We’ve all heard stories of people making big bucks through blogging.
Cake Wrecks, People of Walmart, Digital Photography School, the Art of Manliness, and Grumpy Cat are just a few of the most popular blogs that bring in 5 and 6 figure incomes for their creators.
Starting a blog that makes money from scratch seems easy, right?
Write about something you enjoy, and then let the money pour in? It’s not quite that simple. In order to monetize your blog, you have to focus your mindset and your efforts.
What all of those blogs have in common is a niche audience. They chose the audience BEFORE they started the blog.
They focus on one particular subject, and ONLY one, and create engaging and informative content for that audience. It seems easy enough, but 90% of bloggers get that wrong.
If you can’t tell me in less than 10 seconds who your audience is and what their needs are, you don’t know your audience well enough.
If you don’t know your audience, you won’t be able to attract the right people to your blog and make money.
If you don’t attract the right people, you won’t sell anything.
Are you able to effectively and concisely answer the following three questions? Once you’ve answered these, you will be primed and ready to learn how to make a six figure income from your blog.
1) Do You Have a Narrow, Well-defined Niche?
Most blogs don’t make money because they try to appeal to everyone, and end up appealing to no one.
Knowing where to start a blog is just as important as longer-term planning. The very first key to starting a blog that makes money is to treat that blog like a business.
Take your business and specialize it.
By focusing on and appealing to a very narrow audience, there is a chance for deeper money-making relationships. Branch out when you’ve got money in the bank.
Every successful company started out with a narrow niche. Facebook, for example, started with the college market. The service rapidly grew because people loved the interconnectivity, but it began on the very small scale.
“The key to success is to be a one-trick pony, but you have to do that trick very, very well.”
When you are starting a blog that makes money, you have to specialize.
You have to repeatedly and consistently provide information that your audience really wants.
Specialization makes it easier to create content and discover your audience.
Let’s say that you want to write about gardening…
Gardening is a huge niche, you can talk about gardening tools, when to plant, flower types, herbs, vegetables, commercial industries, and anything else having to do with plants. Unless you quickly learn how to outsource and scale your content production, you’re going to be overwhelmed.
Narrow the focus..
Instead of the general field of gardening, think about the more specialized aspects that you can bring to the table.
Maybe you have a tiny apartment and have transformed it into a food production facility. This blog might look at irrigation and other challenges that you face when growing a garden in a tiny space.
From there, you have access to an audience who’s just like you. They might live in apartments or just tiny houses. They’d be interested to know what plants that you could grow in a tiny place. You might talk with them about microgreens or odd surfaces that are just perfect for gardening You might choose to create a book or an easy step by step kit that helps them grow indoors.
By focusing your attention, you will gain more readers and more satisfied followers along with potential buyers.
2) Do You Know Exactly Who Your Target Market Is?
So you have a niche for your blog, but do you know who your target is?
Who is this person? Are they male or female? What kind of jobs do they have? What do they value? What is their most urgent pain point- the thing that gives them the most trouble and keeps them from chasing their dreams?
Go deep and get detailed as you sketch this person out. Give them a name if it helps you to see them more clearly. Research and understand what motivates them.
If you truly know your audience, you will be able to give them what they want and what they need. An audience that knows they can trust you will purchase from you.
3) Do You Write Relevant Content that Attracts Your Target Market?
Super-niche blog topic? Done. Deep and full understanding of your audience and their needs and wants? Got that.
Perfect. Now, let’s move on to content creation.
If your content isn’t valuable to your readers, it shouldn’t be on your blog.
That’s it. Plain and simple.
But not really. Your content has to also:
• Establish you as an authority in your niche
• Attract your reader’s attention and invest them in your blog
• Prepare them to purchase your products
So, how do you make this magic content?
There are certain types of content that do all of the above, and do it effectively.
• Result Oriented Stories: Everyone loves to hear about people’s lives changing for the better. Share with your tribe the real, concrete ways that you, your product or your service has improved someone’s life, performance, health or finances.
This does two things for your audience: builds trust and develops social proof.
• Controversy: There’s always something going on, that people are looking for more data and more opinions on. Within your niche, take a stand on those issues.
Not only will your content get attention, but you will gain status as an expert, simply for giving an opinion. There are a lot of opinions out there about how to start a blog that makes money, and some people think my ways are completely wrong. I think that they’re wrong, as I’m making quite a comfortable living off this blog.
• Research Articles: People are overloaded with information. There are so many different voices, telling so many different things, and so many different places to hear details and figures that may or may not matter.
If you can help them sort through the clutter with a clearly written and fairly balanced article, your readers will trust your judgment and your recommendations when it comes time to make a purchase.
• Topical Content: Tie your blog’s niche to things that are happening in society at large. News stories, movies and TV, celebrities, current events and internet memes are just a few items that you can relate to your content.
Why should you do this?
Current readers will enjoy the content and share it with friends and family, adding social media buzz to your blog. In addition, it will rank higher on search engines and bring new traffic.
Make sure, though, that the timely news content won’t offend large groups of people. It might cause publicity problems to, say, make light of natural disasters and war.
4) Do You Promote YOUR Content to Bring Traffic to YOUR Blogs?
Great content doesn’t read itself, and potential followers can’t read your blog if they can’t find it. This is one of the key stumbling blocks between starting a blog and starting a blog that makes money.
You need to promote your content to get as many people as possible to your page. The more people who see your page, the more potential buyers you have for your products and services.
All too often, bloggers will work so hard on their content and then just post it, assuming that people will just be drawn by the quality of it. The world doesn’t work that way.
To generate the kind of traffic you want, you need to learn how to promote your blog.
“But, I don’t have a lot of money for advertising!”
Here are FIVE low-cost ways to promote your content online:
• Social Media: Your followers are already on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google Plus, Instagram and Pinterest. Let them know that you have new content to read and share with friends, family and colleagues.
Not into the idea of spending all day posting updates? Use HootSuite to plan posts in advance, or hire a virtual assistant to take care of those details for you.
• Bookmarking Sites: Sites like Digg and StumbleUpon reach millions of people every day, who are looking for specific topics. Submit your posts and you can reach a whole new and different crowd with every submission.
WordPress users can take advantage of plugins, like Only Wire and Add To Any, that automatically send new content to multiple bookmarking sites the very instant that it’s published.
• Email: You have carefully cultivated an email list of people who want to hear from YOU! Why not oblige them by sending out an email with new articles and requests for feedback, topics to write about, and names of people they would like for you to interview. You don’t need to send out anything fancy, just something simple on a regular basis.
• Forum and Blog Commenting: You are an expert, so take your knowledge out into the field. Visit blogs related to your niche and leave informative comments on articles, with a link back to your post. Make sure you say something worthwhile, otherwise people may dismiss you as a spammer.
• RSS Feed Syndication: RSS directories take content from all over the internet and make it available in one easy to access place for readers. Submit your blog feed to hundreds of RSS directories, and instantly gain new visitors.
When you focus on your niche and really pay attention to their needs, you can create a six figure income just from blogging!
Is there anything that I’ve missed? Do you have some easy ways of promotion that I’ve not talked about? Tell me in the comments!