This post was a request from Eric.
How to Create Business from a Blog
First, let’s agree that there are many ways to create business from a blog. I’ll cover a handful to start. You’re very welcome to share more advice and ideas in the comments section.
Blogs are a wonderful piece of software to use as a home base for several kinds of website projects. For example, I believe Chris Pearson used a WordPress blog to build his DIYThemes.com site. There, he’s selling a beautiful theme called Thesis for $87. That’s one way to create business from a blog: a simple sales platform.
Another way is through Affiliate Marketing. For example, go back and hover your mouse over the URL for the two links to Chris’s latest project. You should see this: http://diythemes.com?a_aid=t4ag3 . That part after the ? is an affiliate code. Some sites don’t really divulge that they’re doing affiliate marketing. Others make disclosure very vital. Now that you know to look for it, you might look at other blogs you read and see when they’re slipping you an affiliate tag here and there.
Want to learn more about Affiliate Marketing? I’ve been reading Revenews, and I also plan to attend (and speak at) the upcoming Affiliate Summit event in Boston in August 2008. One reason why I plan to attend is to understand this space more, because I’m still not 100% sure how I feel about the variations on the theme. Affiliate marketing is a multi-billion dollar industry, so there’s something there to consider.
Blogs are a great way to establish thought leadership, and further, to encourage lead generation. For instance, a lot of what I do by writing this blog is share with the world at large what I know about social media and how it might apply to your business. My primary goal is to give you as much information as I can possibly share, so that you can likely run off and solve most things on your own.
My secondary goal is to encourage you to contact me, should you have business needs. I work with CrossTech Partners to help me fulfill larger projects (such as building Market Relationship Management platforms and the like). This blog often starts conversations with people who need next-step help. And that’s great. It’s another value, and another way to create business from a blog.
A great person who gives in abundance with her blog is Liz Strauss. She derives some amount of leads from her thoughtful and meaningful efforts, too.
He could tell you this every day, but Brian Clark has been praising the value of content marketing since 2006. This is basically how the Financial Aid Podcast brought millions in revenue to Christopher S. Penn‘s Student Loan Network. There’s nothing shady about it. Chris creates great podcasts and blog posts and uses the trust earned through information sharing and helping others as one way to drive sales of his primary product: student loans. He’s the only student loan guy I know who gets profiled by BusinessWeek, The Wall Street Journal, and all kinds of other press.
See also Gary Vaynerchuk, the only wine seller I know who has a Hollywood agent. He’s that cool.
Content marketing is essentially doing great things with content but with a goal that this work leads back to a sale on top of being useful and interesting. To me, this is where it’s at right now. If I were looking to build even more business, and I might just do so, I’d blend content marketing with a mix of my own products, and perhaps some well-chosen affiliate opportunities, and start from there.
By the way, content marketing has the added benefit of helping you with organic search engine optimization, meaning it helps people searching for things find it easier.
There are lots of other ways to make money from a blog. I’m definitely not qualified to talk about search marketing, for instance, but this article by Paul J. Bruemmer looks like a useful starting point. There are also projects like Ted Murphy’s Izea, which covers pay-per-post and Social Spark. I’m not versed enough to talk about any of these, but maybe Ted will stop by and talk about his, or you can swing by the IZEA blog.
The web is an interesting place to make money these days, and there are many ways to take a swing at it. Be open about what you’re doing. Be helpful. Offer value. And maybe something will come of it for you.
**Update: I’m not sure how I forgot Darren‘s and Chris‘s book – ProBlogger: Secrets for Blogging Your Way to a Six-Figure Income . (And yes, that’s an affiliate link). 😉
If you have some other great ideas for creating business from a blog, let’s talk about them in the comments. Some will be promoted to the main post via updates, so please fill out your URL when you comment, so I can give you credit if I use it in the post.
What do you think?
The Social Media 100 is a project by Chris Brogan dedicated to writing 100 useful blog posts in a row about the tools, techniques, and strategies behind using social media for your business, your organization, or your own personal interests. Swing by [chrisbrogan.com] for more posts in the series, and if you have topic ideas, feel free to share them, as this is a group project, and your opinion matters.