Creating a blog as a tool for building a business is becoming more and more essential for both small and large businesses everywhere.
The ability to reach out to an untapped audience and maintain a great relationship with your existing fans through content marketing is now more available and affordable than ever.
It is no longer about who has the most money or the best connections.
Today, anyone can become a successful marketer and build a brand with nothing more than a computer, a strong desire to succeed and a blog.
Over the years many bloggers have developed a some useful skills for creating success, but lack the ability to make a profit because they aren’t utilizing one or more of six essential elements, which I will explain in detail.
In order to build a profitable and viable business with a blog it is extremely important to have these six elements in place.
- A product or service to offer
- A valuable reason to buy your product or service
- A growing relationship with your targeted audience
- A brand that people know, like and trust
- An effective marketing strategy
- An effective way to follow-up with good content marketing
The problem with most businesses/blogs that struggle with making money is that they do a great job handling one or two of these important factors, but they often fail to consistently deliver on all six cylinders and end up leaving money on the table because of it.
Why do I need to offer a product?
If you don’t have something to sell you don’t have a business, you just have a (hobby) blog.
Don’t get me wrong having a blog is great for growing an audience, creating awareness and building traffic, but you won’t make a penny unless you have something to sell.
You may have thousands of loyal fans who know, like and trust you, share everything you post, tell all their friends about you, retweet your articles and hang on to your every word, and that’s great!
The problem however is that at some point your raving fans will have a need that has to be met and costs money.
It could be a product, a service or a piece of software they need.
If you fail to meet that need they will have no choice but to get their needs met somewhere else whether they want to or not.
For many people the fear of selling something seems pushy and overwhelming, but the truth is selling isn’t a bad thing, in fact it’s actually a very good thing.
Most people are happy to pay for a product or service that enriches their lives and satisfies their desires, and chances are they are going to either buy it from you or someone else.
At some point almost everyone has a want or need that has to be met and they are aware that it costs money to make that want or need a reality, and most people would rather buy from someone they admire and trust over someone they’ve never heard of.
By placing that solution in front of them you’re saving them hours of work, research and headaches which not only helps you grow your relationship with your audience, it also lets them know you’re taking the pain out of having to find a solution on their own, and you’re providing them with the best solution for their situation.
Finally, make sure you are selling products and services that are related to your content.
For example if your website is about teaching people how to detail cars you can show them how you detail your cars using the products you offer.
You don’t have to talk specifically about the product, just show them how useful it is by demonstrating how effectively it cleans your vehicles.
By teaching your audience how to effectively detail their cars they will also see how effective your products are for getting the job done and at some point they will need to buy those types of products if they want to make their detailing dreams a reality, and by building a relationship with your audience you increase the chances of selling your products significantly.
Your products/services don’t have to be part the primary focus of your content, but they should be closely related to your topic and create additional value beyond what your blog content can teach them.
One more thing; If you’d like some great ideas on many of the different things you can do to provide your audience with solutions to their needs check out: 16 popular ways to generate an income online
Continue to show the value of your products and services through your blog
The more information you can provide your audience with the easier it will be for them to make an educated decision to buy when the time comes.
You don’t need to sell, sell, sell; You just need to focus on creating solutions related to your audiences wants and needs.
If your products and services add further value beyond the limitations of your blog then they will be more than happy to purchase when they are ready to take the next step.
A common rule amongst bloggers is to use a 90/10 practice when selling your content directly.
This means that 90% of the time you write content that’s focused solely on the topic of your blog (detailing cars, content marketing, new & hot fashion etc…) and only focus on direct sales (talking specifically about your products/services) 10% of the time.
Some bloggers like to use a 95% – 5% approach, but it’s different for each blog so find out what’s comfortable for you and implement it consistently.
By creating content on relevent topics you build comfort and familiarity among your audience which keeps your solutions, products and services fresh in their minds.
Writing one article here and there isn’t really going to help anyone, especially if your audience is continually growing.
Be consistent with your content marketing efforts.
People won’t remember what you said two months ago and new visitors won’t be aware of your solutions, so make sure you are producing excellent, relevent content on a continuous basis.
Make this a normal part of your business and it will seem natural to your audience and even expected.
As I said before provide them with as much information as you can about the topics that are important to them and help them enrich their own lives and when the time comes where they need a product or service to fulfill their desires you will be the first person they go to for advice.
Growing a relationship with your targeted audience
First of all you don’t need (or want) to appeal to everyone.
As the saying goes “If you try to appeal to everyone you will appeal to no one”.
Your blog should focus on a set of topics that focus on your target audience’s wants and needs, and teach them how to reach their goals.
You build your audience one fan at a time by being helpful and relating to them on a personal level.
Make sure visitors understand what your blog is about the minute they visit your site.
As you can see on this blog there are a few categories that are essential to focus on so they are a primary part of my websites navigation.
Anyone visiting this site for the first time will know within 10 seconds what this site is about.
Make sure your audience knows what they can expect.
The faster you can communicate that the better you will be at providing solutions to the right people and converting the right visitors into loyal fans.
Your blog deserves the attention of the crowd that’s right for it.
This will go a long way towards making sure you set clear expectations for your content, while letting others know you may not be right for them.
Listen, be attentive and be useful.
Here are a few posts that can help you build your relationship with your audience:
- What Roxie Hart can teach you about growing an audience
- Using personality – For your brand, for your life
- Why Content Marketing Matters!
Building A brand
Aside from your websites design and logo your brand is the image people imagine when they think of what your business represents.
It’s how you make them feel (the emotional connection) when they think of your blog, products and/or services, and it’s what they say about you when they talk about you to other people.
Do your readers feel that they are learning and putting your content to good use or do they feel confused and lost when they think about your blog?
Is your blog even memorable?
Did you leave a lasting impression or did they get bored and leave?
And were they inspired and entertained enough to want to share your content and come back for more?
Every time you create content you are saying something about your brand and communicating who your are to your audience.
Make sure your content is clear and offers simple actions they can take to improve themselves and/or their business.
The more you can define the goals of your website the better you will be at providing a clear picture of what you brand is about and what topics you will discuss.
Here is a great article to help you define what your brand is about: 35 questions to help you build your business and your brand.
The importance of having a marketing strategy
People love useful content and are usually willing to share that content with their friends.
Unfortunately they can’t learn about or share what they don’t know exists.
What happens when you create something amazing and no one knows about it?
There are so many ways content marketing can be done effectively.
Unfortunately there are too many ways to market your content to talk about in this article, but feel free to check out this topic which focuses on some useful ways for your to write, promote and market compelling content: Content Marketing for Beginners.
Why you need to create useful content on a continuous basis
First lets highlight some of the BEST things creating new content does for your business:
- It creates a way to connect with your audience on a regular basis
- It gives you a way to promote your products and services without expensive advertising
- It helps you build a growing brand and get noticed
- It allows you teach and guide your audience at their pace and can be as in-depth as you’d like
- It’s a non stop sales letter about what your brand stands for and offers
- It’s great for search engine traffic!
- It gets you noticed by those who can influence social media
- It allows people to get the most out of your products and/or services
Continuously creating great content builds trust, authority and admiration.
Creating new content also keeps you fresh in the eyes of your audience and gives them a reason to come back.
The best brands know how vital this is and that’s why they frequently create new content (to get their audience to come back for more)!
Things change and people change, and without new content your blog can easily become stale and old which can cause your brand to suffer and people to forget about you.
All of the great businesses from Pepsi to Apple knows that they need to continually show value in their products and services otherwise they could lose a large part of their market to someone who’s willing to regularly build value and show usefulness in what they have to offer.
If you think you can disappear for several months and expect your audience to stick around waiting for your next article or piece of advice than good luck.
If you wait for weeks to post new content you’re leaving money on the table and there is a good chance a large part of your audience will find another blog that can fulfill their wants and needs.
People need solutions and they need them yesterday.
Most people don’t have the patience to wait for months on end and they’ll go wherever they can to find the best solutions as quickly as possible.
My advice to you is that you be the solution they need and build a library of knowledge and value that they can’t live without.