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Blogworld Expo Day 3: The bad news (with solutions!)

Written by Sherry Shaffer  · October 20, 2010

As often happens with big conferences, the third day of the BlogWorld Expo was slower. This was partly because I wanted to thoroughly go through the exhibit floor, but mainly because I was getting pretty tired. I attended much more niche-type sessions not interesting to all; specifically, “Managing Blog Groups,” and the “Science of Social Media Marketing.” The morning keynote, however, was well attended despite the late-night partying of many of the attendees, and for good reason.

“7 Harsh Realities of Blogging for Bucks” was a fairly open-format round table with Darren Rowse of Problogger, Brian Clark of Copyblogger, and Sonia Simone of Copyblogger/Remarkable Communication. While they outlined the harsh realities, they focused more on the solutions to those problems. It’s difficult to distill down their message, and I’m sure others out there have attempted the same, but I’m going to give it a try:

1.Free is not a business model – You can’t make money if you give it all away, but you’ve got to give away a lot of good content to attract people to your premium content or your products. Finding the balance can be tough, but the panel has found that the more you give away, the more people trust that your premium content/products are actually worth buying.

2.The push-button internet cash machine is on the fritz – With few exceptions, you can’t make money fast as a blogger. Like most worthy ventures, it takes time and work to build something that brings in an income. Lots of bloggers treat it as supplementary income. Don’t expect to make a six-figure income overnight, and you’ll probably be fine.

3.You can talk to everyone – It’s easy to get caught up in trying to grow your blog so quickly you lose sight of making real connections. Their advice was to get real about how many meaningful connections you can make in a day. The key word there is “meaningful.” Stretch too far too fast, and you’ll be lost in the shuffle.

4.No one wants that much authenticity – Don’t lie, but don’t get too personal. You don’t have to share everything about your life. Have some boundaries; you don’t want to creep out or bore anyone.

5.Social media hates selling – But you have to sell. Your content is your “marketing.” People love to share content, so let your awesome writing sell itself. Consider that you are offering your readers something valuable, not just pitching a deal.

6.A blog is not a business – Plenty of bloggers out there have no intention of making money. You can set up a blog with no business plan and be perfectly happy with it. But if you want to make money, you need a business plan. Treat your blog like a business, plan where you are going, and be prepared to grow with the business.

7.No one is reading your blog – There could be several reasons that no one is reading your stuff.
a.Maybe you’re not talking about something they care about. If your niche is too obscure, there just may not be a lot of audience for your subject matter. Or, maybe you’re talking about just one aspect of your subject and need to broaden your horizons.
b.You haven’t been giving it time. It takes time to build a readership. Most bloggers start out with their friends and family reading their blog. It took Darren Rowse nearly two years to get his photography blog to the place where it had a good readership and began to make money. Part of this is that you may not be spending any time to spread the word in other ways, like a strong social media presence.
c.You’ve got a good topic, but you’re not being fresh. There are new blogs coming up every day, and the hot topics get covered first. If you can find a new way to present a popular subject, you’ve won half the battle. But, if you’re copying what everyone else is doing, you could be doomed to obscurity.

I learned a ton from this very knowledgeable panel. I hope you get a a little out of my summary.
Thanks for reading,
Sherry
Starting Fresh at Forty


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Comments

2 Responses to “Blogworld Expo Day 3: The bad news (with solutions!)”

  1. Jill Manty on October 21st, 2010 6:26 am

    I love #1 and #6. I think #6 is the biggest mistake we made starting out with this blog.

  2. Sherry Shaffer on November 8th, 2010 6:54 pm

    Thanks, Tom. I’m relatively new myself, so going to the Expo was a great experience, and quite an eye-opener!





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