Facebook likes, Twitter re-tweets, Pinterest pins, unique visitors in Google Analytics…when does the madness end?
As a passion blogger you can get lost in a lot of data.
We can easily base success or failure on how many fans we have on Facebook or how many followers we have on Twitter.
While those can be great indicators your message is resonating, you cannot:
- Buy a new TV with Facebook likes
- Get a discount at the grocery store for average number of comments on your blog posts
- Build up store credit on Amazon for number of re-tweets on Twitter
If your desire is to build an online business through blogging your passion, you’ll need to do two things very well:
1. Build a Platform That Serves a Tribe
Is your blog about you or about serving a particular audience? Facebook likes, comments, shares, Google +1’s, RT’s…we can easily categorize those as “vanity numbers.”
“Is your blog about you or about serving a particular audience?” Tweet this
Make your blog about helping people and it will change your life. Seriously. Suddenly, you begin to feel a sense of purpose like you’ve never felt before. You blog because someone needs to be empowered, encouraged, or entertained not because you need to feel good about yourself.
“Blog because someone needs to be empowered or encouraged, not because you need to feel good about yourself.” Tweet that
The way you build a platform is through serving. What are the basic questions your audience has? What are the biggest challenges your audience has? Answer them as best as you can and serve them well.
However, a platform alone won’t pay the bills. I’ve seen several blogs that average 20 or more comments on every blog post, but they’ve never made more than $100 in a single month.
We had one blogger email us frustrated because they weren’t making any money blogging, even though they had over 30,000 Facebook fan page likes. You need more than just an audience.
2. Build a Product That Solves a Problem
This is the area where many bloggers struggle. Whether it is fear or just lack of “how to” they just don’t place an importance on building their own product.
Ask some of the more successful bloggers out there what the single, biggest factor was to their success. Many will tell you it was creating their own product.
This is where serving your audience well will help you knock this out of the park. By serving your audience through free content, podcasts, videos, you will begin to fully understand their biggest challenges.
When you create products, courses, books, and webinars that solve their problems, you are onto something.
Create Something You Wish You Had
I can give several examples here, but maybe the most powerful example at the moment is the Get Noticed! Theme from Michael Hyatt and his partner Andrew Buckman. Michael was having a hard time finding a WordPress theme that did all the things he wanted. What did he do? He got to work building his dream WordPress theme.
What he found out was many others felt the same way. Since he was building a product he wished was out on the market, why not build it for others too? The result? He sold out the beta test of his theme to 150 bloggers in under 48 hours. Create a product you wished someone would create for you.
By the way, I was fortunate enough to be one of the beta testers of the Get Noticed! Theme. You can check out how I am using the theme over at JonathanMilligan.com. Go check it out for yourself. I’m loving it.
Create Something, Then Improve It
When I first started blogging, I quickly discovered that my audience needed help with job searching. My idea was to create a 16-week online job search course. However, I did not want to spend 9 months creating something no one wanted.
What did I do?
I did the bare minimum and got the product to market for testing.
Who wants to spend months creating something no one wants?
I developed a simple 16-week outline on paper, and then created ONLY the first two weeks of content. I then build a landing page with an order button and had 15 people purchase it on opening weekend.
This was back when I had maybe 100 people on my email list and 1,000+ monthly visits to my blog. Now that I had 15 people paid into the program, I built the remaining 14 weeks of content, making good use of my time.
What do you have to do to launch a minimum viable product? That is the big question I am leaving you with today.
Question: Which of the two have you struggled with building – the platform or the product?