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So you’ve got a blog and you’re wondering how to monetize it.

Let me stop you right there.

You don’t monetize a blog. You don’t monetize a blog for the same reason you don’t monetize a billboard.

Why don’t you see people asking how to monetize a billboard? Because it’s an absurd question. Why do you have a billboard? You have a billboard to advertise. What do you advertise? You advertise your product or service.

What is the product or service I should sell? That’s a much better question.

You don’t have a monetization problem, you have a business problem.

A Blog Is Not a Business

I have to burst a really big bubble you might have: a blog is not a business. A business is a business. A blog is a marketing tool.

If you have a blog and you’re not making money, you don’t have a monetization problem, you have a business problem. You can’t just start blogging and expect money to come. Just like you can’t put up a billboard and expect money to come.

Billboards get people to notice you. Now what? You have to have something to sell. You have to have a business.

What is a Business?

A business is an organization that provides goods or services to consumers. A blog is merely an acquisition channel.

Goods or services: what do you have to sell? Your blog should lead people to these offerings.

The Purpose of a Blog Is to Provide Value

A blog may not be a business, but it is a very useful tool. The reason you should have a blog is to provide value. What does providing value look like?

Providing value looks like answering peoples’ questions and helping them along the Buyer’s Journey.

What is the Buyer’s Journey?

The Buyer’s Journey covers the stages someone goes through on the way to buying a product or service. Why are they buying? To solve a problem.

At each stage, they have unanswered questions, fears, inhibitions, or uncertainty.

  • A blog can help people on this journey.
  • A blog can establish your expertise.
  • A blog can build trust and loyalty.
  • A blog can bring new people in.
  • A blog can lead the reader to a paid product.

When you answer the questions people have, you are providing value. Helping people and providing value with a blog establishes you as an expert. As the author, you are able to build trust and loyalty with your readers.

When your readers trust you, they will be more inclined to buy from you.

Start Over: Make a Product

Start thinking of a blog as a tool. It’s a tool that can accelerate the Buyer’s Journey.

Let’s revisit the reason you started blogging. What do you blog about? Who are you blogging for? What are you helping them with? What are their biggest struggles? What problems, if solved, would make the biggest difference?

The answer to this question is what you should be addressing with your product or service.

If you’ve already started a blog without a product, don’t worry, it’s not a total loss. By looking at which of your posts have received the most attention, you can get a good idea of what is resonating with your readers.

The next step is to focus all of your efforts on making something people can pay you for. What does that look like?

The Trifecta

I talked about products and services earlier. When it comes to making money from what you’re blogging about, I actually like to break it down into three ways I call The Trifecta:

  1. Client Work
  2. Products
  3. Teaching

No matter what you are blogging about, you can make money using one of these three methods.

Every person in your audience has struggles. They have problems to solve. These three methods address the problem in several different ways.

Client work is where you do the work for them. You are performing a service and doing all the work.

Products either solve the problem or make it easier to solve the problem. Sometimes this is a tool or maybe it’s a complete solution.

Teaching educates someone on how to solve the problem themselves. Rather than hire you to do the work, some people want to learn to do it themselves. They can then turn around and offer services to their own clients.

Start thinking of some ways you can use one of these three methods to create a series of offerings for your audience.

Use the Blog for Your Business, Not As Your Business

Once you have something to sell, you can use your blog to provide value around your expertise and point people to your paid offerings.

This way, you can essentially keep doing what you’re doing, but you’ll also make money when you do because you actually have a business now.

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