"I'm excited about my new blog!" he said.
I was too. I love it when someone decides to turn their passion into reality. I asked my standard question -
"Do you hope that this blog can turn into a business?"
After a beat, he gave me the safe response -
"Right now I just want to get my content out there. I may or may not monetize it later on."
Are you approaching your new blog or content marketing plan the same way?
Build now, monetize later?
If so, I hope I can convince you to change your plans because monetization procrastination is a good way to cripple your journey before you begin.
Don't Miss This
I am not a advocate of "Day 1 Selling" or even offering a product 6 months from now. A content marketing strategy requires time to earn the trust needed to build a profitable business.
By all means, factor in 6-12 months of promotion free audience building. You will see better results if you do.
So what am I saying?
Even though you aren't promoting a product on Day 1 - you should be marketing your expertise and experience from the moment you hit publish on your first blog post. I think my friend Laura Click would sum this up wit the farming proverb, "Plant your seed before the rain." Simply plan for success from Day 1.
A True Story
I planned for Pushing Social the business before Pushing Social the blog.
I've always wanted to offer practical social marketing strategy and implementation support to aggressive businesses, organizations, and individuals This drive is the reason why I named the blog "Pushing Social."
After failing miserably with three other blogs, I decided to not take the "let's see what happens." It hadn't worked the last three times and there wasn't any evidence it would work again with more hard work or different tactics.
Instead, I created a simple business plan that looked something like this:
- Use social media to find people interested in my subject (blogging)
- Create content, Posts, eBooks, Videos, that showed my 'take no prisoners' approach to social business
- Publish enough quality content to generate 10-20,000 visitors per month
- Use audience size to convince publisher to offer a book deal
- Use book to build credibility and reputation
- Offer services to Pushing Social Loyalists
- Build a business around loyalist needs
Nothing fancy. Dwight D. Eisenhower, the 1st Supreme Allied Commander Europe and later our 34th POTUS said -
"In preparing for battle I have always found that plans are useless, but planning is indispensable"
This approach applies to business planning too.
Some parts of my plan didn't work out. But the process of putting my 3-5 year plan into motion helped me make some really good decisions.
Nothing is Free: I didn't offer Free courses without asking a lot in return (i.e. email, phone numbers, even addresses). I wanted to build an audience of determined professionals who didn't mind paying for excellent advice.
It's the Brand Stupid: After 15 years working for top ad agencies I knew that branding was important. I selected black and red as colors because the combination communicated passionate wrapped in stark elegance. I used the lowercase "ps" to invoke the emotion you feel when you received your first letter and saw the PS at the bottom which always contained the best part of the note. The upward arrow? Yep, up, above, better than the rest.
Consistency: In most activities, the winner is usually the one who persevere's the longest. I created a plan that I could sustain for years. I wanted to be the last man standing. We've been posting weekly almost non-stop for years. Sometimes we posted daily for months. Regardless of the tempo you knew that we had something for your every week.
The planning process helped prevent dumb moves that I've seen many monetization procrastinators stumble over all the time..
5 Dumb Mistakes Monetization Procrastinators Make
Here's a quick run down.
1. Giving away the store.
They give away so much that they can't convince anyone to eventually pay what they are worth
2. Amateur branding.
Fiverr clipart and weekend DIY logos look cheap. Its easy to skimp on this stuff if you believe that it will matter "some day." Actually, it matters right now.
3. Ignoring the competition.
You have competition. I'm willing to bet that you have at least 10 other businesses or blogs that would love to steal your readers forever. You need to build a business to beat these guys.
4. Not identifying a target audience.
If you don't have a plan, any old reader will do. I've watched too many would-be business owners realize that they've attracted the wrong type of audience.
5. Not placing a value on your talent, skill, or experience.
Let's imagine that you plan to start a blog on how to transition to a second career. You plan to share how you successfully transition to a new career. At some point, you would like to coach groups and individuals on how they can change gears and pursue their dream career path.
In this case I would encourage you to describe the service you plan on offering your future clients. Go through the process of naming the service, detailing its benefits and price. Decide on who would be perfect clients for the service. Finally set a goal on how much you would want to earn from your service.
Now you know where you are going.
You can visualize the product, why people need it, and what your expertise is worth. Work backwards from here.
I suspect that 9 out of 10 people will ignore this last piece of advice. I'm not sure why. Perhaps creating a plan spoils the fun of dreaming about the future. But the 1 person who takes the 15 minutes to do this step will get to their dream faster, easier, and, I bet, will enjoy the journey.
Why Passion is Not Enough
Passion isn't a substitute for defining a goal, deciding on a strategy, and creating a plan. Passion will get you up in the morning, but it will offer the assurance that will help you sleep at night. Passion burns bright but dims equally as fast. Passion must be paired with Purpose and a Plan.
Honor your passion by doing whatever it takes to make that passion worth something.
One more thing...
Get Over Your Money Phobia
I believe that most monetization procrastinators feel that planning for success or setting monetary goals is somehow inauthentic. The unicorn union loves passion but despises profit. They would rather see you fail with passion, than profit with a purpose.
Don't listen to these frauds.
You can pursue your passion and plan for success. Your plan will give you the keys to scale your impact on the people you hope to serve.
Photo Credit: Content Planning/shutterstock