Every entrepreneur should have a blog. Every. Single. One.
Yes, that means YOU!
The reasons why are vast and varied, but I will attempt to cover a few here. Don’t get caught in the “nobody cares about what I write about” trap. If you start writing, people will read and people will share. You don’t know what people will be interested in until you try.
In the world of entrepreneurship, multiple streams of income is essential. Think of it this way: if your income looks like a raging river, almost overran with income coming in from Amazon, and Amazon changed some rule that shut off that flow, where would you find yourself? On the other hand, if your income more resembled many small faucets, set at a trickle, all combining to form the Mississippi, what would it look like if one of those faucets turned off? In the perfect scenario, you’d hardly notice.
1- Build a Niche Goods Audience
If your only concern EVER in business is to sell physical products, you may think a blog is not for you. You would be wrong. Building a following via an ongoing blog is the perfect way to launch a private label product. While others are searching for a niche market to cater to, you will be busy MAKING one! A good example would be if you loved the hobby of scrapbooking. If you started a blog about scrapbooking you would begin to gain followers that know, like, and trust your opinions. Over time and with interaction via the blog and social networks. you will gain an intimate understanding of the community’s pain points while scrapbooking and the types of products they would like to see to make their hobby easier.
At that point, all you have to do is contact a manufacturer and have that product made. You have now have a captured audience. All you have to do is make your product available for purchase and present it to your audience. At this point, a simple blog post introducing the product and how it works should be plenty to get some sales going! You can get really creative here. In my scrapbooking example, you may be thinking of supplies and tools, but this strategy can work in any niche, even without the need for such products.
Here’s another example that may get some juices flowing on ideas: imagine if a plus-sized woman started a blog about living life while accepting the body she was given. Later on, after she builds a following, she may see a need within the community for a certain type of clothing for curvy women.
While these are only examples, they are very good ones. In the scrapbooking example, the product solution was directly aimed at a certain niche, while the clothing example was a more indirect marketing idea generally aimed at a certain audience. These same strategies could be used to fill out an entire eCommerce site with a variety of products within a niche. At that point, the blog portion of your website may become a secondary segment, serving as content marketing to bring in more customers.
2- Affiliate Marketing
As I mentioned in a previous article, depending on affiliate marketing as a source of income is not a smart move. It takes time to reap the rewards of your efforts because it depends on having a large following. On the plus side, however, affiliate marketing can work with almost ANY niche that you choose to write about! All you have to do is produce your normal blog articles as usual and occasionally pepper in an Amazon affiliate link like this. You can be helpful, suggesting a certain product for a certain purpose, and if someone clicks on that link and buys something (anything) from Amazon, you will get paid a slight commission. This commission is really minuscule, so if you are relying mainly on Amazon affiliate links, you will need a large audience to see any kind of significant income.
There are other solutions, however. Sites like ClickBank, Rakuten Affiliate Network, and Commission Junction virtually assure you that you will find an affiliate link to relevant products (whether physical or digital), to your chosen topic. So as you’re starting out, don’t worry so much about what subject matter you choose for your blog. The method of monetization will be there when you’re ready, whatever niche you find to write about. Many times these options provide a larger percentage on their commission as well, so your efforts may be more efficient.
3- Digital Products
If you are starting up a blog on a topic that happens to be in a more technical area, or requires more experience or learning than other areas, you may have found a good niche to sell digital products. Digital products may be eBooks, instructional video courses, or even software.
Say you are a golfer who wants to blog about your adventures traveling around the country in your RV, golfing every PGA course in the country. As you may know, golfers are a unique group of people who never stop learning. If they are interested in following your exploits around the country chasing down golf courses, odds are they will also be interested in some information on improving their own golfing skills. You may choose to provide that information via writing an eBook, creating video courses, or even using some affiliate marketing and recommending someone else’s golf swing video course or eBook.
The possibilities are really endless here. The topics that people are interested in and want to learn more about are endless. Just make sure that it’s something people need more information on for a long period of time, otherwise it can be difficult to retain an audience. For instance, creating a blog for mothers of toddlers who are teething isn’t a very good topic because they will learn what they need to know in a matter of days and move on with their life. However, a golfer never stops learning throughout their lifetime. Try to build your product around an area that has years of interest, not days.
What you will need:
There are ways to blog for free. WordPress.com is a popular way to do this. I will urgently recommend against this solution. When using these free platforms, you have much less control over the look and feel of the website. Not only that, but the reason these services are free is they include advertising on your website. You have no control over what these ads will be. They may even be advertising your competition! With solutions such as BlueHost being as inexpensive as they are (currently only $3.95/mo), there’s no real reason to fool with these free solutions that in the long run will hurt your business. Choosing an inexpensive solution instead of a free one will provide you with all the capabilities of a website that you will ever need.
You will want to start an email list as soon as possible. For this, you will need a bulk email service. I use and recommend Aweber. Their subscriber and message management systems are difficult to beat on a budget. Later on you may want to change to a more powerful option, but those get expensive and there’s no need for them as you are starting out.
A word of advice: always keep your reader’s best interest in mind. It’s easy for some to fall into the trap of writing for money’s sake, especially when times get lean. Recommending the wrong service or product to your audience can really damage your reputation. Once a reputation is damaged, it can be difficult, if not impossible, to repair. Keep your audience’s best interest at heart at all time and the money will come. Strong integrity and a good reputation will attract an audience. Take care of them.