by Cara Lumen
First you have to have an audience
Whatever form your business is going to take, you have to attract a target community for it. You have to build a relationship with people who will be interested in what you offer. And to do that you need to have a way to communicate with them on a regular basis – usually an RSS feed or an opt in list that gives you permission to market to them. Readers who sign into your community express their interest in what you are doing. And you use that connection to give them valuable information that lets them get to know you and trust you. A blog is a perfect way to do that. When you post two to three times a week on topics of interest and relevance to your target community, you will begin to build a following, people who want to know what you think, what you know, and what you teach. It is an advertiser for your business, your services, and your products. As you establish yourself in your area of expertise and continue to offer valuable information and guidance, you know that if those people in your chosen community need more from you they will ask for your help.
I had someone call me to help them set up a web site to sell an affiliate product. When I questioned him about his chosen community he had no idea what that meant. He thought just putting up a web site would bring him customers. First you need to build your community, the people that need what you have to offer. Then you build a relationship with them so they trust you and will come to you when they are ready. Only then are you in a position to sell to them. Everything you write is part of your marketing process – that reaching out to build connection.
A blog can help you build products
A blog is a stepping stone to creating products. As you write you Cornerstone Content you are laying the foundation of what you what to teach your community. That Cornerstone Content may develop into home study courses, or books, or videos. Writing your Cornerstone Content focuses your business. And it may turn out to be an information product in itself.
While you are building an audience for your products and services by writing relevant blog posts you are creating outlines, segments, and ideas for the products themselves. As you write to meet the needs of your community you find more ways to be in service.
How a blog makes money
Of course you can sell things on your blog – products, consulting, services and advertising – but the majority of bloggers make the majority of their money from running a successful business. The blog facilitates that business by building a fan base of interested followers that can be easily reached with new product information.
Web site or blog?
I have both. And they serve two different purposes. My web site www.caralumen.com talks about my coaching business. It explains how I help thoughtful leaders effectively organize and focus their ideas so they can educate and inspire their chosen community. It contains the details of what I offer, what I can help them do, what it costs, what my credentials are.
My blog, www.passionatelyonprupose.com on the other hand gives valuable insights, offers encouragement and inspiration, and lets my community know what I stand for and what I value. People read my blog, sign up for my emagazine, get my mini-ecourse, understand how I approach my work and call me to become coaching clients.
I offer my clients a way to create a web site in partnership with www.jstewartdesigns.com and a blog in my partnership with www.magneticblogbuilders. In both cases I help focus the content so it attracts the people you are meant to serve.
Why are you blogging?
Be clear about the reason you are blogging. Do you want to teach? Good idea. Do you want to sell? First you have to gain their respect and trust. Do you want to express yourself? OK. But what results do you want to see from that? What is your call to action? What do you want your readers to do? In most cases you want them to connect more deeply with you by signing up for your RSS feed, or join your community through your newsletter. Eventually you want them to buy an information product or sign up for coaching or consulting or a course you teach. Get really clear about why you are blogging and what measurable results you want to obtain.
What a blog can do for you
A blog gives you credibility and visibility. It will attract potential customers for your services and products. It is good for creating business contacts and finding like-minded creative partnerships. And it is extraordinarily adept at creating relationships which is the foundation of all business.
What a blog cannot do for you
A blog is a support system for a concrete business of consulting, services, products, etc. You will make money from your business with the support of your blog. A blog is not a business in itself, it facilitates your business.
Put it to work for you.
©2010 Cara Lumen.
Further insights you might find of value:
- Are You Exploring New Frontiers?
- Write for Discovery
- What Can You Teach That You Can Get Paid For?
- What Are People Willing to Buy in Today’s Economy
- 10 Ways for You to Start Earning More Income
- Build your Online Business on What You Already Know
- Build Your Online Business with Positive Experiences and Great Results
- How to Choose What Blogs to Follow
- Do You Really Need a Blog?
- To blog or not to blog, that is the question
- Why You Should Write Your Cornerstone Content First