This is a guest post by Joke and Biagio of JokeAndBiagio.com
Setting: a busy production office in Hollywood, California. Joke stares at her husband Biagio in disbelief.
Joke: You bought another book from Darren Rowse?
Biagio: Well, uh, no…this one’s actually by the Web Marketing Ninja…
Her face goes blank.
Joke: Did you just say…Ninja?
Blogging for business: benefits not always obvious
That kind of back-and-forth’s been typical ever since we tip-toed into blogging in 2009.
But realistically, our blog for filmmakers who want to break into Hollywood has been more of a fun distraction than a tool to make us money.
Maybe you’ve felt the same about your own blog? Wondered if banging away on your laptop at 2am would have any (positive) effect on your business? Questioned if the “standard” ways to make money blogging were right for you?
We’ve had those doubts over the past few years.
Then the blogging money muse came along…
An idea struck. A new approach to cashing in on our blog that seemed obvious and frightening all at once.
In fact, just saying it out loud freaked out our friends and colleagues.
But we really believe this idea is a win-win scenario for both our readers and our company. It’s a concept that just might work for you, too.
More on that in a minute. First, some background…
We make film and TV
As working producers and directors in Los Angeles, blogging was not high on our “to do” checklist for Hollywood success. But we had a personal reason for writing: to create the film and TV blog we wished existed when we were starting out.
You know, back when we were banging our heads against Hollywood’s closed doors, trying to get noticed by anyone in “the game.”
Two-hundred posts and 2500 Twitter followers later, we found ourselves with a small but engaged group of readers who wanted to succeed in film and TV.
And no idea how we were going to monetize our blog.
A better way to earn money from readers?
Other than a few affiliate banners and the occasional Adword, we never embraced “selling” to a community largely made up of struggling artists (an accurate description of us just a few years ago.)
And, since blogging will never be our main income stream (we make a decent living in film and TV) the thought of turning our filmmaking blog into a six-figure sensation seemed pretty silly.
While the notion of being “top bloggers” was romantic, were we really going to:
- create e-books?
- promote affiliate programs?
- find joint venture partners?
Or were we gonna’ keep chasing OscarsÂ® and EmmysÂ®?
Then, the crazy idea came along.
Provide readers with what they want most
The number one rule of a blog is to provide value, right?
We asked ourselves, “What’s the ultimate value we can provide to our readers? What do they want more than anything?”
In our hearts, we knew the answer: the same thing we wanted while living in our shoe-box, one-bedroom apartment not so long ago.
Access to Hollywood.
So after spending two years educating our readers on what it takes to make it in this business, we’re now opening the same doors that were closed to us for so long.
We’ve invited them to pitch TV shows to us.
When we do sell a project with an aspiring filmmaker (like we just did with our upcoming documentary series Caged on MTV) that person will be paid to work on the show, receive a producer credit, and take a giant leap forward in their careers.
Plus, selling just one series with a reader will instantly make us “six-figure bloggers.”
But wait, there’s more…
As a bonus for both us and our readers, anyone who submits a show must join our newsletter. We send out tips and tricks on turning ideas into concrete Hollywood pitches, as well as up-to-the-second info about the kinds of shows we think we can sell at any given moment.
When the day comes that we do take a little time off from making film and TV, that list will prove invaluable should we want to write a book or put up speaking events on working in Hollywood.
Make big money blogging by partnering with readers
How about you? Have you spent years educating your readers on a particular topic? Why not tap into the pool of experts you’ve created?
Most bloggers see readers as potential customers. Maybe it’s time to see them as potential partners instead. Are you:
- An independent software developer kicking out posts on the Objective-C language? How about taking pitches from up-and-coming coders on new iPhone apps?
- Blogging how-to posts about the furniture you craft by hand? Why not expand your line by accepting product concepts from your most accomplished readers?
- Writing about designing and selling great widgets? Let your fans bring you valuable ideas for better widgets.
Just think: one great idea from a reader could be worth a lot more than your commission on that “weird old trick” affiliate product you’ve been eyeing.
Always use protection!
Of course, we had to have our lawyer draw up a proper submission agreement, and anyone wishing to pitch TV show ideas to us will have to go through a formal process. Before you open yourself up to pitches, make sure you’re not open to potential lawsuits. Consult your lawyer.
Back at the pffice…
Biagio: Not bad, right?
Joke nods. Her expression…a glimmer of hope?
Joke: Does this mean you’ll stop shopping at ProBlogger now?
Biagio: Well, uh, no…
Joke: Better sell some more shows quick!
Joke and Biagio are a married filmmaking team (Joke’s the wife, Biagio’s the hubby.) Their goal is to help aspiring filmmakers and TV producers break in to Hollywood by providing real-world filmmaking advice and taking TV show pitches from talented, hard-working dreamers. Their current film Dying to do Letterman has been invited by the International Documentary Association to qualify for 2012 Academy Award® Consideration, and they have numerous unscripted TV shows to their credit. Keep in touch with them on Facebook and Twitter.