What? Is this supposed to be a pun? Nope! I mean every word in that…
In the recent past, the question of what a bloggers product should really be has been the subject of many blogs.
Before now, the generally accepted business model for nearly every blog was the paid advertising model where you create a blog that aims to make money through selling ads and possibly promoting affiliate products.
Like I mentioned in my post detailing the lessons I have learned in 4 year of blogging, this model has really become a highly competitive one. But beyond just being highly competitive some bloggers actually see this model as wrong one.
They reason that a blog which runs on this model is simply treating the readers as their products, i.e. build a large following of readers and then look for an advertiser to pay you for placing ads. In this, they reason that since the advertisers pay you based mostly on the numbers of readers (traffic) you have, the readers are therefore your main products which to them is unethical!
Then, others believe that selling ads on a blog is basically a wrong approach and that you MUST have your own product as a blogger if you truly want to make money blogging!
However you look at it, all of these arguments may be correct but unfortunately rather than help, many budding bloggers have become confused about what next steps to take in their blogging journey.
In this post my aim therefore is to help clear the fog this may have caused.
Don’t See Yourself Simply As a Blogger, See Yourself as a Business!
I don’t know what brought you into blogging. But one thing I know is that a good number of those who read the webincomejournal.com are here because they want to make money with their blogs. For these ones, my advice is:
“Approach your blog as a business right from the word go. Instead of just seeing yourself as a blogger, see yourself as a business!”
This approach does not only help you to set your target audience right from the beginning but also help you to define what to offer. Unfortunately, many of the blogs out there can really be classified as “Just another WordPress Blog” and nothing more.
Recommended: How to Build a Business and Not Just a Blog!
Now, there are 3 basic requirements for any business to succeed online, which are:
1. A product that has value in itself.
2. A platform through which you can effectively communicate that value; and
3. Visitors who want what you’re selling
A careful look will reveal that the main issue is the #1 requirement, a product that has value in itself and I think this is the reason why many bloggers are concerned about product creation.
Your Product Most Times Depends On Your Business Model!
For any blogger to really understand the issue of product creation, he/she will need to know what business model he/she is running or intends to run. Truth is, there are different business models you can choose from to make money online. These models basically can be classified into the following:
Model #1 – Free or Open Access
This is mostly found in businesses promoting digital content. Everyone has free access to the “product” without first giving anything for it in advance. The product offered may be in the form of text (like on your blog), video (like on Youtube.com), audio, software, or any other digitally deliverable goods or services.
Model #2 – Restricted Access
Unlike the free access, this model aims to get something in advance from the person wishing to acquire the product. This “price” paid in advance could be something as simple as your personal contact information (physical or email address) which gives the product provider a way to deliver the content to you. This model is mostly common with physical goods but can also be used in delivery of free subscription content or digital information products.
Model #3 – Paid Access
This one is quite obvious. You have to offer money before the “product” is delivered. This could be seen in operation in membership based content delivery systems, and of course, in nearly every other online business where either a physical product or digital product is being sold. Unfortunately, because this model asks for the money before the “product” is delivered, many only see this as the only true business model where a product is truly involved. But this is far from the truth.
Now, take a look at these 3 models and you will discover that as a blogger, you can easily use any of them in making money with your blog. You could pick any of these business models or combine two or even the three!
But, How Do This Help You With Your Product As A Blogger?
Here are my suggestions:
1. Threat Every One of Your Posts as a Product
As you do know I’m an advocate of valuable content (remember, content is not king, but value is!) This is actually what you should do with every one of your blog post. Threat it as a product and make sure it offers value to the reader. Simply regurgitating other people’s content on your blog in other to keep it updated will not help you. Your blog readers must see and get value from every post published on your blog. By so doing, even if you want to charge for your content, people will be ready to pay for it.
2. Focus On and Listen To Your Readers
No matter what others believe, my belief is that your readership is your target market and not your product! You must aim to provide value for them every time. But you cannot do this except you listen to them to know what they want.
But how do you listen to them?
Go through the comments on your own blog with your “ears to the ground.” Read other blogs in your niche but instead of just skimming through the posts and jumping in to post a comment, read each post with your mind wide open to pick up the frustrations and challenges exposed in the posts and comments. Do this over time and you’ll be able to provide more value on your blog which will boost your brand and subsequently, bring you more business.
3. Make Your Blog an Online Real Estate
One thing about real estate properties is that they have a way of growing in value with time. You should aim therefore at turning your blog into a valuable property by continuously proving value with your content. One way to do this is to answer questions being asked by your target market. Most of these questions may be pressing issues while others are just trivial ones. No matter what they are turn your blog into a digital platform that answers those questions and with time your blog will become an online real estate – a property whose value will increase over time.
4. Package Your Knowledge and Skills for Sale
I see the blogger as a vastly skilled individual. From what I have seen across the blogosphere, it is clear that a blogger who can create valuable content or provide a professional service to clients and does it well can definitely create a product of their own. And so, once you have been able to build your personal or business brand, your target as a blogger should be on how to package your knowledge and skills for sale.
Your product as a blogger depends largely on the blogging business model you have chosen. But you shouldn’t wait until you have created a particular “product” before you consider yourself to have a product as blogger.
Your “product” should start with every post you publish on your blog. Remember, there are many who are charging a fee to have access to their content because that is the business model they have chosen. If however, no one will be ready to give you money for the content you are publishing on your blog right now, creating a “product” will not bring you that eureka!
Start today, position yourself not just as a blogger but as a business and starting from there, give value to your target market and the issue of creating a product will resolve itself.
Over to you: There you have my thoughts about this issue of, what is your product as a blogger? Now is your turn.
Do you think monetizing your blog with third party ads is a wrong model?
Do you agree that except you have created a “product” then you do not have a “product” as a blogger?
Share with us in your comments below
I believe that having your own product as a blogger is very good because not only will you make money from it but you will also be seeing as an authority and someone who knows what he is talking about, but that’s when your product is worth it.
But not having a product can not stop anyone from making some dough with his blog. I think its all about figuring out what works for your own blog, if promoting some affiliate offers will do it for you, then go for it.
On the other hand, if placing some private adds also works for you, it’s still good.
Thanks for sharing friend.
BTW: Sorry i didn’t call you again yesterday, i was very busy.
Yea, I completely agree with that reason of being seen as an authority in your field when you create a product. But don’t forget that that authority actually start with your blog content. If on your blog you have not being offering valuable content and you go on to create an info product, no one will take a look because you have not been able to establish that authority in your blog. This is why I advocate that you must start with your blog posts.
No to worry my man, I’ll get across to you. My end has also been hectic.
I think keeping a blog for earning money simply through advertising is a wrong approach..The profits are miniscule compared to what one could earn if he has an own product..Affiliate marketing gains you bad reputation, especially if you market bad products..
For sure when you have your own product you can always earn more than selling ads on your blog. But the fact is that not every one who is blogging has a product or will be able to put together a product. If you can find some ways of getting more advertisers to buy ad spots on your blog, I think it is not much of a problem.
Well, I was wondering how affiliate marketing can give one a bad reputation, but then I think your reason is clear. This is why is important that before you promote a product try as much as possible to know what the product is all about. If possible try it out.
Thanks for the comment.
For me, blogging is about making relationships and building a community.
I don’t really think of each post as a product, more how I can help or connect with more people in the blogosphere.
I disagree with Joe that affiliate marketing can gain you a bad reputation. I don’t see any harm in having advertising on your blog so long as you use and own the products you’re promoting. I have a couple of ads on my blog but they’re not the focus or the be-all and end-all of my blog.
I really like your angle there: building relationships with your blog. I am sure that many bloggers will say this is one of the things they do on their blogs. But come to think of it, did you start the blog simply because you want to build a community? I mean, is the community the be all of the blog? Is the community you are building a means to an end?
Now, whether the community is the main focus or it is just a means to an end, I will say you are definitely treating your posts as products even when you do not mean to. I’m sure in every post, you definitely want to give something that your readers will read and come out saying,WOW, you’ve just made my day!
Even when they did not pay to have access to that post, but you have just given them what they truly wanted. Approaching your posts as products don’t really mean you will want give them something that answers the all time question: what’s in it for me! Fact is, it is when you take your post as a product (which if the need arises they will be willing to give their money for it) that your post can go beyond the average in the community.
More than selling products, for me blogging is about contributing something valuable not only to readers but also to the community. I’ve gained a lot of friends through blogging and it never ceases to amaze me how distance seemed a lot shorter on the net!
That is really the truth. One sure force on the blogosphere is the friendliness and comraderie amongst bloggers. But I must say this is one of the things that is also making it more difficult for many bloggers to make anything.
I must say, I got into blogging as a business and not just about friendship. I know this is hard to say but the truth just need to be said. Now, you will understand that when you begin to treat a business like some social gathering or when friendship now takes over the main aspect of business, making anything from that business becomes a problem.
Most bloggers who I interact have now come to take the friendship aspect of blogging as a bigger part than the business part. But I don’t really know how long they will be able to carry on with that.
For me friendship is not about making some profit so when I build only friends around my business it is going be difficult to sell anything to them. I don’t know if you understand my point here. But the fact, is that when you take blogging to be only about building friendships then you are not really in business. Or don’t you think so?
treating every post as a product is a really interesting idea. In my opinion, this attitude could improve the quality of our content. In this way, we could think of increasong the value of our content and view it thorugh the eyes of our visitors who mainly look for their personal potential benefits. Otherwise, we could hardly make them keep coming back to our blog or at least read a single post up to the end.
You get the idea very clear indeed! It’s simply about you taking your blog readers as “customer” and as they say, the customer is king. Your part therefore is to package your content is such a way that the “customer’ is the king is satisfied with what you are offering.
Thanks for the comment.
This is perfect.
I’m using my blog as a showcase now on my Freelancer site.I’m getting the designing projects from the Freelancer, which I don’t actually do as I am more of a developer
But I could make out that people like to see the work and THE AUTHENTIC work.
Thanks Chadrack for this one.
P.S I visit your blog regularly but couldn’t easily make out the latest post from your home page and therefore miss the posts like this one. Now I know where to look for the new posts on your blog.
You’ve covered a great topic here Chadrack, let me share my views.
I think It depends on you, your goals. You have to think of It’s future plan and think of what you want to do before starting your blog. For instance, If you want to start a niche blog just to make money, than you have to find a perfect monetizing method for it. Launching your own product is must It’s enough to send the signals that you mean business, for business purpose and to brand yourself.