What We’re Going to Talk About Today

  • What are some ways you could morph your blog into a different kind of business?
  • The two different ways to make money with a blog
  • The three different type of business blogs
  • The finances and opportunities for each
  • How *exactly* to get started TODAY

But, before we get started…

  • How many of you currently have a blog? (hands, please!)
  • How many of you are considering starting a blog?
  • For those of you that have a blog, are you currently selling any products or services through your blog?
  • What about ads or sponsored posts?

Why am I here talking to you about this?

  • Long, long ago, in a galaxy far away, I had a food and entertaining blog. And then I quit my job. And then I stopped having my own blog.
  • I’ve worked with businesses (product or service) that sink a ton of time AND MONEY into their blog / content marketing without making sure: (a) there is a community that is interested (b) people are willing to pay for the product they’re eventually going to be selling.
  • I’ve seen people buy existing blogs and try to turn them around, without really digging in and understanding the needs of their marketing or offering a product that they are completely equipped to pull off.
  • And I’ve coached people starting with blogs with tons of readers and trying to figure out how on earth to make money off of all of the hours they’ve already worked!

Blog businesses come in two styles:

  1. Publications
  2. Content marketing (A.k.a. a blog that promotes a business, where the blog is not the business)

The key difference is how the money is made
Eyeballs vs. direct

Within blogs that are content marketing…
You have two types again:

  1. Indirect content marketing: the business being promoted is not directly related to the content
  2. Adobe’s CMO blog is a great example from a big brand that we’ll see on the next screen

Most common with service businesses like freelance writing or photography, copywriting, trip planning
Direct content marketing: the business being promoted is the core of the content
Can be affiliate marketing, direct selling information or physical products, sometimes even services

You might be saying to yourself,
“Didn’t these businesses predate their blogs?”

Why yes!
A blog is an investment companies wouldn’t make w/o an ROI plan.So what does that mean for you?
Let’s look at two that went blog THEN business

There’s clearly some BIG differences between these business blog types

Let’s break them down ONE by ONE
How many of you started a blog thinking you would do the eyeballs approach and then realized you need A LOT more eyeballs than you bargained for?

Blog Publishing Businesses

  • Blogs oriented entirely around the publisher approach can really only make money one way: selling eyeballs to advertisers
  • It’s a tough racket, and that’s why you seen many change their tune after a few years and branch out into selling products OR services
  • Let’s look at how the numbers really play out

What magazines are charging:

  • Town & Country (US): Circulation 475,000
    Color full page: $125,000; 2/3 page: $100,720; 1/3 page: $62,010
  • Travel + Leisure (US): Circulation 950,000
    Color full page: $169,900; 2/3 page $136,000; $102,000
  • Family Fun: Circulation 2,000,000
    Full page: $235,300; 2/3 $189,700; 1/3 $147,200
  • Why so much? Audited circulation. And, to pay their bills!

What small/niche magazines are charging:

  • Country Walking (UK): Circulation 30,524
    Inside Front Cover £3,937; Inside Back Cover £3,780; Full Page £3,500; Half Page £1,200; Quarter Page £625
  • Northwest Travel + Life Magazine: Circulation 45,000 (readers 340,000)
    Full page $4,489; 2/3 page $3,405; ¼ page $1,998
    Online $2,200 with 245,000 guaranteed monthly minimum impressions
  • Getaway Magazine (South Africa): Circulation 44,700
    Full page: $3,234; ½ page: $2,263; ¼ page $1,617

What some of your peers are charging:

  • Living the Dream: 70,000 monthly uniques, sponsored posts begin at $1,500 per month
  • Wanderlust and Lipstick: 70,000 monthly uniques, $1,000+ per sponsored post
  • Family Travel Magazine: 40,000 monthly uniques, $250 per sponsored post, $50 per newsletter ad per week, $100+ per social media campaign

Indirect Content Marketing Blogs
Travel blogs in this area typically support:

  • Freelance writing
  • Photography
  • Copywriting
  • Travel coaching (yes, I do know someone who coaches you to get over fear of traveling international)
  • Trip planning
  • Concierge travel services
  • They’re indirect because the blogs cover things of interest to people also interested in what the business sells
  • Can work well in a very small web traffic/email list setting; few clients needed

Direct Content Marketing Blogs

There’s so many things you can sell online!
Can be:

  • affiliate products
  • physical items you drop ship like Her Packing List’s perfume sticks
  • information products you create

Many people automatically think of courses, but this is a very high investment type of direct product that also really requires a sizable list, so it’s not a great intro product

People often also think of e-books, especially destination guides and things like that, but the market is so flooded those are really hard to sell, especially if you haven’t already built a platform with some kind of clear authority

So what’s the best product-based business FOR YOU?

The one you….WAIT!

Which of the 3 types of business are you thinking about for yourself RIGHT NOW?

  1. Publishing
  2. Indirect Content Marketing
  3. Direct Content Marketing

Now…what blog business should you build?

The intersection of what you already know AND what people have already told you they will buy.

Whoa. What they’ve already told you they’ll buy?

That. Sounds. Like. Magic.

How do we get that?

You Ask! (Really, I’m not joking.)

It’s a three step process:

  1. Ask why they need
  2. Ask what they’d be willing to pay for it
  3. Ask them if they’ll pay you for it right now

This is when the real business starts happening.

How does this work for all three blog business types?

  1. Have a blog with what you feel like is a good sized following? Go to people you’ve already written about and ask if they’d be interested in sponsoring the post.
  2. Have a blog that you think feeds a freelance business? Ask around for people in your acquaintance who are editors, getting married, CVBs, whatever! Ask people here at the conference, tell them what you do, or have them check out your site and ask them if they would pay for it.
  3. Have a blog that you think could support direct sale of products or services? Email your blog readers (or, if you don’t have an email list yet, create a blog post with a form asking these questions, and make sure to include a giveaway so they are incentivized to respond since it’s more onerous than email) and ask them what related to (whatever your blog focuses on) they need more help with, what they’d be willing to pay for it, and if they’d be ready to start in June if you offered it.

You will get nowhere, very slowly, by building what you think people will pay for.

This must be harder than it sounds, right?

What you notice very quickly is that if you do not have a very specific OFFER, there is nothing for them to say yes to. And you probably won’t know what to say to them in the first place.

This is the most important first step in creating a business that supports you financially from your blog TODAY:


What constitutes an offer?

  • In legal terms: There must be an offer by one party, an acceptance by another party, and an exchange of consideration (something of value).
  • First: There must be acceptance (active assent); reading your blog is passive assent.
  • Therein lies the rub: what is an “exchange of consideration?”
  • Next level = CLARITY:
    • Terms
    • Conditions
    • Inclusions and exclusions

Your first offer…

  • should be…something that you are comfortable starting to sell this weekend.
  • should not be…something that you need to set up a complicated technical system to offer or learn a whole different business discipline for. This. Weekend.
  • should be…small, because it’s easier to take baby steps with folks who aren’t used to buying from you!

Remember: the smaller the initial offer the better.

Let’s look at some examples by type of business:

Publisher: Sponsored Post
Need to get started? Media kit showing ROI, eyeballs, demographics of your audience.
Target customers? Companies you have featured or companies similar to those you’ve featured/the post topics you’ve covered.
Advantage of this offer? Already have stats on past posts.

Indirect Content Marketing: WordPress Set-up for Travel Companies with Crap Websites
Need to get started? Skill with tangential relationship to what you cover on your blog; past clients are great, but not necessary—you just need to hang a shingle on LinkedIn and a “work with me” page.
Target customers? Can start with readers of your blog, but B2B is always easier than B2C. Look at other companies that could use your services.
Advantage of this offer? Need very few customers per month for viability.

Direct Content Marketing: Custom Itinerary** for [destination write about often] with Planning Phone Call
Need to get started? Zero. Could start with some pre-built itineraries, but you’ll get those when you start working with clients.
Target customers? Readers of your blog and followers on social.
Advantage of this offer? You’ve already got a list of potential customers! You just have to figure out who is already above the “yes” line.
**Note: this is a particularly cool offer because it is a “productized service.” If you are ready for next level work here and want to know what that means, ask me after the talk.

Let’s go around. Ideas?

Final Advice
One thing you’ll noticed here is that only in the last category, direct selling to your existing blog audience, do you not need to build a list of targets to approach from scratch, something that takes both time and chutzpah

BUT selling to people you already know can feel more vulnerable, so it comes down to what makes you the most comfortable right now.

You can—and WILL—always grow in the future.

Most people just won’t leave and do this. But if you do…

Does it sound too simple? That’s the trick!

I’ve seen people with countless different offers net $6,000, $2,500 per month, and even $20,000 their first try.

Next Steps (to do THIS weekend!)

  • Practice. Practice. Practice. Selling is a muscle you must train, and it feels like you’re lifting a very heavy weight in the beginning.
  • Practice on friends. Practice on sponsors. Practice at the party.
  • You’ll probably need to change who you are focusing your time with on your blog to cater to your actual customers.
  • Zero in on these first customers, and KEEP ASKING WHAT THEY NEED.
  • Get rid of the static of pie-in-the-sky asks from people who are really never going to pay you for anything, but are too used to getting things from you for free.

What will you do with your blog business?

What did you think of this session? The WITS organizers want each of your feedback.

Take a couple minutes to complete the questionnaire for this session here: http://bit.ly/wits18gabi

And then we’ll take questions!


Reference links:

Al Centro Media Kit http://www.alcentromedia.com/ad-packages.html

Excellent advertising page example: http://goingawesomeplaces.com/advertise-pr-media-kit/

Work With Living the Dream

Advertise on Wanderlust and Lipstick



Travel and Leisure circulation https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=1&ved=0ahUKEwjUzsPt-d_aAhUrvlkKHVHAAbgQFggpMAA&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.travelandleisure.com%2Fmicrosites%2Ftlmediakit%2Fpdf%2Fcirculation.pdf&usg=AOvVaw16wfUG5NFtpQySrPecLb2q

Excellent resource on rates: http://travelbloggersassociation.com/what-travel-bloggers-charge/

Exclusive early-bird events rates for WITS attendees:

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