Personal Branding and the True Potential of Blogs

I’m a sucker for a diagram – here’s one that Raj Dash put together on a 901am post on personal branding and how bloggers are making a living from blogging and other related activities (click to enlarge).

While I probably wouldn’t plot myself quite as Raj has plotted me (I’ve earned money doing four of the areas in the last 12 months and will expand into the fifth in the coming 6 months) I think it’s a great diagram that shows the potential for blogging to play a part in helping to raise a profile to expand one’s indirect earning capacity (ie making money because of a blog rather than directly from a blog).

NB: Raj himself says that this might not be the most accurate diagram so I’m not knocking him here – but there are many other circles that one might add to it. Perhaps in comments below a constructive conversation might be along the lines of what else could be added.

I think a lot of entrepreneurial bloggers get so focussed upon that blue ‘website ads’ sector that they miss the real opportunity that faces them in related activities.

Don’t get me wrong – I’ve been as focussed upon that area as anyone – but the times when I’ve had the courage to step outside of what I know and expand my horizons have been the times that I’ve discovered how limiting just focussing upon blogs as a direct earner can be.

About Darren Rowse

Darren Rowse is the founder and editor of ProBlogger Blog Tips and Digital Photography School. Learn more about him here and connect with him on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn. runs on the Genesis Framework

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  1. Kulbir Virk says:

    I agree with you Darren, although its important to focus on the blue, a blogger should always look to broaden their horizons.

  2. Rehuel says:

    IMO, to be able to enjoy income from the non-blue circles, you must already some authority. For bloggers, I think that authority is built up through your blog. The more consistent traffic you get, the more this could mean that people trust your articles, the easier it is to do workshops, speeches and consultations.

    So while I’m working on establishing a name for myself online, the best opportunity for me is the blue circle. The ebooks option won’t make me money yet, but that might be the next moneymaker in the sequence. I might write some ebooks, but I’m not sure yet if people will pay for them.

    So while I’m working my way up the ladder, I’ll be using the blue circle to make some money, until I’ve established some reputation.

  3. Out of curiosity Darren, have you written a book/ebook on professional blogging yet?

  4. Kalyn says:

    Well, for starters, how about if he adds the names of a few women bloggers?

  5. john says:

    I’ve just started to explore using Cafepress to create swag related to my most accessed posts. I’ve barely scratched the surface and I’ve already made more with Cafepress this year than Amazon referrals. I think this is a huge untapped area and if you do it right I think it could be very good source of extra income.

    Now I just need to write!

  6. Peter Cooper says:

    One reason might be that other than the blue and yellow sections, your income is limited to your time. Even if you consult for $1000 an hour, that’s a ceiling and you had to actually be present someplace to do that. The passive income from advertising and merchandise (e-books, etc) is extremely tempting compared to the more wage-esque options (although speaking, workshops, etc, can increase your passive revenue.. so it’s worth looking at that!)

  7. How about adding other offline promotions, broadsheets, related ventures, television? Or does that belong to the small yellow circle (movies, “etc”)?

  8. Rene Kriest says:

    Absolutely right.

    Traffic and therefore Ad earnings preced any other earnings if you started as a blogger.

    Guy Kawasaki came from Mac to Blogging and not vice versa.



  9. I’d say the blue section is the most popular trend so people exhaust all their efforts tying it out for a certain period of time before even considering other options for expansion. It’s elementary — the newbie’s first resort to actually making money online. Remember, not every blog takes off into sky-rocketing success. These blogs don’t even have the luxury of TIME to venture out into other income sources.

  10. Darren Rowse says:

    Jeremy – written and published are two different things :-)

  11. Darren, are you subtly trying to tell us that you’re joining Calacanis and breaking into movies with your blogging?

    Awesome–I’m off to break that news over on Marketing Pilgrim ;)

  12. Darren Rowse says:

    Jordan – you got me. Bruce Willis and I have just signed a deal to co star in ‘Blog Hard 1, 2 and 3’

  13. raj says:

    Thanks for the links, Darren :) I suspected you might be getting paid for speaking but wasn’t sure. I’ll update the diagram tomorrow and make the text a bit larger. What other area have you been earning money in? I thought you might have written an ebook with Andy Wibbels, but wasn’t sure.

    I also forgot about merch revenue, so I should add that as a circle.

  14. raj says:

    Of course, I also forgot about being paid to write, like I am. However, I doubt any of you on that diagram fall into that category. Problem is, 8 circles is really pushing it, forcing a very large diagram. I’ll see what I can do.

  15. Dean Power says:

    Hopefully there are a few more circles to add. While I love a good diagram I sometimes find a good table does the trick. Bugger did I say that out loud, lokks like I might have a job to do!!

  16. Linda says:

    Of the options diagrammed, only ebooks and ads can be done online – the other three income sources involve face-to-face contact, which is something many bloggers won’t want to do. I’d like to find more online-only income sources, but I’m not sure I’d have time for them on top of the other things I’m doing.

    Anything we do usually takes time to build up – usually over a number of years. I don’t see any fast and easy solutions to making money online. I’ve done some content writing for others, and web design, but I think the best use of my time is to build my own sites rather than those of others.

  17. raj says:

    I’ve added 3 more circles, and placed the revision on my personal blog. Feel free to republish. I couldn’t think of a ninth circle, but then that’d be too close to the Nine Circles of (Blog) Heck.

  18. Goodness, in a perfect world, being in the blue would be the least of the circle colours I’m interested in!

    Interesting perspective

  19. This is an excellent diagram (even if it is a little ‘out’).

    I think some bloggers are limited even because of where they live. In a city, there is more opportunity to advertise consulting services and workshops, and you’re more likely to receive a positive response.

    Maybe a move to a big city should be on the cards…

  20. Blog hard LOL I wouldn’t be surprised if you did something like it, Darren — hell, maybe you should! There definitely has to be a movie about blogging. You know, how the air force has Top Gun, sports and romance have Jerry Maguire, and classic war epics have Braveheart.

  21. David Howard says:

    Hey, Darren I think your my cousin.

  22. Ashley Cecil says:

    As I’m sure many people have found in their own niches, blogging is a way to market your product or service. I’m a painter and use my “painting activism” blog to communicate with my clients and lure them in. They get to know me and feel connected to my work and want it in their homes, offices, etc.

  23. Brian says:

    I can now go into the white and blue circles since I got that job I mentioned in your springboard post. And after only 2 freelance articles, the white circle is 5 times bigger than the blue (of course, I wouldn’t have had the white one if I didn’t start the blog).

  24. Paul says:


    Awesome blog post. It really opened up my eyes to other avenues beyond that standard “blue” area on the diagram.

  25. I agree with Paul — it does give a blogger some perspective on how more promising the blogosphere actually is.

  26. Dan Schawbel says:

    great diagram…I never thought of it like that

    of course, getting to that position is easier said than done. You must consistently input great content that your readers enjoy.


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