Everybody’s blogging these days
That sounds like a 1950’s Teen Dance Craze perpetuated by savvy adults to make money off the unsuspecting children, who in turn think they are “with it” and “cool.” When MTV first hit the airwaves, kids didn’t realize this symbol of Teen Rebellion was owned by a multi-national corporation and marketed by a top Madison Avenue advertising firm, running a campaign created by a man born in 1931.
So what does that have to do with blogging? For one thing, it illustrates that Experience creates Authority. But there is more.
Music videos had already been around for a long time and always had a ready audience. But according to Advertising legend, George Lois, MTV was a failure until he convinced Rolling Stones’ Mick Jagger to scream,
“I want my MTV.”
Did you catch the significance of that? Mick Jagger, snarling symbol of Rebellion, and certainly an Authority figure in the music business, sold out and made a TV commercial for a corporate monolith. Now that was different! Suddenly an idea everyone thought was crazy became an international sensation. And every imitator has fallen flat on their faces. The only competition to MTV is VH-1, which is owned by the same company.
Now then, about your blog…
Conventional wisdom seems to have quickly moved us away from
“a Business Needs a Blog”
“a Blog IS Your Business.”
Are you still working to make money online with an Internet Business?
Or are you now a Hobby Blogger who began as a Business Blogger?
Have you invested a great deal of time and effort in a blog with the intention of making money, only to become discouraged over time as things didn’t work out so well?
Nowadays you may be telling yourself that your goal is to “add value” or “build relationships” so your visitors will “trust you” enough to buy from you at some vague date later on down the road.
If you want to sell products and make money, there are specific things you must do.
Selling products successfully
- You must own or control marketing rights to a unique product no one else is offering.
- There must be a reasonably high demand for your product that is for the most part, unsatisfied.
- You must have systems in place for both production and distribution.
- You must have a system for acquiring a large pool of prospects from which to convert into clients.
The biggest profits come from selling your own product, or a product owned by someone else who gives you the exclusive rights to sell. That way, anyone else who wants to sell that product must pay you a royalty to do so. In the early 1960’s E. Joseph Cossman made millions by marketing other people’s products. But he always insisted on having exclusive rights to sell them, otherwise he would walk away and find something else.
If you are selling a product that you do not control you are at a tremendous disadvantage because you are not only competing for the privilege of providing a solution, but you are selling the very same solution as everyone else. This is the common model used in the blogging world utilizing Affiliate products as the profit vehicle. It can be done, but it’s much more difficult.
- You must acquire more prospects and clients than your competitors. The more competitors you have, and the larger and better funded they are compared to you, the greater impact each will have on your ability to generate an adequate profit. It’s likely that out of all your many competitors, only a few are major players. Those are the ones you must build your strategies against.
- You must prove you are “better” than your competitors. If all of you are selling the very same brands of soap, you must make up for that “sameness” with a higher quality of service, price, convenience, bonuses, etc. And you must convince a large segment of the market that you possess these qualities to a greater extent than your competitors. If you are adding value, you must add more and more value in direct relationship to the strength and market position of your competition.
The business model is flawed
- Authority – Many bloggers write the same articles as their competitors, and sell the same affiliate products for the same prices. That is not an affective business model. Income-level Success with this model requires a very large base of visitors who truly consider you an Authority. Authority means Leadership. You will never have Authority as a copycat. You must distinguish yourself as being way above the herd.
- Content – Attracting people to your Information is like a magazine selling advertising. The common blog model is to use Information as the draw, and hope that once people have arrived they will decide to buy something. Most blogs are using the same business model that one the most knowledgeable, experienced (and richest) media moguls in the world has declared to be unworkable. Rupert Murdoch, who owns the Wall Street Journal, Fox News, and many others, has declared that he is tired of losing money from giving away free Information. His advertising revenues are not covering his costs, let alone producing a profit. He’s moving all of his online publications to a fee-based model.
- Purpose – People who come to your blog for the free Information may not care about your Products. In contrast, websites that attract people to the Product first, and also provide free Information centering on that Product in some way, have a much higher probability of making money. Think about Amazon. Amazon is a store, pure and simple. When you go to Amazon you know right up front you are going there to buy something, or at the very least, research a purchase for later. If you want to know more about their products, you’ll find oodles of Information waiting for you. The Information is added value, but it’s not what draws visitors there to begin with.
A working model
A better model is to draw visitors with your Product. Your blog is used to convince them they made the right choice by coming to YOU for that product. That’s the real Niche Marketing model. The blog is the added value.
That brings us back again to the premise of this article. You must have a product or marketing campaign unique enough to draw a significant number of prospects. And then your Information must be unique enough to convince them to buy once they are there.
If your product is not unique, then your Marketing absolutely must be strong enough to overcome the weakness of selling a duplicate or commodity Product. You cannot get away with writing the same things in the same ways as everyone else, because you will NEVER be known as an Authority.
Ask for the order with Authority
Don’t be shy. If you are selling a dynamite product that you believe in and know will be helpful to your visitors, tell them so. Be the Expert about the Product itself, not merely the Subject matter. Then you will have the confidence to boldly ask for the order. Some bloggers are fearful of offending their visitors. They think people will be “turned off” by a sales pitch. If that’s the way you feel, you may as well remove your advertising.
It’s like the salesman who invests valuable time and money in finding prospects, then drives for an hour to see the prospect. After another hour presenting the product, the moment of truth arrives. The salesman asks the Closing Question:
“You don’t really want to buy my product, do you?”
Oh yeah. That’s motivating!
No. The salesman hands the prospect the order form and the pen and shows the prospect where to sign. The prospect becomes a customer.
If your goal is to make money, then be very up-front about it. No one is offended by honesty. Your Content should add value to the selling process. Don’t allow it become an end unto itself.
You are the solution
There are many facets to this subject, and we have only scratched the surface. But I will leave you with this:
People buy when they have a need. Do your best to attract people who are actively looking for that special solution only you can provide. If you are standing in line to sell the same solution everyone else is selling, there are many others out there with a lot more History and Authority than you have, and no amount of SEO will enable you to pass them in Google. But if you must stand in that line, be the blogger who’s writing is so powerful, so unique, so inspiring, you won’t need Google at all, because Word-of-Mouth will bring people to you.
Well, my time is up. This article is already twice as long as most attention spans can handle. That’s why they call this, “The MTV Generation.” 🙂
I can almost hear Mick Jagger screaming now…
Image: Original MTV Advertising by George Lois