Previously I wrote a blog about how Neil Patel created a blog that generated $100,000 a month in revenue, in just 12 months.
I’m sure that when reading this, a lot of people thought, “Well that’s easy for him, he’s Neil Patel.”
Which made me think about what you really need to succeed in monetizing your online content. What does Neil Patel have that we don’t?
The answer is: More.
You may identify of yourself as a T-shaped writer. This means someone who has a broad knowledge on a wide range of topics and deep knowledge in a specific area of expertise. If you want to make real money online, this isn’t enough.
To pull it off, you need to become a full stack marketer.
A full stack marketer is someone who can operate an online business completely on their own. From setting up the website, creating contents, to measuring website performance and optimizing them, a full stack marketer is able to do it all.
Not in this era of information explosion. Believe me, everything you need to know is already written somewhere and is accessible, free-of-charge. You just need to know where to find them.
Once you have armed yourself with the necessary skills, you can begin to generate the capital necessary to outsource more menial tasks over time and focus on the creative content generation. But not until you have the base set up.
So, that’s two key areas you need to be aware of: Skills and Resources.
Running a money-making blog requires you to master all the different aspects of online marketing.
1. Social Media Marketing – How You Will Build Readership And Kickstart Traffic
Social media marketing is step one in Neil’s strategy, and it should be the same in yours as well.
It’s the easiest and most direct way to kickstart your audience before SEO has the chance to take effect, and it will help your SEO be more effective if you have pre-existing audience.
Your audience is the most important thing you can ever have, because an appreciative audience (fans, if you will) will always support you more than random consumers.
Social media marketing best practices have been comprehensively covered by a great many useful resources. Entrepreneur has a great set of Laws of Social Media that will help you build your audience using best practices.
Your audience will grant you what you need the most – traffic. Building traffic means activating your audience, or actualizing the potential of your social media followers, to actually visit your site and care about your content.
Doing that is trickier than it seems, but help is out there. Do your research, and you can find simple things that will help you win more often.
People use social media day in and day out, so it’s easy for most people to think of themselves as an expert. The reality of using social media professionally is another thing entirely.
To leverage the power of social media to make money, you need:
The Basic Setup – This includes customized banners and profile pictures, NAP, a snappy description, and more.
Regular Content – You have to be posting seven days a week, including weekends and holidays. Things like HootSuite and other tools can help you automatically schedule posts, which makes it easier.
Respond to Queries – You need to be able to respond quickly to messages and comments from your users in order for them to feel engaged.
Keeping Fans Engaged – It’s important to generate content that creates discussions and makes people express feelings and opinions about issues related to your product.
Handle Complaints – No social media campaign is free from moaners moaning, how you deal with them will say a lot about your success.
Utilizing Ads and Business Approaches – You have to look, feel and sound different to your competitors, and in a positive way. This is a whole topic of its own, and possible one for another time.
Using Analytics – Once all this is happening, you have to keep a constant measure of your effectiveness with ads, types of posts, timing of posts, growth rate and more, and constantly work to optimize your impact.
Grow the Fanbase – Throughout all this, the point is to hustle up as many likes and followers as possible.
2. Web Development – No Coding Necessary
The website is the cornerstone of every online business, and you need to get it right.
Mediocre won’t do.
The good thing is, nowadays there are tons of tools and services available to make website creation an effortless process. You don’t even have to be a programmer to do it.
The most essential is a Content Management System (CMS). Let me say this to you right now. WordPress is your friend. I mentioned this in the first article, but I’ll repeat it here. Content Management Systems like WordPress allows you to easily build a fully-functional, great looking websites without needing to know a single line of HTML.
Understand web hosting. Web Hosting Secret Revealed can help you find cheap hosting from quality providers, with deep metrics on performance, uptime, server speed and more. They’ll also help you understand why all that matters.
cPanel is used by almost all hosting providers to create a user friendly back-end for dealing with the server. CPanel basically provides a graphical user interface you can use to setup your website. From creating domain-based emails, installing your CMS, create database, you can do it through CPanel. You don’t need to know everything at once, just the first few things you need in the beginning.
Getting your domain right can also mean the difference between success and failure. The domain name game is complex, but Moz can help you figure it out. Essentially, you need to make sure it already works for the niche you’re targeting.
From there, you should have all the fundamentals you need in order to create a platform for your content.
3. Email Marketing – Where You’ll Be Doing Most Of Your Sales
Email marketing means directly contacting your audience with updates, exclusive content, offers and more that land right in their inbox.
It takes out the need for them to visit your site on their own, by bringing the content right to them.
Getting website visitors to sign-up into your email subscriber list is not only important – I daresay it’s the whole point of doing blogs. It’s the only way you will be able to reach out to visitors to get them to return or to purchase anything.
To keep them on the hook, you’re going to provide them with useful and interesting contents. Whether it’s updates to the latest blog post you just published, exclusive tips and offers or even as simple as seasons greetings.
Once in a while you can throw in money-making emails into the mix. These are sales letters that offers product or services the readers can purchase through the links included. Of course, nobody likes receiving only sales letters all the time. Overdoing it will lead to unsubscribes.
What you can do is alternate them with useful contents or having a “sales period”. You can also simply write genuinely helpful sales letter, selling genuinely helpful products.
The aim of the game is to maximize sales while minimizing unsubscribes. It’s normal to lose a small amount of subscribers each time you blast out emails. That’s why it’s important to get a constant stream of new subscribers to ensure you list stays and grows.
Too many emails is spammy and people hate that. Too few, and you won’t make the money you need.
As a rule of thumb, the more new subscribers you can get, the more emails you can afford to send, as you have more wiggle room to make money faster.
Your list is also a valuable asset you can leverage to influence others. You can easily reach people who voluntarily wanting to hear from you. Other bloggers and affiliates will want you to promote for them, and are likelier to offer you something in return.
The essence of email marketing includes:
Choosing good email marketing platforms that offer a good price for the number of subscribers you’re reaching, and for how many emails you intend to send per month
Learn how to get people to opt-in as subscribers – place the opt-in form in strategic places, offer incentives and freebies for signing up, and more.
Learn how to write effective email copy (this includes titles as well as content) to get people clicking, reading, and buying.
Learn to avoid things that get people unsubscribing or worse, reporting you as spam.
Analyze and improve results – open rates, click-through-rates, unsubscribe rate, conversion rate etc
4. Copywriting – What You’re Here To make Money Out Of
I’m assuming this is why you’re here. I don’t want to knock you over the head too much about the various forms of content you need to produce. Joanne already wrote a great article on what you can do to improve your content .
What you might not have thought of is the huge difference in the kind of copy you need, and how much of it you’ll need to generate to be successful. For instance, between this blog and yesterday’s, I’ve created over 4,000 words of content in 24 hours. That doesn’t include:
Website Copy – copy found all over your site, which tells people what to expect from you, your attitude and your brand, and why people should care.
Email Copy – from announcements, creating newsletters and sales letters, writing a persuasive email copy is an art.
Social Media Copy – which needs to reflect a very different tone and aim to complete very different objectives. Crafting a tweet and honing a message down to 140 characters can be more difficult than writing a thousand words.
Blog Copy – like this! Adding value while helping to build the perception of authority within an audience.
Business to Business Copy – should you ever succeed to the point where you want to create strategic partnerships, outsource, or even attract investment, you need to be able to talk about your online business like a real business. Because that’s what you want it to be.
All of these require very different approaches, and you need to be capable of delivering on all fronts.
5. SEO And Inbound Marketing – How To Draw In Passive, Continuous Traffic
Once you understand the fundamentals of marketing to human beings, you need to know how to play the search engines. Search engines are the ultimate gatekeeper, and can be your best friend or worst enemy depending on how you interact with them. As such, it’s essential you get good at this, and fast.
SEO is the single most important strategic tool you’ll have at your disposal. SEO is important to get continuous traffic from search engines, which is what will create the majority of your audience. It’s important to point out that without content, there’s nothing to optimize, but without SEO, there will be nobody to read the content.
There are two key disciplines in SEO:
1. On-page SEO – This deals with optimizing features within your own website – for example, matching keywords you include in your content with the search query you’re targeting (SEOPressor Connect is a plugin that helps with this).
2. Off-page SEO – This involves factors outside of the scope of your website. What you’ll come to know as backlinks. The more people who link to your website, the better Google will think your website is.
A well-done SEO will ensure your website gets a steady amount of search engine/organic traffic without needing you to do anything after creating, optimizing and ranking contents.
This method of getting audiences to voluntarily visit your website out of their own need (in SEO case, to answer their search query) is what we refer to as Inbound Marketing.
Fortunately, this is one of the most covered topics online, and you can learn most of what you need to know from a few different sources.
Moz will help anyone get to grips with the basics of SEO and even help people gain a more advanced understanding, with Beginner’s Guides, so-called ‘Mozinars’ (webinars, which in themselves are online seminars… so much jargon!) to a comprehensive best practice knowledge base.
Once you’ve understood the basics and how to do SEO, you also need to know how to do SEO well, and how to do SEO well right now. Search Engine Journal will help you keep on top of the latest news and trends, so you can get more coverage online, get organic traffic from search engines, and optimize your blog posts for SEO.
Our own SEOPressor Blog and resources page are also dedicated to help you nail every aspect of SEO and online marketing.
The great thing about SEO is that once it’s set up, it’s passive. Social Media and Email Marketing are both dependent on effort. You have to reach out to people to get them to come to you. When you stop reaching out, they’ll stop coming. Even Ads are the same, you just replace effort with money.
SEO enables you to get your website content and posts highly ranked on search engines. This means new audiences organically and continuously flow to your website from Google searches. A single blog post will continue to generate traffic as long as it’s up and ranked well. Producing more related content will enable you to ride a snowball effect; incoming traffic increases proportionally to how much relevant and high-ranked content you have listed on search engines.
You need to make sure search engines understand what your content is about, and then judge it good enough to be ranked highly (SEOPressor, for example, is working toward high rankings for SEO-related searches like “how to do SEO” or “what is the best SEO plugin for WordPress”).
6. Graphic Design – Because Your Website Needs To Look Cool
The look of everything you create has to be internally consistent, grab the attention of the viewer, and make them want to look for more. This means being able to do at least basic graphic design and have a cursory understanding of Photoshop. The more time and energy you spend on visuals, the better impression you’ll make on audiences, and the more likely they are to trust you and buy your products. Canva and Piktochart are free tools that can help people create awesome looking images, with minimum graphic design experience.
Things that benefit from graphic design:
Blog post images
Social Media Posts
The more visually interesting you make your content, the harder it will work for you. I have friends who have made amazing looking banners using PowerPoint by adhering to basic design principles. If you absolutely can’t do it yourself, and need it fast and cheap, Fiverr is a good place to start, along with the usual freelancer farms like UpWork.
7. E-commerce – Shopping Carts, Payment Gateway And Shipping
There are a lot of ways you can monetize your content, but all of them depend on you being able to take a payment.
WooCommerce is the most ubiquitous way to get a sales infrastructure on a WordPress website. This will enable you to create an online store in minutes, as a seamless part of your existing site.
This will however mean you need to get your head around shipping, at least if you intend to sell physical products. Here is a roundup of the best shipping methods for eCommerce stores. Even digital products will need their own hosting, servers, privileged access and more.
There are also Amazon plugins that help you take advantage of their incredible distribution network, and affiliate marketing schemes can ensure most of the work is done for you.
8. Business Marketing 101 – Understand The Basics of Selling Stuff
This is so obvious I almost forgot to include it, but truth be told, there are great many people who love to write around topics that are important to them, without ever giving their readers actionable advice.
All of marketing exists to convince people to do things. If you can’t do that, you won’t get anywhere.
First of all, you have to decide what kind of marketing is going to get you the results you want. There are two main types.
Business To Consumer – where you sell to people, generally at retail rates, products and services that solve a problem in everyday life.
Business To Business – where you sell to businesses, generally at wholesale rates, products and services that solve problems within their business. You can also sell to businesses wholesale for re-sale, as in retail.
You can find really good courses on B2C and B2B marketing. Some of them free.
9. Traditional Online Advertising – Spend A Little To Gain A Lot, Faster.
Pay per click advertising is, unfortunately, still an effective way to boost traffic and sales.
Pay Per Click charges you for the number of click-throughs you get, so you only pay for the advertising when it’s successful.
Places like Facebook for example, also charge for ‘impressions’, the number of people who have seen the ad, leaving up to you to create amazing copy that has high conversions.
Even YouTube offers advertising, with banner ads on videos and even video commercials before videos.
These are strategies you need to know how to use, and more importantly, you need to know how to use them sparingly and for maximum effect. Key considerations:
Useful when you need a lot of exposure and traffic fast
Useful when you’ve got money to burn, like big corporates
They stop working once you stop paying
It’s hard to maintain for small businesses and startups with limited budged
More than this, you need to know which option is the best for your business.
Google Adwords – This will instantly put you on top of search engine result as paid results.
Facebook Ads – These can be used to advertise your brand for Facebook users, if that’s where your audience are. It’s certainly useful for more youthful demographics.
Other social media – Twitter, Linkedin, Pinterest, Instragram and more all have promoted posts that can help you target the exact people you want to buy your product.
Ultimately, these all cost real money, and before you start earning from your content. Which leads us to our final requirement.
10. Resources – Your Making Money From Blogging Starter Kit
While not exactly a skill you need to learn, these are all the things you need to support you while you build you empire, at every stage of development. This is the house of cards your success will be built on.
Capital – You need to spend money to make money, and there’s almost nothing on this list that won’t require some form of investment. For that reason, you need to be able develop a war chest ready for when you start your venture. This will be used to pay for things like hosting, plugins, themes and the occasional ads.
Laptop or PC – Duh. You need to be able to do your work. What work you need to do determines how much you need to spend. What’s more, the lifestyle you want to have determines the best product to buy. You’ll get more for your money from a PC, but more portability from a Laptop.
Internet – You can’t make money online without being online (duh!). And you don’t want to be doing all this work on the slow-as-hell coffee shop WiFi.
Software and tools – WordPress. Grammarly. SEO Plugins. Photoshop. Tools will help increase the potential of what you can do, as well as making it easier for you to do it.
Suppliers – If you’re selling physical products through your blog, someone needs to produce these wholesale in order for you to white-label them. You need this to be someone affordable, trustworthy, and capable of delivering fully scalable capacities.
Storage – You’ll need to store physical goods prior to shipping. Amazon do storage and distribution deals that are pretty unbeatable.
Reading material – If you’re going to become a full stack marketer, you’ll have a lot of reading to do. This means not only having the material but setting aside the time to read it, and then put it into action to practice your new capabilities. Blogs, online courses, e-books and old school paper literature will all be required. The good news is you can do most of this online for free. You just need to know the right thing to Google for.
Partners – While you should be able to do everything on your own, having partners can help increase your productivity tenfold. Find someone with the same passion who’s strength and weaknesses complements your own. Some things might also require some qualifications you don’t have. For example on his challenge, Neil Patel partners with Mike Kamo as you need to be a licensed nutritionist to be publishing health/nutrition related contents. Mike also benefit from Neil’s vast marketing experience, leading to mutually beneficial partnership.
Being a full stack marketer is the only clearly demonstrated way to create a $100,000 a month revenue through a blog. As you can see from my previous post, it’s no easy task. As I hope you can pick up from this post, the investment you’re making is as great as the return.
No one gets anything for free, so you need to consider carefully if that kind of income is important enough to you to spend one to three years developing both your business, and yourself in order to be able to carry that business.
If you decide you can do it, you want to do it, and it’s right for you, then you know what you have to do.
Depending on your background and experience, you might already master some items on this list. This will be a great start as you can tick off a couple of them from your learning list. Slowly read up and build up your way and once you have got the gist of it, you can go back to Part 1 to apply it.
Now that you already know how to make money from blogging, AND the skills you need to pull it off, next time I will be sharing a list of tools to arm yourself with in order to do everything faster and more efficient.