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Nowadays, it seems like making money is the rage. If you visit Pinterest, you won’t have time enough to check out all the (obviously great-looking) pins that are screaming at you: “How I made a zillion in one week of blogging”, “How I got from 1 to 100.000 pageviews in just one month!” and more. I click on them anyway. After all; I’m serious about making money with an online business, including blogs.
However, I’m often a bit dissappointed by the content of those articles. They only talk about making money blogging ABOUT blogging. To me, that doesn’t do any justice to the impact blogging can have on ANY business.
Therefore, I decided to write an article to tell you how you can make money blogging if you’re NOT writing about blogging.
Meet Sam, the gardener
I thought it would be best to illustrate all the tips and suggestions I’m giving with an example that has really nothing to do with blogging. So I came up with Sam the Gardener. Sam the Gardener is – well, wouldn’t you know – a gardener! How could he make money blogging, without writing about blogging?
First of all, you can ask yourself: why on earth should Sam start blogging? Great question. If he can makes all his money gardening, that could be fine. But if Sam wants to expand his business and at the same time free up more time to pursue other business or personal goals, taking his business (partly) online might be a great choice. And since he will be able to make money doing this, without changing his entire focus, it is actually a perfect fit.
So how would he do it?
First of all, he would have to start a blog. I’ve written an extensive how-to guide on this, so I won’t go into that here. Second, he will have to create a strategy on how to monetize his knowledge, experience, and ideas, and do it online, on his blog.
I’ll tell you how.
1. Become an expert and share knowledge
Sam isn’t a blogger, so he doesn’t know the first thing about it and certainly is no expert on blogging. He just wants to create an online business that centres around his strength: gardening.
And that’s great. If you’re not blogging about blogging, you actually have a great advantage over all those ‘high-earning’ bloggers. You can use your blog as a platform to help you establish yourself as an expert in your field. Since you will have your own platform, you do not have to depend on other media to give attention to your business.
You can use this platform to share your knowledge, for example by providing Q&As, creating a glossary of terms in the gardening industry, giving overviews of the latest trends in horticulture, etc. Some of this information should definitely be available for free. Otherwise, it will be hard to create an expert status for yourself. However, you can ask people for their e-mail address, for example. This can be used later, to monetize other parts of your business.
2. Create digital products
Once Sam has created his platform, he can create digital products, for example eBooks or challenges. These digital ‘products’ will take his expert status a little bit further. Digital products can be created for a multiple reasons:
- They can be sold right away
- Sam can give them away as a freebie, in return for an e-mail address (as they say: the money is in the list! – a great tool for creating and maintaining such a list is ActiveCampaign)
- He can use them to promote his own products and services
- Sam can use them to promote products from his affiliate partners
- They can be used to generate interest for paid/more expensive offerings from Sam’s business
In short: digital products can make Sam a lot of money, even if he doesn’t charge people for them.
3. Offer online courses
Sam won’t be able to help everyone with creating his or her dream garden. He won’t have time enough. And there will also be some customers who want to do it themselves. However, that doesn’t have to stop Sam from making money from the customers that he cannot serve himself. Sam could create his own Gardening Academy, for example.
In this ‘Gardening Academy’, he could offer a variety of online courses. These courses would only have to be set up once, and could be used for years. Anywhere around the world. Examples of courses that could match Sam’s business are “How to design your own garden”, “How to plant XXX”, or “Create a pond in X weeks/steps”.
It is important that online courses provide a lot of substance. People not only spend their time doing it, they also pay for it, so they really should offer added value. Creating courses like this takes time, but they will pay for themselves after a while. The courses can be based on the digital products that he created earlier. If he builds upon that, he won’t have to target a whole new audience with a whole new proposition. He would just have to make sure that his digital product customers go one step further in his marketing funnel.
4. Write evergreen content about a niche
If Sam wants his online courses and products to get noticed, it is important that he continues to work on his expert status. He can do that by writing evergreen content about his niche. This content can be used to inform people, but also to lead them to his products or courses, or even more.
This evergreen content can be combined with (subtle placement) of advertisements from Google or other advertising companies. He can also use sponsored posts and affiliate links, provided that they really add value to his potential customers. It is important to focus on adding value here, not on making money. If you are helping your readers, they will become customers automatically.
The evergreen content can also be used as a basis for (new) online courses and products.
Great read on using affiliate marketing on your blog: How To Monetize Your Blog By Using Affiliate Marketing
5. Create video content
Video is gaining traction. If Sam would to make use of this, it could benefit his entire business. Especially with something like gardening, it can be useful to see how things are actually done. The video content could show how to plant or cut specific products, how to take care of them, etc. This content can be used within the evergreen content, but also in the online courses.
The video content will help generate more interest in Sam’s business and it is possible to monetize it right away by using ads.
It is also possible to use the video’s to generate content for the other products and courses that Sam is offering.
Bonus tip: go offline
Once Sam has established his expert status and makes a decent income from online resources, he can upgrade his actual offline offer. He could spend some of his time doing speaking gigs at trade fairs, where he would inspire a lot of people at the same time, and get paid a lot more than if he were to design or create a garden. And since HE is the expert, he could also think of a VIP offering, where he would only take on certain (high-paying) customers to create a special type of garden. That way, he will still be able to work on some gardens, but only the ones that really challenge him or that he can get excited about.
And if he really wants to reach a large audience, he might even consider writing a book! After all… almost all of the content that could be in that book has already been produced by him for his online business!
So… if you’re not writing about blogging, but would like to make serious money with your blog, relax. There are multiple ways to do this. These are just a few examples of the numerous ways in which you can make money blogging about what you REALLY love.