How A Blog Really Makes Money

In this episode, I revisit the TRUE function of the blog and how a blog actually fits into the scheme of things. This episode will provide a “birds eye view” of the business model, where a blog fits into it and what the purpose is…. and you’ll see how a blog actually makes money. If you understand this, you’ll save yourself a lot of time and effort chasing unicorns. 😉

Episode #148 | Episode Date: January 27, 2016

Periodically, I feel I need to go back and revisit the “big picture” about how a blog actually makes money.

See, most people who start a blog with the intention of monetizing it do it with certain expectations in mind. Usually, it has to do with talking “about” something they find interesting, building a big community and audience, getting famous and getting a following…. THEN monetizing using ads and affiliate products.

That’s cute…. but it rarely works. It is what most people try…. and it works for some, but definitely not most.

In this episode, I revisit the TRUE function of the blog and how a blog actually fits into the scheme of things. This episode will provide a “bird’s eye view” of the business model, where a blog fits into it and what the purpose is…. and you’ll see how a blog actually makes money.

If you understand this, you’ll save yourself a lot of time and effort chasing unicorns. 😉

So today, what I want to do is…

I’m going to talk about something that I’ve talked about before because I feel like it is something that needs to be addressed ever so often to remind people. And what I want to do is just to talk in a bird’s eye view of exactly how a BLOG makes MONEY.

How does a blog fit in to the entire thing? And the reason why I feel the need to re-state this, periodically, is the fact that I have people coming in to the fold at the Blog Marketing Academy in this podcast all the time. So, the things that I have said in the past; it is not like you guys may have all heard that before… But the other thing is that I know that I am up against the headwind of exactly how people think blogs tick and what their true purpose is, is when it comes to making money. And I am; even though a lot of people out there who make money with blogs do it in the way that I teach, it seems like this is general feeling out there among bloggers that it is “different”. And that is that they are trying to turn it in to some kind of a media publication and get famous and then “monetize it” using ads and things like that.

So let’s first go in to what most people think blogging is all about when it comes to making money.

What Most People Think… And Do

So most people, they start a blog where their main goal is simply to talk about something that other people are interested in. And that’s it. That is really about as deep as it goes. Now, when it comes to choosing your market and all that; it usually goes a couple of different ways. Most people try to determine what they are personally passionate about. And so, many of you guys might already know; “Yeah, I am passionate about Topic X”, whatever it might be. Other people kind of have to figure it out because they do not really know. And then the other thing is that they go and they will do keyword research and all these things in order to find search volume on things and that to them is indication that there is interest; and then they might go and they look at competition and “Well, there’s not a lot of other people talking about that so there must be an opening it, maybe I’ll try and go and talk about it.”

But the big key thing there is that they view the blog as a place to go and talk about things. And so, essentially, it is a water cooler on the internet. Now, it is not necessarily a water cooler that other people can talk back on, although people try to turn it into one using the blog comment system. But have you noticed on your blog or maybe on other people’s blog that blog comments isn’t really the most “active” thing in the world? I mean, at some sites it is, but generally speaking, most people are not commenting on blogs as much as they used to. They still do, but a lot of that conversation go on over to social platforms like Facebook, and Google and Twitter and that type of things. So this whole thing; looking at a blog as primarily a big discussion platform where you are the leader of this community and you are talking and you get people to react and you are kind of building up your fame; I can see where it comes from, but let’s be real… This is not how we are going to make our money with this blog… the idea of starting a blog that simply talks about something and then trying to build a community around that and gain popularity and be all famous and have a lot of followers and that type of thing…

…And then what do you do to monetize that? You go “Well, now that I have got this audience in place, let’s go and make money on ads.” Or if you are a little bit more advance than that, you might go in to affiliate marketing. And so, if you are in a market where there happens to be a lot of obvious affiliate products and you try to do those things or if you are not, you try to get all crazy with Amazon affiliate links or something like that. Typically what you will end up doing is putting banners in your sidebar and all that and you cross your fingers and you hope that all these people who now think that you are all famous and awesome will click on those things and buy things. Now, you get some people who will do paid blog posts where you have this community, you have these people who come and they live by whatever it is that you say on your blog, if you get to that point. And you think, “Well, I now have the opportunity to have sponsors to give me money so that I can talk about their products on my blog.” And yes, that is a way to make money. But it didn’t work for most people. You got a lot of traffic, to be worth it to these people. Not only that, let’s be honest… I can think of some not so nice terminologies that describe people who will basically sell themselves for money. And that is kind of what you are doing! Do you really want to go down that route; like to sell your blog content to other people? Do you want to do that?

And then, if you get a little bit more advance and you are following the world of internet marketing; which a lot of bloggers do, they start thinking about things like memberships and membership sites. But the thing is, because all they are really doing is talking about something, they look at the membership as the fact that somebody is going to pay on a monthly basis to watch you talk about something even more that you are already talking about that thing. And does that really worth to people pay so they will get more of what they are already getting on your site for free? Not so much. Not in most cases, unless you are really, really awesome at building up your personal brand. So this is what most people think of when it comes to using a blog to make money. It is a popularity thing, and then you funnel people into other people’s stuff and you try to make money as middleman. Alright?

So, it is not that that approach can’t work for people. It just that it doesn’t work for most. And a lot of bloggers out there who try to do that, thinking that they are going to talk about some topic they are interested in and build a lot of followers and monetize with that sense and all that, most of the time it doesn’t work out very well or the money that you generate from that is so little, you’ll start to question whether it is even worth all the work.

Let’s move over into the “Reality” of how a blog makes money. This is the way that I teach. It seems awfully obvious when you hear it but this is the way that it works. And I think that those of you who might find yourself going down the route that I just talked about, you need to maybe look at the bird’s eye view of this and really look at what you are doing and why…

The Reality

The reality of how a blog makes money is that the blog is merely an attraction mechanism. Okay? The blog’s purpose in life; its reason for existing is merely to attract people who are interested in something. So the blog is kind of like you have a piece of meat out there and you have got the wolves out in the woods, and your blog is kind of like the odor of that meat. J And the odor is out there permeating the woods, permeating the trees and the idea is that you are trying to attract the animals out in the woods.

Now obviously, I am giving you an analogy here. I am obviously not equating people to animals but it is just an analogy to get you to understand what the blog is really doing. It is attracting people out from the forest, coming to you and you are going to give them a piece of meat which is going to be your blog post. They came there because they are interested in that.

Now, here is the thing… It needs to be oriented around something that you deliver to them. They came to your blog because they are looking to do something; to solve some problem, to fulfill some need or desire that they have. That is why they arrive on your blog, you gave them a piece of meat, that is the odor out there that was bringing them in and you gave them a piece of meat and now you know that person is interested in fulfilling this need or desire that they have. And then you then move them along in the next step to actually fulfilling that need or desire. And guess what the mechanism is for that? It is going to be a product that you are going to sell them. Very simple stuff.


…the blog is an attraction mechanism designed to bring people in.

And then we go to the next thing that we talked about many times and that is the Lead Magnet. The lead magnet is designed to get people on to your email list, right? Well, let’s look at the analogy…

You brought the people out of the woods, you gave them that piece of meat… The lead magnet is now essentially the bait that is going to get them to stick. It is like fly paper. It is going to get them to stick around and become an actual subscriber of your site and to take some form of action with you and with your business. Now that happens to be by joining your email list. But it is more than just an email list when you do this in the way that I teach. It is not just “I am going to get my blog update… Yeeey!” because that is just talking about stuff. That is the other way of doing blogging. In this case, when they join your list; it is because they are joining and they are raising their hand and they are saying “Yes, I want that particular transformation.” They are saying “I’m interested in that, give me more.” And they opt-in and you give them more, but that then that sets them up for the next step which is going to be usually a front-end offer of some kind; something that you are going to sell them. And this is how this works. The lead magnet is like the fly paper.

Now the money is made by a paid delivery of what attracted them in the first place. You gave them that piece of meat. Now they want more meat and you sell them the meat. Very, very simple. Now, that meat, in this case is a product. And the product is not just “Here, I am going to give you more information.” No… You are actually delivering a real transformation to people. You are delivering an outcome.

Now if your product is just information, that’s fine, but it needs to all be oriented around maximum delivery of the outcome because that is what they are really buying; it is the outcome.

That outcome can be by way of an info product but it can also come in a form of a service, coaching, consulting, a physical product; it doesn’t matter what it is as long as it delivers the outcome that they want. And that product that you deliver to them is going to be all based around the market that you are in. Some markets work really well for info products, others maybe it is a lot more service driven. It is all fair game, your blog can sell all of it. It’s not like we have to talk about info products, it’s just that that happens to be what my main focus is. So that product is the delivery mechanism and you sell it to them. You should create this yourself, ideally, because we are looking at something called product/market fit. A product/market fit is literally where you have the market, they are being attracted by this blog; this odor of the meat that they are coming to get. And then you have got the market there and then you design the product specifically to fit them. So the best way to do that is for you to create it exactly for that market. That is product/market fit.

So again, let’s look at the big picture…

The blog feeds people into your sales funnels. Those sales funnels; we have talked about this on this podcast before; it is the Blog Monetization Model, you can go and you can check this out. But the blog is designed to attract people and feed them into your sales funnels. The email list is designed to keep the flow of people through those funnels. Your business is basically a series of sales funnels. And those sales funnels are mechanisms to get people to take the offers that you sell. Those offers are designed to deliver the exact transformation that those people want. The sales funnels are your mechanisms for making those sales, your lead magnet is designed to get people to enter those sales funnels in the first place; and then your blog is designed to attract them. Your email list here is essentially used to keep the flow. The more people that you have flowing through those funnels on a daily basis, the more sales you are going to make. It is that simple. And really, one of the most important metrics that you can probably have in your business is the number of people that are actively entering one of your sales funnels at any given time. If they go through one of your funnels, they decline everything and they are just on your general list and they are getting your blog updates; well, that is great, they are still on your list, but they are not actively in a funnel at that point. They are not in an engagement set up with your sales funnel.

So the whole purpose of the blog and your email list and all that is to get people back engaged with your sales funnels. The more people that you have actively engaged in your funnels, the more money you are going to make. I hope that made a lot of sense…

Common Myths

Now let’s discuss a few myths here, before I end:

“A Blog Makes Money”

I hope it is clear to you that a blog alone does not make a damn dime. A blog doesn’t make money at all. All it is, is an attraction mechanism. And then, what makes money is the business that you build underneath the blog. The blog just funnels people into the business and if you don’t have a business that is designed to generate cash, your blog will make no money because that is all it is. It will be like having a Yellow Page ad that points to nothing.

“More Content Is Better”

I wanted to mention this is a myth because, again, when it comes to when people get to where they are talking about information products and memberships as ways to monetize their blog, they think “Well, I’ve got all these content on my site, what could I give them that’s more?” I mean, realize that people don’t pay for information. They don’t want more content from you. What they want is the transformation. They want the outcome. And so, sometimes, less is actually more. What you want to do is give them the information that they are going to need, specifically tailored to get that outcome. But then you got to provide whatever else they need to get the outcome. Whether that is personal assistance from you, services, whatever. This goes way beyond just giving people eBooks and a bunch of videos. You need to think about it in terms of giving them the real transformation here.

“People Will Pay For More”

This goes very closely related to the one I just said, because people won’t just pay for more. You can’t give them a big block of content for free on your blog and then you are like, “Well, I am going to give them even more if they pay for it.” That is not the psychology that works for people. It comes down to the transformation. And that is the kind of myth that leads people to thinking like if you write some content you might be thinking “Wow, this is so good, I should probably make people pay for this.” You know… You try to figure where that line of sand is drawn between free and paid. That is kind of a false argument to be having with yourself and it just leads to a lot of confusion because you got to realize that people don’t people pay just for the information. They pay for the outcome. And in a lot of times, the value and the information that they pay for is in the structure and the ease of application; not the mere fact that they got it in quantity.

And let’s summarize all these up…

Most people see blogs as a mechanism of achieving fame, popularity, acknowledgment of their own importance. And then when it comes to making money with it that it is just a funnel through the other people’s stuff and that’s how they will get money and this is by way of ads and affiliate products and stuff like that. Instead of you, going down that route, which is usually a recipe of a very lackluster results, I want you to instead seek a Product/Market fit. A product/market fit is exactly what it say. You got a market; and a market is a group of people that are united by the fact that they want a specific solution to a need or a desire and they have a willingness to pay for that need and desire. That is what a market is.

And then when you find out exactly what they are looking for, you custom-tailor the product offer designed to fit them. And when you have that pairing, when you know that this group or people will buy some offer that you have come up with, everything else is just a matter of mechanics. Your blog will fall in line, your email list will fall in line… It is easy at that point because you have people who are proven that they are buying something from you. Once you have got that, the blog has the purpose of attracting and keeping your market so that you can funnel them into the product that you have created especially for them, and that is the only purpose of a blog. That is how a blog makes money.

So if you want to take this a little bit further, I want to invite you over to my webinar at blogmonetizationwebinar.com. I will take everything that I just talked about on this podcast and I am going to expand upon it and show you the exact business model in graphical format and I am going to walk you through it on my screen. I will literally take out my little tablet and I’m drawing on my screen and I am going to be walking you through the entire business model. If that sounds like something that would be of value to you, the presentation will take roughly an hour or so, but I think it will be an hour well spent. And you can pick a date and a time that works best for your schedule. I will look forward to seeing you there.

Thank you so much and I’ll see you next time! 🙂