Hidden Blogging Riches
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Your blog is a Launchpad. There are more blogging-related profits ahead if you want to go after them. There are hidden blogging riches you probably never dreamed of.
Your blog may give you the income and satisfaction to fulfill your ambitions. That’s a good thing. But I want you to be aware of the fact that your blog may just be a starting place for you to use your creativity to produce income.
This is not an invitation to go off one a wild tangent. Concentrate on building a profitable blog first. Once you do that, you’ll have the confidence and know-how to become a profit-spinner. You want your blog to become authoritative in your field, and you want to become a thought-leader, on at least on some scale, before you spread your wings.
Recycle Your Blog Content
The posts you write are valuable. They should be useful enough for you to get passive income from passive sales, but also worthy enough for you to gain recognition as a specialist in your field. You want to become an influencer in your topic area.
You may be self-deprecating and say, “Who? Me? An expert?” Don’t do that. If you can bring in $500 per month based on your topic knowledge, whatever that topic is, you are a professional. As I have said, “In the Land of the Blind, the One-eyed is King.”
The fact that you have gained authority in your topic area means you have the credibility to branch out and use your knowledge in different ways to make money. You recycle your blog content for different audiences. Here are a few of the ways to do that.
Personal Delivery of Your Content
There are several ways you can deliver your expertise (the topic of your blog) in person and get paid to do it.
Coaching and Mentoring
Coaches and mentors generally work on a one-to-one basis. You can pick up fees for sharing your information this way. As an example, I offer modestly priced coaching/mentoring for writers. I work with all kinds of people―from those who want to write a family history, to those who have major fiction or nonfiction books in mind.
I define the difference between a coach and a mentor at the link above. To me, a coach imparts fundamental skills and helps a person sharpened their skills and motivates them to do their best.
A mentor is more like a wise friend who has traveled a road you are now on and gives you advice about the right path to take to reach your destination. Coaching is often short-term, but mentoring is usually longer term.
Personal coaching and mentoring have become lucrative in recent years. If you decide to do some coaching or mentoring, you’ll find your work will fall into one of two categories—providing skills or providing motivation and encouragement.
It can be very satisfying to provide input to someone and see their life change as they start reaching their goals with your help. It is a type of work that has the potential for profit and personal satisfaction.
Be a Consultant on Your Topic
A consultant offers the same type of information as a coach or mentor but does so in a more formal way for small businesses or corporations.
A consultant generally listens to a specific problem a client may have, explores options, and then supplies a solution based on his or her knowledge and experience. Again, as an example, you can see the parameters of my consulting work here.
Most consulting centers on streamlining a specific process so the company can make or save money. Consultants often work with a team of people at a company rather than just an individual.
If you have the right kind of expertise, you may be able to command hefty consulting fees.
Sharing your content in public is an option. You may not wish to make a career of delivering your information this way, but it can be a useful thing to do. I have done this in the past.
Here are some
- Personal delivery of your content is useful because you get to see your audience face-to-face. As I said, you want to imagine your target audience and their needs as part of your topic selection process. When you speak to groups, there is no doubt who is interested in your topic. They’re sitting just a few feet away in front of you.
- In a public setting, people have permission to ask questions, and you’ll benefit from that. You will learn what is clear to people and what might need clarification. You will get helpful feedback and new ideas that can enhance what you offer on your blog.
- You can network. If you are speaking at a community gathering or a national gathering, you’ll meet people who will boost your motivation and your business. And remember, when you help others you meet, you build your own authority in your field. There is nothing wrong with that. We should all be building our interpersonal networks in any way we can.
Many people think they can’t make public presentations. If you are one of those people, you may want to think about easing into public presentations rather than jumping in with both feet. Toastmasters is an organization that can help you. They have a network of 13,500 clubs around the world that conduct workshops to help people become effective communicators.
Delivery in a Classroom
Community colleges are excellent places to present your material if you can integrate it into an existing academic offering, or make it the subject of a short course they offer to the community.
Part-time instructors are called “adjunct faculty” and get a fee based on the number of students they have in their class or the number of different courses they teach each term.
According to Glassdoor.com (2019) and other sites, adjuncts are paid from $2.000-$6,000 per class, depending on the academic degrees they hold and the experience they have.
Keep in mind that academic degrees are not always required, so don’t let that stop you. Educational institutions are always looking for people who have skills and can teach them. For example, I have a friend who is “sans-degree” but makes about $20,000 per year (in the evenings) teaching photography at his local Community College.
Generally, there are few perks beyond free lunch in the college cafeteria. As you see, part-time teaching positions are not lucrative, but sometimes you can make fruitful contacts for consulting or for selling ancillary products. Your blog is your launching pad into an academic setting like this.
The best way to find a gig as an adjunct instructor is to contact the employment department of your local community college or university.
If they have no current opportunities, make a pitch to teach your topic as one of the community short courses they offer. Act early for short courses because colleges and universities distribute catalogs for these courses months before classes convene.
There are also private institutions where you can teach, including trade or vocational schools. You may teach for a full semester, or you may teach night classes at summer school or during special weekend sessions. Regardless of the venue, time spent teaching always looks good on your resume.
Conferences and Seminars
Speakers at conferences and seminars command a higher fee for less time of a time commitment than the classroom situation. There are many opportunities to make seminar presentations.
You may wish to promote your own seminars or work with a company that promotes them. Corporations may hire you to speak to their employees on your area of expertise.
Some years ago, I wrote a book about energy conservation methods. I decided to teach the content of the book in seminars around the state of California. It was hugely profitable. I sold my book on the topic, shared the information in it in a relatively expensive ($800 per person) day-long seminar, and I got a sizable commission for selling copies of energy conservation software. Today, I would do that same thing with a blog instead of a book.
Passive Income from Books, Videos and Courses
What is the chief limitation of the kinds of delivery I mention above? You have the “personal appearance” issue. That is, you have to show up somewhere to collect your fee. While this can be okay, you’re probably not going to get rich doing it this way. Why? Because there are only so many hours in the day. You may discover it is almost as bad as working for a salary.
Ideally, you want to be able to deliver your product when you are not present. That way, you can sell what you know 24/7 worldwide. To do that, create some form of media. Here are some common media types that you can use to deliver your information.
Books for Fun and Profit
Write 25 blog posts that are 1,250 words each on the same specific theme, and what do you have? A 31,250-word book. That translates into an ebook that will sell between $2.99-$7.99 and paperback that will retail between $12.99-$16.99.
Yes, you want to add some content not available on your site. Yes, you want to do a little rewriting and restructuring. Yes, you do want to get quality book formatting and a good cover. But considering you have already done the writing, and your goal is to expand your brand and sphere of influence, this option could make a very nice passive income payday.
There are generally two questions new bloggers have about doing this. The first one is, why would anyone buy a book if the information is already available free online? The simple answer is that not everyone will know that’s the case. Not that it’s a secret, but different people find information in different ways.
Also, many people don’t want to read that much content online. They would prefer to curl up and read the information in book form. So, by providing the information in book form, you are doing them a service. They’re happy to pay extra for that service.
The second question new bloggers ask is, “Where should I sell my book?” My advice is to keep it simple. You want to sell it on Amazon.com and nowhere else.
Yes, you may not like Amazon. Yes, there are other places to sell books. But face it, you are looking for ancillary sales, which is extra income from work you have already done. Amazon offers a fast, easy, professional way of publishing books that costs you nothing upfront. Amazon is the largest bookseller on Planet Earth. They are willing to handle hassle-free delivery. They are willing to pay you 70% of ebook sales, and you determine how much you want from paperback sales.
There is no problem with Amazon. It’s perfect for bloggers seeking more profits from their work.
By the way, as I said elsewhere, be sure to sell your book on your own blog if you have one. Also, you can combine methods like speaking at a seminar for a fee and selling your paperback at the rear of the seminar room.
Sell the Audio in Two Different Ways
Just as some people prefer reading a book over reading a blog, some people like listening to their content.
It has never been easier or cheaper to provide your blog content in audio format. There are excellent microphones that plug into the USB port of your computer, and you can edit with free software.
If you listen to my audio or view my videos (more about video later), you can hear the quality I get from my favorite mic, the Blue Yeti, which costs just a little over $100. You pay far more for other brands with other features, but you can create professional-quality with the Blue Yeti. Today, I can afford to spend many hundreds of dollars on mics and other audio equipment. But why? I can get the quality I need from a Blue Yeti, so there is no need to throw away money to please audiophiles.
The free editing software I mentioned is called Audacity. You can pay hundreds or thousands of dollars for complicated commercial products, but Audacity has the features most people want and need at no cost. There is a learning curve for Audacity, but there are many excellent free videos on YouTube to help you master it quickly.
All Media Advisory: Never use copyrighted audio or video in your work. Always get written permission, license it, or use Public Domain content. For example, you run a severe legal risk using even small snippets of commercial music (lyric text, audio, or video) by your favorite musician. That is a violation of copyright, and the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) is particularly ferocious about protecting the rights of recording artists.
What do you need besides a computer, a Blue Yeti mic, and a copy of Audacity? A quiet room to record in, and a tone of voice that listeners will find pleasant. That’s it.
So, how do you make ancillary income from audio? You sell it to people who like to receive information in this way.
There are many ways to do that.
Bundled blog posts can be sold as audiobooks via Amazon companies. Their Audio Creation Exchange division makes it reasonably easy for you to create audiobooks. You can even find voice artists there who will work on a percentage of sales if you don’t want to read it yourself.
You would sell your audiobook via the Amazon Audible division. They pay significant royalties for your work.
What if you want to sell shorter blog post content? One long blog post, so two-or-three on a related topic you combine, for example? You can sell them on your own site. Record them yourself, turn them into Mp3 files with Audacity, and then sell them for 99 cents or more each through the shopping cart on your own blog. This process is automated. People buy and download them without your involvement after you set it up.
Become a Podcaster
You can use your existing blog post content to expand your influence and income by creating a podcast. A podcast is an excellent way to share the audio of your content.
I love podcasts. I have podcast apps on both my tablet and my smartphone, and there are about 25 different podcast programs on them. I’m always looking for new and exciting podcasts.
Not that I have the time to listen to all 25 every day. I listen to two or three shorter ones (15-30 minutes each) on topics that interest me. On the weekend, I find time to listen to some of my longer (one hour or more) favorites.
Some people think the podcast market is saturated, but I strongly disagree. Podcasting is still in its infancy, in my opinion. The problem is, you go to one of the big podcasting directories like ApplePodcasts (formerly iTunes.com), and it looks like a dinosaur graveyard. The bones of failed podcasts are everywhere. But they died because the podcaster had a bad idea for their podcast, or he or she became indolent and smothered their creativity with slackness.
You won’t fail with your podcast because you have already proven there is a market for it because you own a successful blog on the same topic.
If your blog became successful it was because you persevered. That same attitude will enable you to win at podcasting too.
You enter podcasting with a significant advantage that most new podcasters don’t have. The first is that you have followers on your email list. The other is you have content (your posts) that you can convert into podcasts. That is huge.
A good speaking pace is 135 words per minute. Once you add an intro, outro, make announcements, and time for ads, that means you’ll need less than 3,000 words. If you’re writing long-form blog posts as I have recommended (1,250 words or more), that means you dovetail two existing blog posts to make one 30-minute podcast, which is a popular length. Will you need to write or improvise a bit more sometimes? Sure. And that’s fun to do.
You want to present your blog content with vigor, not with deadpan reading. Keep in mind, however, that there are other ways to conduct a podcast other than reading your own posts in an interesting and animated way.
One of the most popular is interviewing another person who is an expert on your topic. That’s easy to do with smartphone apps or tools like Skype.
Most U.S. states have strict laws about recording conversations. Make sure you have written or recorded proof that the person gave permission for you to record. Even if the digitally recorded person is a friend or colleague, you want verifiable evidence of the consent you received.
Only one question remains. How do you make extra money with podcasting? Once you get your listener numbers high, there are a large number of advertisers who will seek you out. Pick one. In the meantime, promote your blog, your book, or any other product or service you are offering, including affiliate offers.
Patreon.com is another way to boost either your blogging or podcast income. “Patreon” is a portmanteau for “patron,” which we all know is “a person who gives financial or other support to a person, organization, cause, or activity.” Patreon.com is a handy way of gathering supporters who are willing to contribute to your efforts monthly. You provide incentives for increased donations. Take a look at Patreon.com to see how creative people are using it.
This is all legit and you don’t have to be a nonprofit to benefit. Patreon.com has its rules and regulations, but you will not find them onerous. Patreon.com takes a small portion of your income for offering the service, and that’s fair. Patreon.com has an excellent reputation, and people will feel comfortable supporting your work through it. It is a great way to get your network involved to boost your creative income.
Videos are Profit Centers
Recycle your blog posts into videos. Technology makes video production increasingly cheap and easy to do. Your videos become another income source for the work you already did when you wrote your blog posts.
There are many ways to make money with video. But I’m going to give you two examples from my own experience.
I started making YouTube videos in 2012. I was experimenting, so it was hit and miss. This early video was entitled “Why So Many Nonfiction Books Don’t Make Money.” I have posted it below to illustrate a point.
Please be kind to me. In this section, I am using some of my own videos as examples. Please don’t think it’s self-promotion. I have posted them for educational value. Not that I’m above shameless self-promotion, but that is not the purpose of these videos.
Back then, shorter posts were in fashion, so the video was only 2 min 56 sec long. I didn’t like the idea of being on screen in those days, so I did illustrations and a “voice-over” video. In all these years, it has only been viewed 420 views (at this writing), but it was a good start. These days some of my videos get thousands of views, and one has over 55,000 views, and others are close to that number.
Take a look at the first blog post I recycled into a video.
Later, I changed my techniques. This recent video is still a recycled blog post, but I have upped my game. Since my blog posts are longer, the videos are longer. I got over my fear of appearing on the screen. I added some production values.
There is a significant difference in what I am doing today, and so watch for it in the video. I am now making a particular point to drive YouTube traffic back to my site. In addition, I’m posting the video on my site so people can see it there. I am including the script text (usually with additional information) on my own site to get maximum SEO benefit for my own site.
You never want to use YouTube or other social media or anything else to drive traffic FROM your site. You always want to use them to drive traffic TO your site.
So, what I did is start writing longer blogs. Then, I condescended that post down into a shorter YouTube script. I tell YourTube viewers to go to my blog to get “bonus content.” They get the essentials in my video, the full story in my blog post, so that drives traffic to this site. Again, the point is to use all other social media to drive traffic to this site, not use this site to drive traffic to social media.
Combining Text and Videos
There is another benefit to this. When I just posted videos separately on my blog, they helped people who watched them, but they had no SEO juice. Today, I have married together video and text, so my viewers receive lots of value. Now I go up in both SEO rankings and in YouTube views.
Take a look at the above example and see how I’m recycling blog posts today.
This is how you can recycle blog posts into videos to get synergy. It is just a matter of reshaping content to reach a wider audience.
Do I make a lot of ad income from my YouTube videos? No. I get a small amount of Google Adsense income each month. The serious money flows to me when aspiring writers visit my blog and buy my online courses, my books, click on my affiliate links, or hire me to edit their books or do other author services for them.
Two Video Confessions
I admit two things. First, I do not give YouTube the attention it deserves. At the moment, I have at least 20 completed scripts I need to produce. However, in my strategy, YouTube does not have a high priority. It would be best if I did one per week, and I advise you to do that. But, alas, I do not follow my own advice in this case simply because other things bring me more income at this point.
The second thing I want to admit is that YouTube gives me personal joy. I only have about 50 videos available, but people are watching almost 600 hours of my videos each month. I may be sleeping, but people are learning about writing from me, and I get a jolt out of that. I get about 250 new VelocityWriting Channel subscribers each month with no effort, and I appreciate each of them and am happy I can make a positive contribution to their lives.
Recycle Your Blog Posts into an Online Course
Online courses are an excellent way to make more profits. And when you schedule your blog posts to develop one particular theme, you can recycle them into a course script. You write posts with the intent to recycle the material into an online course.
How is a course script different than a YouTube video? Mostly in structure. You want to take learners from the known to the unknown. You impart the information in a structured way so they can assimilate the data and will be able to implement what they learned in their daily lives. You want to be a “talking head” to maintain student interest and integrate lots of visuals.
A New Slant for Fresh Profits
You don’t use the raw posts as your script as you might do with a YouTube script. You augment the content with apt introductions and conclusions. You might add a few more insights into the body of the lesson. That might include another point or two or an engaging story to cement a point you make. Add illustrative graphics to help learners understand the concepts you’re sharing. Flesh-out the blog post a little to make it more fitting for a “classroom” situation.
I am not talking about changing everything. Your blog post is still the core content. You are just reshaping it for a teaching-learning situation.
How much money can you make from a course? It depends on course length if you present the content in logical and helpful ways, and how exotic the information may be. If you convince people that the course will improve their skills or their lives, they will pay for it.
A course that is at least 1.5 hours and helps people make more money, learn a new skill, or live a better life is worth at least $97. Longer courses with more valuable information could be worth $197-$997 or even more.
Leveraging the Blogging Enterprise
Blog successfully for a year and you’ll see new opportunities open to you. That’s when more blogging-related profits present themselves. I’ll discuss two important ones here, ideas that most bloggers don’t consider.
Create a Blog Farm
If you create one profitable site, why not create two or more? Many people get enough income to finance their dreams with one blog, but what happens if your first blog is just marginal and only produces $500-$1,500 per month?
In that case, you want to use your blogging skills to create at least one new blog. You have hosting, and most allow for multiple blogs on one account. You have already set up ad and affiliate accounts. You have already mastered getting and keeping visitors. So why not leverage those tools and skills to work on another blog?
Inside Blog Farming
Some blogging entrepreneurs become blog farmers. They may only make $500 per month per blog, but with ten blogs, that’s still $5,000 per month.
No, I’m not suggesting you create a series of low-income producing blogs. Some blog farmers do that. They create cheap blogs with cheap content and little traffic and few sales, and they to sell them for a few hundred dollars. I certainly don’t recommend that. These are generally junk sites purchased by gullible people who think they can get rich quick,
You want to nurture a blog before you sell it. You want to create blogs that generate the highest possible yield. Not all blogs require multiple posts weekly to get traffic and keep it flowing. Many “Evergreen,” product and review sites require less new content. Yes, they still need lots of ongoing promotions to drive traffic to them, so they are not “set and forget,” but some come close to that.
Spin Ideas, Not a Blog Itself
Should your new blogs be on the same topic as the one you created to gain your income and authority? No, but new blogs can be variations on your theme. Did you start out blogging about “How to Build Patio Decks”? Then your new blogs could be on related topics:
- How to Build a Gazebo
- How to Build a Doll House
- How to Build a Bedroom Addition
- How to Add How to Remodel Your Kitchen
- How to Remodel Your Bathroom
- How to Build a Dog House
- … and so forth
You can apply this same idea no matter what your core blog topic may be.
These are all different topics aimed at a different audience. Each is a profit center on its own. You use the same traffic-getting methods, but posts and the keywords and other promotions you use are different and will attract an entirely different audience.
If you knew enough to help people build a patio deck, you know enough to teach them how to do these other projects. Everything is in place for you to sell new visitors the same tools, and to sell them plans and other products and services they’ll need.
Sell Your Blog
A profitable blog is worth a lot of money. Most bloggers don’t realize that. When they have been in operation for a year, and you have proof of traffic and income, people will pay serious money for your success.
You get proof of traffic by signing up for Google Analytics, as I described in Step 4. You want these stats from day one, and it’s free, so don’t delay in signing up and getting it configured on your blog.
You get proof of income by good accounting habits, as I describe in this post about the business of blogging. Buyers won’t pay out good money on your say-so. You need reliable documentation to back up your claims.
You are not only selling your physical website, but you are also selling your content and your brand. That’s one reason why it’s so important to think to look before you leap when it comes to branding. For example, if you use your own name as your URL and your brand, you pretty much have to sell your soul to sell your blog. Your traffic is tied to your URL and brand, and your blog plummets in value if you try to sell parts of it. No one wants the parts. They want all the elements that produced the traffic and income.
Always have an attorney check your website sales agreement. Sometimes buyers will try to add non-competition agreements or other requirements that may restrict your future income. You have to know the meaning and weigh the value of such conditions. Also, exercise care about how you transfer your blog assets. Specialized escrow services exist for just such transfers.
By the way, the “parts” also include Facebook and other social media accounts connected to the brand and your email list. They all contribute to traffic and income, so they are almost always a part of the sale.
Value of a Blog
How much is your blog worth when it has been around a year or so and shows growth in traffic and income? You’ll get many answers. Some “value” a website based on the perceived value of the domain name and traffic. However, when you figure it that way, someone will try to steal your site for $500-$600. The reality is, that’s not enough to cover the cost of writing blog posts, much less the ROI of income.
Most blog sales are based on a multiple of net income. That means that you subtract your expenses from your total income to know your net profit. Then, you apply the multiplier.
The multiplier is the trick. Different people use different multipliers.
For example, the total monthly revenue for your blog is $2,000. You can expect to sell it for a multiple of 12 or 24. That means it’s worth between $24,000 and $48,000. This is a very simplified calculation, and if you decide to sell your site, you’ll want to explore some of the more sophisticated valuation methods so you can maximize the benefits of your sale.
Hard to imagine, isn’t it? The multiplier you can feasibly use and the actual price you receive is based on many factors. But you now see the big picture so you can explore the all-important details when you are ready to sell.
The Main Blog Marketplace
One of the main ways sites are sold is at auction. Back in the day, when I was new to the blogging world, I sold a blog on eBay for a fast $4,000. I wouldn’t sell there today because I know better. Sites offered there now seem to be cheap, spammy and scammy.
Your final sales price will depend not only on your site and stats but also on market conditions when you are ready to sell. You can control the final price in some ways, like setting a minimum bid (reserve), so you want to do your homework, including consulting with your accounting and tax advisers before putting your blog on the auction block.
The leading marketplace for selling a blog is Flippa.com. Professional bloggers and business people who buy blogs trust this site. There are others, but I personally do not recommend them. Flippa and the other sites charge a flat fee to list your site as well as a percentage of your final sales price. Nearly all auctions, no matter what they’re selling, work like that.
A wise blogger thinks about the possibility of someday selling it in the future. They think ahead when it comes to selecting a URL and other branding elements like a logo, and where and how they promote their blog. They want to make decisions that will help maximize their profit.
Your Action Plan
I love that scene in the Jerry McGuire movie where the sports agent, played by Tom Cruise, tells his football player client:
That’s the same idea I’ve presented here. You can make serious money from your blog alone. But there is more money ahead if you use your blog as a launchpad.
Be sure to take care of business and first give all your attention to your blog to build your income and your brand. Only after you do that do you want to launch out into other endeavors. Achieve a solid base, then shoot for the moon.
What am I saying? Simply that it’s possible to increase your income in life-changing ways by becoming a blogger. Success is never guaranteed, but the minimum requirement is:
- A topic that appeals to a large number of people
- Consistent writing and promotion
Tenacity is the secret sauce. An unfailing positive attitude and hard work is the ultimate key to your success.