1. Know your niche audience
2. Know what they want online and give it to them again and again
3. Know how to learn from your successes and failures
This weekend I’m at Barcamp Munich. Two of the sessions on day one were devoted to this topic, and I’m sure it has been widely discussed elsewhere as is often the case at such events where bloggers get together.
For those that want to make a direct income from their blogs – and for many passionate bloggers this just isn’t the point, and others they profit indirectly from opportunities supported by their blogs – there is no getting around understanding who your audience is and what they want.
You need this information to create your own products and services to fulfill their needs, as in a traditional internet-based business. You also need it to attract or target sponsors, affiliate partners, advertisers, etc. I’d argue you need to know this information before you create your blog or internet business and define it accordingly.
I’d like to share with you three resources that have helped me in understanding the theories and techniques that lie behind these points. I’m a member of their communities, a satisfied customer of each, and as such an affiliate of each (so if you buy any of their products or services you’ll be helping to make my blog pay!) As far as I am aware, all of these is available only in English – perhaps translating and marketing key products into German would be a potential business idea for one of my fellow Barcampers. If so, I’d be happy to provide some introductions. If other good resources are available in German, I’d love to hear about that too.
Insider Secrets is the best-selling resource from the Internet Marketing Center. This is the best introduction that I believe I could have had into understanding internet marketing and, for example the principles of how to create a blog that will pay. Insider Secrets is comprehensive, well-written, and explains its concepts and techniques in an easily accessible way. It’s particularly good at understanding how to do and use research and set up and learn from web analytics. Insider Secrets consists of two ring-binders full of data, plus multiple CDs. One word of warning: I find the very American get-rich-quick hard-sell very annoying, and you may too. In my experience, once you get through the sales process this is a very professional organisation.
Internet Business Mastery Academy is currently my favourite resource. I’ve listened to the Internet Business Mastery podcasts for years, and by the time Jeremy ‘Sterling’ Frandson and Jason ‘Jay’ Van Orden launched their subscription-based community site, I really wanted to give them some money for everything I had already learned from them (as I had never got around to using their Paypal donate button). Not surprisingly, the subscription site is more comprehensive than the free resources. Internet Business Mastery Academy consists of a series of learning courses using video, audio and text, detailed resource lists and ‘how to’ videos, and has an active forum, including links to internet business mastermind groups.
Teaching Sells is a subscription-based community created by Copyblogger.com founder Brian Clark and his partners. While I don’t believe it is open to wider subscription at the moment, it is definitely one to watch.
Do you know of any other resources or suggestions that would be useful to those trying to make their blogs pay? I’ll respond to comments in English or German.
October 12, 2008
1. Know your niche audience