There is a popular phrase amongst some internet marketers when it come to content: “If you think you are giving away too much for free, you are probably giving away the right amount”.
I have subscribed to that mantra in a big way with my online business, and apply it at every possible opportunity. When first starting out with your blog, I believe that such an attitude is extremely valuable and will serve you well in establishing a loyal readership.
Love Your Audience
Consider how you interact with your readers – do you go out of your way to help them? Do you head over to their sites, comment on their posts, and give them encouragement? If they email you with questions, do you take time to respond to them with considered answers? Although it all may seem like a waste of time to some, it all comes back to the same core concept of over delivering.
It is not that your positive actions in this area will lead to a justifiably positive impact on your blog (although it may). You may not be able to measure the tangible effects of your efforts. However, there is no doubt in my mind that every time you go out of your way to help a reader, you are improving your reputation just that little bit more – even if it is just to one person. You never know, that one person may well become a powerful ally.
Don’t Be In A Rush To Monetize
When I launched Leaving Work Behind around three months ago, I majored on the fact that I was not interested in making any money from the blog whatsoever in the short term. I even wrote a post about it to really drive my point home: “Why I Am NOT Trying To Make Money From This Blog”.
I don’t want to implement anything on the blog that would distract from my core aim – which is to provide as much value as possible to the reader. Advertising would clutter the design and potentially distract my readers. Affiliate links might make a reader consider my bias (this is especially relevant when you are unknown). If I were to release a product so early on in the blog’s lifetime, people would (quite rightly) wonder why it was worth the purchase price.
It may seem counterintuitive to you, but I honestly believe that not monetizing your blog when first starting out can actually benefit your income in the long run. Why? Because you can establish a broader readership and a reputation for trustworthiness that cannot be bought.
Worried About Blogging Yourself Into A Corner?
Some of you might point out that if you do not monetize your blog from the get go, you are opening yourself up to those who will be shocked when you eventually implement some kind of income generation method. And it is true – there will be those who will criticize you for seeking a return on your investment. But they will be in the minority.
If you provide enough value and do not rush to monetize, your loyal fans will be as happy as they ever were. In fact, if you have provided value on a consistent basis, then a proportion of your loyal readers will likely feel obliged to reciprocate your generosity, and invest in whatever product you are releasing. It is human instinct.
Play The Long Game
There are an awful lot of people out there who are very impatient to make money online. Those are inevitably the people who are most likely to fail. Why? Because content marketing is not a short term game – it certainly is not a ‘get rich quick’ scheme. Take the biggest content marketing website in the world – Copyblogger – as an example. That site was not monetized for around two years. Some might consider that an extraordinary length of time – but look how well it has worked out!
In the same vein as saying that you should over deliver on content, I also believe that you should over deliver on trustworthiness and brand establishment. And the best way to do this is to be completely transparent with your audience, and demonstrate that you have absolutely no agenda. Once that catches on, your reputation can spread like wildfire.
So what have you done with your blog? Are you over delivering on all fronts, or do you have a different approach?