Bloggers are often consumed with the tasks of delivering great content, and building relationships with their audience in comment threads and on various social sites.
That’s important, of course, but not when the overall purpose of you blog is not clearly defined.
While there can be many purposes for your blog, let me share what I believe is the best blogging business model for most bloggers.
Many bloggers work for months, even years, on maintaining their blogs without ever having a clear business model in mind.
There are various business models that a blogger can choose from, but it’s important to choose one and stick to it.
Otherwise, your blog is really just a hobby, even if you don’t want to admit it.
Now, of those bloggers who are determined to build a business, the majority are convinced that listbuilding is what it’s all about. I won’t argue with that. Listbuilding IS what it’s all about for most bloggers.
Keep in mind, though, that listbuilding is only a means for building a following. It is not, in and of itself, a business model.
I have worked with more than a few bloggers who were quite successful at building pretty substantial lists, but who still had no clear definition of their overall business model.
Having a huge list of subscribers who have opted in to your list to reciever your offer for a free this or that, does not mean that you have a successful business.
Converting your subscribers into buyers, customers, team downlines and clients means you have a business.
The reason that so many bloggers are not able to mold their subscriber lists into a business, is that they don’t understand the purpose of having a list.
Whether you have 10 or 10,000 people on your list, the goal is to build engagement with your subscribers.
When I work with bloggers that already have an email list in place, I find that they usually “work the list” in one of three ways.
- They deliver valuable content in their messages, consistently and selflessly. The problem is that they can’t bring themselves to ask their subscribers to make a purchase, join their business or become paying clients. Either they are too timid to ask for the sale, or they don’t know how to do it, or they don’t know what to sell. This group usually convinces themselves that they are taking the high road, by being helpful and caring instead of “pushy” or “salesy”.
- This group know what to sell, how to sell and they never stop selling. One email after another offers their subscribers a “great deal” and something they absolutely “must have”. The problem here, is that they rarely offer any real value to their subscribers. People end up unsubscribing, reporting them as spam, or just ignoring their emails.
- This group try to offer nothing but value, but get discouraged because they can’t profit from that strategy. So, in frustration, they email strings of promotional emails asking everyone to buy everything all the time. When this strategy fails (as it always does), these folks usually put their email marketing strategy on the back burner, and send one or two pointless emails a month just to so they can “maintain” their list. And, of course, this strategy doesn’t maintain their list, it just renders it irrelevant.
The reason that these list management strategies don’t work is because they almost never emphasize engaging with subscribers in an authentic manner. They make virtually no attempt to build relationships. Even when they are sending streams of pure value, it’s not usually done in an engaging way, but only as a means to brand themselves as an authority or leader.
Building and managing a list are critical marketing activities for bloggers, but they do not constitute, in and of themselves, a business model.
The Best Blogging Business Model
I’m not going to talk, in this article, about the variety of business models bloggers can develop. I’ll tell you what I consider to be the best one.
Simply stated, this is the “continuity community”, often referred to as the membership or subscription model.
Bloggers deliver content within niches. It might be health, personal development, car racing… anything at all.
The single best way to integrate your readership into your business, in my opinion, is to get them to join you in something that is rooted in continuity.
I know people who teach their readers how to read Hebrew, how to invest in gold coins, or how to reduce cholesterol through lifestyle choices.
These are all very different specialties, but they have one thing in common… they create and disseminate their content on an ongoing, perpetual basis.
They invite their followers to become paying subscribers to this group, which delivers content continually and receives subscription payments on a continual basis.
Building a business with a continuity subscription model has many great advantages over other business models.
- You typically have members pay to be in the group on a subscription basis. That means they pay you on an automatically recurring basis, be it monthly, quarterly or whatever.
- You don’t have to keep “selling” to your members, you just have to deliver what you promised. Then you make it your business to over-deliver. Ultimately, you exercise every opportunity to build deeper engagement with your paying subscribers.
- You don’t need a humungous list. People with a list of 1,000 subscribers can build a very loyal, long-term continuity community. If only 10% of those subscribers became paying members at $35 per month, you’d have a monthly income of 100×35, or $3500. If you charged $20, you’d make $2000, etc. That won’t make you rich, but it would certainly be a prosperous business model that most bloggers would be pretty happy with.
- The membership subscription is just the beginning. The longer someone stays in your member group, the more likely they are (if you’re working your “engagement” strategies) to buy your higher end products and services. Maybe they pay you for personal coaching, or they register for your 8-week advanced training course for $497. The possibilities are clearly endless.
Driving traffic, SEO and listbuilding become secondary business strategies. While most bloggers spend almost all their time trying to get traffic and build a list, these activities become only secondary once you have an ongoing, paying continuity community.
Your primary activity becomes delivering great value to people who are already paying you for it, and converting them into increasingly valuable and trusting customers and clients. When you focus on making your continuity community great, other people will join in via word of mouth and social media chains.
Continuing to market and build a list is not nearly as important at this point. You don’t abandon those strategies, you just don’t make them primary concerns any longer. And you don’t worry about having a huge list, just a totally dedicated, trusting and responsive one.
I believe that this is the most feasible business model for most bloggers.
They already work within a tight niche, and should know the problems that most people in their niche have. Build a continuity community around solving those problems, and your blogging takes on a whole new meaning, and becomes a the focal point of a thriving business.
What sort of continuity community could you create? Have you ever thought of it? What obstacles might hold you back from putting what I call the “Best Blogging Business Model” into practice?
I’d love to see your comments, and appreciate you sharing this article on your social sites.