In the last few weeks, I have had some interesting interviews with two six-figure bloggers about why the majority of aspiring content creators struggle to monetize their blogs.
The blame is often centered on the current state of blogging with increased competition, but when I talked to these bloggers they insisted that competition wasn’t the main problem. In fact, both bloggers monetized their blogs in different ways, and both came to the same conclusion.
Instead, they suggested that bloggers who struggle to make money often don’t know how to treat their blog like a business.
If you struggle with blog monetization, here’s a look at 5 lessons learned from profitable bloggers on treating a blog like a business and how you can do it too.
1. Get a clear understanding of your value proposition
One of the most important parts of owning a business is providing your target audience with something they value (i.e., value creation).
It doesn’t matter if you are just getting started or have been blogging for a while. Take some time to consider the value your blog will provide to a specific audience.
Unsure where to start?
Here are a few questions to consider:
- Why does your blog exist?
- Who should know about your blog?
- Why should they care about your content?
- What end-result should people have after reading your content?
If you already have a blog try to find out what posts get the most engagement and what type of comments are people leaving on your posts.
You’ll be working the other way around but in some cases that can be even more effective than deciding what type of content you’re going to make and looking for your target audience after that.
2. Develop a blog monetization strategy
Start to treat your blog like a business as early as possible and decide how you’re going to earn money from blogging. The method you use to make money online will influence what kind of content you’ll create.
For example, some bloggers focus primarily on making money with affiliate marketing. While affiliate marketing blogs might provide lifestyle and educational content on their website the primary focus is to create and share product reviews that link to affiliate offers.
On the other hand, if you promote self-made products then reviewing other people’s products might not be the most effective way to make money from your blog.
Each monetization strategy works best when bloggers focus on a specific type of content. Learn about blog monetization methods and create content that complements that method.
3. Build a brand people can trust
Without credibility, people won’t easily part with their money in exchange for your services or products. This is why it’s important to build a brand that people can trust.
However, there is a common misconception about brand building that I’d like to address. Building a brand is so much more than a logo, font, and colors of your blog (i.e., brand identity or the visible elements of a brand). It’s also deciding what you stand for, what you want to be known for, and communicating that through your content.
Visible brand elements, like a logo and colors, do play a factor in branding because they help people identify your work, but it’s the combination of that and the communication of your values through content that shapes a brand.
4. Create measurable business goals and an action plan
Aimlessly blogging isn’t going to get you anywhere if you want to turn your blog into a business. You’ll need to set some goals to make significant progress.
In the book, What They Don’t Teach You at Harvard Business School, author Mark McCormack references a 1979 Harvard study where MBA’s were asked “Have you set clear, written goals for your future and made plans to accomplish them?” Their responses
- 84% didn’t have specific goals
- 13% did have goals but the didn’t have it clear on paper
- 3% had set clear goals and created a plan to achieve them
In 1989 the group was interviewed again. The study found that the 13% who did have goals earned on average double that of the 84% that did not. The 3% who had set clear goals and created a plan, earned on average 10 times as much as the other 97%.
There’s a clear outcome for those who set clear goals and those who don’t. Goals will give you a clear direction, motivate you, and keep you on track.
It’s important to know how to create meaningful goals that will grow your blog. Start with the S.M.A.R.T. method. After you set goals, map out the steps needed to achieve them, create a schedule based on these steps, and stick to it.
5. Reinvest blog earnings
Like any other business it’s important to reinvest. Don’t be cheap and balk at spending money on your blog. The “cheap” mindset can leave bloggers wandering in circles with progress toward their end goals nowhere in sight.
The moment you start investing money into your blog, new opportunities to make money will open up. For example, you can start investing money in audience research tools, quality website themes, email marketing services, and more tools designed to increase the quality and growth of your blog.
You’ll notice the moment you start to scale your blogging business new tasks will follow. Plan ahead and decide how you’ll organize a team to prevent burnout and give you more headspace to develop growth strategies and run a profitable blogging business.
Rogier Ramon Giersthove is a blogger, podcaster, and Youtuber based in The Netherlands. In 2018, he founded Real Digital Success an initiative that wants to give a realistic look at what it takes to make money online.
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