You create a website, make a few blog articles, and gain a few email subscribers, like the enterprising entrepreneur you are. Then one day you realize, “Hey, I’ve been doing this for a while.” “When is the monetization component going to happen?”
But wait, how did we get here in the first place?
The Audience-First Approach to Building a Business
We ended up here because of what we like to call the “audience-first” approach while thinking of how to monetize a blog when building a business.
There is a longstanding debate over the best path to building a successful business: should you build a product first or an audience first?
Many online entrepreneurs believe audience first is the way to go. The reasoning goes like this: if you pick a good topic and then blog or podcast about it, a few things will happen:
- You’ll test whether there is interest in the topic
- If there is interest, you will start to build an email list
- If you can create an email list, you can earn their confidence by providing them excellent material.
- People will tell their friends about you if you deliver quality material to your email list.
- Your audience will continue to increase if people tell their friends about you.
- If your audience grows enough (and they trust you), you can ask them about their problems
- If you know about their problems, you can make things to solve those problems and then sell those things
In principle, the audience-first strategy is fantastic, but in practice, it might be akin to the Silicon Valley attitude of “create something popular, then figure out how to earn money afterward.” If that sounds a little like “shoot first, ask questions later,” you’re right. (Fortunately, some startups have genuine missions.)
That’s the difficulty with audience-first thinking, especially if you skip a crucial step right at the start. “How am I meant to generate money again?” that raises a large question mark.
How to Monetize a Blog
You should decide what you will sell to your consumers before you establish a website or write a blog post. There are five options available to you:
When individuals create ebooks, books, courses, webinars, audio programs, and more, they are selling this. These entrepreneurs make a product that allows their consumers to learn what they know in order to offer their knowledge and experience.
3. Physical Things
When individuals manufacture art, watches, computers, furniture, food, and everything else in the actual world, they are selling this. These business owners put their talents and experience to work to create a tangible product that their consumers can take home with them.
This is what bootstrappers and Silicon Valley entrepreneurs produce in equal measure. These entrepreneurs convert code into tools and platforms that their consumers can utilize to save time and have a better life.
Yes, when a firm gets money through advertising, sponsorships, affiliate marketing, or other similar arrangements, eyes, and earholes constitute the “product.” These entrepreneurs generate material that appeals to the widest possible audience, then sell access to that audience.
When you’re ready to quit your job, earn more money, and offer your family more freedom, this is the aspect that many internet entrepreneurs overlook. It’s impossible not to be amused by the irony!
You establish a website, start a blog, and hope for the best instead of planning how your business will earn money. You say, “I’ll work out the money portion later.” When I initially started my business, I did the same thing. It’s more enjoyable to get started without worrying about the difficult portion.
Unfortunately, skipping the difficult portion is a bit naive. Like many Silicon Valley firms, you’ll have to find out how to earn money at some point. This frequently leads to the failure of enterprises, but it does not have to be the case. That’s why we advise entrepreneurs to think about how they’ll generate money in the long run straight now.
Here’s how that process from the beginning of this post should actually look:
- Choose a topic
- Choose an audience
- Choose how you will make money
- Start a blog
- Build an audience
- Learn about the issues that your target audience is facing in relation to your topic.
- Build a product or service that solves one or more audience problems using your money-making strategy.
- Sell that thing
- Mai-tais on the beach (if you’re lucky)
In other words, why wait until you’ve put in hundreds of hours of work and everything is on the line to ask, “How can I monetize my blog?” It’s too risky to leave it for later when you can tackle the problem head-on right now.
Five Easy Takeaways:
- You can build an audience first or a product first; it’s completely up to you.
- Regardless, you should decide what you’ll sell when you start your business instead of putting it off until later.
- There are five things you can sell in exchange for money from your customers.
- A blog is not a business. It’s a marketing channel.
- Use your blog or podcast as a tool to help your business make money.
How can you make money from a blog? By selling a product to those who are interested in it. Here’s the kicker: you don’t have to have a blog to accomplish that, do you?
If you’re an entrepreneur, the goal is not to start a blog. It’s to build a successful business. The two are not necessarily the same. I’ll bet you’d rather have a thriving business than a popular blog that makes no money.
So, how will you make money in your business? Tell us about it in the comments!