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How To Turn Your Blog Into A Profitable Business

Recently I went to the Connect Now conference and had the chance to hug Darren Rowse, meet Gary Vaynerchuk and hang out with my social media friends. One year ago, I didn’t think I’d be able to accomplish something so awesome.

blogbizfunnel_cover_thumb.jpgSkellie was one of the people that made this possible. She wrote this killer book, The Blog Business Funnel (aff), which presented a new model of making an income from your blog.

The Blog Business Funnel

Skellie argues that it’s becoming increasingly difficult to monetize a blog via traditional methods such as direct advertising, affiliate sales and adsense. She highlights a system which shows bloggers how they can make plenty of money doing what they’re best at.

She recommends “using word-of-mouth worthy content to generate targeted traffic, then using your knowledge and insight to generate trust.”

How it helped me.

I’ve struggled with the idea of launching a business from my blog for years. I’ve had lots of issues and was flailing around, trying to find a model that aligned with my business goals and my promotional ethic.

I had read a lot of business products about how to build a profitable business but they were separated into different niches: sales, blogging and freelancing. I was getting the information I needed but I had no way to fit it all together.

Skellie took us through key launch strategies and details how we could apply them to our own business. I’m heavily into product launches yet it never occurred to me that it could apply for services. We are in the prelaunch stages and already have huge demand. We have several larger companies willing to send smaller jobs our way as well.

I knew that my business would be successful because I had an established blog and had worked hard to create trust with my audience. What I didn’t expect was for it to be doing this well less than a month after the launch.

Why it’s so awesome.

It fits into the third tribe marketing model.

I’ve struggled with the concept of promoting myself. It’s hard. I wanted to get the word out there but didn’t want to seem sleazy or that I was trying to take advantage of my friends.

I was able to learn how to sell myself and my business by just doing what I was already doing. Hanging out online, being darn useful and creating high quality content. She taught me how I could leverage that interest in a way that benefited everyone.

Skellie has extensive practical experience

I was fortunate enough to catch up with Skellie in Melbourne. She is the real deal. This is the model she used to rock it online and leverage that success to get employed by Envato. I watched her grow from a compelling blogger to someone that commanded respect in the industry. Everything she writes is from personal experience – experience that most bloggers don’t have.

This isn’t for everyone.

Now, I love Skellie. She is one of the few bloggers I get totally fan girl over. I was worried that this would affect my objectivity so asked a friend for his opinion.

Frank Wall is a hiking blogger. His site is primarily monetized via advertising and ebook sales. He didn’t get as much out of the ebook as I did. He was intrigued by the idea and really enjoyed Skellies writing but it didn’t fit with his method of monetization.

I agree. Skellies book was perfect for me because I know I wanted to create a freelance business based off the success of my blog but had no idea how to accomplish this. I spend six months kicking arse with my guest pots and let my blog stagnate because I didn’t know how to handle the demand for my services.

Why I love Skellie

There is one blogger that I credit for igniting my passion in this industry. She showed me that you could write beautifully, no matter the topic. She revolutionized the industry for me and I’ve used her as inspiration. This blogger is Skellie.

I review a lot of products. This is the best value ebook I’ve seen in a year. Learn more about it here (aff).

Jade’s Disclaimer: I received a review copy of this product in exchange for my feedback, and get no affiliate commission.

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Comments

  1. Thanks Jade for the recommendation. I will look into it. I am not sure it will help me either as I am not offering a service at this point.

  2. Jade,

    Quick question.

    Does the (aff) meaning affiliate link? If so, that is pretty cool. I had not thought about doing that way….

  3. Melody says:

    Definitely sounds like something I should read. Word of mouth is certainly one of the most powerful avenues of marketing.

  4. James Brewer says:

    My opinion is basically the same with a small difference.

    I don’t think you have to do much advertising and marketing when you write truly viral content. Word of mouth advertising is the very best advertising you can get because the person receiving it probably trusts the person giving it.

    Viral Content 1 – Every Other Form of Advertising 0

  5. I am eager to read this book. Seems to be useful. As I am new to blogging reading these types of books will improve my skills. I also like the blog business funel pic. Looks cool

  6. Josh Garcia says:

    Hey Jade,

    Thanks for the review! I run another business that offers a service so I’ll check it out.

    Thanks,
    Josh

  7. Congrats making it to the conference. Sounds like a good goal.

    I had not thought of the traditional blog monetization model not working for freelancers. This model looks like it would work for any freelancing, like building websites for small business.

  8. A lot of effort is required to do business with blogs. I had thought about it ago. But i thought idea would’t be as successful.

  9. I think it is a combination of building relationships and forming a sales funnel

  10. Robby G says:

    Fantastic review and there’s a great point in there that making money from a blog is gradually moving away from adsense and the typical forms that we are all used to and is moving towards a business model like your own products and brand.

  11. Skellie’s a great blogger. And I bet her ebook is jam packed with value. I may purchase it.

  12. Ryu Yulianto says:

    Looks like a good book, I think word of mouth marketing is the best as she says using word-of-mouth worthy content to generate targeted traffic, then using your knowledge and insight to generate trust. I totally agree

  13. Word of mouth is the single, most important marketing that a business can ever have. No amount of paid marketing or salesmanship can compare to how powerful WOM can be.

    That being said, it is also not possible to know for sure whether a product will be WON worthy or not. The best thing that you can do is to make sure you are creating something that will have the best chance possible for being spread amongst other people.

    I recommend readin Seth Gogin’s Ideavirus book.

    -Joshua Black
    The Underdog Millionaire

  14. @Jason – Yes, (aff) is a shorthand for “affiliate link”.

    Jade, great review! I’ve got a copy of the Blog Business Funnel too (thanks to you putting me in touch with Skellie, I believe! :-)) and I completely agree with what you say here.

    I think it’s great that you also highlight who the book might *not* be for. It’s a model which worked well for me, but not everyone wants to go down the freelancing route.

    Like you, I’d really recommend this one. It’s not expensive, and it’s very beginner-friendly if you’re just getting started — but there are also tips in there for old(er) hands.

  15. Heinrich says:

    Thanks for the info Jade. Word of mouth advertising tends to beat most other advertising methods hands down. The most important part of this type of advertising is the quality of your content. Your review of “The Blog Business Funnel” is solid and it is a great book to read that contains valid information.

  16. Andy Howard says:

    Sounds like a good read! Skellie’s a great inspiration.

    Get a tailored revenue recommendation for your blog in just 30 seconds at http://www.revenuesolved.com/ if you’re not sure how to monetize your blog traffic.

  17. Julius says:

    In addition to the great tips you gave, your post served as a good introduction to Skellie, one of the individuals I’ll definitely check out and follow

  18. Jade Craven says:

    Jason – yep! I’ve copped slack in the past about my reviews containing affiliate links so I try to be very open about 1) my relationship with the blogger and 2) any compensation that may, or may not, occur. Skellie is a good friend and this product changed my life, so I’m just happy to help skellie out.

    Julius – that is another of my goals. I used to be a really broke blogger and couldn’t afford a lot of the products, even around this price range. I try to make my reviews tell you more about the person and what you can learn for free, as well as raving about the paid product.

    Ali – shush you :-) I was in touch with Skellie for a while before it was released and I *may* have raved about you. I can’t help it :-P I was at this bloggers thing last night and i had to conciously stop myself from trying to connect people because it was social time not work time :P

    And yeah, in the later months I’m learning that not everyone gets as much out of products as I do. People now email me for advice and I’ve helped people make both the decision to purchase, and the decision to hold off. Some people are in the wrong place to get much out of this but it is still awesome. Its like, I’m on a full time income now. I <3 Skellie!

    Joshua black –

    I've actually been doing a lot of reading about word of mouth, generating buzz and referral marketing. Thanks for the recommendation – do you have any more?

    Shelia -
    You are right! It is not just for freelancer writers like Skellie. It is for other types and that is something I really enjoyed. Another book that is similar in its approach is 'how to write great copy for the web' by rockable press. I was so impressed by how both didn't narrow in on one particular group of freelancers.

    If anyone needs any help off the comments, email me at [email protected] or tweet @jadecraven :-) Real life is getting in the way this week.

  19. @Darren,

    Thanks for answering my question. I would like to use that technique on my blog for affiliate links. It seems very straight forward and simple.

  20. Daniel Roach says:

    I still feel that blogging is not a “business” – granted I haven’t read Skellie’s book.

    A business is the delivery of a product or service. Information given for free with the hope of incidental monetization ain’t a business anymore than busking on street corners is a business.

    Blogging is great way to create and nurture a market for your business, but a business itself . . . not sold. Willing to hear (or read) a good argument, but still not sold.

  21. Kris Beus says:

    I have found it very difficult to both monetize and market my blog perhaps the book will be helpful it is definitely worth checking out thank you.

  22. Joe Daniel says:

    Good review and definitely something I’ll be looking to check out. Skellie’s blog is pretty good too!

  23. r4ds says:

    Great insights! I like how you connect the motivation to keep blogging to the feeling that nobody looks at it. I had never thought of it this way.

    It’s really important to keep in mind that creating the content ON your blog is only half the effort. The other part is creating content and/or sociable activities OFF your blog to attract and engage an audience to your blog.

  24. Imran Yousaf says:

    Darren, Marketing practices are written after by their authors after a long practical experience. I liked your statement that same business model can’t be implemented for all type of businesses. As you said Skellie posses practical experience, the book would be a good buy option. If product delivers its value as promised, we have good investment then.

  25. Fred Kapoor says:

    Excellent post. I believe it has happened to us all, at least the ones involved in the blogging activity somehow.
    I couldn’t agree more with this affirmation “I’ve struggled with the concept of promoting myself. It’s hard. I wanted to get the word out there but didn’t want to seem sleazy or that I was trying to take advantage of my friends.” I guess it’s complicated but it is worth the effort and the previous analysis.

  26. Hey Jade,

    I did not understand how it actually helped you. Which service did you offer and how did the eBook actually help you?

    Nabeel

  27. FastCash4U says:

    Hmmm.. Word of mouth concept.. well its pretty much effective if the person you are trying to advertise to is someone you know.. But if not it would be hard, its just like selling a frying pan to someone you do not know..

  28. KS Chen says:

    It seems like a good book to be read. I agree with Skellie that we cannot just depend on the traditional way to make money blogging nowadays. We need to make some differences. Thanks for your sharing!

  29. Edward says:

    For most successful people there was one thing that changed everything. For some it may be a book. For Calvin Klein it was a lucky elevator mistake http://flavor-of-success.com/calvin-klein-serving-jeans/ , for me it was introduction to blogging =)

  30. I’m doing something similar to what you are doing in that I’m blogging to attract readers to my e-commerce site. I provide quality medical skin care content (I’m a practicing dermatologist) on my blog. The skin care niche is packed with spammy trash and it’s hard to get noticed, but quality does stand out so the strategy is slowly working. My blog is linked to my site where I sell the skin care products I’ve used for years in my medical practice. It’s a symbiotic relationship.

    The surprise is that I didn’t count on blogging being so much fun. It’s now a big part of how I spend my time on the web. I’d like to know more about your comment that your blog stagnated while you did a lot of guest posts for 6 months. I too find it’s either/or with that time. I’m not clear if that turned out to be a good thing? Can you comment a little more?

  31. A funnel is a no brainer. Just provide value, build trust, and mix in promotions. The hard part though, is getting an audience to your site and attention in the first place.

  32. Jade Craven says:

    Nabeel – good question :-)

    I wrote this review 2 months ago and my business has evolved a lot since then. I took down any mention of my freelance work because I have one client that takes all my available hours – I’m now the official media girl for Dave Navarro.

    Basically, my best friend and I created http://www.socialmediasolutions.com.au. We’ve generated that much interest via word of mouth that we both aren’t available for any major projects so have changed the website to funnel traffic to our other projects. It is hard to explain but the book helped so much. Specifically the section on having a launch cycle for your services.

    @Daniel Roach I would agree however I have turned my blog into a business. It takes a lot more work then the act of blogging, but that is primarily how I earn my income.

    The concept Skellie put forward is that you leverage your blog to funnel traffic/interest towards your freelance services which you mention on your blog. I have friends that do this and earn a full time income via staff blogging and other freelance services. I can provide specific examples if that helps.

    - Jade

  33. Dan Keller says:

    Is it just me or is this blog turning into an infomercial? This is the third post in a row that was nothing more than blatant promotion. Don’t get me wrong, I am all for making money blogging but I expect more from this blog.

  34. Awesome stuff. The thing I really like about my own biz, and absolutely it is different for all, is the time freedom, what is your own?

  35. Sanjay says:

    Its very much true that making money through blogs is really difficult these days mainly with affiliate products and of course adsense. To succeed as a blogger, a new strategy has to be developed.

    Thanks Darren for recommending to Skellie. Got to her blog and found some additional tips.

  36. I really believe this Tribe process where we share each others info is a great answer.
    This is what we teach inside our free marketing.
    There must be good content to share obviously but this is working well for me in a short time I’ve done it.
    Of course where we share is important.
    I am a member of ThatMLMbeat which has folks inside who understand this.
    Also BetterNetworker is huge.
    If many folks would simply realize that blatantly puking your opportunity at folks IS A HUGE TURN OFF there may start to be more success all around.
    We can all network with each other ,buying each others stuff and promoting each others stuff.
    But we seem to have a scarcity mind set that has and is still being taught in main stream media ,schools and corporations.

  37. Good info. The thing I love running a home business, and yes its not the same for everyone, is the money freedom, what is yours?

  38. Good stuff. The thing I love running a home biz, and yes its not the same for everyone, is the time freedom, what is your own?

  39. len says:

    I bought the book so soon I’ll blog like a seasoned pro. My initial thoughts are that this is a great book with lot’s of good practical information that works. It’s great to read real comments on good information.

    So much information goes over peoples heads or is pitched above their level of understanding I have tried to address that at my site http://www.bloglikeaseasonedpro.com

  40. Belize says:

    I did not learn anything from this post except that it appears this blog is becoming more like an infomercial.

    Perhaps that was the message – make your blog an infomercial and funnel the readers into buying the content via ebooks or subscriptions to forums?

  41. there are great amount of bloggers nowadays. It seems the number of them sreadily increasing…but I believe it`s necessary for them to get the picture of this work to turn it into prosperous business. To begin something is always very difficult. Thanks for this blog!

  42. Kaylee says:

    Its very much true that making money through blogs is really difficult these days mainly with affiliate products and of course adsense. To succeed as a blogger, a new strategy has to be developed.

    Thanks Darren for recommending to Skellie. Got to her blog and found some additional tips.

  43. Paluka11 says:

    Today, it is extremely difficult and competitive to use a blogging platform to make money. All this is great information but you have to be getting the steady traffic to implement.
    http://homeshoringmadeeasy.blogspot.com

  44. AC says:

    i think word of mouth is as important as you advertising everywhere else. I am curious about the book :)

  45. You are correct. Different strategies needs to be adopted to make a blog successful.

    http://blog.pixelbytelab.com/

  46. A profitable business with a blog? I failed many times, it’s too difficult for me!

  47. konde says:

    Word-of-mouth has been used for a long a times ago, and this is brillian idea to use in internet business… thanks :D

    Best Regards

  48. I never considered a blog as a ‘business’ before. For me, writing a blog was a means to generate more content for our website so it grew. I was actually surprised when I looked at our stats and found so much organic traffic from some of the articles I was writing. I will be sure to check our Skellies blog!

  49. Chris says:

    I actually have had an issue with Skellie over the past several years. It all started maybe 3, possibly 4 years ago when she wrote an article on FreelanceSwitch. It was apparent that she did not have much experience on the topic and it was quite irritating to see (i also stopped reading that site as often then). Not too long after she wrote another post in a similar fashion, it irritated so many readers that Collis actually had to come on and write somewhat of an apology to the reader base.

    I know she has been involved in some excellent things over the years (and has her hand in some very profitable cookie jars) but i guess I just never got over those posts from years ago.

  50. Robert says:

    Enjoyed reading this article and as I’m new to the business of blogging, I will certainly be looking into this book to help build my knowledge around better blogging practices.