This might be a shocker. WordPress is no longer king. Smart Blogger’s Jon Morrow convinced me of this earlier this week.
What does it take to succeed at blogging for business? Morrow ways that it takes 10 hours a week, minimum consistently over months and possibly years. It also takes a love of writing, because bloggers do a lot of it.
What more does it take to monetize a blog? Wisdom to share. Experience is valuable, and if you can share the wisdom that you’ve accumulated through experience, you’ve got what it takes to help others. But, without what Morrow calls a mass market topic, it will be difficult to succeed.
So, what’s a mass market topic? The big three are topics, or niches, in health, wealth or relationships. Mass market health niches include weight loss, fitness, diabetes, arthritis, hair loss, skin care, physical pain, and anti-aging.
Some mass market wealth niches are wealth management, financial advising, investment advising, financial newsletters, and how to make money on the internet. Mass market relationship niches include dating, marriage, parenting, sex, and conflict resolution.
Want a Fail- Safe Way to Launch Your Blog?
If WordPress is no longer king, what’s the best way to launch your blog? Morrow suggests starting your blog on Medium. Why Medium? First, Medium is super-easy to use. If you have a WordPress site, Medium is similar to the WordPress’ Gutenberg editor. If you don’t have a blog, Medium will prepare you for WordPress.
Consider this: When Jeff Bezos, the world’s richest man and the owner of the Washington Post wanted to expose a blackmail plot against himself, he didn’t do it on the pages of the Washington Post. He did it by publishing an article on Medium. That happened on February 2 of this year.
Consider the benefits. First, you don’t have to buy a domain 60and hosting. All you have to do is sign up and start writing. When you hit publish, your work will be exposed to 60 million readers. Use the tag, follow, and @mention functions to get noticed.
Not only that, Medium will help you find readers. Medium will help you target groups that will be most receptive to your message. Medium calls this their “internal discoverability features.”
Medium provides you with helpful analytics to build your audience. Medium will tell you how your content is performing – you’ll see how many views and reads your content has received, and how many readers enjoyed your article.
Another good reason for starting on Medium is that it’s great for shorter posts. With Google, longer posts generally rank higher. With Medium, which was created by a co-founder of Twitter, shorter is just fine.
Connect Medium to Twitter and Facebook for More Bang
You can connect your Medium account to your Twitter and Facebook accounts and your followers on those platforms who are on Medium will automatically be connected to you there also. Medium can also be used to build your followings on Twitter and Facebook. That cross-pollination can’t help but improve your business profile.
Did you know that Barack Obama and Leonardo DiCaprio have published on Medium, as do a number of worldwide brands. If you haven’t published on Medium, ask yourself, what do they know that you don’t know?
If the target audience for your marketing is working adults, particularly those with college and graduate degrees, Medium is for you. Medium’s audience has been described as highly educated and tech-savvy. Plus, Medium gives you the ability to target your audience even more narrowly to those who will be most receptive to your message.
Already have a blog? Medium can provide greater visibility in spades. Mike Essex of koosai.com reports that within 6 hours of publishing his first story on Medium, he had more views than he believed he’d get in a lifetime on his own website. Over 24 hours, those numbers quadrupled.
You can think of Medium as your laboratory. Try out ideas and see what works. Morrow suggests experimenting with different ideas, topics, and niches. Discover what drives traffic and what you enjoy writing about. That place where the two meet is what Morrow calls “the zone of magic.”
How to Get Started on Medium
- Create your account. It’s free and it’s not hard to do.
- Medium is a story-telling platform, so organize your content in a story format.
- Medium organizes content around people, organizations, publications and tags. Just as with Twitter, content comes to you from those you follow. Those who follow you will be notified every time you publish new content, so build a following. How?
- The first step in building a following on Medium is to connect your Facebook and Twitter accounts. Those networks will be the early foundation of followers.
- Next, follow people, organizations and publications in your niche or industry. Follow people who recommend or applaud your content.
- Use tags to get your content in front of the right people. Since Medium sorts content into collections, use tags to help Medium place your content in the best places for your target audience. You can even create a branded collection for your content.
- Publish often and stay connected daily on Medium. Activity and visibility go hand in hand for building a higher profile.
- Publish quality content and publications will find your stuff. Or, you can help them find your stuff by pitching it to them. Getting published in a Medium publication can gain you some big-time exposure.
- In general, quality content trumps chronology on Medium. It doesn’t matter when your content goes up on Medium, quality content rises to the top, provided you get enough positive responses from readers.
- Make sure your content has excellent photos and other graphics. Medium is a word and visual platform – your visual appearance will strengthen your overall appeal.
- Comment on popular articles in your niche or industry. Just a thoughtful comment can garner you followers.
- Tag writers in your niche or industry, particularly influencers. You may get a “clap” from them, or even better, a recommendation or a share.
- Place opt-in opportunities in your content. Those calls to action will grow your email list, which is a welcome benefit that costs you nothing.
- If you already have a blog or website, link back to it. This is a good way to build traffic away from Medium.
One caution: if you have a website, do not republish identical content from your website onto Medium as this may cause a Panda penalty from Google for YOUR site. Essex gives a good suggestion on using Medium, if you do have a website. Think about it as if it’s a place to do guest blogging. As with guest blogging, it’s a way to reach beyond your current network.
6 Steps for Launching Your Blog
Once you’ve found what works, it’s time to get a domain and hosting.
- Get a hosting company. I recommend TMD Hosting, the company that I’ve been with for a number of years. I’ve tried others and I went back to TMD because of their support services and their pricing.
- Register your domain. I recommend using Go Daddy, and using your name with .com as I’ve done for my website. This identifies you as the business owner and .com says that you are a business.
- Install WordPress. It’s the best blogging platform for several reasons. Rather than going through them, let me cite some WordPress users: Microsoft, Facebook, Sony Music, The Walt Disney Company, AMC, Mercedes-Benz, Rueters, and the nation of Sweden. I recommend using wordpress.org and not wordpress.com – I’ve built sites with both and .org is superior. With wordpress.org, you can add a multitude of free plugins that will give you all kinds of advantages.
- Choose a WordPress theme. Blogger and writer Jeff Goins recommends the Twenty Sixteen theme. I started with Twenty Twelve which works well for a blog, I’ve used ColorMag because I like how it displays. Now I use an OptimizePress theme. There are over 1,000 free themes to choose from on WordPress.
- Create a banner for the top of your website pages and start blogging. If you need to, you can easily hire this out to a Fiverr.com freelancer.
- I recommend keeping your website simple. Have a main page where your blog posts go, an “About Me” page to tell your story, and a landing page where people can subscribe to your email list. Use widgets sparingly as they can make a page look cluttered.
How to Stand Out
With over 5 billion pieces of content published daily, we live in a world of fragmented attention. How do you break through all the clutter?
The old way is you come up with a blog idea, write it up and publish. The problem: you’re just another contributor to the clutter, unless you know how to distinguish your content from everyone else’s content. Here’s one way to stand out.
Research what’s popular in your niche, you write something better, and you publish. Use Buzzsumo, SEMRush, or similar sites that report what’s popular. Look for the amount of shares. Choose what’s being shared and improve on it.
Monetize Your Blog
The old way of monetizing your blog was to write a new article every day, optimize your post for SEO, grab some advertising for your website, and you’re making money. The problem with this approach is that you are incentivized to write lots of content and it’s all too often crappy content when you have to create new content every day.
The new way is to create one or two high quality articles a month. Morrow says, don’t worry about SEO, just write great articles. That’s easier said than done. Of course, create the best content that you are capable of producing. But, pay attention to SEO, it can be a way to grab a larger audience.
The key to monetization is getting subscribers to an email list. To do this, get an autoresponder that will collect email addresses for you. I recommend AWeber, which is what I use.
The saying is, “the money’s in the list.” As you email your subscribers, you’re building a relationship with them. As they learn to like and trust you, you can expect that some will become your customers.
To get email addresses, it’s important that you offer something of value in exchange for an email address. That value offer is called a lead magnet. Create one that will be of interest to those you want to attract to your email list.
4 Monetization Models
- Affiliate Marketing. This is the easiest entry point for most online entrepreneurs. Affiliate marketing is offering someone else’s product in exchange for a commission on sales.
- Self-study courses. Teaching online courses is a popular way to make money on line. With video and automation, this is a 24/7 snap to do. I have two self-study courses, Words That Sell and Advertising Angles.
- Information products. Like a self-study course, this is where you unleash your wisdom and experience to help others. Also, with automation, you can do 24/7 transactions. You can see my information products for marketing here.
- Membership Sites. These are sites where your customers or clients pay a monthly or yearly subscriptions for special content. The benefit of this for you is dependable, predictable income.
So, if you’re not yet blogging for profit, what’s holding you back?
I invite your comments and questions and your likes and shares.