Precursor: I categorized this post under “Business” and not “Social Media” because my intent is to present using your blog to help sell your business. Just making sure.
Let us begin, then. This blog article came about when I encountered a statement in a blog post written by my new Twitter follower named Sue Anne Dunlevie:
“Putting advertising on your site to make money is the last thing you should do.”
She went on to say, “Ads make your site look uninviting and pay you practically nothing until you have close to half a million views a month… and how long is that going to take? They slow down your site and keep your visitors from signing up to your email list.”
Actually, my philosophy in blogging is never to distract my visitor from reading my blog articles. No Google ads and other pop-up or animated advertising. None of that “Like my Facebook Page” – and in your face – crap. But I did incorporate small boxes on the side with the label, “Click My Friends,” which is precisely what those boxes were – businesses of my real-life friends because they are my friends and “in real life” I like their company, product or service. And none of them are paying me.
So, here are two questions for you to ponder:
If I have a lot of visitors – not page views but actual people – how much do you really earn from that?
If you don’t have a lot of visitors, how can you attract more people to read your blog?
In present time, I’ve realized that many bloggers think that being a “successful blogger” means attending media events of companies which ask bloggers to write about its organization, products and services in exchange for something. In reality, the blogger is being paid to write everything or specific things about the company. If the blogger wants to continue being on the company’s list of preferred bloggers, he or she needs to make sure everything they write favors the company. Everything needs to be positive.
Payment is given in cash (hardly), a gift certificate (sometimes) or in kind (most of the time). For the first two types of payment, I’d guess the usual minimum is around ₱500 (or roughly $10) and a usual maximum of ₱2,000 or $40 thereabouts. So, ₱1,250 or $25 is the median. However, often times you have to find a way to convert payments in kind into cash and often that is difficult to do so. So, let’s place payment in kind as a sort of “icing on the cake” and only consider what is left to the blogger – ₱1,250 or $25 per event attended.
Note: I am considering the least amount or the least favorable situation. I know popular bloggers make more than $40 but that’s not true for the average blogger. So, please don’t hit me on the numbers; rather, the way things are today.
Going back, remember I wrote that most of the time, payment in kind are difficult to convert to cash. Let us consider a blogger attending at least one media event each weekday but bet on the least expectation that the blogger gets paid the median every other event. So, a blogger will earn ₱3,750 or $78 per week, or ₱16,125 per month ($335).
For a single guy or girl living with the parents, that’s not bad. For someone planning for the future, that’s bad. I know – there are better days when a blogger receives more than my calculation but “Hope is Not a Method”; rather, let’s be realistic and consider a floor estimate than anything up in the sky. And “Cash is King”; things paid in kind do not relate to cash unless they are hot-selling consumer items you can easily sell but for a huge discount.
Anyway, I have a few points to make using the example above:
You must not write anything negative about the company who paid you to write – the freedom of writing, creatively or otherwise, is gone;
You must be making way too low an income because despite the $335 per month, you have travel and food expenses to consider on a daily basis;
The chances of you needing to hobnob with those involved in inviting bloggers to the next media event is high – you need to be in good graces with them all the time;
I am not here to teach you how to get a gazillion visitors, page views, unique visits and returning visits. That’s another aspect of your blog you may want to consider but something I actually relegate as my secondary priority to blogging. My primary mission is to make money using my blog. Hold your horses! Let me repeat that with one word in all-caps:
My primary mission is to make money USING my blog.
My blog is my tool or channel. I am the product and the service, not my blog.
It was 365 days after I started blogging that I finally hit the blinding glimpse of the obvious, and my mission in blogging began to exist. The point being, my blog should not be the one earning an income; I, me and myself had to be the one making money. So, I had to make sure I am using my blog to create revenue.
THE STRANGER BARRIER
I have shifted some of my cold calling efforts from traditional ways to social media. But social media isn’t at all social – it is a gigantic bunch of words and phrases, photos and images that someone has to cull through in order to get an idea – just an idea – of who you are. Then chance of a new connection in social media generally understanding who you are or what makes you tick is very low. So, I use my blog to allow the stranger to understand more of who I am, how I think, how I work and many other things in my personal and professional life.
LinkedIn provides the professional profile while Facebook, Twitter and Instagram gives them a personal picture of who I am. When I correspond with a prospective client online, it contains three, short paragraphs which I usually end with, “When you have time, check out a few articles I’ve written on my blog – www.pekson.com.”
There is a big chance my prospective client and new connection will browse (not read) a few blogs I have written if they are curious about me. There is a big chance he or she suddenly gets my point of view, how I tick, how I’ve worked, my successes and failures, and many more conclusions about me. There is a big chance that this person will want to work with me or hire me. Why? Because the stranger barrier just went crumbling down.
My blog posts eliminated the need to go through a long process of getting to know me, a face-to-face meeting that allows both of us to understand each other more. Yes, It’s my turn to get to know my prospective client but that is a better deal than having to go through a monologue about myself. When people are asked to tell their stories, they are both humbled and proud to do so. So, my other job is to make the other person feel comfortable to tell his or her story – questions that are simple, comfortable, convenient, professional, agreeable and courteous. Don’t make it feel like an interview; ask for stories to tell.
How much money have I gotten because my blog posts was selling me? From a low of $50 for about a day’s work up to $15,000 for a 90-day stint. Sky’s the limit, people!
Use your blog to sell yourself so that the actual activity of selling yourself doesn’t have to be difficult. And the solution to make it less difficult (or not at all) is to bring down the stranger barrier as fast as possible. Allowing my new connection to browse through my blog posts at his or her convenience and free time is one of the best methods to easily sell myself.
So, what about attending media events? Go do it not because of the payment or gift but do it for the right reasons, such as:
It is part of your professional credentials, e.g. attending a media event about servers when part of your service is to design and install networks;
It adds value to your persona, e.g. first to eat in a new but already popular restaurant which you brag to your social connections because they know how much you love to try new restaurants;
There’s a big chance to network with people who may be good prospects or referrers. The payment becomes icing on the cake. The moment you stop expecting payment, lo and behold! You feel better especially if you’re only given small tokens.
FRIENDS COME RUNNING TO YOU
How about real friends? Those who already know me? Well, they don’t know the entire “you.” They may know your personal life but usually very little about your professional credentials.
A long time ago, I used social media to drive one point to a batch of my friends: that I’m an expert in call centers. They are all my friends and know my life’s history but when it came to call centers, everyone had a different idea. One says I’m a call center agent (LOL!) Another would say, “Raffy works in call centers” but does not really know what I do there. And from these few example gave birth to my new label with that batch of friends: The Call Center Guy. In every reunion and get together, the questions and conversation starters often revolve around the phrase “call center.”
But guess what? I got a lot of referred business from those friends because of that label. Think about it. When one of their friends asks them, “Do you know anyone who can help me set up a call center?” There’s a 90 percent chance the first name that pops in their head is me. Why? Every other day, I share not only a blog I wrote about call centers but other blogs, articles and news items that speak positively about call centers – and most of the time, I add my opinion or conclusion to the post. When I’m asked controversial questions about call centers, I answer honestly with the acronym “IMO” to make sure they understand that’s my opinion. The farthest level this label has gone to was when someone close to my friend was working at the University of Jerusalem and a Palestinian asked him if he know anyone in the Philippines (we were already getting known to be the “Call Center Capital of the World” then) who can help him set up his call center in West Bank Palestine. When my friend’s friend came home for a vacation, he asked my friend precisely that very common question. Pop goes the answer! “Raffy Pekson!”
I also get invited to speak. Now, here’s the thing. I never really planned to become a fulltime, professional public speaker. But I love to share my thoughts, experience and wisdom, sort of like a “Pay It Forward” creed. So, I don’t make large sums when I’m asked to speak – sometimes, I accept freebies. I just make sure I like the topic that’s assigned to me, I like the type of attendees (also assuming I can probably network with them) and I have fun! I’ve gotten good, small projects from public speaking about one out of 5 times. Not bad.
Going back to Sue Anne Dunlevie, here are other ways she writes that you can use your blog to work for you:
Freelance Services – I do this!
Coaching – I also do this!
Consulting – And this, too!
Services – Broad term but, yeah! This, too!
Membership Program – Talk to Janette Toral about this!
Courses – I’ve done a few webinars but all for free!
Dunlevie concludes that “Ads are not going to be the answer to making money with your blog. Instead, focus your efforts on selling your own products, courses, and services.”
Unless you are planning to compete with large media firms who are well established digitally, chances are you will make a paltry income through blogging., One blogger had 83,132 visitors in a month and made $194 from Google ads. Egad! That’s bad! What’s great about her blog is its awesome content, precise subject matter, great writing style, nice blog format or theme, and so on. But $194 in a month? She barely made a half-a-cent per visitor.
So, focus on selling yourself using your blog, not the other way around. Your blog is your best billboard to the world to show everyone your awesome skills. Keep your focus on writing about that subject matter. For my blog, it’s me that I’m selling. I am the product and service. So, my thoughts, ideas, experiences, forecasts and opinions are what sell “me.”
Are you a graphics artist? Or a PC troubleshooter? Blog using your skill as the main subject matter. Don’t sell yourself directly; rather, an indirect approach to it becomes a pleasure to read. If you’re a PC troubleshooter, a lot of your neighbors and anyone living 10 or so miles away from your district do not know how great of a PC troubleshooter you are – until they start reading your blog. You don’t need to rent an office to be a renowned PC troubleshooter a few miles beyond your neighborhood. Remember Kevin Costner’s movie? Oh, I love that statement:
If you build it, they will come.
You can also build an e-commerce site and blog about BOTH your new products AND articles relating to the theme or category of your products. Sky’s the limit!
Anyway, I’m not going to talk about SEO, writing style and techniques, consulting tips, do’s and don’ts when meeting your clients, presentations, etc. But I coach and consult if you need help. Remember, I already have more than 30 years of business experience. So, ‘been there, ‘done that!
If you have any questions, feel free to comment below.