For many bloggers the idea of blogging for brands is uncomfortable. You’ve been writing a blog and building a loyal readership writing what you want, offering helpful tips, and really connecting with your readers on a personal level. If you start to advertise brands, it might feel like you’re selling out.
How do you do it without feeling unethical? Choose brands you really like and endorse them honestly. Choose them based on products your readers can actually use. Don’t advertise anything you don’t wholeheartedly stand by. Be transparent and come right out and tell your readers that you’ve been asked to write something. Moreover, make sure that the brand doesn’t tell you what you have to say. It should be totally up to you to make either positive or negative comments about that brand’s product.
Get More Mileage out of Your Blog Content by Repackaging It
The content on your blog doesn’t have to stay there. If you have archives full of original, high quality posts, you can repackage and reuse them for lead generation, free giveaways, or new information products you can sell.
If you get creative, there’s an unlimited number of options for repackaging. A few ideas include:
Reports. Take a group of blog posts on a common theme and combine them into short reports that you can give away free for lead generation. For example, a free report that covers a group of related topics is a great incentive for people to sign up to your list.
Ebooks. This is the same approach as for reports, but an ebook is longer, more detailed, and contains a table of contents, cover, and so on. A bit more structuring is involved, but you can sell your ebooks through your site or through . (Note: You’d have to revise the posts to put them on Kindle since Amazon doesn’t allow content that’s already freely available online.)
E-courses. Take several blog posts on a common topic or problem and turn each into a ‘lesson.’ You can add value to your e-course by creating activities, worksheets, and chapter summaries.
Podcasts. Create audio files where you read or summarize the content. These can be submitted to podcast directories or added to information products for increased value.
Videos. Use your blog posts as scripts and create videos to post on YouTube. Video production is easy; you can film yourself talking or make a simple slideshow.
PowerPoint Presentations. Turn your old blog posts into PowerPoint presentations. Put them into a logical sequence and use written content from your posts to make slides. Then share these slides on one of the sharing networks, such as .
Cheat Sheets / Quick Reference Guides. Take the information you’ve blogged about and make simple, easy-to-digest, one-page reference sheets for your audience. These are nice supplements for e-courses.
Infographics. Infographics are extremely popular now, and great for Pinterest. You can use the text from your blog posts and turn them into infographics using free online infographic creation programs. Infographics make excellent social media content and can often go viral.
Why Pay for Free Content?
Here’s a common objection to the idea of repackaging content – If your old blog posts are free and available online, why would anybody pay for them? Your repurposed products offer a serious advantage. They make it easy to find all the information in one place. Your readers don’t have to search through old blog posts to find what they’re looking for. By putting your information into a new, easier to digest form, you save your readers time. And anything that gives people more time is of a great value.
Don’t Be Redundant
It’s completely ethical to reuse your old content, but don’t be redundant. Keep it fresh and true to YOU. Try to avoid offering the same content to the same people. For example, use your repurposed free report to draw new readers to your blog. Don’t offer it to your current readers as a promotional offer. They may have read the content already! If you’re offering repurposed content to the same audience, update it in some way so that it’s fresh and provides new perspectives that they hadn’t thought of before.
Creative Product Reviews – Taking Your Product Reviews to the Next Level
Product reviews are one of the best ways to earn money with your blog. You write about products your target market would love, and they buy the product through your blog, earning you affiliate income. Your reviews don’t just promote the products but also provide valuable information readers need to know before they buy. Adding a little creativity to spice up your product reviews can go a long way in increasing the income you get from these posts.
Instead of doing written reviews, try selling products through video testimonials. Videos are extremely easy to produce and social media sites offer wide-scale distribution. All you need to do is get in front of the camera and tell your viewers about this exciting new product you’ve experienced or are trying out. One advantage of video testimonials is that they add a personal touch and viewers can visibly see your enthusiasm. They are also a different way for your fans to consume your content. Some people would rather watch videos than read.
Even better than just telling people about the product, give them a look at what it can do. Demonstration videos are better than a simple “talking head” because a demo shows viewers the benefits they can get from using the product. You can also show them the product’s value by demonstrating other ways it can be used.
Interview the Product Creator
An easy and effective way to create reviews is to interview the creator of the product. Ask them the questions your readers would want to know before buying their product. One nice thing about interviews is that you don’t have to create the content yourself; you only need to come up with some key questions and let the creator do the talking. For them, it’s free publicity, so it’s a win-win. You can make interview videos, audios or articles.
Add Your Own Bonuses
Along with your product review, make your readers a valuable offer. Tell them to send you a copy of the receipt and you’ll give them a bonus. The bonus can be a digital product that’s easy for you to produce or you can repurpose old content from your blog into something new. The best bonus is one that helps the buyer use the product, like a cheat sheet or resource guide.
Check out the Competition
Read reviews on other sites of the same or similar products. Write your reviews so that they mention different aspects of the product. Another way to make your reviews stand out is to give the reader more detailed information about the product than what your competitors discuss.
Make your reviews honest, mentioning the weak points of the product as well as the features you like. Give people a fair and balanced picture of the product’s real pros and cons to help them make an informed decision. This will help you better establish trust with your readers, and your reviews will have a much higher quality than those on other sites. When you have the best reviews, people will buy through your link first.
Selling Physical Products through Your Blog
Most bloggers monetize their blogs by selling digital products either through affiliate programs or that they produce themselves. However, you can sell anything through your blog, including physical products. There are affiliate programs for big online retailers like Amazon or EBay, but an even better option is to create your own products. You will have a higher profit margin and you retain complete control.
There are a number of sites through which you can sell your own designs and creations. All you need to do is create the design and these sites handle the production, shipping and customer service for you.
Zazzle lets you upload your own designs which are then put onto physical products of your choosing, like t-shirts and mugs. You can create your own Zazzle store and promote those goods on your blog. You can even put the store directly on your blog using Zazzle’s API capabilities. Not only can you earn royalties on goods sold, you can also earn a referral income.
Café Press works in much the same way as Zazzle. You only have to create an image and upload it, and they do the rest. You get a commission on all products sold through your shop. One difference with Café Press is that it has an international market. So, you get the added benefit of a global marketplace.
Etsy is tailored toward crafts and vintage goods, but it reaches a massive international audience. Etsy works slightly differently. You pay the site to list your items and then pay a small fee on each item sold instead of getting a commission or royalties. This means that you generally get more for your products on Etsy as compared to Zazzle and Café Press. One downside is that you have to do your own shipping.
Tips on Selling Physical Products
Approach selling physical products in exactly the same way you would with digital products. Do market research and keyword research. Make sure the products you’re offering are things your market wants and can use. Focus on solving problems and making life easier for customers with your products.
There are many other marketplaces for your designs besides Zazzle and Café Press, but before you sign up and start selling on any, make sure the company is professional and reliable. Check forums and review sites to see what people say about those companies. You should pay especially close attention to their customer service, because it can make or break you.
Use your blog to drive traffic to your shop. Although sites like Etsy make selling physical products easy, you have to be very aggressive in getting people to your shop. There are many sellers offering similar products so you shouldn’t expect a great deal of search engine traffic.
Digital products offer a few big advantages. There’s no shipping to deal with and they’re easy to produce. But with the services offered by the above sites, it’s easy to produce your own physical products, and many of the sites handle shipping for you. Like digital products, physical products can be sold online with low overhead to maximize profits.
Selling Your Expert Services with Your Blog
Some bloggers monetize their blogs by offering products while others use theirs to market their services. If you’re a web designer, SEO expert, content writer, or other service provider, your blog is an essential tool for driving traffic and getting clients. However, you can also use your blog to attract coaching and other teaching gigs.
Your Ideal Client
Before you start writing, take a minute to consider your target audience. Picture your ideal client and write content that they can use. Define this person as specifically as possible. What are their interests and problems? Use your blog to speak to them and discuss topics in which they’re interested.
You don’t have to explicitly sell your services on your blog. It’s a bad idea to make every blog post about why people need to hire a web designer, SEO expert, writer, coach, etc. Don’t focus on selling, but provide information they can use. What you’re doing is demonstrating your expertise in your field. When they need your services, you’ll be the one they ask since they’ve already seen what you can offer.
If you’re a blogger with a high-traffic blog and an engaged audience, you can sell your services as a blog consultant. What a blog consultant does is to help businesses that are struggling with their blogs. If you’ve done well with yours, this shows that you’re an expert. You can target businesses in your niche or a similar niche; for example, if you’re a dog blogger, you can focus on helping pet-related businesses.
Offline Business SEO
Search engine optimization for offline businesses is a lucrative field. Offline businesses today realize they need a strong online presence, but a fair number of them are completely lost about how to go about it. On your blog, you can write about SEO, social media, traffic strategies, and everything else you’ve done to put your blog on the map. Your content will give them the help they need to get started an, when they need further help, they’ll hire you.
Many bloggers sole goal is to attract coaching clients through their writing. You can offer coaching sessions that are conducted through Skype, email or phone for individuals or groups. They don’t have to be one-on-one. With coaching, you share your expertise in a specific area with people who are new to it and less experienced. Coaches are able to charge high hourly rates for sharing their knowledge and experience.
Seminars and Webinars
Another way to share your expertise is to offer seminars and webinars. Announce your webinar on your blog and explain the benefits to your readers. Then promote it in other arenas, like social media. Your first webinar may be small, but webinars have a tendency to gather momentum, snowballing into more participants each time you hold them.
Traffic and Engagement
In order to use your blog to successfully sell your services or expertise, you need to have a great deal of traffic and reader engagement. Post content regularly and interact as much as possible with readers when they comment, ask questions, or email you. Post in forums where your ideal clients hang out and share content on other sites to get exposure. Your visibility online is what will drive your success in getting clients for your services.
What if You Want to Sell Your Blog?
When you’ve lost your passion for your blog or you find that you don’t have time to do it anymore, don’t just let it wither and die alone in the blogosphere. There may be an opportunity to sell it. If you have good traffic, good reader engagement and a monetization strategy in place, your blog will be very attractive to buyers and it may fetch a good price.
Make It Saleable from the Start
If you think you might someday sell your blog, set it up from the start so that it can be easily transferred. Choose a domain name that doesn’t mention you specifically. Avoid names like www.yourname.com or www.BobsBlogsOnDogs.com. Also, try to keep from making your content overly personal. The person who buys the blog from you will need to be able to take it over and keep on blogging on the same topics.
Make Your Blog Attractive to Buyers
Work on building traffic and earnings with your blog and keep track of all analytics. The value of your blog is determined by several factors, including earnings, traffic, age, links, design, quality of content, and rankings. Often blogs are valued at ten times their monthly profits, adjusted using the other factors mentioned above. Create a presentation that shows these analytics to prospective buyers.
Don’t bother trying to sell your blog if it has just a few posts that were written years ago. The content on your blog needs to be high-quality and there needs to be a track record of frequent posting. Make sure your content is original and isn’t scraped from other sites, spun, or copied. The amount of quality content on your blog adds to its value.
Engagement Is Key
Another factor that will get you a higher price and more potential buyers is reader engagement. You need as many comments, shares and other interactions as possible. If you have a large subscriber base, this is a tremendous bonus. The number of subscribers tells the buyer that your blog has a built-in audience that follows the blog regularly. They don’t have to build a brand new following from scratch.
Your Blog’s Competitive Advantage
When selling your blog, try to figure out its competitive advantage. What makes your blog unique among all of the other ones in your niche? Make your differentiators abundantly clear in your sales presentation. The uniqueness of your blog will add to its value.
If you can’t get the price you want for your blog, you might consider investing more time in building it and trying to sell again a year or so down the road. If it’s going to require too much of your time or you just don’t want to, outsource your content creation and focus on building traffic and monetizing. You’ll then be able to put your blog out on the market for a higher price.
Selling blogs is so lucrative that some bloggers create and develop blogs just to sell them. From the start, they create content, build a following and engage readers with the eventual goal of turning it around for a profit. Once you’ve sold your blog, you’ll understand how it works and you can build new blogs with the sole purpose of selling them to the highest bidder.