The first and possibly most fundamental concept to understand in order to build a profitable blog is the transformation.
Everything begins with the transformation. Product/market fit is determined by the transformation that your audience is looking to achieve.
In this episode, we’ll cover:
- What do I mean by “transformation”?
- How the transformation maps out to potential products to offer
- How understanding the transformation is also the key to effective affiliate marketing
- How to move forward if you’re in a niche where you can’t figure out the transformation
Hello there! Welcome to Episode 110 of Coffee Break Blogging!
In the last episode, in 109, we talked about banner advertising and why it really is a dumb way to monetize your blog in most cases. So from there, if I just declare the default monetization method out there “dumb” we obviously need to replace it with something. And that is exactly what we are going to begin today. We are going to start talking about real business and how to build that around your blog because this is the ticket; this is how you monetize.
And we should probably even drop the language of using the word “monetization” because it tends to be an afterthought. It tends to be that is something you do once an audience has been built. But the way that it really works is that monetization is a fundamental component to how you build the traffic, to begin with. So we talked about that before, we talked about it on our phase here of Coffee Break Blogging where we were talking about Traffic Building. So we are going to get started right here on monetization/business building. And we are going to start talking about the transformation.
Now the Transformation is something that I originally talked about on Coffee Break back in Episode 42, so we are talking quite some time ago here. But I want to cover it again because it is so fundamental to how the business gets built. Everything begins with the transformation.
So what is this Transformation? The word “transform” of course means to turn from one thing into something else. And that is pretty much what your future customers are looking to do in whatever market you are in. They are looking to achieve some type of an outcome. And it is an outcome that they do not currently have. And for that reason, it is a transformation. They have got some current reality and they are looking for a new reality. And that is the transformation.
Now that transformation is going to be looked at in context of whatever market you are in. So the transformation for the Blog Marketing Academy would be on one end you have an unprofitable blog or maybe even no blog at all. On the other end you have an online business based around your blog and you actually have money coming in everyday. That is a pretty stark and obvious transformation. Another very obvious transformation would be the Weight Loss Market. On one hand you are overweight, on the other one you are not… Very simple transformations.
But there are transformations that you can find even in markets where it might not be as clear; for example, a lot of hobby markets. The person has this Utopian vision of what it would be like to excel in that area of their hobby. And that is the transformation. They are trying to reach that point. Whether it be preparing for a marathon or being able to bench press to a certain amount or whatever it is. You are looking at what that world looks like to them at that point. What does it mean to them to be able to achieve that and where are they now. And in between is the transformation.
This goes to product/market fit very strongly because Product/Market Fit is at the top of the Blog Monetization Model that I talk about over the Academy. The whole business is based around finding the right product/market fit. But what makes a market to begin with, is that there are group of people who are united by the fact that they are all trying to achieve the same basic transformation. That is what makes them into a market. If it wasn’t for that unifying factor they will just be a group of people but they are not necessarily a market. And so you can see why really understanding this transformation goes to the core of arriving at product/market fit. Because then, we are going to be able to make the right products for that group of people to help them get that transformation and that is the foundation that our business is going to be built upon.
So let us state this again: People want the outcome, and that is the transformation. They want to move from one reality into another one.
Now this demand; this internal motivation that they have is going to be fulfilled using training products that is usually going to be information, it could be coaching, it could be services; it can also be tools, but anything that is going to help them achieve that transformation. That is where your products are going to come from. So that is a very important thing.
The other thing that I mentioned there is that there is this internal motivation. You do not want to create some product and then go out there and try to convince people that they want it because it is almost like you are trying to create the demand for it. What you need to be doing is finding that internal motivation. You should not have to convince them that they want this thing, okay? They should want the transformation. They want the outcome. That should be a foregoing conclusion.
Now obviously, using your copywriting in sales, you are going to need to convince them that what you are offering is going to further them along in that transformation but you should not have to convince them that they want the transformation. They just wouldn’t be a valid prospect at that point. So there needs to be that internal motivation, there needs to be something that they feel, that they think about often that they just really want it.
So what you need to do with this transformation is you need to ask yourself what does your audience want to accomplish? What are they looking to achieve? What transformation do they want to make?
Now the best markets out there, the ones that are going to be the best foundations for creating a real business are going to be those markets that are oriented around a transformation of some kind. I gave you the transformation for the Blog Marketing Academy. We all know that the internet marketing space in general is huge and it is because there is a very strong internal motivation to people to do this. It is a very obvious transformation. Same thing with the nutritional or weight loss market. There is a very obvious transformation and we know exactly what they are trying to accomplish.
So if you are in a market like that where the people who are there are generally trying to accomplish something; it could be to pass an exam, it could be to get better at a hobby, to win that marathon… it doesn’t matter what it is, you need to identify that. And you need to write it down. You need to put it on a big piece of paper and put it on your desk so that it is there in front of your face at all times because you do not want to lose sight of that.
I want to also speak to this idea of what I am going to call sub-transformations because they are there…
A lot of markets are fairly large and they are going to have one core transformation to them but beneath that there is going to be what I would call sub-transformations. These are things that they are going to want to accomplish but it might be part of a larger whole. And that is something that you can also outline as well. So what I would actually recommend is that you pop out an outlining program where you can use bullet points. It could be just a word processor, and start up with your main transformation for your audience. And then break it down into some sub-transformations. Some things within there that they will be trying to accomplish that kind of line up with the overall whole. For each transformation that you come up with here, you want to outline the typical problems or the typical barriers that people usually have to overcome in order to achieve that transformation.
This should be fairly obvious. In my market, I have got the overall transformation that people can go from no blog to profitable blog. Lots of stuff in between there that people are going to have to overcome. It would probably start out with literally installing WordPress and getting your hosting and your domain and all that. Another very common one at the beginning is determining what your niche is going to be. So these are typical little sub-transformations or problems or barriers you could say, that are on the pathway of the transformation that I deliver with my business.
And so in your situation, you need to look at what people are typically needing to overcome. Let us say you are helping people train for a marathon of some kind so you are in like a fitness type of space… What typical barriers are they going to have to typically overcome in order to successfully train for that marathon? Are they going to be dealing with how to… (I don’t know, I’m not doing this myself but…) You know, are they going to be dealing with any pains associated with exercise so then maybe you need to give them a solution for that. Are they not knowing what to do, which should be a pretty obvious one so you probably would deliver some type of a product or even coaching that is oriented around alleviating that confusion about what to do or what pathway to get on to be ready for that marathon. So just put this level of brainstorming in place for your market. What are those problems and barriers that they are going to need to overcome?
Now once you have that list of problems and barriers that they are going to have to overcome, then that is father for your products and services; the things that you are going to offer. So you want to take the time to match up products to those things that your audience is going to have to accomplish. Line them up to the problems. This is how you are going to have internal reasons in the minds of your people on why they are going to want your thing. So that is how it lines up.
Ideally, these are going to be products or services that you provide. Now there is a good chance that if you are listening to this right now you might not be providing those things already. So this is the kind of thing you are going to put into your future plans or you are at least going to verify it with pre-sell or stuff like that, all stuff we’re going to talk about a little bit later. But these are products that you are going to put on your agenda. If you already have products, then great. You just saved yourself a lot of work.
Affiliate Offers Aligned Around Transformation
Now one other thing would be that maybe you have a problem or barrier in that transformation that there is an affiliate product for but you are just not going to make that thing yourself, so that’s great; have affiliate offers. But the big thing is your best affiliate promotions are not going to be by littering up affiliate links in your sidebar and all these bull crap. It is going to be by engaging in actual marketing aligned around the transformation. And when you get them in that mode where they are really trying to accomplish a particular thing; and they you say, “Oh by the way, your absolute, easiest way to accomplish that is by using this tool” they are going to be a much stronger prospect for that tool using your affiliate link than they would have been otherwise because people don’t just blindly click on affiliate links and buy them. They are going to buy them when they are motivated. So remember that.
Alright, now I want to end up this episode with one thing and that is what happens if you just don’t see a clear transformation in your niche? What do you do here? You know there are niches out there where it’s like if you are primarily news oriented it can be definitely more difficult. If you talk about stuff like politics or sports or something like that, it can be more difficult to identify what your transformation is going to be. So it can therefore be hard to figure what you can make that you can sell to your audience.
A Couple Of Things To Bring To Mind
First one is that you might want to actually consider tweaking your market some. If you are not that established in the market that you are in, and you don’t see any clear transformation, well that is a nice time to consider tweaking your market or maybe even a complete and total pivot because you are not losing anything here. So do not get wedded to an idea that you just don’t see a potential business path to. So be open to just moving in to a different market or tweaking your approach to the market that you are in so that you can open up to people; serving people who want a transformation.
The second thing that I want to mention here is that if you are just in a market, you are established and you just don’t see that transformation, then you need to really get inside the heads of the people that you are talking to. Survey them and really learn your avatar.
That avatar is that persona, that personality. Because when you really learn the avatar you are going to find unrelated transformation that they are probably still trying to accomplish but might not be directly related to what it is that you are doing. But you are only going to know that if you really, really get to know your audience really well… What makes them tick? What kind of concerns do they have… because those concerns can line up the transformations and potential product offers that you might otherwise see because you are so busy talking about news or sports or what have you. So look for the transformation that they have that might not be directly related to your niche.
I’m going to give you an example here, and this is in the political space because political stuff can be hard to monetize as a blogger because typically it does not really align around all that much so most political blogs end up being primarily advertising dependent.
Here’s an example: The Glenn Beck Program. Glen Beck of The Blaze. Now it doesn’t matter whether you like him or whether you don’t like him but this is a really big force in the political space. He is a classic example of somebody who talks about News and Politics which is not lined up very well to a transformation. But if you really understand the avatar that he speaks to, you will see that they are trying to accomplish certain things. Generally speaking, that market has a lot of fear in it. I mean, I am just going to call it like it is. It is a fear-based market that he is serving. And so you will find that he has survivalist type of products there. Or people who are trying to arrange finances for an economy crash. Those are perfect examples of transformations that are in alignment with his avatar. But not necessarily the primary subject matter of the Blaze.
So that is an example. If you want to see it for yourself, just go over to theblaze.com. It doesn’t matter if you agree with him or whether you don’t agree with him but that is an example. It happens on many other markets and it also happens politically on the left. So it is the same exact thing and that is a perfect example.
If you are in the sports market; you are talking about sports trade or what have you, then it is not going to line up that well clearly to a transformation. But there are transformations that a person who is interested in sports might be looking to accomplish. And then you can go from there.
So hopefully that is helpful. This is really important to understand and a very fundamental in much of what is going to be coming up here later because any of that stuff doesn’t really matter if you don’t have a transformation that you are serving and that fuels a good solid product/market fit. Everything kind of depends on this.
I want to end off in once again reminding you of the Big Blog Monetization Webinar where we do talk about this particular topic of the transformation. But also I give you and walk you through the entire business model from a bird’s eye view on how to actually turn that transformation into a real business. Head on over there, pick a date and time that works best for you and I look forward to seeing you on that webinar.
With that being said, I hope you found this one valuable; I will see you in the next episode where we are going to begin talking about the “Funnel”, the blog profit funnel in Episode 111.
I’ll see you then! 😉