"Give away your best, expect nothing in return, and good things will happen"
Ironically, these same bloggers paid good money to listen to this nonsense. They religiously try to protect their blog from the taint of evil commercialism at all costs. If they decide to sell something (usually when they are desperate) they apologetically offer their best work for pennies.
This is tragic and totally unnecessary.
A Radically Different Blogging Philosophy
People come to your blog to get something. It's a transaction between you and them. They are looking for excellent information and a little entertainment, and the right price.
They see your blog as a product. You would be better off if you did too.
Putting yourself into the product delivery mindset focuses you on delivering real value with your blog. With this perspective every blog post becomes a new opportunity to make your product offering better. Your blog’s creative look and feel becomes its packaging. Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn become customer service platforms. Guest posts are simple product placement opportunities.
Get this right and readers will happily sign up for your email newsletter. They won't hesitate to retain your services. They will be the first in line to buy your book. They recognize that you are serious about delivering stuff that they care about. Visiting your blog isn't an "iffy" proposition. They know that they time they spend is well invested.
Here's how to do it.
How to Turn Your Blog into a Product
#1: Posts as Auditions
Every post should demonstrate your expertise. All together, your posts form a dossier that illustrates the breadth and depth of your knowledge. Readers will use your posts to judge how easy it is to do business with you.
Rambling and unorganized posts show that you'll most likely waste their time. Theoretical lectures prove that you'll offer little practical value. Carefully construct your posts to deliver a "curriculum" that systematically educates your reader on your expertise, your style, and the value you offer.
#2: Establish Value
I urge my blog review clients to quickly create a product to sale. It can be a $7 special report or a $97 home-study course, the point is to establish that your expertise is worth something. Nothing is free. You need to show your readers that even a blog post requires something in return.
For example, you and I are involved in a transaction right now. I am giving you 60 minutes of my best work in exchange for your attention, retweet, subscription, or a purchase. I'm letting you decide. However you and I both agree that this isn't a free transaction.
Your readers aren't stingy. They want to compensate you. They just don't know how or how much. Make it easy for them to do business with you. Make sure your email opt-in is appealing and visible. Create a product and proudly offer it for sale in your sidebar. Ask for comments in every post.
#3: Create VIP Availability
I know some social media gurus preach that you should be 100% available all the time. They chastise you for not answering every tweet, Facebook status update or comment. They state that your omnipresent availability proves that you "get" social media. Umm....No.
Your crazy uncle Stan is going to give you a bye on this one. Here's what you should do instead.
Make it crystal clear that your blog is just one type of access. You will answer questions about your posts. You will answer pertinent email via your contact form. On the other hand, your blog is not a place for your readers to demand free consultation. Your blog is not a blank check that can be redeemed for countless hours of "picking your brain".
If your readers want more, better, higher-touch "VIP Availability", they can purchase it. If this sounds weird then ask yourself - "how much are you worth?" If you devalue yourself, your time, and expertise then your readers will too.
Quit "Blogging For Love"
I'm not a card-carrying member of the 100% free, 100% available, 100% kissy-kissy crowd. My approach emphasizes deliver amazing content in tiers. Tier 1 content like blog posts and email newsletters offer complimentary coaching, advice, and encouragement. In essence, the “Why”, “What”, “When”, and “Where” advice is offered gratis.
Tier 2 is "The How" and it’s extremely valuable. Your "How" should be organized, truly valuable, and uncommonly great. Your “How” is your Purple Cow. You have to put a price on the How and convince your blog readers to buy it. If you choose to give it away for free then have a darn good plan for recouping your costs.
Does This Make You Nervous?
Talk to me. Have you ever thought about your blog and your value this way? What are some of your reservations? How will you put a price on your “How"?