When looking at ways to sell your knowledge, it struck me some time ago that many internet marketers sell their knowledge online through blogs and blogging. Last year, blogger Michael Dunlop published a great article in his IncomeDiary.com blog called ‘The 50 most influential bloggers or 2009’. This was an inspirational blog and got a lot of attention. But I wondered what it was that these bloggers actually did to get so… well, ‘influential.’ We can take ‘influential’ as meaning ‘making a lot of money.’ I don’t mean how they actually monetized their blogs (i.e., through banners, Adsense, affiliate products, or their own products); I mean how they got so many people to go to their blog in the first place. So I researched and discovered several things that they all did to make money blogging. Here is what I found…
1) They are super-excited about what they write about
They didn’t go into blogging to make tons of money. But it seems that these money-making bloggers are really excited about their subject. Some just wanted an outlet to express their enthusiasm; others had hobbies they wanted to tell others about. Others have work/life experiences that they wanted to share.
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2) They have a niche
To become number one, they don’t just dive in and start writing. They have a particular interest in a particular aspect of life/work/the internet – whatever their topic is. Then they set out to establish themselves as experts in that niche. However, this is not an obsessive focus at the expense of everything else. It’s just attention to a specific area of knowledge that they have a lot to say about.
3) They have a ‘laser focus’ on creating great content
The top bloggers are obsessed with creating outstanding content for their readers. They will spend hours and even days creating a great piece of writing or video for their readers. There is genuine pride in this, and they all insist that it is the quality of the content that gets them recognized and respected.
4) They communicate with others in their niche
Having a niche doesn’t mean you are the only one in it. Contrary to common belief in business, having a ‘critical mass’ of others within the same field is good. It spreads the word ‘wider’. What is fascinating about these bloggers is that they regularly share with their ‘niche’ community and other bloggers, treating each other not as competitors so much as allies – a refreshing alternative to the norm. They find relevant forums and blogs in their own niche and communicate there.
Of course, this communicating and sharing generously with others is for very sound business reasons. Mainly, it is to build and spread their own profile and influence around. The key thing here is getting ‘backlinks’ and referrals. These are links to other sites that link back to their own site. The Google search engines love this as it helps them to rank the importance of a site. If lots of people are linking to a site then Google interprets this as that site is important.
6) They are single-minded
The top bloggers all appear to be very single-minded about what they are doing. They are not looking to make a fast buck but are sincere and genuine business-oriented people. They are single-minded about giving their audience great content consistently with the view to turning that into a lucrative business. It is reassuring to hear that lots of them struggled to get started, had failures, and had crises of confidence and disappointment, but they didn’t give up.
7) They get help from others
The serious blogger (as for any serious business person) understand the value of time, so many of them get others to do time-consuming tasks for them. These seem to be research tasks of technical tasks. Some examples of service providers they use are elance.com, taskus.com, craigslist.com, or subhub.com. The top bloggers spend their time doing what they are good at and send the rest out to people who are good at that.
8) They diversify their business
Super-successful bloggers make their money in lots of different ways. Many will have several blogging sites in a different niche where each is monetized differently. One might use AdSense; another might make money from paid advertising and banners, another from affiliate products, or another from just selling their own products such as books, DVDs, etc. Some have a combination of these methods. For some, they also provide products on blogging itself. They are aware of how others would like to emulate their success, so they create or recommend products with tap into that audience desire.
9) They learn and apply
None of these bloggers rolled out of bed one morning, decided to be a blogger, and then made a fortune all in the same day. Like I mentioned earlier many struggled to get going. Sometimes when the technology was nothing like it is now (fairly simple). They were happy to fail at things; they learned from their mistakes and started again. They are avid about learning from their own experiences and others because they all network like crazy on and offline – picking up hints and tips from anywhere and applying these to their own blog projects.
10) They test all kinds of ideas
To the real entrepreneur, the idea of testing is natural. The successful are always experimenting with different ways of providing content, driving traffic, displaying ads, etc. Persistent testing is the key to finding what makes it succeed. They might try lots of ideas before finding one that works well. They are not disappointed when something doesn’t work – they know that their investment of time and money pays off in that they learn something new every time (priceless!).
So, in summary, those seeking to sell their knowledge through a blog can take some great lessons from these bloggers. But don’t expect it to be a quick way to make a million. But if you are passionate about what you know, want to communicate it with others, this is a perfect option. I was going to add that you have to love writing. But actually, if you can talk into a recorder – you can always get someone else to type it out for you. Ordinary people are making this work and driving their energies to succeed in it so if they can do it, so can you! Follow these guidelines and maybe you’ll be in the top 50 one day!