Get Sponsored to Attend the Next Conference in Your Niche

This guest post is by Kylie Ofiu of

If you attend conferences, the idea that you could get sponsorship to go will certainly appeal.

In 31 Days To Build a Better Blog, one of the tasks is to hunt for a sponsor for your blog.

Even if you’re a smaller blogger, getting sponsorship is doable. You don’t have to have 100,000 subscribers or 50,000 page views a month, although it does make things easier. It is simply a matter of presenting yourself in the best possible way and finding a business—or businesses—that are compatible with you and your brand.

I had between 10,000 and 15,000 monthly pageviews when I negotiated full sponsorship with a big brand to attend a blogging conference. I had only a few hundred followers on Facebook and around 1,000 followers on Twitter—so not a huge following. But that isn’t always the point.

If you have heavily engaged readers, that can be more beneficial than a large following who do not actively share your posts, click on your links, or engage with you on social media. You don’t have to be big to get sponsorship—but you do have to have authority among your tribe.

How to get sponsorship for conferences

Think you’re up for the challenge? Taking on a sponsorship involves some significant work—but it’s worth it!

1. Get prepared

You need to get prepared before you start pitching potential sponsors.

Look over you blog and make any changes you have been meaning to do, but have been putting off. Make sure you social media buttons are visible and your posts are easy to share. You’ll be judged on appearances as well as statistics, so make yourself and your blog look good.

See the post 10 Ways to Make Your Blog More Attractive to Advertisers for more advice.

2. Create a media kit

A media kit is essential for any blogger who wants to work with brands or get sponsorship. It’s basically a few pages on your blog, your audience, your blog statistics, why it and you are fantastic, and what you offer. Keep it interesting, factual and easy to update.

The post Create a Media Kit to Attract Advertisers to Your Blog explains how to do this in detail.

3. What will you offer?

When it comes to sponsorship, aside from your statistics, what you are going to offer or do for the brand or business? That’s what they are really interested in: why they should work with you.

You could create packages that cost a set amount, and include a select variety of things you will do for the sponsors, or you could offer to tailor a package to suit the brand’s needs and outline the ways you can promote them.

Some of the offers you could include in your sponsorship pitch are:

  • Sponsored posts, including a post that welcomes the brand as a sponsor, explains why they’re great, and possibly includes a giveaway or a special discount for their product or service. You could include a link to the sponsor’s site in every post you write about the conference (usually three to five posts in total).
  • Adding the posts to post-conference link lists and blog round-ups.
  • An ad in your sidebar for three, six, nine, or 12 months.
  • You’ll mention and link to the brand from your social media platforms.
  • You’ll include a link to their site from your newsletter for the duration of the sponsorship.
  • You’ll use brand products at the conference such as pens, notepads, tote bags, etc.
  • You’ll mention the sponsor on the back of your business card.

These are just suggestions—it’s up to you to offer items that you feel comfortable with, and which suit your blog and audience. Whatever you choose, make sure you over-deliver and provide real value to your sponsor.

4. List potential sponsors

Some bloggers need to send 50 or more emails before they get sponsorship, so be prepared to contact a lot of businesses. When you’re thinking about who you would like to sponsor you, consider these points:

  • Look at the size of your blog and the size of the business or brand you’re approaching: If you are a small blog, don’t go reaching for big brands to begin with. Instead, look at smaller businesses, bloggers and even local organizations that might suit your blog.
  • Consider having a few sponsors instead of just one sponsor: Four sponsors sharing the cost can make it easier for you to find sponsors.
  • Consider your niche: Are you a mummy blogger, tech blogger, food blogger, or finance blogger? Know your niche and look for sponsors that fit. For example, food bloggers might look for restaurants or food brands. It is unlikely readers of a food blog are going to be terribly interested in insurance ads! They’re there for the food.
  • Talk to brands you’ve worked with before: If you’ve done any freelance writing for a brand, had a lot to do with a brand or business (perhaps they’ve advertised with you before, or you’ve connected strongly on social media), email them about sponsorship.

Think outside the square a little when you’re listing potential sponsors. You could hold auditions for sponsors, or if you meet a reps from a business, product, or brand you’d like to work with, tell them. Opportunities are everywhere!

5. Contact the Marketing department, not PR

In larger companies there are often Public Relations departments and Marketing departments. PR tries to get free publicity, whereas the marketing department is the one with the money for advertising and marketing.

Take the time to find out who to contact by either calling the company, or checking out their website to find the relevant person. Then personalize your pitch to them.

6. Pitch your blog

You can do this by either calling your contact to discuss potential sponsorship, or sending them an email.

Keep it brief; if they are interested, they’ll get back to you. Let them know who you are, what you do, and that you are interested in a potential partnership. Most people do not read full proposals, nor do they want them until they have made some contact with you first, so you won’t need to send your proposal at the first contact.

7. Negotiate

Once you have a brand or business interested in working with you, you will need to negotiate what will and won’t be included.

As you do this, make sure you know what you want, but also be clear on why partnering with you is a fantastic opportunity for them. The arrangement needs to be mutually beneficial, so make sure you only agree to sponsorship tasks that you are comfortable with. Confirm everything in writing and have them sign a contract for the sponsorship.

8. Follow up

Some brands will want updates on the work you’re doing for their sponsorship. If something great happens—a post you wrote about the conference for which they sponsored you goes viral, for example—be sure to let them know.

If you’re work for the sponsor gets positive feedback from readers, keep track of it. Then, when it comes times to discuss renewing the sponsorship, you’ll have strong evidence as to why they should sponsor you again. Towards the end of your sponsorship, do get in contact with the brand to see if they are interested in renewing advertising, or sponsoring you for another conference in future.

Who’ll send you to your next conference?

Be persistent with your sponsorship pitches! Know your worth and actively do your best to present yourself in the best possible light. It’s critical to show why you are a great fit for the brand or brands you want to sponsor you.

It might take some time, but it sponsorship for conferences really is doable. More brands and businesses want to work with bloggers, because we are valuable.

Have you got a sponsor to send you to your next conference? Share your sponsorship tips with us in the comments.

Kylie Ofiu is the author of Blog to Book, 365 Ways to Make Money, among other titles as well as a public speaker, freelance writer and blogger. She shares real ways to make and save money on her blog, as well as what she is doing to go from SAHM to millionaire by 30.

Have You Got What it Takes to Become a Highly Paid Freelance Blogger?

This guest post is by Marya Jan of Writing Happiness

Ask any blogger what the going rate for freelance blogging is and you are sure to get a wide range of numbers.

Some might say $10 or $15. Some would say $30 is more appropriate.

Many professional bloggers and copywriters make in the vicinity of $100 to $250. Heck, Jon Morrow, Associate Editor of CopyBlogger, charges $3k for one post.

I have only been officially “blogging for work” since the beginning of this year and I make around $120.00 per 600-word post. So I am smack bang in the middle, and considered to be making a decent rate.

Most people don’t believe me when I tell them that. They think I am grossly exaggerating. Why would anyone pay this kind of money to have blog posts written for them?

Well, well established businesses and high profile companies do. Blogging is a part of their overall marketing budgets and they understand the value of getting a professional on board.

You might have caught this post earlier on Problogger—Jane does exactly the same thing, except she has gotten herself a regular gig. I, too, am a resident blogger for Open Colleges. I also ghost write blogs for two other businesses and this roughly makes half of my monthly income.

But what about you? Looking at the numbers, is freelance blogging something that interests you and piques your curiosity?

You too could potentially start earning money with the help of your blog.

Become a freelance blogger

Plenty of bloggers are doing it: Carol Tice of Make a Living Writing, Oni of Young Prepro, Joseph Putnam of 5 North Marketing and Tom Ewer of Leaving Work Behind are some of the names I am familiar with.

The idea is simple—but not easy.

You approach businesses that have substantial marketing budgets and ask them if they would like to hire a freelance blogger. Simple, yeah?

If they do need one, the question then becomes, Why you? Why should they hire you over others who charge $5 per post? Or why shouldn’t they get content from firms that provide them with posts for around $15-$20 apiece?

You’ll get hired as a freelance blogger—and a highly paid one at that—when you show your prospective clients that you are worth every single penny they spend on you.

You prove to them, beyond doubt, the skill and expertise you bring to the table. You explain how by paying you $100.00 per post, they are attracting targeted traffic to their site, converting those readers into leads, and further, into paying customers. You detail the return on investment (ROI) they get by hiring you.

Talk is good, but you need something back it up. And here’s how to do it.

You need to have a fairly successful blog

This one seems like stating the obvious, doesn’t it? If you don’t have a blog, how do you even know if you’d enjoy blogging for pay?

Do you know if you could do it, day in day out, on a long term basis? Can you remain committed to a topic of your choice? Do you know how long it takes you to write a 400-word post? A 900-word one? How much should you charge for them? Can you come up with topics on your own?

Really, if you have no experience of consistently writing for your own blog, you will have a really hard time even getting a response from the potential client.

You need to learn to write like an A-list blogger

What do you expect if you want to hire a service professional? That they have all the skills required to do the job, right?

Well, professional bloggers have skills too, even if they don’t have professional degrees in this department. They know how to come up with ideas that are unique and haven’t been done like a hundred times before. They possess advanced research skills to find all the content sources.

They craft headlines that entice people to look, and create effective calls to action. Their posts are scannable, concise, screen-friendly, and share-worthy. In other words, the content they create has the potential to go viral.

You need to show the client clearly that you understand the nitty gritty of blog writing for business. All of the social proof on your blog will help make your case stronger.

And the best thing you can do? Demonstrate your topic expertise. When you show industry know-how, clients know they don’t have to spend a lot of time training you. You know the ins and outs of the market place and hence have more worth than a generalist.

You need to land guest posts on influential blogs

So, for you to get gigs writing for businesses, you need to have some sort of a portfolio. And what’s better than showing off your links on authority sites like Problogger and Copyblogger?

Even if you are an expert writer for print media, writing online is an entirely different beast. While your published clips might impress people and pave the way for you, you still need to demonstrate your skills in writing for the web.

Writing on your blog in one thing; guest-posting on A-list blogs is another altogether. If your posts are good enough for leading blogs and social media sites, they are good enough to warrant adequate pay.

You need to be prepared to act in an advisory role

Can you answer these questions for your client?

  • Why do businesses need to blog? And how will you help them use their blog as part of their overall marketing strategy?
  • Can you offer a mini blog review as an added bonus? Advise them on issues like navigation/usability or freebie offers to increase signup rates etc.
  • Explain to them that by investing in blogging efforts, their ROI will increase significantly.
  • Have you got any data you can present that will back that up? Have you done any paid blogging before? If so, have you got any results that you can quote? For instance, you might say you blogged for so-and-so company and doubled their email opt-ins.
  • Can you advise your client with content strategy? Help them with editorial calendar and blog topics?
  • Can you help them track and interpret the results of blogging?

Really, when you think about it, blogging for business is more to do with online marketing, rather than writing. You are not creating content for them to amuse or entertain people, unless that’s the specific aim of the company itself. You are becoming a part of their marketing team. Gasp!

Still interested?

Marya Jan is a freelance blogger and online copywriter for e-learning, online education and training companies.  She writes at Writing Happiness where she happily helps small business owners revamp their own blog content (and copy). Grab her free book ‘How to Write Blog Content that Works’. Follow her at @WritingH.

How I Started Making $5,000 a Month With My Travel Blog [Case Study]

This guest post is by Marcello Arrambide of

It has now been just over two years when I entered the world of blogging and I have started to make roughly $5,000 a month with my travel blog blogs.

Blogs, with an “S” at the end—that is one of the main topics of this post. I started off with just one site and now have a slew of travel sites, branched out into other industries like finance with my Day Trading Academy, and have enlisted the help of others in order to maximize profits.

I have been sharing a series of posts on Problogger about how I have been able to churn out a consistent income since starting my blog in May of 2010. 

In this post I will be sharing how I started to maximize my profit from making around $3,000 a month, to making an average of $5,000 a month.

When I wrote the previous post about how I was making $3,000 I received many questions about exactly how I was making that amount money. I want to let you know that I am not here to tell you what to sell or how to sell it. I am explaining the process of how to position your blog to make money.

It’s not about what you sell if you never put your blog in a good position to sell it.

The most important thing is the process of how to get out there, because that is where most bloggers fall short.  If you are interested in learning exactly what bloggers are selling to make money, check out a great post written by Darren himself on how bloggers make money from blogs.

The business mindset

You know the old saying that “when it rains, it pours”? It started to rain at WanderingTrader and I wanted to figure out how to create a hurricane. Most of the people (travel bloggers) I have met started because they want to share their passion with the world. Well, one of my passions is to make money.

I started the WanderingTrader blog as a business, and then started to talk about my passions, day trading and travel. It isn’t about the money in reality, it’s about the act of making it. Competition, seeing what works—the entire business world fascinates me. The fact that money allows me to have my freedom is an even bigger motivator.

I started blogging because I wanted to bring traffic to a day trading company that I was a part of. WanderingTrader turned into my own personal travel blog and now it’s a fully fledged business. Even though my passion about travel hasn’t changed, I also knew that if I wanted to maximize my presence on the internet I needed to think like a business man, not a blogger.


The most important thing about making money online is exposure, followed closely by authority.  If no one knows that you exist, how are you going to make any money in the first place?  Once I was able to solidify my site as a high-authority website that received sufficient amount of traffic, I was able to start making money with it.

Building a high authority site is no easy task. In the online world it takes time—lots of time. You have to build relationships, guest post on other sites, and find a niche for yourself in a crowded space. So when it came to creating a hurricane from the rain I had falling at WanderingTrader, I immediately thought about building exposure and authority.

Exposure is more difficult to achieve than authority, because you have to personally build that.  Yes you can pay for it, but in the end when you want something done well, you always end up having to do it yourself.  Authority however, is something that anyone can do.

I immediately considered the fact that I could buy a high authority site and start making money with it while I continued to build the exposure for that blog. I was onto something.

A numbers game

I already knew how to make money in the travel niche, so I continued in that same field. I thought, if I had two blogs to make money from instead of one, wouldn’t that double my income?

I was on the hunt for a high authority site that I could buy, and from which I could immediately recoup my investment.  I found a site that was listed as PR 5 and I immediately wanted to buy it.  I contacted a man that stated the owner wanted $1500 for the site, and replied by explaining that I would give him $1000 and not a penny more.

He gave me the classic salesman’s line: “I will present to the owner but I don’t think he will go that low.”

I bought a new, good authority, PR5 site the next day: I made $7,000 the first month pimping it out to every advertiser I could find. I made sure to add plenty of content to the site before I started speaking to advertisers, to ensure it looked as a high-authority site should.

But as luck would have it, I ended up treating Paramount Travel like a red-headed step-child: in the end, I only put new posts up when more advertisers contacted me. Even so, these days, when WanderingTrader receives an ad inquiry, I can double the sale by pitching ParamountTravel and WanderingTrader as a package rather than just selling ad space on WanderingTrader.

The numbers game on steroids

If I can make that much money with two travel blogs, why couldn’t I make more money with five or even ten travel blogs?

I bought a slew of domains and tried building the sites from scratch, myself.  Turns out there are only so many hours in the day and I never got the opportunity to build the sites’ exposure authority. I haven’t been managing the sites correctly, because life keeps getting in the way. I run a travel blog for a reason: I am currently living overseas in Brazil and am having a great time getting know the Brazilian people. I just finished a recent trip to my second to last country in South America, Peru, and am already making plans to visit Ecuador (the last).

The point of this story is that I set my goals too high. When you try to do everything yourself, you simply can’t get everything done.

Building partnerships

If I can’t build the websites myself, I thought, why not work with other people who want to make money with their blogs? This would allow me to not worry about the websites—I could simply do all the leg work to help build authority for the new sites.

This part of the process wasn’t just about making money, it was about helping others achieve their dreams through a joint venture. I would provide my expertise on the industry, and share their passion for travel. This solution seemed like it would work well on both ends, since I don’t have the time to run many other sites and I know many bloggers who want to break into the online industry.

I have a very good friends that only dream of doing what I am doing and want a little piece of the pie.  Most people want to hide the way they do things, but I consider the online world to be massive: there is enough cake for everyone.

So I made agreements with a few of my friends to help build their websites: I would help with the backend of everything, and they would create the content.  All advertising from the new websites would be split evenly, 50/50.  The great thing about this agreement is that I get exposure across more markets than just travel—there is a translator, a day trader, and single mom in the bunch. The sites we’re working on are:

Maximizing your results

If you are trying to make money online, I would highly recommend that you focus on one site in the beginning so you can get the hang of things. One blog is enough work, and it will take you some time to get adapted to running it.

Most advertisers will find you, and if you are creative enough you will find ways to make money by selling other things other than just what advertisers are interested in. 

Even though it costs money that you don’t have, look to invest in getting some help. Most people don’t value their time highly enough and can spend their time doing things that offer more value to a blog rather than spending time doing back-office work.

One last tip is to think out of the box: don’t just consider the regular process of building a blog and making money with it. If you do something different, people will pay attention.

Marcello Arrambide follows his passions around the world day trading & traveling  on his quest to visit every country in the world.  He has visited nearly 50 countries, lived in 10 countries across 4 continents, and also teaches people how to day trade in the markets when he travels.  You can find Marcello online on his Facebook Page and Twitter.

Why Bloggers Should Freelance

This guest post is by Sid from GeeksMakeMoney.

Blogging can be a richly rewarding experience, and bloggers can sometimes get carried away by their success. I personally know bloggers who look down upon freelancing, but unless you are one of the top league bloggers known the world over, you should probably expand and diversify.

Freelancing gives you plenty of ways and opportunities to grow beyond the confines of being “a blogger,” and it can be of great help in your blogging career.

Whether you are new to blogging or have been in your field for long, freelancing on the side can open up opportunities and avenues that are not always available to ordinary bloggers. You can always tie your blogging activities into your freelancing activities—it’s not hard to figure out how one feeds off of the other.

The trick is to be open to trying out something new, taking risks and learning in the process.

Monetary flexibility

Well, straight to the point: freelancing pays. Blogging might or might not pay.

If you are a new blogger, this is a fairly obvious point. You can freelance on the side and earn some additional income while your blog is still growing and yet to produce significant income itself.

If you already have a blog that earns money, remember that earnings for most bloggers can fluctuate a lot, especially for the medium-sized blogs. Can you honestly tell yourself that you would earn as much or more from your blog a couple of years from now as you are earning today? There are so many factors—Google algorithm changes, established competition, shifting preferences of the audience and plenty more can devastate small bloggers (think Shoemoney or John Chow—if such A-list bloggers can lose audience, so can you).

With freelancing, you have the flexibility to scale up or down your activities and thus maintain your current income streams even if your blog’s earnings fluctuate.

Success story; Oni of YoungPrePro ties his blog and his freelance writing together really well. In fact, he’s now at a stage where he earns tens of thousands of dollars a month only through freelancing. Even though his blog is hugely popular, he prefers to earn money through freelancing because it is stable, reliable, and better paying.

Branding and publicity

If you can contribute your work to a more popular medium than your own blog, and people like your work, you are building your brand by investing in yourself. Freelancing is also a good medium for publicity, and I love any method that pays me to publicize myself!

Freelancing gives you the opportunity to produce high quality content under your name that others will like, and appreciate and present yourself and your expertise to the world. This, of course, is going to be of immense help to grow your blog as people recognize your authority.

Success story: Carol of Make A Living Writing is a prolific and well-known writer, and has written for Entrepreneur, Copyblogger, Seattle Times, and plenty of other popular blogs.

Many can instantly recognize her and her top-quality work, so freelancing helps her grow as a writer and helps establish a higher credibility for her blog at the same time.

Testing new waters

As a freelancer, you get to work on different fields within your area of expertise. If you are a writer, you can write on a variety of topics. This is a great way to explore new areas that interest you and learn more about different niches. You can pick up ideas that you think a blog in this niche should cover and then present your own perspective.

Many bloggers work for bigger publications, then branch out to start their own blogs once they understand the business and topic much more intimately.

Success story: Starre of Eco-Chick was a writer for popular fashion magazines before starting her own successful blog, which is in line with what she wrote for magazines, combining fashion and sustainability.

When she started the blog Eco-Chick, everything was already in place—she knew the field better than anyone else. Isn’t that a solid start for your blogging platform?

Tricks of the trade

In addition to these points, you can also learn insider tricks of the trade when you freelance. When you work as a freelancer and are getting paid to do so, chances are, you are working at a company that is at least moderately successful. You can learn why, and they would be more than happy to teach you because they want your work to be put to best use.

This is a great way to learn how things are done and what works for successful businesses. And that knowledge can prove invaluable when you are actually starting your own blog.

Do you freelance and blog at the same time? Why? And what benefits does it give you? Tell us your stories in the comments.

True to his word, Sid is a blogger and freelancer and has written popular freelancing guides including oDesk Review and Elance vs. oDesk. He is starting out a number of different blogging projects, from understanding fashion to using python in finance. His oldest blog is about penny auctions.

From Blog to Profitable Business in Four Steps

This guest post is by Michael Chibuzor of Content Marketing Up.

Let’s face it: updating your blog on a daily basis doesn’t necessarily make you smart. It might be helpful, but there is more to blogging than writing.

How about doing this online “thing” as if it’s a real business? A brick and mortar business?

I strongly believe you could turn a profit easily if you change your mindset and style.

Of course, you’ll continuously write quality content—after all, that’s what your readers need. But turning your blog into a real-life business would help you connect, share, and breathe life into your blog.

It’s about productivity that leads to profit.

You need confidence to win

There are good reasons why you need confidence in your business. Confidence electrifies you and your readers, and prompts action. Entrepreneurs are risk-takers, yet many bloggers may decide to hang on to outdated principles instead of challenging the status quo.

But we can change that.

With all the noise in the blogosphere, it takes extra wit to attract targeted readers and build a tribe. Without confidence, you won’t be able to organize and manage your business.

You need to challenge yourself to take responsibility.

If you want to build a profitable blog, you must run it like an offline business. You need to master:

  • organization and management
  • customer service
  • social etiquette
  • profit

Those are the four essential factors in building a successful offline business—but they’re extremely beneficial to blogging, too. Are you ready to explore?

1. Organization and management

Jesus picked up twelve men from the bottom ranks of business and forged them into an organization that conquered the world.—Bruce Barton

“How do I get more people to trust me?” many bloggers ask.

Trust isn’t a one-off decision. You need to be consistent and build trust over time. As you interact with the target audience and provide valuable information, your readers will start to take your words to heart.

That is why you need to organize and manage your blog. A well organized and managed blog will soon become the go-to resource for your target prospects and readers.

First, you need to organize and manage your time. Use your time wisely. Your blog attracts people who have needs. They want answers. Use the limited time at your disposal to focus on answering your readers’ questions, and outsource the other tasks to professionals.

The easiest and most lucrative way to stay organized is to outsource. Before I launched my first ebook, I didn’t understand outsourcing one bit. I had to do the entire task myself—market research, keyword research, cover design, writing, and marketing. As a result, my blog suffered, and my engagement with my audience was broken. I also observed a drop in daily traffic and comments.

Like offline businesses, on your blog, the management (that’s you) is responsible for delegation. Use outsourcing as a corporation uses its departments, and your blog will grow and produce better results. Identify your greatest strengths. Outsource the other tasks (find freelancers at Odesk and Elance).

You don’t have to be a jack-of-all-trades to succeed online.

2. Customer service

We’re so used to customers in the offline business, but bloggers often don’t recognize who our customers are online.

Your readers are your customers, and how you treat them is important to your success.

It’s your responsibility to respect your readers and visitors. Address them by name and reply to their comments with the proper salutation. When someone comes to your site, they should feel that you care. They don’t have to be strangers—at least, not any more.

Create an environment of warmth with prospects and readers. When you give away valuable ebooks or software, or something that will make readers remember you, you’re building a solid relationship.When you send a quote to a prospect, send a gift, too. No matter how small it looks, it’ll create a bond between you and your target audience.

Also, your readers need to know what’s happening at your blog. If you’ll be making changes, you should notify them beforehand. Surprises are good, but not at the detriment of your business. And when there’s a complaint, accept it peacefully and with good humor. See your readers as your friends.

Good customer service can boost your online business and expose you to a world of opportunities.

3. Social etiquette

You can’t help it—you’ve achieved so much in life, and feel a bit fulfilled. Perhaps you have a slight tendency to brag when you blog. But is this healthy for your audience? I don’t think so.

Social etiquette is an attitude. It requires you to look at your personal life, and consider how you bring it to the table as a blogger. Those who don’t share, communicate, and help others have problems with their lives. The problem isn’t the blog or the business—it’s their personal life.

If you focus on helping people, there won’t be a room for bragging. Your level of blogging success today is directly proportional to the value you create. So change your approach and focus on readers, their problems, and how you can help.

That’s how you can use etiquette to make your blog a profitable business.

4. Profit from your blog

As your blog grows into a business and you build its uniqueness, you’ll begin to attract high-paying prospects and outstanding offers. Are you prepared for the opportunities your blogging business could create?

Blogging offers different opportunities to profit. When you visit my content marketing blog, you won’t find an affiliate banner or link. I sell my writing services and generate enough income to pay my bills. And guess what? I didn’t apply for any writing job; I was contacted directly by entrepreneurs because they discovered I was business-minded.

Land a job

Perhaps you’d like a secure, and well-paid job. If that’s the case, running your blog like a real business can be of help. I’ve worked with a human resource firm prior to running my online business. Employers were looking for hard working, passionate, confident go-getters who could help reach the organization’s goals.

Most bloggers don’t have these qualities. They see a blog as a tool, rather than the true business that it is. Are you confident to put your blog’s URL on your resume? If not, consider running it more like a business that you can be proud of.

You’ve seen blogs featured at CNN, Fox News, and so forth. Those are no half-baked blogs—they’re manned by savvy entrepreneurs. If they can do it, why shouldn’t you?

Monetize your blog

Most blogs have no product to sell, but they’re updated regularly. I once asked a blogger friend of mine, “Why don’t you monetize your blog?”

“I don’t want to chase my readers away,” he replied.

Who says selling chases readers away? Monetizing a blog is as important as setting up and updating the blog. Without this, people won’t take you seriously. You’ll be regarded as a newbie at worst, and an amateur at best.

Sell a product

Selling a product or offering a service via your blog won’t annoy readers, provided it’s valuable and offers practical solutions to their problems.

If you decide to monetize with affiliate offers, be honest in your reviews. Let readers know you’ll earn commissions when they buy via your affiliate link. This helps to build credibility and shows that you genuinely want to help them.

If you decide to create your own product, spend time with your audience so that you can understand what they need, and build a product that truly delivers.

Do you see your blog as a real business … or “just a blog”?  Is it time you changed your philosophy? Share your thoughts in the comments.

Michael Chibuzor is an entrepreneur, a freelance writer and the founder of Make Money Hi. Are you looking for a creative writer to help grow your site/blog’s traffic and increase sales? Hire Michael to write for you. He loves the color Red. He’s 23 years old and likes to meet new people.

Resources for Selling Consulting Through Your Blog

As Ash explained in her post today, using blogging as a platform from which to sell consulting services can be effective and lucrative.

Blogging has long been respected as a method for supporting offline businesses, but as the potential of blogging in general has evolved, so too have the options for those using blogs to sell services.

If you’re interested in finding out more about this business model, have a look at these articles:

Also, don’t forget our series, Build Blog Products that Sell, and ProBlogger’s Guide to Blogging for Your Business—these resources are detailed practical guides that will really help those looking to sell consulting and other services through a business blog.

What other resources and articles do you know of that can help those trying to sell consulting services through their blog? Share them with us in the comments.

Blog Business Model 6: Sell Consulting Services

This post is by Ash Ambirge of The Middle Finger Project.

It’s the sixth and final post in our series on Blog Business Models.

I’m well-mannered, I like pearls, intelligent opinions, and fine French cheeses. (Ditto fine French wine.) (And fine French men.*)

Ash's copyrwiting service

A promotion for Ash's copyrwiting service

I also happen to run a six-figure blog and business called The Middle Finger Project.

As in the bad finger. The vulgar one. The one that angry New York drivers, hormone-laden teenagers and Roseanne Barr use regularly.

And, apparently, me. The overly polite one with the master’s degree who considers herself educated and knows when to use which stupid little fork when.

I won’t attempt to explain this blaring contradiction, but what I will tell you is this: success online comes with confidence accompanied by an opinion you’re willing to fight for, and having a business named like I do implies both.

Certainly those aren’t the only factors, but they’re two of the most important—you can try to be as “useful” as possible, as the standard advice goes, but if you’re lacking confidence—or an authoritative spine—no one will care about you.

And if no one cares about you, you don’t have a blog—or a business.

Right there—there’s an opinion of mine. You can take it or leave it, but one thing’s for sure—you’re listening.

And really that’s the first step in building a successful blog that sells your consulting business—wrangling some attention. And then learning how to keep it. And then learning how to leverage it.

The Middle Finger Project started as just that—a platform for attention. It wasn’t developed as a business first, and a blog later—the platform began as a blog, and quite deliberately. And the reason is because you need attention first and foremost: if no one’s listening, no one’s buying. Particularly in the online space.

I should know; I’ve tried both. In 2006 I opened my first copywriting business, sans blog. Blogging wasn’t even on my radar at the time, quite unfortunately, and that business quickly plummeted to a gory, bloody, bone-shattering demise. Closed-casket style.

It failed because no one knew about me.

But realistically, it failed because I didn’t make anyone know about me.

I had if-you-build-it-they-will-come syndrome, and I still see a lot of that around these days, too. It’s not intentional, of course, but we all get so excited about our businesses, and think the world will share our excitement as soon as we open our doors.

Little do we realize that we have to give them a reason to get excited. Just like hanging your swankiest panties out on the line won’t cause Prince Charming to show up at your door (trust me, I’ve tried), hanging your swankiest web design on the internet won’t cause your customers to magically show up, either.

You’ve got to give ‘em a reason to care about you

Blogs help that process along. Blogs give you a way to make that happen. Blogs give you a chance to prove yourself. And blogs give you a chance to snag their attention long enough to hook, line and swoosh ‘em into your world for the long term. ‘Til dentures do us part.

These days, things are different. My blog is entirely responsible for my success in the copywriting industry. That’s not an exaggeration, or a feeble attempt at sounding like I know what I’m talking about. That’s fact.

Typically I post around two to three times a week, but I have a dirty little secret to share: While the bread and butter of my business is copywriting, I don’t blog about copywriting.

I don’t blog about copywriting for a number of reasons, but the primary one is that my clients don’t care about copywriting. And honestly? Your clients don’t care about what you do, either.

It’s a mistake I see often made—well-meaning businesses trying to blog about their business. The reason it’s a mistake is because, again, your clients don’t care about your business; they don’t even care about what you can do for them, per se.

What they care about is feeling better any time they interact with you and your content. While it may sound oversimplified, this is key.

Whether feeling better translates into them having more confidence in themselves, having more confidence that you’ll be the solution to their problem, or just feeling inspired by your message, this really is the key to running a successful blog and, by extension, consulting business.

One thing I can promise you is this: the blogger who makes his reader feel less alone and more understood wins this game—and wins the business. Because it’s that blogger who will create excitement, and it’s that blogger who will ultimately give the world a reason to actually care about his message.

And didn’t I mention that was step one? Wink.

So how do I pull it off at The Middle Finger Project?

I’ll tell you how.

The Middle Finger Project isn’t just a blog; it’s its own movement, so to speak. It isn’t the blog itself—it’s what the blog represents for my readers and customers. Hope. Hope there is more out there, and it isn’t too late to come alive and be the person you were meant to be. It has nothing to do with copywriting; it’s about having fun in this one racy little speck of life we’re given, and doing what our anxiety-bent insides are mercilessly clawing at us to do.

For one set of my customers, this often means starting their own businesses—then, at that point, my copywriting services are there to support them in making that leap. Another set of customers—for example, my tech start ups—hire me because they, too, tend to be forward-thinking companies led by entrepreneurs who can relate to the core message of TMFproject as well.

The take away here?

Don’t just blog

Think about what your blog represents, and how you can connect it to the underlying beliefs and values of your target readers or customers—and how this can help them get excited and care about you.

If you’re a divorce lawyer, don’t blog about divorce. Blog about the inspirational stories that come out of divorce. Blog about the client who found herself again. Blog about the client who reawakened his love for bowling. Blog about the client who re-married her husband for a second time. Blog about the client who found his real soul mate the second time around.

Give your clients a reason to get excited—and feel better. Give ‘em a reason to want to read. And once they want to read, they’ll naturally want you.

And only when they want you, are you then in a position to successfully sell them your services.

Then, it’s just a matter of aligning your service offerings with the things that you know will make your customers feel better—about their lives, about their futures, about their businesses, or about their decision to choose you over the next guy.

Making it work

For example, one of my most successful offerings at The Middle Finger Project has been the One Night Stand—a rapid-fire copywriting service for those who need hot web copy that sells, at a price that won’t send them hurtling into debt with no pants on. (We like to, ahem, save our debt for things like Victoria’s Secret and The Cheesecake Factory.)

The reason it’s been so successful is two-fold. First, clients feel better because they’re gaining confidence that their business or website is going to be successful, since mouth-watering copy is one of the most important pillars of any online space. But second, this offering has been a success because I deliberately have made it fun—and fun always wins over not fun, as any kindergartener will confirm. And who wouldn’t want to go with the service provider that’s guaranteed to make a more pleasant—and exciting—experience for their client?

For example, I could have just called this, “Copywriting service,” but I didn’t, and deliberately so. I named it the One Night Stand, and furthermore went on to label each part of the service as:

  • Innocent Flirting, AKA Pre-Session Jamming
  • Intimate Discussion: 1-hour call on the day of our session
  • Down + Dirty Sweat Sesh: Up to five pages of cunningly cool copy
  • Nightcap + Pillow Talk: Your Feedback
  • Oops, You Forgot Your Panties: One round of final edits

While the simple act of naming of a product or service might seem trivial—and is often an afterthought—it isn’t just about naming. It’s about the anticipated experience. I know my customers intimately (look who’s got puns!), and I knew that this type of offering would be something they’d not only get a kick out of, but would be racing to purchase particularly because of the element of fun that The Middle Finger Project brand has become known for. And a fresh start, with fun at the helm, is what many of my clients are so desperately craving.

Moving forward, The Middle Finger Project will continue to stand for having more fun than everyone else, in both life and business.

Registration has just closed for a six-week online copywriting workshop I’ll be hosting, and before the year is out, The Middle Finger Project (the book) will be released: because life is short and vodka tastes better abroad.

Selling consulting through your blog

I’m beyond honored to have the opportunity to make a living doing what I do—the (mostly) prim and proper chick rocking the hell out of a rebel’s brand. Yet, it all started that fall afternoon in 2009 when I began the blog as a way to build a platform, connect like-minded folks, and really give the world a run for its money.

  • It’s about standing up for what you believe in—and rallying others to do the same.
  • It’s about reaching for your megaphone—and not just expecting attention, but going out and grabbing it.
  • It’s about helping people care—first about themselves, and then about you.
  • It’s about generating excitement—from your message to your brand to every single thing you sell.
  • It’s about remembering that every single one of us is human—and most of us just really want to feel understood.
  • And above all, it’s about getting off your backside, and making it happen already.

You got this. Roseanne Barr and I believe in you.

*I’ve never actually dated a French man, therefore that statement was partially false. Okay, entirely false. However, I do imagine that I would thoroughly enjoy one.

Ashley Ambirge is the sassiest freelance writer, entrepreneur and digital strategist on the block. She authors books on leveraging the internet to make a business out of your passions, runs her semi-insane but lovable blog (click here to subscribe), and does one on one strategy sessions with new bloggers, entrepreneurs & small businesses looking to rock their online space with the brilliance of a diamond (and finally make some damn money). She’ll also kill you at beer pong without batting an eyelash. Just the facts, Jack.

Tips and Techniques for Selling Training on Your Blog

Training and electronic courses are common product offerings for bloggers, and as the range of tools and services available to help us create and market engaging courses has grown, so has the competition in this space.

Jules Clancy talked earlier today about offering classes and training as a blog business model.

Still wondering why you’d choose ecourses over other models? Have a look at 8 Great reasons to add an ecourse to your blog. This post explains the not-so-obvious advantages of this business model.

What does it take to create an online course? Peep Laja explains the basics in Creating Online Courses 101. It’s a great guide for those who are considering dipping their toes into the training waters—but want to know what they’re in for ahead of time.

What about the launch? How to launch a product on your blog (and sell out in 12 hours!) is Danny Iny’s story of the wildly successful launch of his first online course. Also see his post Make money locally—and globally—through your blog—there are more than a few tips in here to help you make the most of your own launch when the time comes.

Finally, Ramit Sethi’s advice on products, focused mainly on the launch of his course, has many tidbits to get you on the road to a great course launch. Even seasoned course sellers would do well to read this one!

Do you sell courses through your blog? What tips or resources can you add to the list?

Blog Business Model 5: Sell Training and Courses

This is the fifth post in our series on Blog Business Models.

When you think of online training as a blogging business model, cookery classes may not be the first topic that springs to mind.

The Stone Soup courses

The Stone Soup course homepage

But Jules Clancy of The Stone Soup has created a successful cooking class business around her food blog.

Hi Jules. First up, can you share a bit of your history with us? How did you get into blogging?
My background is in food science. I used design chocolate biscuits for a living—for Australia’s largest biscuit manufacturer.

I love everything to do with food, so it was only natural that after getting addicted to reading food blogs, I took the leap to starting my own.

Your blog supports online training product offerings. Did you develop the blog first, and then adopt that business model, or develop the business first, then build the blog?

It was blog first for me. I had no idea where blogging would lead me, or that it was even possible to use a blog to make money online. It wasn’t until I’d been blogging for a few years that I came across the idea of turning a blog into a business.

And at what point did online cooking classes appear as an ideal product idea? Did you always think that that might be the way to go, or did you need to be convinced of the model’s viability first?

It wasn’t until I saw a class on the A-List Blogging Bootcamps called something like “Create Courses that Sell” that I even had the idea. But as soon as I had that “a-ha” moment, I decided to give it a shot.

Cooking is something that works really well on TV and video, so I figured it would translate well into a class format. (Although if we could get someone to invent ‘scratch and sniff’ video that would be even better!)

Ultimately, it was an organic evolution of my blog—that was just how it happened. There was no grand (or evil!) master plan.

Great. So in what ways does blogging support your training offerings?

Primarily, my blog attracts customers to buy my ebooks and my online cooking classes. It’s a way of developing a relationship with my readers to turn them into buyers.

That being said, my blog also works as an online business card. I have a book coming out next year because of my blog—my publisher discovered Stonesoup and contacted me about doing a book. It also works for speaking gigs, and I’ve done a bit of freelance writing based on contacts from my blogging.

What kinds of challenges do you face in using your blog to build your business?

At the moment, my biggest challenge is moving away from making most of my money when I launch a new cooking class to a more continuous (and sustainable) model. I haven’t figured out how I’m going to do it, but I think building a process with email marketing at the centre will be part of the solution.

I’m also struggling with conversions. For the amount of readers and traffic I get, I don’t think I’m doing a good job of turning them into paying customers.

So what converts best for you: your ebook or your courses? Do you think the blog reading marketplace is saturated with certain format offerings?

In terms of overall revenue, about 50% of my income comes from ebooks and 50% from courses. So even though ebooks are cheaper and convert better, the total income is about the same as the higher priced classes.

In terms of saturation, I think there’s always a market for high-quality products that solve real problems for people, regardless of the offering format.

You mention price. How did you work out how to price your classes?

Pricing is something I’m still experimenting with. At the beginning, I thought about what other classes cost, then considered what I thought I’d be prepared to pay for a course, and took it from there.

What are the key elements that have helped you get to where you are with your blog?

Passion! It’s a bit of a cliche, but in my case it’s totally true. I love cooking, writing about food, and taking photographs of what I cook. I can’t imagine doing anything else and enjoying it as much as I love working on my blog and my business.

Consistency has also been key. I promised myself when I started I would publish at least once every week and I’ve been doing that right from the beginning.

The quest for continuous improvement is also important. I’m not a perfectionist by any standards but I’m always thinking of how I can do things better.

That’s interesting. How do you continuously improve your courses? What’s involved in that process—from a content perspective, but also from product integrity and delivery viewpoints?

I ask my students for feedback. After I run a major class I do a short survey using Survey Monkey to collect testimonials and also get feedback on what worked and what needs improvement.

I’ve also started running a Poll Daddy quiz on my cooking school site so my students actually vote for the topic of the next class. Actually, you’ve just reminded me I’ve been meaning to set up a feedback option on the site using something like so it’s really easy for my students to give feedback, get help, and make suggestions.

Cooking’s a very cluttered niche. What’s unique about the way you’ve developed your offering?

I’m all about simplicity. All my recipes have only five ingredients and deliver big when it comes to flavour and healthiness.

And have you carried that philosophy through to your cooking classes?

Absolutely! Simplicity is really a core philosophy of my life, so even if I wanted to do a “fancy” or “complicated” cooking class, I wouldn’t be able to do it.

Right. So you mentioned Survey Monkey and uservoice, but what other tools or services do you rely on as you develop your business?

I’m using:

  • Aweber for email list management
  • Clickbank for selling products and their affiliate network
  • Visual Website Optimizer for split testing (although I’ve had a few issues recently with them).

What tools do you use specifically in developing and delivering your courses?

At first I had a little flip video camera for making my videos but I’ve since upgraded to a Nikon D7000 for recording video. And I just use  imovie for editing videos. And then in terms of my membership site management, it’s a WordPress blog using the plugin Wishlist Member.

And how did you go about researching and sourcing those tools?

I’m very lazy when it comes to researching things like that, and I’m pretty sure the flip cam and Wishlist Member were what was recommended in the “Create Courses that Sell” class I took.

What advice, tips, and insider secrets would you give to someone who was just starting out with a blog business model based around selling training?

Get your own product out there sooner rather than later. I made the mistake of quitting my job and then not launching my first product for seven months, so there was no income coming in.

That was fine, but I would have been much better off to get something out there and start learning how to market etc. sooner rather than later. It’s definitely one of those things that you can only get really great at if you keep trying different things.

Interesting! So what does the future hold for Stonesoup and your course offering?

Hopefully lots more sales! And I’d like to have things more automated so I can step back a bit and spend more time in my veggie garden and less time in front of a computer screen.

Thanks to Jules for her time and advice. To find out more about Jules’s business, visit The Stone Soup, and check out the article she wrote for ProBlogger.