Saturday, June 18, 2011

Is Blogging Dead?

I read something recently that said, ‘blogging is dead’. It made me think … with the rising popularity of free enewsletters and free e-magazines, as well as social media, is blogging really dead?

I don’t think so. And I don’t think you have to deploy one strategy (free newsletter or e-magazine) versus another (blogging or social marketing). Here’s why:

Blogging and free ezines are both conduits – ways to communicate with readers. The goal of blogging and the goal of either a free newsletter or e-magazine are virtually the same, except the business model behind the driving force of each conduit are slightly different. And both tactics that I believe complement each other.

Let me explain…
With blogging, you’re using ‘pull’ marketing. Through search engine marketing and optimization (SEM and SEO), article marketing, and SONAR marketing you are driving traffic and readers to your blog for ‘UVA’ information, that is, information that is useful, valuable, and actionable.

On the blogging conduit you can certainly try to monetize the visits through mechanisms like Google Ad Sense and banner or text ads (for cross-selling and other revenue opportunities) as well as lead generation mechanisms to capture the reader’s email address and further bond with them via targeted correspondence. And once you capture that email address, you’ve opened up the lines of communication – getting permission to contact that person and reach them through editorial, advertorial and promotional messages – delivered directly to their in-box.

Same goes for social media. You may have, what I like to call, ‘Triple F’s’ (friends, followers or fans), but how deep is that relationship? You don’t really have permission to correspond with the user personally. And you don’t have their email address. With social media, the relationship is shallow. A substantial level of bonding as well as conversion is usually more challenging then with a subscriber, as you are limited with either character counts (as with on Twitter) or background noise … unless you have a profile stalker that is frequently visiting your page.

…Which leads to ‘push’ marketing.

Enewsletters and e-magazines are correspondence being ‘pushed’ out to your audience. You already have their email address, so the main purpose of your effort is bonding (through UVA information) AND direct response marketing (cross-selling via newsletter ads and solo emails). You don’t have to rely as heavily on search engine optimization for this conduit, but rather use SEO and SEM for the website that the enewsletter or e-magainzine sign up box is housed on.

Newsletters and e-magazines can also benefit from outside revenues from external advertising opportunities and affiliate marketing products. The size and quality of the list (number of subscribers) along with some other variables such as open rate, click rate, bounce rate, average unit of sale will determine the value of the list, and therefore, the advertising rate you can get for that list.

For me, I wouldn’t say blogging is dead nor would I give up blogging and put all my eggs in one basket with enewsletters, e-magazine, or social media. I would do them all and treat them each different strategies. I believe blogging is more personalized, raw, and intimate. This is where I would speak to my reader as if they were next to me. To be unedited and uncut. Give them the inside scoop.

For an enewsletter or similar, I would still have juicy tid bits, but the form of delivery would be more polished. More editorial in nature.

And for social media, I would combine a mix of posts that were for bonding, lead gen and sales. I would let my followers see me as both guru and virtual friend.

I think nowadays, marketers need to try and test all online platforms to see which ‘conduit’ is right for their business, audience, and objectives. Don’t rule anything out. Learn how to be strategically creative!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Leveraging Your Worth: 6 Great Ideas To Make More Money For Yourself

Are you sick of busting your butt for someone else? Tired of long commutes? Looking to make extra money with little risk or start up cost?

For many of the reasons above, tens of thousands of Americans are opting to work from home either part time or full time. With the economy struggling over the past several years, online and home-based business launches have seen a spike. That’s because this is an ideal opportunity for stay-at-home moms, retirees, recent college grads, unemployed workers, and anyone looking for another source of income.

Using your talents, skills, and computer to generate cash can also be a seamless way to obtain an optimal work-family life balance.

But be warned: working from home isn’t for everyone. If you crave an office-type environment, thrive on in-person social interaction, and like the hustle and bustle of the rat race (which believe it or not, some people do), then you might find working from home isolated and slow.

However, depending on what business you decide to launch, you may be quite busy as well as get professional satisfaction, enrichment, socialization, and fulfillment without the commute or stress of the traditional corporate environment.

The main advantage: you call the shots.

Here are some tips and ideas on starting your own business, whether it’s online or offline:

1. Infopublisher. This is a great and easy way to make money. Most infopublishers create a website and ezine (free enewsletter), and fill it with useful, valuable and actionable content. Then through bonding with subscribers, you cross-sell infoproducts (digitial products like ebooks) to your readers. However, although that is the typical formula for success, you can put your toe in the water by starting with an ebook. See if infopublishing is right for you. Pick a topic to write about that you are an expert at and passionate about. Also, do some market research to see if the topic you picked has general market interest. Then write your little heart out. Once you finish, proofread and save as a .pdf file for universal viewing. Finally, join digital marketplaces like ClickBank is a cost effective way to sell digital products that is turnkey with virtually no overhead costs. They have a onetime registration fee (around $50) and then take a small percent of commission (like a few bucks) for each sale you make. Price your ebook accordingly based on page count and value of information. ClickBank will then send you monthly checks once you reach your payment threshold, which is an amount you set up. It’s that easy. If you see you have a flair for writing you can continue to sell only ebooks or step it up and create your basic website and ezine.

2. Article Directory Website Owner. This one is more complicated, as it involves hiring a web programmer, but you can set it and forget it. Basically, you create a website that is an online directory, similar to popular directories like,,, and many others. You create sub categories for popular topics (you can get a format and inspiration from aforementioned article sites) and create buzz through social media and search engine optimization about your directory. The business model is that when people find your site and upload their articles, the relationship is reciprocal. You will get the traffic and email address (required for registration); and they will get the search engine marketing/link building benefit. Once your site obtains a strong and steady visitor pace and traffic rank, you can then open up your business model for advertising revenues – that is, charging advertisers for banner or text ads on your website. In addition, you can monetize the email addresses you collect through registration (which you’ll disclose of course) by sending them both editorial and promotional messages.

3. Consultant/Freelancer. This one is a no-brainer. If you’re an expert at something, leverage that expertise and passion by assisting other companies with your special skill. It can be anything from marketing, to graphics design, to proof reading, to editing … and the list goes on. I wouldn’t suggest quitting my day job for this route, but it’s a great second income until your freelance business picks up. You don’t necessarily need a website, but I think it lends credibility and is a great source for consumers to find you (just remember to optimize your site!). Then, you can market yourself to your target audience on targeted social media sites as well as free press release sites. You should also contribute free articles on related websites that highlight your experience and knowledge base about your skill. Finally, you can register on freelance portals like or and look for as well as bid on projects that be right up your alley.

4. Sitter or Walker. Becoming a ‘sitter’ is a popular profession where I live. There’s pet sitters, baby sitters, and home sitters. Because I live in Florida, home sitting is actually quite popular with the ‘snow birds’, people that live up north but have homes in Florida. They often need a local to look after their home and check things out during the unoccupied months. Pet sitting and dog walking are also popular choices for home-based businesses and pet sitters can charge anywhere from $16-$25 per visit (and most pets require 3 visits per day). The key to success here is shelling out some basic start up costs for business cards, marketing (such as flyers and brochures) and promoting your business in targeted locations locally. You should also take advantage of free online Yellow pages and Superpages as well as sites like to promote your services. Also consider leaving business cards or brochures with synergistic business in your area such as veterinarians, pet stores, and super markets. Once you get a few clients, you can offer referral incentives to existing customers and both of you benefit from new business opportunities.

5. Blogger. If you have a lot to say and are dying for a soapbox to preach from, then blogging may be for you. Setting up a blog is fast, easy and free. You can go to popular site like and select a template that’s right for you. Then, register you blog with top blog directories. Some great resources can be found at: Then start your rant. You can blog about anything. I suggest you have a theme and write your content for your audience. For example, if you’re a stay-at-home mom, gear your blog for other moms and write tips for child care, great coupon locations, at home remedies, and more. Again, with website or blog success, it’s all about visits and exposure. So take advantage of the Web and mention your blog in related forums or message boards; create a free online press release; get the word out to help drive traffic to your blog. Once you get steady traffic and decent page rank, you can sell ad space on your site either on your own or through a network, such as You can also incorporate Google Ad Sense on your site (which is a simple widget on, so it’s easy to deploy) to start blogging for dollars.

6. Affiliate Marketer. Many people are professional affiliate marketers or as the industry refers to them ‘super affiliates’. These folks are no joke. Marketing other people’s products are their livelihood. Basically, you search top affiliate marketing networks, directories and forums for the best paying product websites, that is, those offering the best commissions. Often times these are well-known products and sites, but not always. Sometimes, it’s good to start with a simple Google search using keywords such as: best affiliate marketing programs, highest commission affiliate marketing programs, and top affiliate marketing programs. If you have a specific company in mind, search that company name and add ‘affiliate marketing program’ to the search string. Then, sign up for the free affiliate marketing programs and start marketing for that company. The way it usually works is you have to agree to the company’s terms and conditions, then you can download creatives to market on the Web – banner ads, text ads, emails, and more. Based on the commission model, you may get paid (percent) on leads or sales. Popular payment terms: PPS (pay per sale), CPO (cost per order), CPA (cost per acquisition), CPL (cost per lead). Some programs are quite robust and offer real-time reporting, various creatives, automated payouts, and more. Some good resources are:,,, and
Add to Technorati Favorites AddMe - Search Engine Optimization