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The Seven Harsh Realities of Blogging for Bucks


The Saturday opening keynote at BlogWorld Expo 2010 featured Brian Clark, Sonia Simone, and Darren Rowse to talk about the seven harsh realities of blogging for bucks. Let’s take a look at them.

Harsh Reality #1: Free is not a a business model.

You do have to give away free content, but you need to sell something related to that content. You don’t have to know from the beginning what you want to sell, but you do have to know that people in your market are buying things. Consider you free content as advertising for your products. People will buy your information, even if you are attracting them with free content. The more information  you give away, the more people will buy your premium content.

“You can show most everything and it increases the desire to see the rest – and they will pay for it.” – Brian Clark

Harsh Reality #2: The push-button Internet cash machine is on the fritz.

There’s a lot of work go into blogging, so it isn’t a way to make money fast. Don’t believe the hype that you can make money fast – most times. There are things you can do to make money quickly, but only with a lot of dedication and work before you flip that switch. You have to think about it long-term.

“It makes money when you build something real and when you build something that matter to people.” – Darren Rowse

Harsh Reality #3: You are not scaleable.

You are going to get to a point where you have to set boundaries. You can’t make hundreds of thousands of connections every single day. Do what you can, but still have a life.

“You do not have to sacrifice yourself to social media.” – Sonia Simone

Harsh Reality #4: No One actually wants that much authenticity.

You can share the ways in which you make mistakes, but you have to maintain your authority. You don’t have to share everything. Don’t tell lies, but we don’t need to know every little detail of your life.You don’t want people to not do business with you business of things you post online. It’s not about you, it’s about your customer. You need to focus on them.

“Don’t be the real you, but the best possible you. Be who you want to be…that’s what authenticity is.” – Brian Clark

Harsh Reality #5: Social media hates selling.

People don’t like selling or being sold to, but you do have to sell. You can’t just go on Twitter and start pitching your product. You have to sell you first. You do that with your content, and great content should sell itself – eventually. You need to start building a network. Reach out to people who might be interested in your content. People love to share content on Twitter, so use it. Don’t think about it as a pitch, think of it as an offer instead – offer them something to buy instead of selling something. Observe your readers and make them products that they need.

“We don’t trust what people say about themselves…find a way to get other people to start talking about you.” -Brian Clark

Harsh Reality #6: A blog is not a business.

You can’t have the mindset that “maybe one day this will be a business.”  You need to think about your community and why they are there. Think about how to keep your readers there long-term.You don’t need to know how you’re going to get to that “business” level, but you do need to know where you’re going with your blog. Stay flexible, but at the same time, you need business goals.

“Think today about treating it as a business…you need to start thinking in that way to take it forward.” – Darren Rowse

Harsh Reality #7: No one is reading your blog.

You need to give your blog time to grow. This doesn’t happen overnight. If you still aren’t seeing traffic, the biggest reason that no one reads your blog is that no one cares about your content. It might be because no one is passionate about your topic, or it might be because you’re not writing about a topic in a fresh way. You don’t need to attract everyone, but you need healthy traffic. Find people who are focused on wanting to read what you want to write. Be either useful or entertaining – preferably both.

“You have to write about things in a way that people you want to reach give a damn about and found compelling.” – Sonia Simone



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