How To Remain Broke As A Blogger – Guaranteed!

A lot of bloggers have a big problem. This problem plagues them despite all efforts to monetize their own blogs.

That problem is… A crappy attitude about marketing.

What I’m about to say may hit home. I’m going to go for the jugular on this, because it is absolute suicide to an online business. If I offend you, then perhaps it is because I hit a little too close to the truth. Here we go:

A lot of bloggers have a big problem. This problem plagues them despite all efforts to monetize their own blogs.

That problem is… A crappy attitude about marketing.

What I’m about to say may hit home. I’m going to go for the jugular on this, because it is absolute suicide to an online business. If I offend you, then perhaps it is because I hit a little too close to the truth. Here we go:

Do you want to make real money with your blog? OK, then answer this:

  • Do you think that internet marketers are mostly scammers and despise their methods of selling to you?
  • Do you get nervous that your audience is going to get mad at you when you try to sell them something?

If you answered “yes” to either of those questions, you’re doomed. You’re just doomed. I’m not even going to bother to sugar-coat it.

Marketing is simply the practice of getting other people to agree with you. That’s it. It doesn’t have to mean sales. The fact that marketing is framed under such negative vibes by many bloggers is, well, just plain stupid.

The reality is that ALL bloggers are in the business of online marketing, whether they sell something or not. You want people to think your blog is pretty good and keep coming right? That takes marketing.

But, you said you want to make money. So, what about that?

Begging Business Woman If you answered yes to either of those questions above, then you come try to sell something, how’s that going to work? Well, it won’t work. What it leads to is PROPITIATION.

You sit there and GROVEL at the feet of your reader. You try to convince them that you’re OK because you’re not one of those “bad” marketers with sales letters and high prices. And because you’re so unsure of yourself, you low-ball the price to some insanely low figure. So, instead of actually marketing the e-book, you GROVEL like a little girl with your low price and hope people will feel enough compassion (because you’re not the evil marketer, remember) to take a gamble with a few bucks on you.

Oh, come on!

You don’t make sales by lowering your price and trying to tell people what a good person you are for not trying to sell it to them. That’s insane. And, that’s a sure-fire way to never make any money online.

The “buy it if you want it, and if not, whatever” approach doesn’t work. The “buy it because it is so cheap” approach is failure. Absolutely no value proposition.

Groveling doesn’t sell. Propitiation doesn’t sell. Do you want people to buy because they feel sorry for you or because they think you actually have something worth buying?

Nobody is going to buy from you because you’re the anti-marketer. They’re going to go buy from the people who DO market. Why? Because people respond to good marketing. Always have and always will.

So, while you sit there in your little high-and-mighty dream world, thinking you’re above the tactics of internet marketing, I hope you enjoy having little to no online income. Because that’s exactly where you’re going to stay.

You CAN be a blogger and a marketer at the same time. All the successful bloggers are. The key to good marketing is authenticity and offering real value to the reader. Do that, then act like a man and start telling people, with confidence, that what you have IS valuable.

Quit the propitiation. It is the digital equivalent of hanging a cardboard sign out on your website and begging for spare change.

About David Risley
David Risley is the founder of the Blog Marketing Academy, a 20-year veteran blogger and online entrepreneur. His focus? Building a reliable, recurring business around his "lifestyle" and the lives of his students. He has this weird obsession with traveling in his motorhome around the country with his wife and 2 kids. David also likes to talk about himself in the third person. In bios like this one. Read his full story.
  • Carl Burke says:

    Well David , Just cut through the chase, ouch! Speechless! did you comment?

  • That's the kind of passion I love to see. Brutal honesty man, I love it!

  • A lot of blogger don't want to monetize their blogs via ads or affiliate link , they just dont think that their audience will like the fact that the blog is being monetized. One should look to monitize the blog as soon as its launched to avoid such issues.

  • John Paul says:

    You either blog for fun or you blog to make money.

    If your blogging to make money then you need to market your blog..there is no other way.

    If you don't offer anything to be sold, then you wont make

    Again bloggers need to bring a Internet Marketing mentality to there blogging in 2010 if they want to make money.

    Nice angry vibe on this post I like it.

  • Tim_Jones says:

    Love it! Great stuff, David. I struggle with number two on occasion, but it's good to have a reminder from others in the industry that it's lethal thinking!

  • alisonkerr says:

    I'm trying hard to emerge from being doomed. I must admit, it takes a big change of attitude, and coming up with a value proposition.

  • This really spoke to me. And as I am up to my eyeballs in preparing to launch my own product line, I struggle with this very attitude issue. I do believe that I have a high quality product to offer my readers and I know I have to get over this very problem. You are inspiring me to take a much more aggressive approach to my marketing strategy and I thank you.

  • diypb says:

    Hey David…

    This is great stuff for someone like me who is just getting started in the internet marketing world. Everything I've seen you do and the way you market yourself and products seems to be straight forward and to the point, no fluff. I like that and I like the honesty you put forth.

    Great read

  • Mike CJ says:

    I remember being EXACTLY the blogger you describe when I launched my first product. I didn't need a proper sales page, I didn't need affiliates, I was keeping the price really low. I basically slipped it onto the market and expected it to sell because it was (and still is) a pretty good product.

    Guess what happened? A few kind people on my very small email list bought it……and then nothing.

    However good your product is, nobody will buy it unless you give them a compelling reason to do so. And that means marketing it professionally and properly, No tricks or sleaze, but just giving people a clear steer on the features and benefits, and then closing them. At the end of the day every piece of business done in the world is done like that, from Starbucks selling you a cup of coffee to Airbus selling Virgin the A380.

    Thank goodness (and you David!) I learned that lesson after only one disaster.

  • I used to think all internet marketers were scammers, then I became an internet marketer and began learning from people that are actually putting out great products and want to provide people with value for their money.

    I would take it one step further and ask “Do you have a bad attitude PERIOD!” Too many bloggers are stuck on being negative and talk about how everyone around them is “doing it wrong” or “just out to scam you” and at the same time, those bloggers are making NO MONEY!

    I will laugh all the way to the bank…..

  • Moon Hussain says:

    Excellent post, David. I'm new to the concept of being able to make money online and this post relates.

    I'm super excited about it all though and glad I stumbled upon this post.

  • Joe Gilder says:

    Just think about all the people you LIKE to hear from. I love it when I get an email from you, David, or from Apple about new products…or any number of other companies/people. I'm not going to always buy what they're selling, but I appreciate them letting me know about their latest offering.

    The few people who don't like it when you market to them…those people weren't gonna buy anyway. They'll unsubscribe and go on their merry, non-buying way. While the rest of the subscribers will appreciate what you offer, and many of them will crave your products/emails/promotions/marketing and will buy your product. If you're creating REAL (not pretend) value, you're doing your readers a disservice by not letting them know about it.

  • Dave Doolin says:

    Joella, I'm right there with you. I'm preparing myself to start over if my whole list runs away!

  • Rich Wallace says:

    Thanks for the kick in the ass, David. I can always count on your brutal honesty and motivation to keep my out of my comfort zone. Well said.

  • Greg Rollett says:

    Good post dude. Marketing and selling is all about mindset. Value is also about mindset. These days I ignore the customers and fans that think marketing is evil and focus my energy and value to those that see it as such. Once people realize this their business opens up dramatically. Have a good weekend man.

  • Hit the nail right on the head David. To make money blogging, you have to decide you want to make money blogging (or from your blog, depending on your perspective). Some people may accuse you of “selling out”, but if making money is what you want to do, stick with it.

  • David Risley says:

    Let her rip, right? 🙂

  • David Risley says:

    Agreed. It comes down to anchoring and positioning in the mind of your audience. If you don't position yourself as a person who puts out valuable stuff and charges for it, you run the risk of pissing people off when you try.

  • David Risley says:

    Hope I didn't get too pissy.

  • Dude, you are a case study in changing a mindset in order to achieve (more) success. I just love the energy coming from your direction lately…I sense an empire in your future.

  • Hell yeah. Looks like it paid off too!

    I need to watch out for you…if you keep showing this passion then I'm going to have to step up my game 🙂

  • David Risley says:

    One way to get around the doubt about the quality is to be in-tune with your readers via survey. Ask them what they need/want. Then, when you give it to them, you know you're doing them a service.

    To a point, there is always going to be that nagging question of whether you're actually producing good stuff, but trust me, that question is much more in YOUR mind than their's.

  • John Paul says:

    Nah man, just the right amount of

    Sometimes that's the only way people/bloggers will see whats right in front of them.

  • You and I battle over price quite often now that I think of it…that's changed in the past 6 months, but isn't it funny to look back and remember what it was like just getting started?

  • David Risley says:

    Starbucks is a prime example. They came in there and managed to sell coffee for $2-$3 when the MacDonalds across the street has it for a buck. Why? Smart marketing. For one, they changed the experience and make it more upscale. Good positioning and anchoring, and now Starbucks are everywhere.

    If Starbucks had come in and low-balled the coffee for cheaper than McD's, they wouldn't be here right now.

  • David Risley says:

    Hehee…. me too. I can think of a few bloggers who do that, too. They'll either learn or die off.

  • David Risley says:

    Well, I guess I was a bit more on-fire today than usual. 🙂

  • David Risley says:

    There is nothing “selling out” by offering something valuable to an audience which needs it.

  • brettburky says:

    Good post. I have to agree with you. However I remember before in a past post you spoke of building the trust factor and really get to know the people that follow your blog. I think that this would go hand and hand. There are blogs that I used to visit and then just don't know because all they do is talk about the next best thing.

    I think it is less selling and more suggestions and honest reviews that will bring in success. People trust and want to believe but if they get burned by a product that is sold to them, there is a chance that they will never come back.

    Just my opinion and I might be wrong, and if I am please tell me. I think to be a successful blogger and market, it must be earned.

  • Thanks Nathan, that is a real compliment coming from you.

  • Greg_Evans says:

    Wow! Now that was a great post! Truthful brutal honesty. Some of us love to think that we are above the level of having to market or sell to people, but the reality is we need money to survive in the this world, so yes, we need to make money, but the ethical way to do that is to provide value to your readers/customers. That is the key to successful marketing. (along with having the right attitude in believing and conveying that you have something of value to offer your readers)

  • I see what you're trying to do here, David. Convince people you're not really evil, when in fact, you are. Great marketing, dude. But I see through your little charade. I won't be fooled.

    I'm taking the high road and selling my next product for -$27. That's providing *real* value, man. I'd ask you to be an affiliate, but there's no way I'd want to give an evil person such as yourself the opportunity to pay others $13.50 to use my product. I'm not stupid.

  • I agree with you David, I was merely pointing out a popular phrase being used is all.

  • David Risley says:

    You're right, and I don't think you're saying anything which goes counter to what I'm saying.

    It goes hand in hand. Obviously, be helpful and get your audience to know, like and trust you. That goes without saying. The point of today's post is that, when you go to sell something, do so with confidence and don't sell yourself short.

  • David Risley says:

    Heheh… gotta love a comedian. 🙂

  • brettburky says:

    Gotcha, yeah without the confidence, sales is tough. Learned that when I used to pound the pavement selling stuff a long time ago. Good point.

  • virtuallin says:

    Sometimes I believe in the first one, and I used to have issues with the second one. Then, I remembered an old sales adage I was taught when I was selling Ballroom Dance lessons in the 90s; “Know your product, believe in your product and know the secrets of selling your product.” All 3 were necessary to make a sale. I think if you don't believe in your own value, you'll go over like a lead balloon. It's great to be humble, but not foolish.

  • I didn't care for marketing in business school, I never thought it was something I would use much. Now i am taking online courses to get better.

  • Eric says:

    I'm don't have much to say except that I agree. I'm not making money online, yet, and I do plan to in the future. I'm always wondering if what I might sell later on will be worth the money but realise that if I'm providing value and people DO end up buying it, it must have value to a point.

    Good post!

  • remarkablogger says:

    People talk about value, but what we're really talking about is the perception of value. And the person who has the most control over how value is perceived is the person writing the words. 🙂

  • David,

    Great Post, You told it like it is! As Always! Ramona…p.s. retweeted to my followers! Excellent!

  • Lisa Newton says:

    I know I'm offering value, but you're right a good swift kick in the pants is needed every now and then. I'm almost ready to launch my second e-book, and I have a different strategy in mind this time around. 🙂

  • Lisa Newton says:

    I love this example. Really spells it out.

  • Heath Close says:

    Nice. I love the “here's the truth even if you don't like it” approach. I don't like to mince words, and I appreciate people who can hear them.

    Also, thank you for teaching me a new word…Propitiation… I had to look that up 🙂

  • David, I have one word for this post.


  • michelewelch says:

    “That problem is… A crappy attitude about marketing.” LOL that was hilarious…and so true. Bottom line is if you are giving people unbelievable value than they will be willing to buy whatever you have to sell. I know from personal experience, I have a couple people I constantly buy from b/c I always feel what I get out of their products always outweigh the price ten-fold (and they are NOT cheap)!
    Great post…thank you.

  • Martyna says:

    How are you?
    I agree and I don't. As there is one situation when you have something really great to say- meaning individual and create so much value to people that you just became an authority, and your name will help you sell in the future.

  • evanhadkins says:

    But the tactics of the internet marketing scammers don't always include authenticity and real value. Which is why so much of this rant is beside the point.

    None of us bloggers object to authenticity and real value. We object to people who don't do this telling us to do otherwise because this was how they became successful.

  • Dan says:

    “to be in-tune with your readers via survey. Ask them what they need/want. Then, when you give it to them, you know you're doing them a service.”

    Good advice, but you fell far short of doing this in your last survey…

    Good advice in this post though

  • David Risley says:

    Not really. What I often see is bloggers who lump all marketers into the same group, then proceed to shun them and do the opposite. Even you seem to be lumping them all into the group of “internet marketing scammers”. Dude, they're not all scammers. SOME are, not all. Most of the guys doing pretty well in the biz are doing it honestly, because you don't last long online if you screw people over longterm.

    It is the knee-jerk reaction against all of it that I am ranting against here.

  • David Risley says:

    Not sure I'm getting you. I am doing surveys fairly often, plus I get constant feedback from the audience by way of comments, emails, tweets, the Blog Masters forums, etc. So, yes, I am doing it all the time, and when I offer things for sale, trust me, I KNOW I'm doing a service and offering something they need. If nobody needed it, I wouldn't bother.

  • larryelkins says:

    I'm just at the point of seriously monetizing my web photo gallery site and various blogs. Your post, I suspect, will be invaluable.

  • Dotcomnote says:

    Excellent point. I don't consider myself a scammer. I only sell to financially challenged people. There are lots of them who are financially challenged and they will buy expensive products for $40 with a monthly continuity instead of searching for the same stuff online for $4. For example, clean colon. What is that stuff any way? I will never buy for myself. But I sell them. For me blogging is a facade and CPA is the real money maker.

  • I have no respect for that…

    That's why I hate CPA.

  • Ivan Walsh says:

    their target audiences are totally different, no?

  • There's no shame in making money as long as you are either providing or promoting quality products or services.

    I think bloggers who “want to make money” but have a crappy attitude about marketing are like people who “want to win the lottery” but don't buy a ticket.

  • SHerdegen says:

    David, thanks for this post and for in general, laying it out for everyone.

    I'm still struggling with the focus of my blog and what my goals are, but this is good food for thought.

  • Kicked up a hornets nest there didn't you? 🙂

  • mkakan says:

    really hurts but true…

  • This is the true and thanks for sharing David. It might be blunt but some people need to here it plain and simple. It all comes down to the positive attitude that we have. Many internet marketers don't have enough confidence in themselves do what it takes to become successful. Thanks for reminding us David, from experience, of what it takes to become a successful internet marketer!

  • Raivyn says:

    Too pissy? No way.

  • Leon Noone says:

    G'Day David,
    I couldn't agree more. Anyone who imagines that they can earn enough to live on through a blog had better learn how to sell. Having said that, I believe that it helps heaps to learn about marketing too. It seems to me that much so called “internet marketing” is just old fashioned, foot in the door “selling by harangue.”

    Marketing and selling are siblings. They are not identical twins. Marketing a business
    successfully is a necessary prerequisite to selling the products and services of that business.
    “Marketing occurs in the mind” said Al Reis and Jack Trout in their marketing classic “Positioning.”
    It's a good place to start if you're genuinely interested in making money in business. And if you find yourself saying “monetizing” remember how ugly jargon turns readers off.



  • Vance Sova says:

    Hi David,

    What you are saying is tough but true I think.

    I can't stand it when bloggers who have ads on their blog and obviously are trying to monetize are badmouthing internet marketers who are marketing very openly and don't hide the fact that they want to make money selling their offerings.

    This is my first visit to your blog. I saw your post on Problogger and commented there too.
    Didn't agree with that one fully but with part of it.

    I don't have your experience and my views may not be spot on but they aren't set in concrete.
    Just the way I see things at present.


  • Briesauce says:

    I like that you don't hold anything back, some people can't handle that. Probably because they take it too personal. But the ones that are taking it personal, are the ones that actually need to listen the most.

  • imranyousaf says:

    David there is a concept in marketing that is “Pricing Strategy”. Either you set low price to penetrate into market or you have option to set high price to skim the market. Price your product reasonably and then decide your pricing strategy. Too low price will spoil your product but too much high price will also limit your sales. So pricing is all about your strategy to rule in market. You have this article explained very well. I would like to know what is Strategy for your Products so that we have a clear isea? Do you tried both pricing strategies, if yes which one was more beneficial? Share your experience.

  • Julius says:

    Authenticity and confidence are truly two key factors in succeeding in selling your product or service. You can have good content but if you lack the ability to convince people that your product is worth buying, they won't really notice you.

  • Trish Jones says:

    David, you are so right! I tell people this all the time – “if you consider every offer you receive a pitch fest, you'll never make a dime online” and I'm sure you know, these people just don't … make it online that is.

    I love your down-to-earth approach David and so glad to be one of your new subscribers.

  • heatherporter says:

    Great stuff David. This reminds me of the similar mindset that the talkers (not the doers) exhibit, meaning “one day I will start a blog” or “one day I will make money online.” You wrote this in a nice “get over yourself” sort of way by stating the simple truth that if you are an expert at something and have great resources, you are actually doing the world a disservice by not sharing. Thanks. I am now a subscriber.

  • nelley says:

    hello Joella,
    I tried to sign up on your site and it says your address is invalid. then tried to contact you via the link on the page and it told me I was from a spam location (I'm onlie at work) and disconnected the contact me section.

  • Maria Muir says:

    Hi David, Would you also apply this with a membership site, or start at a very low price as an incentive but after a few weeks make an increase?

  • taylormarek says:

    Awesome content as usual David. It kind of reminds me of the time Yaro finally took a stand on his blog and said, “Enough!”

    This is a constant battle and always will be. It is a hard mindset to overcome, trust me, I had to do it myself. I originally thought of this as a hobby four years ago but came to the hard realization that it would remain that way unless I took the next step and treated it like a business.

    Keep up the awesome work, you have lots of people behind you. 🙂

  • David,

    I really appreciate you emailing me. What exactly were you trying to
    sign up for? RSS feed or RSS to email? I am a little fuzzy on that.

    My contact page told you that you were spam? How rude! Like I'm not
    having enough problems lately. Please, if you have time send me more
    details. I will look into the contact form and try to figure out what it
    is doing.

    Again many thanks. Is there anything else I can help you with in the
    mean time? I really thought I was a very accessible person and now I
    find that my site is conspiring to isolate me. Oh Pooh!

    Many Thanks & Warmest Regards,

  • Ms. Freeman says:

    Products definitely need to be priced in accordance to their value. I have seen so many eBooks out there that are priced at $7 or $9 and I have no intention purchasing any of them becuase the “publishers” don't exhibit enough confidence in their product that I fear I'll be the new owner of a bunch o crap.

    Another problem I think is going on is that this new wave of bloggers want there product to fly off the shelves in the first few days of its release, so they low ball the price. Then along will come the post,”I just released my product yesterday and it's nearly sold out” or they'll slash the price to $5….LOL

  • Andy says:

    Good shout David, this is a common problem for many new online marketers and understandable to some extent. Point well made and another valuable tip from someone that's doing it the right way.

  • Andy says:

    Yes Susanna the truth often hurts lol, but most of us have been there so Heyho!

  • james says:

    It's you again telling it like it is. good stuff

  • I definitely agree here. It's all about our crappy attitude in marketing that make us broke.

  • Well said, I am pulling the proverbial finger out (You can hear the pop from there). Good advice, short, sharp and to the point (I can still feel the sting)

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