In Search Of Truth…
In my quest to seek out the “blogging secrets”, I follow the big bloggers out there and a few others.
I search for the missing pieces that successful bloggers “forget” tell us.
A successful pro blogger basically follows the same progression pattern – more or less.
It is possible that this is unintentional, but it is a pattern that keeps repeating regardless of the blogger and the chosen niche.
What they do and what they promote is very different.
Seeing these patterns was like finding light in the middle of complete darkness…
Good Ol’ Blogging Recipe…(what THEY advice everyone else)
They tell you to follow steps that appeal to logic and common sense:
- Write great content that is inspiring and insightful
- Use social media channels (insert your favorite social media tool here) to promote your content
- Niche down to something within your expertise or interest (or fake it till you make it)
- Find some way to build a mailing list of your followers
- Make a product about your niche expertise and sell it
Rinse and repeat to build the greatest most profitable blog that you can build!
These steps look like solid steps to follow.
These pro bloggers don’t really do what they actually tell you – at least not entirely.
My research continues to reveal that many of these successful bloggers start out one way but end up doing something else later on.
We can learn much from what they do more so than from what they say.
What Pro Bloggers Aren’t Telling You
Successful bloggers have blogs that people like to read because they provide solutions to problems.
The most successful and profitable blogs focus on solving problems that teach people how to make money.
This is not apparent at first, but sooner or later the pattern emerges.
Let’s see what they do that they aren’t telling.
This is how they are ACTUALLY making money.
What They Are Not Telling Us…
- tells others how to make money with their blogs
- show other bloggers how much money YOU are making
- remind (bombard) your readers about your products and promotions
- advice to niche down but really do otherwise
- blogging where the money is
- create great content but not original content
- not all niches are made equal
- write Lists and HowTos as part of their blog arsenal
- they spend quite a bit of money advertising and buying traffic
Tell Others How To Make Money With THEIR Blogs
Teach a man how to fish and he’ll eat for a lifetime – so goes the saying.
If you tell people how to solve a problem YOU make money.
If you solve their problems about making money, you’ll make EVEN MORE money.
Bloggers that find success soon figure out that they make more money teaching others how to make money with their blogs – more than blogging about their original passion.
Regardless of niche, bloggers will start by running some kind of ad or affiliate marketing. Many will go on and start selling ebooks and e-courses about how to blog for profit in their niche, sooner or later.
They eventually switch their focus and dedicate themselves by teaching others how to make money almost exclusively – capitalizing on what REALLY makes them money.
The “Classic” Success Blogging Cycle
Here is the sequence of events:
- start a niche blog
- it becomes successful and builds a great following
- people ask the blog author his or her success with blogging
- they start asking the author for advice very frequently
- followers will strongly hint blogger about their desire to build a blog of their own
- blog author sees the “real potential” for money making
- creates a product of some kind that teaches EXACTLY how to blog for profit
- followers buy the product like hotcakes
- blog author realizes the TRUE potential of the blog (teach how to make money course, ebooks etc)
- blog author becomes a digital marketing authority and makes money teaching others how to profit from their niche
- if the niche allows, do affiliate marketing and sell products besides his/her own for EVEN more profit
- rinse and repeat
The Pros Do It…
You can google up some of the privately owned top blog sites and you will see that they follow this sequence.
The Pros don’t bother blogging about any other niche except the one that teaches others how to blog for money because that is the niche that is most profitable – even more so than the niche that got them started.
Some examples are top names in the blogging business such as Pat Flynn, Neil Patel, and Harsh Agrawal.
Show Other Bloggers How Much Money You Are Making
You guessed it! Top bloggers are now following this trend: show the world their INCOME REPORT.
Show Them The Money…
It seems that Pat Flynn was the one that started this – according to some sources. The trend is growing.
This tactic boosts the authority and credibility of the individual. It builds the customer’s anticipation and expectations for any and all products offered by the promoter.
Now they want to know how YOU are making that kind of money.
It creates an impressive impact on your readership. They can’t wait to read the next income report and purchase your next “blogging for profit” book of secrets.
Beginning bloggers will not benefit from this tactic because they HAVE NO INCOME reports to report.
This strategy works quite well for more established bloggers.
The Temptation To Abuse It…
This technique has also invited other dubious bloggers to create fake reports to attract readership and boost their apparent reputation.
Don’t go this route if you are serious about building a reputable blog.
Many bloggers (including the ones that have little to report) are now abusing this tactic with fake reports – for less than honorable reasons.
For example, James Banfield spews out on Youtube and other social media like they grow on trees.
It is a great and effective tactic to attract more readers, but please don’t abuse this one.
Remind (bombard) Your Readers About Your Products And Promotions
Maybe I should say “persuade with frequency”. Promote at every chance.
How are customers going to purchase something if they are not aware that it exists? Constant reminders really help – when done tactfully.
Some bloggers have noted how Neil Patel has recently begun to use this strategy to boost traffic to his website.
Frequency Makes Familiar
It is an old sales/marketing tactic. The junk mail we get in the mailbox is an extreme example of this tactic.
Some pro bloggers prefer to use this method in a more subtle way.
Before the product launch, the blogger starts to write persuasive and methodically builds anticipation for each newsletter sent to the target subscribers.
The anticipation is built up over the course of a time period before the actual product launch.
Once the launch takes place, most subscribers are desperate and more than ready to spend good cash on that highly anticipated product.
Advice To Niche Down But Really Do Otherwise…
Sounds conflicting to you? Of course, it should, by all means.
That’s exactly the message being sent about blogging to aspiring bloggers.
Do the experts do that? Once upon a time they did – not anymore.
At first, to niche down is a good way to start a blog. It helps you discover how YOU can make money blogging.
Realistically, a focused niche helps a beginning blogger focus his or her resources to write better blogs.
It can be quite exhausting to cover a broader niche or multiple niches, at first. Most bloggers will find themselves tackling a broader niche or the ” how to make money” niche sooner or later – it is the most obvious profit path in the long run.
Some Examples From The Blogging World…again
Pay Flynn started a website to help people take the LEED exam – a niche for architects. The site is called GreenExam.com.
The site got Pat Flynn started on his journey to his most profitable endeavor today: Click this link ( www.smartpassiveincome.com)
Pat went from a niche blog (LEED exam preparation) to developing a site that teaches people how to make passive income through blogging. He wanted to share how he made enough money to quit his job and blog full time. Sound familiar?
Do you think that Pat REALLY niched down? Not really. This new niche that he is in right now is a deceivingly focused niche.
It is focused enough to cover a VERY large audience and teaches them how to make money blogging – this just about fits in any other niche.
It applies to any blog ANYONE wishes to start. He didn’t just stay with GreenExam.com.
I think you get the point.
Neil Patel worked a number of jobs. However, his most defining moment is when he tried to start a job site like Monster.com.
When he failed at this endeavor, he tried another creating another site called crazzyegg.com.
Guess what? Crazzyegg.com took him in the direction he needed to start his eventual money-making business: digital marketing.
You might think that he niched down because he is an expert in digital marketing. You are right. He does have a niche.
Like Pat, his niche is a fairly BIG niche that encompasses almost any other audience.
Does anyone want tips to start a profitable blog? Ask Neil Patel.
I think this digital marketing niche is PRETTY BROAD, don’t you think? It brings a big fat chunk of an audience and lots of money-making opportunities.
I selected Harsh Agrawal to show that the aforementioned tip works anywhere else around the world wherever blogging takes place.
Harsh Agrawal is considered one of the top bloggers in India. He started as an I.T graduate and hosted some kind of tech blog while he was working for a company known as Convergys.
It is not very clear what that blog was really about but this blog led to the founding of his current blog ShoutMeLoad, which is the one that makes him the most money.
Guess what the ShoutMeLoud blog does? It is a blog that teaches aspiring bloggers how to make money blogging online.
He also has two more sites: WpSutra and ShoutMeTech. He is not settling to ” niche down”, but uses multiple sites to target several niches at the same time to capture more audience and more customers.
If you treat blogging as a business, then it becomes a business. Otherwise, it will stay a hobby.
Some Examples NOT From The Digital Domain
Take a look a Disney. It started out as a company doing animation but went into the amusement park business following their success with animation.
Today Disney has its movie production/animation studio, restaurants, and even runs a luxury cruise ship.
Entertainment is specific and focused niche.
You are right.
You will also have to agree it is a PRETTY BIG NICHE – broad enough to net a very large audience.
It didn’t just stick to doing animation only, did it?
Walmart started as a retail discount store selling a relatively few items like clothes, food, and furniture. One would say that Walmart sold family-oriented merchandise as a niche – items of everyday use. Do you think Walmart stopped there? I don’t think so.
Walmart now has superstores. It sells everything you can imagine that a person could possibly need. It also owns Sam’ s Club, a brand that deals with wholesale. Does it look like Walmart is staying in its retail niche or trying to niche down? Not anytime soon.
Walmart knows (like any other large corporation) that a larger clientele (a broader niche) has much more earning potential than any small niche.
We can go on and on, but you get the point.
Are the experts wrong to tell us to niche down? Not really. They are just not showing us the whole picture.
The Bigger Picture
- start in a smaller more focused niche but end up with a much larger niche
- did “niche down” but host several websites each with its own specific niche for a “multiple niches” income model
Either way, these pro bloggers are ALWAYS on the lookout to net the largest audience possible.
With the larger audience comes the greater reward – a chance to make more money.
Blogging Where The Money Is
A lot of experts say to follow your passion. I also believed in this advice for the longest time.
There is some truth in it, but real life has a way of playing games with your passion.
Something stirred my mind one day after watching the 2 youtube videos below – like what a flavourful Cuban cigar does when you smoke it at the right time.
Let’s try the following example as an exercise.
You might have a passion for collecting hair and want to blog about it.
Your friend has passion and the knack for custom car modifications.
Guess which blog passion is going bring more readers and have more earning potential?
Follow The Bread Crumbs…
These youtube videos are not particularly inspiring and the speakers aren’t particularly great.
Nevertheless, they communicate one important concept: people develop true passion when they are good at something that makes them money.
It is true that you have to like what you do to do it well.
It is also true, however, that both inclination and money-making must meet somewhere in the middle for true passion to develop.
Harsh Agrawal’s passion was NOT blogging. He was an I.T guy before he became a blogger.
He developed that passion when he started making money with blogging. His highest grossing site is a site that teaches bloggers how to make money. It is now his greatest passion.
Pat Flynn’s original trade was in the field of architecture. He found out later he had a passion for teaching others how to make money with their blogs.
His greatest passion also happens to make him a lot of money. Coincidence? I don’t think so.
What about Neil Patel? From what I have read so far, he just wanted to be a businessman early on and had an appetite for success and money. When he bumped into Digital Marketing, as fate would have it, it was a match made in heaven.
He found a way to channel his passion that happens to be about making money and he made A LOT OF money teaching others how to do the same. The rest is history.
Create Great Content But Not Original Content
“Great poets imitate and improve, whereas small ones steal and spoil.” W. H. Davenport Adams, a 19th-century magazine journalist.
Do study great content to create great content.
We all learn by imitating the masters.
Remember how you learned back in school? You learned by modeling your teacher.
You see it and you mimic. Eventually, you learn it.
When it comes to ORIGINAL content, that’s a different story.
- A researcher/scientist working at some “fringe” field or cutting-edge topic might be the one to bring us “original” content
- Large corporations/government agencies investing obscene amounts of money in cutting-edge research might produce some original content
- If are TRULY privileged and have access to high-profile sources of information – VIP only
Otherwise, “original” is already out there. If it looks original, it might mean that YOU are seeing it for the first time – original to you.
I have talked about our current state of content oversaturation from a few other blogs I posted.
There is really not much room left to be original – its hard.
Is that the end of blogging as we know it? Not really.
Take “original” content from out there, study it, and give it a new lease in life.
Look at things from a new angle, create a fusion, an intersection or a combination of the original content for a new perspective.
Use that original content to inspire and find new applications for it.
I am not trying to stop you from writing original content.
If you ARE able to produce original content, then hats off to you.
Otherwise, start with good but “slightly less original” content.
An Alternative to “Original”
Original Content you find + your own take/ perspective = your good “original” content
Note the quotes on the word “original”.
Don’t blindly and blatantly copy the originals – that’s plagiarism.
Do research as much as possible, study it well, and bring something of your own by ADDING to it.
Now you are ready. Go out there and start writing some blogs.
Your readers are patiently waiting for the moment when you hit the “publish” button.
Not All Niches Are Made Equal
Some niches just have more potential than others.
Can your blog topic…
- solve a problem
- make someone healthier
- make someone money
- fix personal problems/relationships
- help someone be better than before
- teach someone to do something THEY find rewarding
- make them feel better about themselves
- improve someone’s look/appearance
- make someone success/reach a goal/stand out
If a blog topic has the one or more of the following criteria, your niche will be progressively more profitable – it goes without saying.
Your blog must satisfy a need and not merely a want.
Your blog must satisfy something YOUR READER needs.
It has to improve the aforementioned areas with measurable results that lead to full customer satisfaction.
You do that for your readers and your readers will thank you a thousandfold.
Try this as an exercise.
You want to start a blog about why the color red is the new pink.
Your friend wants to start a blog about personal investment tips that can yield anyone a 200% portfolio return.
Let’s guess which blog will be more successful.
I know. My example here is a bit extreme.
You get the point – enough said.
I don’t see many people talking about this one. Maybe it is assumed, but assumptions do bad things.
Some topics are trendy and temporary. With the passage of time, they fade. Like the wind, they come and go.
This type of niche usually gives the blogger great potential for success. People can’t get enough of it.
However, the niche will lose its appeal just as quickly. Technology blogs tend to fall in this area, for instance – hang on tight.
Some topics are ubiquitous and timeless. They apply in almost every situation anytime and anywhere.
A niche of this kind will retain its value for years to come. The author of such a niche struck gold.
These ageless topics age like fine wine. Sometimes they become even more valuable over time.
When they DO lose their relevance a bit, you just dust it off a bit, make a few tweaks, and they are as good as new.
Are you wondering what these topics might be?
Tips on self-help, productivity, personal finance, and relationship advice fall in this area.
I’ll let you finish my list. It’s a long list.
Niche Monetization Versatility
I’ll just make a quick mention of this one. Could this niche be easily monetized?
I want to think about :
- products such as ebooks or courses
- run ads about it
- run an affiliate marketing program
Some niches will do well in all the above and some niches won’t.
Write Lists And HowTos As Part of Their Blog Arsenal
If you are this far into the reading, you likely noticed the many lists I have used to explain each subtopic in this blog.
Lists and Howtos are the most direct and concise way to write solutions to problems of any and every kind.
They are written and structured to be easily read and are logically organized – much like recipes.
You have seen these Lists and How-Tos.
- 10 ways to do something.
- 8 ways not to do something.
- 6 ways you didn’t know…etc
The list goes on.
They have become so ubiquitous; readers in almost every blog niche will consume these Lists and HowTos like candy.
This blog is a list of tips about what pro bloggers aren’t telling us.
Surprised? Don’t be.
This whole blog just proved my point.
They Spend Money On Advertising and Buying Traffic
This one was a surprise for me at first. All I read from the experts is advice about “organic traffic”.
“Organic traffic” is what we should all aim for, but comes a time when a threshold is reached and…money does the talking?
Not many pro bloggers will admit this one – for obvious reasons.
However, some big names in the blogging industry are now forward and admitting that they are buying traffic.
For more accomplished bloggers with lots of good content, this could be money well spent. If you know you have good content and are confident about it, paid traffic will be traffic that you will likely retain.
If your content is bad or poor in quantity, this might not be a worthwhile investment. Simply put, you will have a tough time retaining that newfound paid traffic. Your new readers will likely go away, having little reason to come back due to lack of good content.
Otherwise, it could be something you should consider doing sometimes. This tactic can be easily abused but it works.
Neil Patel recently sent a blog newsletter about how he spent $400K to buy Facebook Ads to increase traffic.
If you have large enough pockets as an organization or business, you’ll find yourself buying some traffic sooner or later – for that much-needed boost.
This report shows the latest trends and what successful bloggers are doing to increase earnings from their blogs. One of the trends mentioned in the report is the increasing number of bloggers spending money to boost traffic.
At the other end of the spectrum, I’d like to mention James Banfield and how HE uses this tip to run his business.
James Banfield gives me the impression that almost all he does IS to buy traffic to boost his online business. There are Youtube videos filled with his INCOME REPORTS and how he is constantly buying traffic.
I mean a lot of it.
Why aren’t the successful bloggers telling us about these things?
It is very possible that they did not start out that way.
Many of them REALLY started out in their own little niche, became successful, and developed the expertise necessary.
Along the way, however, they stumbled upon these success steps when people started asking for THEIR advice about blogging for success. It was then that THEY discovered what REALLY made them the most money.
It also seems counterproductive to tell others NOT to blog about their passion.
Try doing that to a devout religious follower and see how THAT goes.
Eventually, these other bloggers will reach the same conclusion on their own – same conclusion I have observed.
Most of all, there is one last thing that they almost never tell you: their success was not overnight.
If you go back and research about some of these pro bloggers, they started their blogging journey a while back. You will see cited years around 2003 or 2009 or 2008.
Their journey began almost 10 to 20 years ago, maybe even more. That is the time they invested and the risks they took. Maybe there was some luck involved, but time does not lie.
I wish you the best in your blogging journey and hope that you really find what you seek: happiness, fortune, freedom.
I’ll be on my way too, and I hope to see you at the finish line of success – on the other side.
Who knows, maybe you’ll get there before I do.