Blogging Nightmares and Other Horror Stories

nightmares

Busted Baby Boomer Uses a Blog to Sell Up a Storm

I remember it well.

It was September 31, 2006

That’s when my life changed forever.

It was the day I started my online journey.

But I didn’t start out with a blog.  To be honest, I didn’t know what a blog was. But here’s the thing: when I started my blog I made money from it almost immediately.  Compare that to the experiences of the vast majority of bloggers.

Sometimes I think they’re like the proverbial struggling artist living in a tiny room in a bad part of town.  They love what they do, but so broke they’re eating baked beans three times a day.

Count me out!

So I took a different pathway to most so called bloggers, which is no bad thing.  Here is what I did.  I started with a product and promoted the crap out of it.

So, my experiences gave me a different perspective on the topic of blogging.  And if you’re struggling to make money with your blog, perhaps it’s because you’re looking at it wrong.

See, I’ve got this view that many bloggers (I hate that word but can’t think of another right now) focus on the wrong things.  They’re too tactical, and they’re working with the wrong set of assumptions.

Don’t Be a Bird Brain – You’ll Do Your Head In

bird trapped in house

Look at it like this.

Imagine a bird trapped inside a house.   The owner has departed for an overseas trip. Before he left, he closed all the windows but forgot to shut a small window in the attic. Unfortunately, the bird was in the master bedroom – all the windows are slammed shut.

But the bird tried to escape.  He kept banging his head against the glass over and over again. Eventually, his little head was so sore, and his body so exhausted, that he quit.

He sat on the windowsill, exhausted, and looking wistfully out at his favorite garden, but was resigned to his fate. Then – after an hour of feeling sorry for himself – he detected a slight breeze.  A slight waft of air had somehow found its way into the master bedroom. What to do? Stay put or take a chance and investigate?

Luckily the little bird decided to take a risk and follow the air flow. Soon enough our feathered friend found the room with the open window. Free at last!

Success in business is a bit like that little bird story. We can hit our heads against the wall, and do the same old things in the same old way, over and over again. But unless we change direction, results will probably be the same.

Many Ways to Skin a Cat 

cat

And the reality is that there is always more than one way to do business.

A friend of my family used to illustrate the point crudely with this statement: ‘there’s more than one way to skin a cat.’ And he was right – there are always many options. The question is – how many options have you explored?

Back in 2006, I wanted to make money online. That was my starting point. But how to do it? I joined an affiliate program.

It wasn’t just your standard garden-variety affiliate program – selling ebooks and cheap courses. This was a big ticket program – their lowest priced product was $1,200.

Why did I choose that option?

Simple – it paid a good commission, and after the sale was made, the moolah was quickly dropped into my bank account. I needed that because my financial situation was dire.

I was living in a million dollar house and couldn’t meet the mortgage payment. I owned a Mercedes and a Lexus and was finding it a challenge to put gas in the tanks.

My traditional business was on the ropes, and I hadn’t paid myself a living wage for months.

Something had to change.  And change it did.  Did it work? Yes.

Even though I was only doing it part time, I managed to generate commissions of $9,200 in month one and a lot more after that.

As mentioned at the outset I didn’t have a blog.  Truth be told, I had no idea about blogs.

Was I into social media? No way. I had no interest in that stuff either.

So how did I find customers? I ran ads – I spent $650 with Google Adwords in the first month. The ads generated leads; then I called them.

The point.

If you have chosen blogging as your sole or primary money making strategy, may I suggest that you also incorporate other ideas into your strategic mix?

Another Way to Make Money With a Blog

I didn’t launch my first blog until three years after I started as a quasi-online marketer.  So by the time I kicked off my blog I was already making money selling high-end digital products (courses etc.), as mentioned.

The blog was merely another tool that I added to the marketing mix.  Initially, I didn’t care about blog traffic.  The sole purpose of the blog was to enhance my credibility and posture with my audience.  In other words, the blog was a conversion tool, NOT a traffic tool.

Was it helpful having a blog?  Yes, for sure.  My sales conversions improved and over the next couple of years I scored a hefty increase in the number of easy sales, a benefit that I still enjoy today.  Easy sales done dirt cheap – for sure.

Understanding there are many pathways to your destination, I would like to expose you to just one of them here.   Is it the only pathway?  Of course not, but it might represent a good starting point for you.  Take a look:

  • Start With a Product. It could be a digital or physical product.  It perhaps a service or even a business opportunity would work just fine for you.
  • Promote the Product With Advertising and Social Media.  Don’t rely on your blog – push the envelope by promoting your products/services elsewhere (your blog becomes a support tool, nothing more).
  • Drive Traffic to a Capture Page. This will produce subscribers for your email list. Building a list is mandatory, by the way.
  • Produce Some Blog Posts.  Create posts featuring customer stories, testimonials, case histories (even if you haven’t made any sales yet, you can borrow stories from other affiliates).   Your blog posts should also discuss issues, pain points, problems and conceptual solutions.  You can also show people how your product is the answer they’ve been looking for.   Finally, if you have specialized knowledge about the product and its application, feature it in a blog post.
  • Produce Some Videos.  Leverage your text based blog content by creating short videos, then load them to YouTube.
  • Send Automated Follow Up Emails to Your Subscribers. Don’t just pitch your product every time you send an email.  Send subscribers to your quality blog posts instead.
  • Spread the Word.  Every time you publish a new post let your subscribers know about it.  Also, promote it on social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram.  If you’re a B2B marketer, consider using LinkedIn too.

The foregoing represents one way to do it.  As I said, there are many others, but the point is that the blog becomes just another link in your marketing chain.

After all, there’s more than one way to skin a cat, right?

What Business Are Your Really In?

problem solving

I want to wrap up with a few thoughts on an important strategic issue.

You might say you’re in the business of blogging

I say – tosh!

The reality is that you’re in the business of solving problems and improving lives.  Only a good product or service can do that.

So we start with the pain points, problems and hot buttons of our target market, then work forward from there.

Does a blog play a role?  Absolutely.  The purpose of a blog is to educate, inform, challenge and motivate visitors to take the next step.

But the point is that if you’re crystal clear about the core issues facing your target audience, you should have no problems finding products and developing services which you can promote with gusto.  And importantly you’ll develop a game plan that articulates a multi-faceted client acquisition strategy, which will include your blog.

Next Steps For You

I suggest you do some brainstorming.  Articulate the problems experienced by your target audience, and how you propose to solve them.

From there you can develop a simple game plan detailing products chosen to solve the problems, as well as other info on how you intend to bring the message to the marketplace and get the revenue flowing.

If you need help let me know

Your Turn – Time to Comment!

What was your biggest takeout from this post?

Does your blog represent your sole income generating strategy?

What other strategies have you developed as a business owner?

After reading this post are there any ideas that you will now embrace?

Make a comment below!

 ****Special Free Offer****

I will give you 30 minutes of my time (by phone or Skype) for brainstorming, including specific strategies on your USP, customer messaging, and narrative development.  That’s a $300 value. I’ll always focus on skyrocketing your income by showing you how to attract clients who pay you top dollar.

All at no cost to you.  All I ask for in return is a testimonial and the opportunity to build a valuable relationship.

Results matter, so that will be my focus for you – to give you useful ideas you can use straight away.

Schedule a Time HERE

 

 

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25 thoughts on “Blogging Nightmares and Other Horror Stories

  1. My online start is similar to yours. I already had a product that I was selling and decided to take it online about 8 years ago. I didn’t know anything about blogging, social media (if it even existed back then) or email marketing. I hand-coded pages in HTML and learned everything I could about SEO. When I added my blog a few years later it was only for SEO purposes – to create content around additional keywords and build internal links to the money pages.

    Fortunately there are many ways to get this done because everyone’s goals are a little bit different. The important thing is to come up with a plan and get started. Once you are on your way you need to stay open to learning other ways, maybe better ways, to get the job done.

    Thanks for sharing.
    Ben recently posted…How to Keep Strong BonesMy Profile

    1. Hi Ben

      Thanks for dropping by

      Interesting to read a little of your story and proves once again that there are different pathways for different people. One size fits all is a myth.

      The main purpose of my post was to help died in the wool bloggers (who aren’t making money) to make the shift to a more entrepreneurial way of doing things.

      Thanks again

      KIm
      Kim Willis recently posted…Blogging Nightmares and Other Horror StoriesMy Profile

  2. Hey Kim,

    I came to this realization a while ago. It’s all about conjuring up those pain points in your target audience and bringing to them solutions to alleviate them.

    But what I found myself not doing is not getting to know my target audience. I was more about advertising and making more money. So basically I was marketing blindly! Worse off, I really didn’t have a great message on my blog.

    There are many people who fall under this category of having more or less of a convoluted, no directional marketing plan, or at the very least a plan at all. They just have a goal to make money and that’s it. They get into blogging because of what someone recommended and then they start having marketing nightmares.

    Yes this was me LOL, but I’ve learned a lot in the process and years I’ve been blogging and doing online marketing, and you conveyed a great message about bloggings and how it’s not the only way to make money online.

    Thanks for sharing Kim! Have a great weekend!
    Sherman Smith recently posted…Diversify Your Shares With The Social Warfare WordPress PluginMy Profile

    1. Hi Sherman,

      That’s a good way of putting it:

      ‘Conjuring up those pain points’

      There’s a saying that springs to mind – ‘all paths lead to Rome’. I guess the author was referring to a time when the old Roman Empire was at its zenith. But the point is that if the destination was Rome, there were many different pathways people could take. The message? Our blogs are not the destination; just a pathway (one of many) to our destination.

      Thanks for dropping by again, Sherman

      Kim
      Kim Willis recently posted…Blogging Nightmares and Other Horror StoriesMy Profile

  3. Hi Kim,

    Cool how your journey blogging-wise began successfully, money-wise. Total 180 from me.

    I struggled because my mindset sucked. Then, I thought more abundantly.

    I progressively blogged for the fun of it. So my writing became more ME and that frightening/alarming/fascinating/colorful transformation helped me see more pop and profits and folks noticing me, with less effort on my part.

    So many ways to skin the blogging cat. Pick one which feels fun to do and your journey will flow smoothly. Just like your awesome transformation with this blog. Because your fun, clever, helpful writing style aligns with a guy enjoying the blogging ride.

    Thanks much for the horror stories….

    Signing off from not sunny but still fascinating NYC.

    Ryan
    Blogging From Paradise

  4. Very well said as usual Kim!

    Newbie bloggers especially, would be wise to find some alternative ways to monetize
    their services!

    Unfortunately, far too many of them have sort of have tunnel vision! They get
    introduced to online marketing strategies, and even though they’re starving, they can’t seem to look for some viable marketing alternatives!

    Like the blueprint you’re advocating for! Hopefully, at least some of them will reach out to you, before it’s too late and their online dreams end permanently!Great job as usual!
    Mark recently posted…What Potentially Profitable Marketing Lessons Can Savvy Entrepreneurs Learn From The Music Industry?My Profile

    1. Hey thanks Mark

      Sometimes tunnel vision is a good thing, but the problem with it is that if we are focused on pursuing a dumb strategy, all the tunnel vision in the world won’t amount to a hill o’ beans. Striking a balance between single-minded focus and openness to new ideas is the name of the game.

      Thanks again, Mark

      Kim
      Kim Willis recently posted…Blogging Nightmares and Other Horror StoriesMy Profile

  5. Wow Kim,
    I think what stands out the most for me is that we can learn so much from you just from one post. Also I love your honesty. I love reading about people who speak from their heart and speak their truth.
    There is so much good content and information here. I agree with you on the Blog advice that it is a platform for people to Know, like and trust you and of course so much more. I like to call it tasting your wares.
    It’s a way people get to know you and how helpful you are.
    I believe if you are more helpful (because you want to be, not because you have to be) then people will be attracted to that.
    I am so visiting you more often….I love your blogging and your nature. Thanks for sharing-from the other Fellow Aussie! Hahahahah -Jennifer
    The only thing I would ask is can one really post to Pinterest?

    1. Gidday Jennifer!

      Thanks for your words of encouragement.

      Yes, you hit the nail on the head. A blog represents a great way for people to ‘taste our wares’. We use it to instill confidence and build credibility – such a sweet way to do business!

      Pinterest? Nah, you can’t post content there. But if our Pinterest activity leads to more people visiting our blog, we’re happy as a pig in mud. Or something like that.

      Thanks again Jennifer

      Kim
      Kim Willis recently posted…Blogging Nightmares and Other Horror StoriesMy Profile

  6. Cool article!

    My online journey started when I figured out I can make money writing articles online. Then, I ended up making a website and started writing articles for sample purposes… then it kind of took off from there, made a new website, wrote more articles, deleted that website, made a new one, etc.

    I like how you mentioned we’re in the business of solving problems because that’s what it all really comes down to. Does your product help someone? How does it help someone? Those are the questions that you should ask before you create a product. But too many people focus on the cash. They just want to sell and sell.
    Timothy Gagnon recently posted…How to Earn Money From The Internet: Why I Love Wealthy Affiliate (and You Will Too)My Profile

  7. Interesting stuff Kim. I got into blogging with the idea of showing my expertise in my career field so I’d get more consulting and speaking gigs. It was a couple of years before I’d even thought about trying to sell my book online, which I’d written in 2002; never even occurred to me. Course, coming from a health care background I didn’t know anything about sales or marketing so that flopped, though a book on leadership wasn’t going to make tons of money anyway.

    Now I have 5 blogs and overall I think I solve my own issues; gotta work on that. 🙂
    Mitch Mitchell recently posted…How Are You? Life And BloggingMy Profile

    1. Hi Mitch

      Interesting to read a little of your background. You don’t come from a sales background, but you sell stuff anyway.

      When you create a piece of content, you share part of your brain with your readers. And they like the experience. Perhaps one of the reasons they send dollars in your direction is their way of simply saying thanks.

      Kim
      Kim Willis recently posted…Blogging Nightmares and Other Horror StoriesMy Profile

  8. Hello Mr. Kim Willis,

    I need to ad the Mr. because from where I come from, calling elderly people with just their names without any form of salutation doesn’t show respect.
    The reality is, I guess now is the time for me to rethink my whole blogging strategy. I do spend a lot on Facebook ads but rarely make a fraction what you make.

    I need to recommend you for this.
    Emmanuel recently posted…5 Signs You Aren’t Giving Your Wife Enough AttentionMy Profile

      1. I never knew I had visited a blog where my grammar was more paramount than what I had to say or any compliment given to an author.

        I tried to show to some respect but here I am been told to go back and look for my class one teacher. I hail from Ghana and English is the last language we are taught aside learning Nzema, Fanti, Ewe and Fanti.

        I am really sorry Kim. I guess this is last comment on your blog.
        Emmanuel recently posted…The Top 10 Richest YoutubersMy Profile

  9. Hi Kim,

    I agree with you, that the blog isn’t the actual money-making part of my business, despite what some bloggers will have you believe. That said, I do get people visiting my blog who then join my main business, so it’s a valuable tool within my business.

    Good reminder to use other methods of promotion, and to try something different once in a while. It’s easy – but dangerous – to get trapped into one method of promoting, just because it’s what you’ve always done.

    I too have gone for promoting higher priced products / businesses. It’s as much hard work to promote a $7 product as it is to promote a $1000 product – but so much more rewarding when you sell the latter 🙂

    Joy – Blogging After Dark
    Joy Healey recently posted…Best Home Business Compensation Plan Got BetterMy Profile

    1. Hi Joy

      Yes, you are right. Promoting a $7 product is an exceedingly difficult way to create a good income. Unless someone has a giant list, the chances of creating a large income from selling cheap products, are slim to none.

      The way to go is to lead with low-cost offers, then promote the big ticket products/services on the back end.

      Great to see you’re on the right pathway

      Kim
      Kim Willis recently posted…Blogging Nightmares and Other Horror StoriesMy Profile

  10. Hi Kim

    So glad to know you didn’t take much time to get your first income cheque after going online. What a coincidence I am also in same van and first I got a blogging job as a ghost blogger and after two years I started by my first green blog and then a money blog.

    To me the biggest takeout from this post is your advice to start any online venturing with a thing to sell and must showcase it from very first day. I think it is the height of simplicity to first start a blog and share a lot of free things and then showcase a product or service for sale. One must have a product from day one to sell it simultaneously while giving a lot of free stuff with it.

    I admit that on my money blog I don’t have anything to offer for sale but the two high- paying and permanent type of business blogging contracts I have just because of that blog where both my clients found a lot of quality stuff that convinced them to hire me as their blogging adviser.

    So I don’t take much effort to directly earn from my money blog and try to give my best services to both my clients and rest of the time I invest updating my both blogs.

    In future I want to automate most of my blogging consultancy work by developing a system to do most of their jobs with little effort and then would create a product to teach people how to do blogging consultancy to earn huge money.

    Many thanks for sharing this very thought provoking post and the example of bird is very motivating especially for those who stand still in their struggling to make them come out from the shell and adopt a different strategy to stand out from the crowd.

    Have a super fabulous weekend ahead.
    Mi Muba recently posted…20 easy and fun ways to become incredibly a creative bloggerMy Profile

    1. Hi Mi Muba

      Thanks for dropping by again

      You make some excellent points in your comment, and I agree with all of them.

      In regards to the issue of having a product to sell, it sure does help! I take your point that your money blog doesn’t have a product to sell, but you still leveraged your blog to win some new blogging contracts. That’s how I did it. I didn’t care about selling stuff from my blog. But I did care about using the blog as a kind of showcase which would then influence leads to do business with me, offline. Like you, I use my blog to build authority which in turn helps with sales conversions.

      No bad thing!

      Thanks again Mi Muba

      Kim
      Kim Willis recently posted…Susan Jeffers Says ‘Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway’ (Is She Right?)My Profile

  11. Hi Kim,

    Since I coach bloggers, I’m always asked “how do I make money blogging?”

    I tell people it’s the wrong question.

    You have to ask, as you point out, what solutions do you have to the big problems in your niche… and how can you deliver in such a way as to improve the lives of your readers/followers… I just call them your “crowd.”

    Now, like you said, blogging can be part of giving people solutions. It can be a major part for one blogger, or a personal branding backdrop to something else you’re involved in (ie., product creation, team building, affiliate marketing).

    Blogging is, in my opinion, the single best thing you can do to build and promote your personal brand. That’s where it’s key power is.

    For that reason alone, I usually tell people that a blog is the most important tool they can develop, and use that to build an email list and go from there.

    So, how do you make money blogging? In many cases, you don’t… but it’s much, much harder to make money online if you don’t have a blog. And blogging can absolutely put you on the fast track to making money in a way that almost nothing else can.

    -Donna
    Donna Merrill recently posted…4 Ways To Write More Blog Posts, And Write Them Better And FasterMy Profile

    1. Yeah, you’re right Donna

      Other than spending a fortune on brand building tv ads, I don’t think anything can compare with a blog. It’s the ultimate brand building tool for small to medium sized businesses.

      And I also agree with your point about making money with blogging. Most bloggers don’t need to worry too much about making money directly from their blog. Their blog should be used more as a credibility booster. So, primarily it’s a conversion tool and a lead hook.

      Gotta love blogging!

      Thanks Donna

      Kim
      Kim Willis recently posted…Susan Jeffers Says ‘Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway’ (Is She Right?)My Profile

  12. Hey Kim how are you mate, great post here. Loved the reflecting story you shared about the trapped bird, very appropriate.

    I can certainly relate to some of this. When I started with my first bog, I was promoting the garbage out of a small handful of affiliate products and services. I cared for only two things, traffic and conversions. I didn’t know or care a single bit about relationship building or making connections, or building a list of any kind, that’s the honest truth and yes it was a huge mistake on my part.

    I would write post after post on a daily basis, and in every single post I’d find a way to mention the products I was promoting to make money, focusing on SEO and sometimes going down the black hat route. Sure I was making some good money, but I had no relationship with my audience, I didn’t even know who my target audience was, and if I had, I think I would have had a better outcome with my first blog.

    Today is a different story, since starting over after making some dreadful mistakes, I’ve built a better connection with my readers and my clients, I understand their concerns and needs better, and I focus less on traffic but more on conversions.

    But I’ve done all of this through my blog, email and perhaps a little social media. As for paid advertising, I never really believed in it myself. I think that’s down to me being inexperienced in this field, and having failed with advertising in the past. I much prefer to invest time and money in content marketing techniques that work, that’s just me I guess.

    Great post once again Kim, enjoy the rest of your week.

    My aim for the rest of 2016 is to continue identifying the problems of my target audience, and writing content to serve them better, as well as continuing to provide services.

    1. Hey Fabrizio,

      Great to see you here again

      And thanks for sharing your story. Success is a journey for sure – lots of potholes along the way!

      Although I’ve done well from email marketing (some people on my list subscribed 6 and 7 years ago), I sure as heck neglected making connections with people via the blogging space. Such a dope!

      I agree with your comment about paid ads. Although there have been times when I did very well from it, there were other times when it was a dismal failure. And then last year, Facebook closed me down!

      Better to focus on content marketing – it’s low risk and ultimately, it works

      I like your 2016 goal. Getting really clear about the problems and aspirations of our audience is key.

      Thanks again Fabz

      Kim
      Kim Willis recently posted…Susan Jeffers Says ‘Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway’ (Is She Right?)My Profile

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