the second place and than the third, and so on?
You can make the decision now. You have more control than you think. Your business should give you energy. That’s the kind of business and role that you want. Moreover, you are doing a favor for the market.
Unlearn What You’ve Learned Before This
Most marketing systems teach you how to identify a niche, research for profitability, find out if the market actually spends money, determine ways you can reach your audience, build list, cultivate relationship, and monetize from that venture. Then they read like the back of a shampoo bottle. “Rinse and repeat.”
The problem is, if one niche is such a struggle for you, how could you possibly enjoy your work and life with 10 or 20 of them?
If one of the niches is wildly profitable, you usually keep them from others, so they don’t become your competitors. Even the so called marketing “gurus” do this.
They live in endless fear that someday people will discover their pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. Why? Because once there are competitors, cost goes sky high, it is harder to sell because now people have more choices.
Passionate bloggers should not worry about it. Making money with a blog is possible because there are enough people who communicate and interact with each other. Who is going to link to your blog if there is no other bloggers? The more you have them, the better, provided that you have the right quality of content.
What Should You Do Now?
People deserve someone who loves what s/he does and helps them solve their problems or achieve their goals.
If you are still on the quest for a niche blogging topic, sit down in a quite place and ponder. Bring a pen and a pad along.
Write down whatever you are interested in. Imagine if you are blogging about it three to five years in the future.
You can do the research later. The Internet is a great place for it. Finding if a market has a problem waiting to be solved or something to be achieved is not hard, if you take time to get involved in the process.
Visit discussion boards, mingle and be part of them. If the idea turns you on, you have hit your passion. However, you want to make sure the market is spending money for the solution you have in mind.
Remember, a blogging business is a business. You have to take it seriously.
(Read the Full Series)
- Part 1: How to Thrive in the Information Age
- Part 2: Creating Strategic Content Plan and a Few Content Creation Tips
- Part 3: Getting the Word Out
- Part 4: Essential Blogging Skills Every Blogger Should Have
Return to Business Blogging in a Nutshell.
Return to Blog Tips for a Better Blog — Blog Building University.