I know a lot of people who have a lot of really good ideas. They start blogs. They write great posts. They engage readers on social networking sites.
And they fail.
At least, in terms of making a living as a full-time blogger, they fail, because they never actually make any money from their work. They might have thousands of followers on Twitter and dozens of comments on every blog post, but the best ideas in the world can’t save you from failing is you forget one key step: analyzing your market’s wallet.
When I first started freelance writing, I took a job with a fairly well-known blogging network at the time, which I won’t name here. They had great ideas for blogs – relevant topics that were in popular niches. They hired some great writers and built up a nice little community. The problem? They never actually thought about how they were going to convert pageviews into sales. Sure, they made a little money getting people to click on Google ads, but Adwords alone isn’t going to drive any blog to success.
It comes down to asking yourself two questions:
- Who is my average reader?
- How does my average reader spend his/her money?
Let’s use some fake blogs I’ve devised as examples. Say I write a cooking blog, where I post recipes and reviews of kitchen products. Here’s how I would answer those questions:
- My average reader is female, between the ages of 25 and 50, and likely married with kids or thinking about having kids.
- My average reader has to be careful with her money. She spends it first on bills and then on things that will improve her family’s life.
Of course, this blog probably has male readers, retired readers, single readers, etc. We’re going for an overall average here. Now let’s look at a complete different blog. Say I run a site that posts movie reviews and red carpet news. Here’s how I would answer those same questions:
- My average reader is likely between the ages of 15 and 35, enjoys celebrity gossip and pop culture, and is single or newly married.
- My average reader spends money on entertainment, but is often short on cash. He or she probably has some credit card debt, but will splurge to have fun with friends.
Again, not every reader will fit those descriptions, but we’re going for average here.
The common blogger, whether writing at the cooking blog or the movie blog, tries to make money the same way – posting banner ads. It just doesn’t make sense. Yes, you’ll make some money that way if you build traffic, but you have completely different readers with completely different needs and spending habits. Why would you ever try to make money from those people in the same way? It doesn’t make sense.
Instead, take some time to more closely analyze your market’s wallet.
- When they make emotional purchases, what do they buy?
- Do they shop online or at brick-and-mortar businesses?
- How much spending cash to they have after paying monthly bills?
- Why problems do they have in life that they would be paying to solve?
That last one is a biggie, because it’s how you can make sales. Going back to my examples, at the cooking blog, one of the problems readers have is not having more time with their families. Would they be willing to pay for a cookbook that taught them how to get kids involved in the kitchen? It’s likely.
You don’t even have to create products at this point if you’re not able to do so yet. Sign up as an affiliate and start selling products on commission. Once you’ve brainstormed the items that your market is purchasing, it’s easy to offer those products and see an immediate jump in profit on your blog.
Analyzing your market’s wallet is easier in some niches that others, but it’s an important step no matter what your blog is about. Unless make a few bucks with Adwords every month is you idea of a decent income, you have to treat your blog more like a business. The best blog idea in the world will only be a hobby if you don’t sell something to your readers.