I’ve worked with a lot of professional bloggers over the years. Some had big audiences; some had small audiences. Some bloggers had highly engaged audiences. Others not so much.
Yet, in spite of their differences, they had this in common: they were all supporting themselves through blogging. And they were all able to live a very different kind of lifestyle because of it.
Some traveled. Some spent more time with family and friends. And others simply poured themselves into their business because that’s the thing they loved the most.
Blogging (by Itself) Is Not a Business Strategy
A strong following is a fantastic first step toward living the life you’ve always dreamed of.
But a following—by itself—is not a business. It’s only a platform. To make a living as a blogger, you have to turn that platform into some kind of cash flow for you and your family.
Here are 5 ways to generate revenue from the blog audience you’ve worked so hard to build, without alienating them or turning into a pushy salesperson.
Consulting is usually the fastest way to earn some income from your audience. No matter your topic, there are people in your audience who would be glad to pay you good money for your skills and expertise.
There are dozens of ways to let people know they can hire you.
Add a link to your About page for starters. You can also add a short mention of your services at the bottom or top of every blog post. That way you know people will see it.
Types of consulting you could sell:
- Direct services—App development, content writing, graphic design, audio/video editing… whatever you’re best at. Offer it as a direct service. This comes naturally for most bloggers since your writing already positions you as an expert within your niche.
- Coaching—Make your competitors your clients. As a coach, you’ll show others how to do what you do, while still making income for yourself.
2. Referral Agreements
Maybe you’d rather not take on clients yourself. You can still offer to connect your audience to other professionals who could help them.
If you know other people in your industry who are experts at helping people achieve fantastic, give them a call. They might be very receptive to an arrangement where you refer them work, and they provide you with a small fee in return.
Types of referral agreements to consider:
- Referral fees from service providers—It’s natural that people will occasionally ask you for recommendations. You’re the expert after all. If you set up arrangements ahead of time with service providers you trust, you’ll earn a referral fee each time this happens.
- Whitelabeling—Some service providers prefer to work in the background. When you get asked for a recommendation, it is possible to simply take the person on as your own client, but then have someone else actually perform the work. Your client pays you, and you pay the service provider, but you also keep part of the fee. Just be clear with your client about how the process works.
3. Information Products
I know of one famous blogger who took content that he had already written on his blog, packaged into a book, and then sold it to his audience for $29.99 a copy, at their request!
Take a moment to think about your own blog history. Do you have a series that was particular popular? Or an article you know people used to make dramatic positive changes in their lives? Those old content pieces are great candidates for future products you could sell directly to your audience.
You could sell as many different kinds of products as you could dream up. But here are a few of the more common ones:
- Video training courses
- Paid newsletters (usually for a monthly recurring fee)
- Membership sites
- Group coaching sessions
- Mastermind groups
4. Affiliate Products
Some of you cringe even at the mention of the words “affiliate marketing.” I get it. There are a lot of shady characters in the world of affiliate marketing.
Fear not. I’m not recommending you use all those shady tactics that give affiliate marketing its bad reputation.
Instead, think of the products or programs that have helped you over the years. Do you mention books in your blog posts and link to the listing already? Signing up for Amazon’s affiliate program is an easy way you could make a little extra money just by adding a tracking link.
Here are some products you might consider selling as an affiliate:
- Anything you’d recommend to your audience. If you ever recommend products or equipment to your audience, find those items Amazon or another site with an affiliate program. The next time you link to them, use your affiliate link instead of the normal link.
- Any product that goes beyond what you know how to teach. If you write about personal finance, you’ll naturally get some basic accounting questions every now and then. Rather than trying to answer those questions yourself, have an affiliate link ready for a good introductory accounting course taught by a CPA.
Finally, if you have a big enough audience, advertising can be a great way to generate some additional income.
Google AdSense is a natural place to start. But there are also dozens of other ad networks you could install on your blog. This article will tell you much more about the different options that are available:
Depending on your audience, you could even ask them if they’d like to buy ads on your site directly. That approach has the benefit that you get to keep 100% of the revenue, instead of sharing it with an advertising network.
At some point we all have to make a living. And it is possible to make a very good living as a full-time or part-time blogger.
By using these strategies, you’ll be able to develop revenue in addition to attention. By doing so, you’ll certainly be able to live a better lifestyle, and you’ll be able to help more people along the way.