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Rethinking your Blog Model

Are you a publisher or a blogger?

Are sure you will probably answer “a blogger” but don’t be too quick to answer this question until the end of this post after reviewing the business model that drive your blogging venture.

You might be saying to yourself, I am a blogger, but just as the great Book says “By their fruit, you shall know them” The model behind your blog is what will determine either you are blogger irrespective of what you claim to be.

Who is a publisher?

A publisher is an individual that publish for the purpose of expression and to give voice to his/her thoughts and in turn build audience.

Metric of Success: To a publisher, what matter and determine the success of his/her publishing endeavour is huge traffic and page views

Major source of Income: Publisher’s platform generates bulk of the revenue from advertisement sales to advertisers. This may ranges from indirect ad sale for small publishing blog to direct sale and branding for big time blog.

Case Study

Let examine one the most popular publishing blog called Huffington Post with revenue base of $200million as of 2014, with billion of traffic and page views (statistic has it that in 2010, the site generated about 4.8 billion page views). It is principal a news site that covers various topics such as politics, business, Tech, Entertainment, Comedy, Healthy Living and so many more.

To Huffington Post, what matters is traffic and page view, for instance if traffic drop, then someone is to be blamed, someone may even get fired. To a publishing blog what matter is audience whether quality or not. The huge traffic they enjoy justifies the reason for their advertisement model.

It is very hard to directly generate business lead or sales from a publishing blog, since there is no funnel that qualifies a prospect (there is no know, like and trust factor).

In Nigeria, a typical example of a publishing blog is Linda Ikeji Blog.

We have talked about Publisher and the model behind these types of blog. Let examine who a 21st Century blogger is

Who is a blogger?

A blogger is an entrepreneur that use content to further the cause of his business, a blogger don’t just publish article, he write to initiate the Know, like and trust factor in order to win customer (depending on the goal). This is what we call content marketing in today’s world.

Metric of Success: to a real blogger or pro bloggers, what matters is reaching the target or goal for which he desire to accomplish through blogging. Yes they like traffic, beside who doesn’t but that don’t determine their success.

Neil Patel of Quicksprout, once said although he is received a lot of traffic every month, but some of his blogs are not that successful.

To a blogger, what matters is the goal, it could be lead generation, branding, customer development and relation, permission marketing, sale generation and many more.

Don’t get me wrong, a typical blogger need more quality traffic to ensure that he convert more people, it is a kind of game number.

Quality Traffic: to a Pro blogger, what matter is not just any type of traffic, it is quality traffic, that why among bloggers today, we hear the word “niche”, “keyword research”, “customer personas” all these refer to mechanism for getting a qualified traffic instead of just any type of traffic. (Don’t worry; I will still throw light on this later in this post)

Business behind the Blog

From my research I conducted on top professional bloggers around the world, each one has a business behind the blog. Remember that I said before that bloggers use content to promote or advance a business course. Most successful bloggers have one digital product or the other. Some sell e-books, membership course and many more.  Through their blog, they get readers to know them, like them and trust them and when such happen, it is easier to sell to those loyal readers.

Principal Source of Income: is the business, which they are promoting with their blog’s content and post.

Case Study: Copyblogger

Most of you must have heard about Copyblogger, it was founded by Brian Clark; it focuses on copywriting and content marketing. It started as one man blog but later grew into a huge business (Copyblogger Media) worth more than $7 million. You may ask how

Through the blog, he launched the following venture

Synthesis: A wordpress hosting company

StudioPress (Genesis Framework) : WordPress theme company (I am sure you must have come across a site that says powered by Genesis Framework, one of the best framework for serious bloggers)

Authority: a membership program that educate their members on how to build your business and authority online.

Scribe: content marketing software

Plus more other businesses like Rainmaker and the rest.

All these were possible through the blog. All these are the business behind that one blog Copyblogger.

Case Study 2: Hubspot

To be sincere, this company is awesome, Hubspot sell inbound marketing software and practice what they preach by building their business through their blogs. They sell their software through their blog contents.

Although the company, last I checked is focus on growth but is very much profitable. Last two years (2003) they posted $77.6 million in revenue. In the first six months of 2014, it had $51.3 million in sales, according to its S-1.

Quality Traffic, Metric of Success and Revenue Factors

I have talked about these terms before, but let see how it applies to a typical business.

Assume you are into web design business and decided to start blogging in order to generate lead (customers) for your web design company. Let me ask you a simple question: Which of these do you prefer:

  1. 100,000 visitors and get only 10 Customers from it
  2. 1,000 visitors and get only 100 customers from it

I am sure you choose option B, because it aligns with your purpose of generate more leads (customers) for your company

So here: you wouldn’t be interested in just any traffic but visitors that will convert (become your customers), you will be interested in attracting individuals that desire to own a website – i.e. what quality traffic is all about

Looking at the revenue factor, don’t forget that I mention that bloggers are entrepreneurs, so they are ROI (Return on Investment) driven. Assume you spent 10,000naira monthly on your blog and generate 1,000 visitors and out of these 1000 visitors got about 100 customers and each paid a minimum of 30,000 naira that will result to 30,00,000 naira in revenue. If you deduct your blogging cost from the revenue you still have a lot of money in bank.

This is the way a Pro blogger thinks

Considering Metric of Success

It is fortunate that the people allow people around them and the media to shape their definition of success. One of the most popular metric of success that people have defined is traffic. But it shouldn’t be so. It is the goal and purpose of a thing that should define the success of a thing.

If you setup a venture to do a particular thing, if it fails to accomplish that purpose, then it has failed irrespective of the sideline benefits it generated

From our statistic, is your blog a failure or a success? Of course it is a success because it accomplishes the purpose for which it was setup. Its ROI is very high (more than 1000% increase)

This applies to every sector of blogging, whether you have an e-book to sell, software, graphic design, any digital product. But it is time to redefine your model as a bloggers.

In the next series of this guide, I will be addressing the how to setup a profitable and scalable business for your blog. For instance the web design company I used above is not a scalable business model (I just use it to paint a graphical picture in your head).

Remember, I asked you a question, when I started this post: How you are a publisher or a blogger?

About Mark Ugwuanyi

I am the founder of MarkSignal - a web design company and lead developer of ContentOptin - Simple WordPress Content Upgrade Plugin that Delivers. He love to read and develop web application.