- Darren Rowse doesn’t make his money from Problogger.
- Brian Clark doesn’t make his money from Copyblogger.
- Chris Brogan doesn’t make his money from his blog, either.
- Neither does Sonia Simone.
Not a single founding member of Third Tribe earns the bulk of their income from the blogs that are practically (or in Brogan’s case, literally) synonymous with their names.
Yes, they make some money directly from those blogs. But revenue directly from the blog doesn’t represent the bulk of their income. Not by a long shot.
So why do so many bloggers equate blog success with financial success?
Many, if not most, of the bloggers I see are hoping that their blogs will make them popular. They are also hoping their blogs will make them money. This isn’t exactly surprising. Fame and riches are supposed to go hand in hand, after all.
But when you need a new stream of income tomorrow, you don’t write ten more blog posts.
You create a new product. You launch an email campaign. You make a special offer. You network. You find a great new JV partner. You ask for referrals and check in with your current clients.
Similarly, when you want to get more subscribers for your blog tomorrow, you don’t launch a product.
You write better content. You get more active on social media. You guest post on other people’s blogs. You link to other good articles. You improve your SEO.
Building a profitable business and creating a popular blog are two different things
Related, yes. But different.
The most popular blogs you know do not make most of their money simply by racking up the subscriber numbers. They make their money with products, consulting, services, and advertising.
They make their money by running a successful business. The fact that they run a popular blog facilitates that business.
If Brian wants to launch a product tomorrow, he has a big, engaged audience to whom he can launch it.
Having a huge audience who will listen when you launch a product isn’t the profitable part, though.
The profitable part is that Brian will create a product that his audience wants and needs. He’ll run an informative and compelling launch. He’ll have an affiliate program that works and a sales sequence that converts prospects into buyers.
Does the large subscriber base help with that product launch? Absolutely. But the blog itself is not the thing that’s making money.
If Copyblogger, with its magnificently large platform, were to launch a terrible product with a really weak campaign and only promoted it with a few blog posts to this vast audience of readers, they wouldn’t make enough money to pay my grocery bill.
Having a popular blog is not enough. You still have to build the business.
No, of course you shouldn’t neglect your blog
There are many, many virtues to a popular blog: social proof, credibility, enhanced visibility. They’re good for forging new business contacts and partnerships. They’re good for attracting potential customers for the products you’ll make or services you’ll provide.
They’re brilliant for creating relationships. I don’t know my dentist as well as I know some bloggers. And I trust my dentist with my teeth even though he comes at them with a variety of pointy things with hooks on their ends. Blogs help us make those trusting, potentially valuable connections, and for that reason alone, they’re worth pouring time and energy into.
But no matter how hard you try, your subscriber numbers are never going to magically transform themselves into your bank balance.
When it comes to making money, simply having a blog isn’t enough. Now you have to take all the things the blog has given you — visibility, authority, a reputation for knowing your industry, social proof — and put them to work building you a profitable business.
Because it won’t happen on its own.
If you want to use your blog as a jumping-off place for that business, though, Third Tribe has got you covered.
The seminar you’ll want to listen to is the 4-part series on Building a Business Around a Blog, which features interviews with Sonia Simone, Darren Rowse, Chris Brogan, Brian Clark, and Leo Babauta of Zen Habits. They cover a lot of ground, including:
- The three factors your blog must have if you want to make serious money with advertising
- Brogan’s two favorite ways to start bringing in revenue by using a blog
- The specifics about where the bulk of their income really comes from (you may be surprised)
- Why “blogging about blogging” isn’t the way to go
- How Darren uses surveys to build his business (and why Brian doesn’t)
- A quick creativity technique to develop the next killer idea for your business
- How to handle pushback if your customers respond negatively to your products
I listened to all four of these interviews. And not once, in hours of discussing techniques, business-building ideas, and marketing strategy, did any of these bloggers say that the best way to make money was to get more subscribers.
They’ve got a few ideas for how to do that too, though. Because blogs are valuable — just not in the way you think.
You can get instant access to all four seminars (and a dozen more), as well as Q&A sessions and the web’s best networking forum for internet businesspeople, by joining the Third Tribe today.
About the Author: Taylor Lindstrom is a freelance copywriter and Assistant Editor of Copyblogger. She’s taking lots of notes about how to turn sharp copywriting into a profitable business.