This guest post was written by Joe Bunting of The Write Practice.
So you started blogging to make some money. Adsense, advertising, and affiliate sales looked like a pretty good way to make a living. You thought you could make money while you slept at night.
Sounded good at the time, right?
But where’s the money?
You set up your Adsense account but you’ve only got pennies trickling in. No one wants to buy your banner ads. And the only affiliate sales you’ve landed are a few Amazon books that earned you $1.13. You’ve slaved on your blog for months, years even, working for a pittance. You thought it was going to be easy making money online.
Now you’re wondering if you wasted your time.
This is where I was a few months ago. And then something happened that changed my blogging strategy forever. Someone offered me a job.
Your blog is your resume
Pretend you’re an employer, a marketing firm with 100 employees, and you’re looking to hire the 101st.
Who are you going to choose? All the candidates look the same: similar educationa; backgrounds, similar experience. But one of them has a blog with 500 subscribers, a Twitter account with 1,000 followers, and is already an expert with Google+. The other candidates don’t. Who are you going to hire?
Here is a strange but true thing I heard an actual employer say:
“The blog is the new resume.”
Resumes are outdated and growing irrelevant to today’s employers. Your blog gives a much fuller picture of your identity and your expertise. Nowhere else can you so quickly get a sense of a person’s skill, experience, and ability to engage others around what they know.
The other model for making money online
In only six months, I got two job offers, three requests for consulting work (one for over $200 an hour), and was asked to work on three paid projects. On top of that, I generated hundreds of leads for high-priced, hourly work.
Just by blogging to a group of people who needed services, in my case, to creative writers. The best part is that you can do this, too. Anyone can. It’s very simple.
1. Who: Define your audience
Who is your audience? You need to know who your audience is because you need to figure out what services they need. Define their:
- hobbies and interests
- annual income.
If you’ve been blogging long with any success, you probably have a fairly good idea of this already. I didn’t need to do a survey to realize most of my readers were over 30, well educated, and wrote novels and creative non-fiction as a hobby.
If you don’t know this yet, make it your top priority. If you can figure out how they think, you can sell to them (and in this business model, what you are selling is yourself).
The best way to define your audience, in my opinion, is simply by meeting them. When someone begins to comment regularly, email him. Ask to chat over the phone; if you live nearby, meet for coffee. By interacting with your fans you solve two problems at once, you get to know your audience and you turn them into friends. Once they become your friends, you get the opportunity to make them into your customers.
2. What: Identify what they need
If you don’t know your audience, you won’t understand what they need.
My audience is creative writers, so I developed a site that I thought would interest them. Slowly, as I began to understand who was reading my blog, I realized there was a huge need for editing. My readers liked to write, but they didn’t like to edit. I found my opportunity.
As you get to know your audience, identify what they like to do and what they hate. What are they good at? What are they terrible at? And how can you help them be better?
As you do this, you’ll begin to spot opportunities for your services. They might need:
- Education: You could develop a course teaching them what they don’t know.
- Consulting: You could sell your time and expertise helping them solve their problems.
- Complimentary services: You could sell services that your audience needs.
Let’s break down the complimentary services section a bit more because I think this is where this blogging model becomes really interesting. For example, I realized my audience—creative writers—needed editing services. So I began to pitch this to some of my friends and they loved it. Some of them even approached me!
If marketers are your audience, on the other hand, offer design or copywriting services. If homebuyers are your audience, offer listing services. If your audience needs a lawyer, then offer your legal services. If your audience blogs, you could offer ghost-blogging, design, editing, or copywriting services.
3. How: What if you don’t have any skills to offer?
Now, let’s say you’re writing to people who want to get better at internet marketing. You think your audience needs help writing copy, but you don’t have any experience in copywriting.
I had this problem. I knew my readers needed editing help. I had some expertise with editing, but I didn’t feel comfortable selling my services to the guy who comments on my blog every day. What if I do a bad job and he gets upset and leaves?
So I started reaching out to editors, asking their advice on how to be a better editor. I emailed, called, and met face to face with them. This is when the most surprising thing happened.
One of them, an editor who has worked with bestselling authors, offered me a job. So not only did I get some practical knowledge to help (and sell to) my readers, I had his name to back me up. And one of the reasons he hired me was because my blog was my resume. He saw I was already passionate and talented. It was an easy decision.
After that, selling my services became much easier. And a much better way to earn money with my blog than selling Adsense.
This is a very quick overview. Do you have any questions about how to sell your services and use your blog as a resume? Have you done this with your own business?