Mike Cliffe-Jones is co author of the best selling book Beyond Blogging. Thank you Mike for taking the time to write a guest article on the Small Business Tech blog. Here he shares some thoughts on blogging as a business.
I think most people have given up trying to put a number on the total blogs in the world, but it’s in the hundreds of millions. The vast majority are personal, or hobby blogs. But a significant number are a business, and some are now multi-million dollar companies.
If you can write, and do so with some passion on a subject, then blogging might be an opportunity for you to branch out on your own.
Let me share some basic steps for you in creating a business from a blog:
Find your passion
If you’re going to be writing on a subject for the next several years, you’re going to need to be sure that you are passionate about it! Choose something you love, something you really want to share with the world. And although you don’t need to be an expert when you start, you should be prepared to do the necessary research to become one.
Build a platform
The work will be hard at first, writing post after post that only a few people are reading. What you are doing in this phase is creating a platform for your business. Think of it as a home base. And like every home base you need to have “outposts” all over the web – places like Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn, where people can find you and follow you back to your home base.
Build a tribe
All successful bloggers build up a large audience over time. But as with all things internet based, most are not engaged, and simply “graze” the words they write. One of the keys to success as a blogger is in building a smaller “tribe” of fans, who become part of your blogging community. These are the people who will recruit new tribe members, buy your books or anything else that you can offer, and become an ambassador for your brand.
Once you’re established, you’ll want to earn some money! What that boils down to is selling something. It could be books, you could become an affiliate selling other people’s products or you could come up with a membership program offering additional content. There are numerous ways to earn money, and all benefit from the power of the internet. Let me give you one example. I have a good friend who is also a professional blogger. He runs two blogs. On one of them, he offers a premium membership program, for which he charges just $15 a month. Within a month of launch he had just over 3000 members. I’ll leave you to do the maths!
The traditional model for generating income form a blog is through advertising. And it remains a potentially lucrative area as more and more businesses are switching their advertising spend to online and way from print. There are various agencies who will handle advertising sales, or you can cut out the middle man and sell space yourself.
Expand your game
Once you’ve created a strong on line presence and a good sized readership, you’ll find many opportunities open up for you. Many bloggers have gone on to become successful best selling authors, others earn good income from speaking, and still others use their blogs to build and promote a conventional business, often in the world of tech.
If you’d like to learn more about the fascinating characters who have become the superstars of the blogging world, then please get a copy of Beyond Blogging, which is available as an E Book, via the Amazon Kindle, and very shortly in both print and audio.
You can also visit Mike at his blog, Mike’s Life