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5 Ways to Tap Hidden Money Making Opportunities With Your Blog

This Guest Post was written by Wendy Piersall from eMoms at Home.

Although Darren writes frequently on the ways to monetize a blog, it’s no secret that many of his tips work best on a product-focused site such as his Digital Photography Blog. This leaves many of us who write content-focused blogs scratching our heads sometimes, wondering how we can translate the monetary success of a product blog into our own content blogs.

The fact of the matter is, you can’t. Making money off of a non-product blog takes a completely different approach, and much of the earning potential of this kind of blog is created indirectly.

Darren goes into great detail on the indirect methods of making money from blogging in this rather timeless post. The points he covers include consulting, book deals, business partnerships and speaking opportunities among others.

These opportunities are open to pretty much any writer on the planet. But the way to really leverage them to your advantage takes good blogging skills as well as good old-fashioned business and people skills:

  • The Ability to Sell – The most successful people in business are sales people – but I’m not talking about just selling products. Visionary leaders sell us on ideas, beliefs and indeed they sell us on ourselves, by influencing our thoughts and actions.
  • Solid Networking Skills – Not many people get to the top alone. I’m fond of saying that groups of people function at the level of the ‘lowest common denominator’, meaning that many times we do the bare minimum that we can get away with. Make it a point to know successful people for the simple fact that it will force you to raise your own standards (the doors they can open aren’t bad, too!).
  • The Law of Reciprocity - Add value. Give to get. Successful bloggers know they have something to offer, and ensure that their focus is on giving rather than getting. When you give a lot, the receiving part is a natural part of the cause-effect equation.
  • Get Uncomfortable – Becoming well known is something that many people aspire to, but in actual practice, pushes us to the absolute limits of what we feel we are capable of. Andy Wibbels has said it far more succinctly than I could, “If I don’t feel like a fraud at least once a day then I’m not reaching far enough.”
  • Strong Branding – Developing your own unique voice is critical, because millions of blogs are a dime a dozen. No matter if your readers love you or love to hate you, it is most important that you develop yourself as a “brand” and build on that foundation congruently.
  • Determination – Otherwise known as motivation, inspiration, etc. When it comes right down to it, finishing a big project can get downright boring at times. It’s easy to lose steam when results seem months or years away. Sometimes it takes a good old fashioned pep talk from a friend to stay on track until that book deal is within reach.

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Comments

  1. James says:

    Don’t forget good ol’fashioned hard work.

  2. Brian says:

    Good post Wendy. The first time one of my posts got picked up by yahoo finance, I was scared to death. What if I made a huge mistake…now the world will think I’m an idiot? But the networking opportunities are so much better as a blog writer than they are as a blog reader. I’m hoping it will pay off with a better job, because the adsense dollars don’t seem like they’re going to pay the rent.

  3. George says:

    Great post Wendy. It’s kind of funny, because I have a post waiting in my drafts folder that I am going to post tomorrow about one of those points.

    I have personally found that increasing my networking skills has REALLY payed off this year.

    Nice to see you posting over here. Darren should hire you to do that regularly…

  4. Chad says:

    Hey Great post Wendy.
    The first time I did a guest post on Problogger… :)

    I agree that there are many other indirect ways of making money off your blog. I think a lot of people put too much focus on the actual cash payout instead of the other major benefits.

  5. Thanks Guys! Chad, were you going to say something about a firestorm?? ;) I came from a different marketing world as well when I first started blogging, and I actually tend to agree with you on the AdSense thing. It’s a double-edged sword, to be sure. I’m going to drop you a line, because I’d love to talk to you a little more about your expertise.

  6. Alex Shalman says:

    Great post Wendy, I especially enjoy what you say about branding. That guest post over at your blog (http://www.emomsathome.com/blog/2007/03/19/ten-secrets-to-creating-a-magnetic-blog/) just touches on this. I’d like to read more of what you have to say on branding, more things from that letter that got you accepted to Elite Retreat. We.. just.. want.. more.

  7. Mike says:

    Good reminder that we’re not all going to be cashing huge adsense checks and need to be open to finding other ways to be rewarded for all our wonderful content!

  8. Edward Mills says:

    Wendy

    What a great post. I’ve been struggling with this exact issue on my blog. As a personal development writer/speaker/trainer, I don’t have the focused product niche of a tech writer. And even more important for me, I want to maintain control of who advertises on my site – I want to ensure that anything that is being sold on my site is a product or service that I can truly stand behind.

    When I launched my blog I viewed it primarily as a way of building the “platform” from which I will sell my seminars, workshops and products. I still see my blog that way – although I have made some money from marketing affiliate products that I believe in. So having these great tips on indirect monetizing options is perfect!

    Thanks!

  9. lee says:

    Wendy, Thanks especially for the strong branding point. I started blogging only at the end of February. My first direction was to emulate the blogs that I really liked reading. After a few posts, however, the inner me started scratching at the door. I love the freedom you reference when you say “no matter if your readers love you or hate you.” Thanks for the validation!

  10. Lee – Ann Coulter comes to mind – whether you hate her or love her, she’s congruent with her ‘brand’ and gets big attention from both sides of the fence!

    I prefer to make my mark in a less abrasive way, but hey, that’s just me. :D

  11. “I prefer to make my mark in a less abrasive way, but hey, that’s just me. :D”

    …and you do all the better for it, Wendy.

    This was a nice read.

    Bye for now,

    David

  12. Wendy,
    Great job here! This is a topic I need to hear, so thanks. My question to you is how is networking, branding, determination, etc. a money maker if you don’t have a product or service to sell? You didn’t mention that you have services on your blog…coaching/consulting. If I have a content-focused blog and nothing to offer my audience then I won’t make money regardless of how great my branding is, right? Seems obvious, but there must be a tie into an eBook or eCourse or something…ads don’t seem like a strong business model to me. Perhaps the answer is build the foundation, with your 5 strategies, create a product and then you’ll be in business?

    Thanks for making a difference!
    Kelly

  13. Alex says:

    I agree that it’s good to develop a “strong brand,” but I don’t know that a brand will always be strong merely because it is particularly outspoken or controversial. It depends on the type of brand one is developing! I’ve been working for about a year now on a legal blog, and I’ve realized over time that although it’s easy for me to generate traffic with provocative posts it’s far more important to me to write in a way that has credibility and depth. A “legal expert” brand, in particular, has to emphasize credibility almost above all else, and so it is actually more important for me to be credible and accurate than it is for me to be thrilling or offbeat. I’m sure my traffic growth is slower as a result, but on the other hand I feel like I’m striking the best tone for the type of brand I’m gradually developing.

  14. It’s great to see Wendy’s exceptional content on this site. I’ve learned *so much* from Wendy and Darren throughout my entrepreneurial journey.

    The eMom truly is a “ProBlogger”!

    -Jason

  15. Alex, I agree with you – I have a strong brand as “eMom”, and I’m neither outspoken (well, I guess I’m a bit talkative, but not necessarily ‘outspoken’!) nor controversial. It’s more important that you are 1-unique, and 2-congruent. If I was controversial one day, kissing butts the next, then silent for a week, then blogging rampantly about a different topic, it would be hard to build a brand on that kind of inconsistent foundation. Hope that makes sense!

  16. Jason Hooker says:

    I’m just not sure what your post has to do with it’s title. Where are the five ways?

  17. OMGosh – I added one to the list mid-way and now there are 6 up there! HAHAHA! I forgot to update the title.

    Jeesh. Talk about getting outside of my own comfort zone!

  18. Rogers Place says:

    Don’t forget the old fashioned elbow grease. All these things will work but not overnight as many believe.

  19. Ray Dotson says:

    It’s okay, Wendy. You’ll get the hang of this blogging thing eventually… :)

  20. Kelly, ironically enough, that was going to be the original content of this post. But the link I mention above about Darren’s old post on the subject pretty much covered it. So I had to totally rework this guest spot to add to what Darren already said (posted before my own blogging career even started!!).

  21. David says:

    Thanks for the great post Wendy!

    I’ve always been aware that there was a difference between product-oriented blogs and content-oriented ones, and your advice makes a lot of sense to me. Thanks!

    I am just starting out in the “blog world” (in terms of making money online), and I’m discovering that there is a lot more to it than I first imagined. That’s why I’m glad Problogger is around!

    Darren and contributors, like yourself, really help beginners like me get a better grasp of the whole blogging industry.

  22. Wendy (& Darren),

    I absolutely agree with Jason’s comment above (#15/Jason of Mindful Entrepreneur).

    You two have become my Blog role models (the only FeedBurners I am currently subscribed to): Darren on the Business of Blogging, and Wendy, the Heart & Business of Blogging, with a focus on other content in the eMoms niche. I am learning so much from both of you.

    Thanks so much,
    Sherri

  23. Christy says:

    Okay this is kind of cool because I get to leave a comment to both Wendy and Problogger, sorry Darren I know you have a name but you’ll always be Problogger to me. Thanks to your tips I’ve been able to generate an income off of my blog which is only three months old, and yesterday bought my very own website. I still have miles to go, there’s so much to learn. But when you guys speak….I listen.

    A Big Thank You,

    Christy

  24. Kyalo says:

    At the risk of boring everybody by repeating the obvious, let me say that there is no other site on earth with the kind of useful and valuable info that this blog has. It is amazing that we can get all this gems here for free. Can you believe I feel guilty sometimes?

    Thanks a lot Darren. I will always remember that my long journey started here and I still come back frequently for inspiration. I’m currently earning a living (and a good one at that) from my online activities.

  25. Samsara says:

    Get Uncomfortable. God I can relate to feeling like a fraud…less than ten seconds ago. Geesh. Reaching out into the blogosphere is absolutely not something I am comfortable with. At. All.

    Never will be.

    Nope.

    But …I’ll work on it. I’ll work on getting better at it. To hear validation that “if you don’t feel like a fraud at least once per day you’re not doing something right” was absolutely what I needed right now.

    Absolutely. Thanks.

  26. cher says:

    Great post Wendy! I was of the opinion that blogs help in generating the traffic. With your post, the new idea to promote for a different reason is now evident.

  27. William says:

    Hi,
    Great article! My second time on this website and this is just what a needed. You are really a ProBlogger! I especially like the part about “Strong Branding” and “Determination”.
    - William :)
    http://www.npgb.org

  28. There are still many other indirect ways of making money off your blog. Most of the people depend on the cash but not on the possible effects or possibilities of doing so.

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  3. [...] unknown wrote an interesting post today onHere’s a quick excerptDarren goes into great detail on the indirect methods of making money from blogging in a this rather timeless post. The points he covers include consulting, book deals, business partnerships and speaking opportunities among others. … [...]