“Make money online blogging.” These must be among the most searched keywords in Google, but most people when they look to make money by blogging are asking themselves: “How can I monetize my blog?” The answers to that question are usually ideas like adding Adsense ads, building affiliate product income from recommendations made on the blog, allowing advertising space on the blog, adding text links in return for payment, or charging other writers for guest blog posting on your blog, and so on.
Bloggers are indeed among the most concerned people with Content Marketing Monetization … and a lot of hopes of making money by the millions with an online business start with blogging. But the problem hits you in the face soon enough, that you can go by for years receiving none of the acclaim or money you thought you could get. Notice how ideas like “monetizing your blog” abound across the Internet, where bloggers are simply advised to aim to build a blog around their “passion” or “researched niche”, even if their expertise in the subject is shallow. They then create zillions of blog posts around arduously-picked “longtail keywords” … and all this work just to be satisfied with paltry earnings from small sponsorship or commission sources? Is this what blogging should be about, a daily grind for scraping a few survival pennies? This begs the question: should you be looking to monetize your blog, or should you be looking to monetize your mind?
Monetizing your mind vs monetizing your blog … the massive difference
Bloggers, however sincere, disciplined, or persistent – can hardly expect to make big money off their blogs by simply aiming for small income derived from monetizing their sites and blogs. Even that income sometimes drips in only when you have built sufficient traffic to your blog, and can sustain that traffic for a few months, to be able to show an advertiser or affiliate product owner your “track record”.
It’s not a problem with either blogging per se or even your blogging. It’s a problem of business perspective. If you look to “monetize your blog”, the end of the rainbow has just a pot of pennies. If on the other hand, you aim to “monetize your mind”, using blogging as just the instrument, then the pot at the end of the rainbow has nothing but nuggets of gold – and what’s more, it’s a bottomless pot!
When you start your content marketing with “blogging” as your primary content format, ask yourself this one question: Should you not try to monetize your “incalculable assets” such as your professional expertise, your ideas and thoughts of quality, your uniqueness and perspectives, your caliber of understanding and analysis of your area of specialization? Or will you just aim to be paid for your hours of slog? It’s your choice! And you do have a choice to make!
If you have a professional background – any professional background – you should absolutely cash in on it. Every kind of knowledge is in demand in an information economy that is only growing larger and larger by the day. If you don’t yet have some professional background, your first task is to chew and digest serious substantial knowledge in some area of aptitude in which you can become an “authority of depth” … and you need to devour this knowledge with the hunger of the starved!
If you are just looking to monetize your blog, research from the 2015 Women’s Blogging Industry and Business Annual Report quoted by Nancy Colllamer suggests that:
Very few bloggers earn much. In fact only 11% of bloggers earn more than $30,000, 68% earn less than $5,000, and 57% make less than $2,500.
I’m surprised that even these numbers are true, for I know of very few bloggers who can keep their blogs running for more than six months. Contrast this with those who aim to monetize their minds. Research again suggests that there is a whole new bandwagon of bloggers who earn in six and seven figures. Who are these people?
The 3-step way to monetize your mind … power-blogging to authority to influence
To make seriously big money from blogging, by monetizing your mind, there are three steps involved.
The first step involves becoming a “power-blogger”. You consistently and daily add high value content to your blog, with your eyes sharply focused on a clearly demarcated target audience, and you steadily build your network of contacts, your visibility, and your reach. You build in yourself the disciplines, skills and rigor needed to become a relentless blogger, with a great deal of stamina. You blog for the long haul and not the short term. You master the art and science of blogging so you can keep expanding your width and depth, day after day, without flaking!
The second step involves becoming an “authority-power-blogger”. You use your blog as a platform to build on your brand power, which in turn leads to a greater likelihood of people buying your products and services at higher prices. Through authority-blogging you open up newer business opportunities for yourself from high quarters, and build your power-community in which your big contacts are willing to pay higher and higher fees for your time and knowledge. A number of authority-power-bloggers go on to become high-powered consultants, attract high-paying speaking gigs, get to sell expensive courses online, create apex institutes, and sign heavy book deals.
The third step involves becoming an “authority-influencer-power-blogger”. This leads to even bigger money, because it’s among fastest-growing trends on the Internet.
Haven’t you noticed that more and more bloggers are now referring to themselves as “influencers”? There are agencies mushrooming everywhere that seek to match “influencer-bloggers” with big brands that are seeking to use influencer-bloggers to talk about their products. Mid-tier influencer-bloggers are already earning in six figures, while top-tier influencer-bloggers are quite simply, creaming it.
Clearly without power-blogging you can’t become an authority …and without being an authority you can’t really influence. But if you have both authority and influence, and you are a power-blogger, you are king! If the brand sees a match in your authority and covets your influenceable audiences, you can send a bill to the brand for everything, including your sneezes!
Hayley Phelan, in her article on “influencer-bloggers” explains how Fohr Card, an agency for influencers, works.
Brands tell Nord (the CEO of Fohr Card) how much they want to spend on a social-media campaign. He cross-references that budget against a proprietary ranking of influencers his firm has devised, based on an algorithm that measures upwards of 30 data points, including the growth of an influencer’s following, the frequency of posts, and all- important “engagement rates” (how much time users spend reading posts, liking them, and sharing them).
He whittles the list down to those in the right price range and who complement the brand’s audience goals. His agency then reaches out to the influencer or her agent—most A-list influencers have one — with an offer.
Everything an influencer does has a price attached. The brand will pay more for one or two hashtags. If you have to actually tag the brand instead of just mentioning it in the caption, that changes the price. Are you posting on a Monday morning when people are most engaged, or on a Sunday afternoon when people are taking a nap? Everything needs to be figured out and billed ahead of time.”
Why authority-influencer-power-bloggers have become huge money-spinners
Two reasons why authority-influencer-power-bloggers have become such money-spinners is that: one, people are trusting such bloggers the most of all online sources before making purchases; and two, brands, big and small, are seeing the biggest ROI from authority-influencer-marketing than any other channel.
Research from The Shelf, quoted by Kimberlee Morrison suggests that:
Consumers are more likely to trust influencers than brand content. 92 percent of consumers trust recommendations from others, even people they don’t know, over branded content. 70 percent say that online reviews are their second-most-trusted source, and 47 percent of U.S. readers consult blogs to keep tabs on trends and ideas.”
Another research from Tomoson reveals there is also already a lot of money in the influencer marketing space and it’s only growing … and the ROI from influencer-marketing is immensely attractive.
59 percent of marketers researched believe in influencer marketing so firmly that they planned to increase their ad budgets for it within the next 12 months. In terms of growth, 22 percent of marketers rated influencer marketing as the fastest-growing online customer-acquisition method. Organic search was ranked second at 17 percent, and email came in at 15 percent.”
The survey revealed that influencer marketing provides great returns for most of the businesses that use it. On average, businesses are making $6.50 for every $1 spent. 70 percent of businesses are seeing a return of $2 per $1 spent, and the top 13 percent of marketers are gaining $20 per $1 spent.”
What kind of authority-influencer-power-bloggers are in hot demand from brands?
Quite another piece of research will sound like music to your ears if you are a professional with expertise but not quite a “celebrity brand ambassador”. According to a new survey conducted by Collective Bias, quoted by Erik Sass:
A sizeable segment of the 14,000 respondents said they were more likely to heed recommendations from non-celebrity influencers than celebrities. Overall 30% were more likely to purchase a product endorsed by a non-celebrity blogger than a celebrity influencer, and the proportion increases significantly among younger adults: 70% of adults ages 18-34 said their highest preference was for an endorsement from a “peer” or non-celeb blogger.”
It’s not surprising then that the demand for celebrity-endorsers is going southwards, while the demand for top-tier and mid-tier influencers with domain authority and well-defined subscribers is going northwards.
Who are those considered as top-tier or mid-tier authority-influencer-power-bloggers? It’s those who are holding very-heavy or medium-heavy sway with tightly niched and loyal subscribers. They are not necessarily the bloggers with big subscriber lists.
In other words, it’s the quality of your reading audience and their loyalty, and their seamless match to your subject of expertise, that matters. Quantity of readers is not what brands are looking to pay you for, it’s the tight and enduring bond between your area of specialization and the area of interest of your audience.
High-paying brands want you to be a highly-visible, trusted, tall expert who expands and engages his audience by blogging with reliable consistency, quality and ever-renewed freshness … and they want your audience to be the kind that’s sold on you, and compulsively and repeatedly gravitates towards your blog, and hangs on to your every word as gospel.
So what are your thoughts on this topic? Do share!
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Other articles in our series “Content Marketing Monetization”: