Enter Blogging 4.0| Strategies to Achieve Success in the Age of All Things Online
Blogging 1.0 and 2.0 is over.
Sad but this is a fact. Read it, research it, accept it, swallowÂ it, and get over it.
If you are thinking of creating a passive income from your blog and you are starting now, you are entering into a very competitive domain. That said, let me show you a few things that you need to do to be successful at your online business built around a central blog.
Blogging 4.0 Defined
Blogging 4.0 basically means an online business centered around a blog since 2014. This is not a new concept but a new strategy and new perspective to look at the world of blogging and online business in general.
Enter Blogging 4.0
Blogging is competitive and it takes lots of hours. You need to research, you need to write, you need to post consistently.
Building a readership from scratch is tough (read: not worth the time investment). Building a large readership who engages with your content is even harder.
Today, you need to think beyond blogging. This is where blogging 4.0 comes into the picture.
There are over 250 millions active websites, over 8 million blogs and almost as many vlogs (video blogs), and about 115,000 podcasts (audioblogs).
Blogging 4.0 includes (well, more than just a blog):
1. Blog (for long form content + introducing your product/services)
2. Podcast (this is the least competitive domain)
3. Social Media Platforms (for short form content)
4. Videos (Youtube, Vine, Vimeo, Periscope, etc)
5. Repurpose Your Content (Quora, Medium, LinkedIn)
To start, here are few tips:
- Blog long form content. Save the short quotes and daily muse for social media. If you want to succeed in blogging, go long and detailed.
- Try to solve a problem. Try explaining a situation from a new perspective. Tell a good story that most people can relate to.
- Write and then offer free eBooks.
- Collect emails so that you can email to your group when a new blog post is up.
- Guest blog and cross promote each other.
- Encourage your blogger friends to leave a comment. Reciprocate the generosity.
- Provide incentives to your readers for commenting. For example, reply to your comment and answer their questions. Or simply just acknowledge them.
2. You need a Podcast
As I mentioned above, podcast:blog ratio is very low. Podcasts integrates with both blogging and social media. Podcasting is technical and intense. And that’s why you have less competition there.
You must explore this medium to connect with millions of 9-5 job going workers when they are commuting to work, exercising at gym or taking a long walk.
Example: Podcast Launch | The Naked Soul Talk Show | Full Human Potential | Daily Growth | Lifestyle Design
3. Build Your Tribe
In the past, your blog was your platform. Not anymore.
You need to build your online tribe on various social media platform as that’s where your readers are already gathering. Social media is usually the best free source to send traffic to your blog.
Read my 4000 word long detailed blog post on building your platform:
How I Am Going To Grow My Author’s Platform| How To Find Your First 1000 True Fans
How To Get From Zero to A Celebrity Status| Hacking Instagram Growth |10 Tips on More Followers, Likes & Comments
4. Go Video
You are writing. You are researching and inserting catchy images in your blog posts.
You are building your social authority and building your platform on each major social media.
Now go full circle. Go video.
Make videos. Make SlideShare out of your blog posts and turn those SlideShare into YouTube videos.
Make video of some of your audio recordings (podcasts) and push it on Youtube.
Make videos out of images and add music to it. Publish them.
Remember, rather than waiting for people to find your blog, you want to find your tribe. You must go where people are already gathering. Then broadcast. Let your lost tribe members find you.
Bring them home (to your blog). Reward them for following you.
5. Repurpose Your Content
Just as if you have a book to offer, you’ll most likely sell it on Amazon and through Barnes & Noble rather than your own website, similarly, you must blog on platforms which are already trusted by millions of users.
There are studies done that vast majority of readers prefer (read: trust) to buy a book (or a product) on Amazon than directly from a blog or website. And the reasons are simple.
Return. Refund. Shipping options. Trust. Existing account, etc.
Likewise, rather than publishing your posts just on your blog, be mindful that there are millions of users on Medium and LinkedIn and Quora who would not go to your blog because they spend a vast majority of their online time on these platform. They do not have any need to go to your blog.
So what can you do?
You repurpose your content. Change a few things and tweak it to the like of the target readerships and re-publish. Leave a link to your blog.
Those who would resonate with your content and find value in your offering would become your reader.
What do you do then? What do you do in the end after all is said?
Publish. Be Original. Be Consistent.
Consistency is the key.
Strategies & Steps to Achieve Success
Creating and Curating The Best Content
Yes, how many hundred and thousands of people create and curate the best content on Internet but eventually give up and FAIL because there were no eyes looking at their blog. There were no readers and no money coming in.
The Truth Behind the Expenses
I am listing the minimum that you would be spending if your blog is going to be a an online business.
You need to attract visitors, you need them to sign up for your mailing list, you want to offer them something of value in return, you want your website to load on mobile and computer, be fast and responsive to devise site and browsers.
Okay, okay. But, wait.
You also need to spend enormous time (= opportunity cost) to develop your product, market your product, engage with your customers or fans and handle customer support.
Let’s take a look at the dollar-and-time investment.
Domain name/renewal: $15/year
Website hosting: $300-$500/year
Website upgrades: $100/year
eBook creations: $500/year
Equipments (lights, camera, mike, recorder, et al.): $1000 – $2000
Podcast hosting: $120/year
Social Media promotion: $500/year
Time: between 40-100 hours/week
and a bunch of other things…
The 4.0 Strategy
What can you do? First, you know that you are a serious blogger. You are committed to take your blog as a mini online business.
Your first goal should be to break-even. Here is the 6 phases of it:
- Spend the minimum that you can afford and sustain.
- Then work your best to recoup your investment.
- Invest in upgrades and expansion.
- Invest and building a brand that attracts readerships on its own.
- Offer products and/or services to recoup your additional investment.
- Break even on quarterly basis and achieve a state of financial balance
- Grow your blog-business like a rockstar.
The caveat here?
The CAVEAT Rule
Caveat stands for:
Read my Quora answer on “Consistency”. Consistency is the most important rule for blogging to succeed.
(What are you struggling with as a blog writer?)
You have to be authentic. You have to present your true self before your audience. Your voice should sound genuine. No mimicking, no imitation, but your voice, unfiltered, afraid, naked yet true.
Provide value. Provide Quality. Look how can you improve the quality of an information, service or product out there. It took me hours to write this answer and then organize the content in such a way that is easy to read.
Did I increase the quality of my post by spending time on it? You be the judge. Was value added by me to the blogging community as a whole by spending over 8 hours of my time) on this post?
If the answer is Yes and Yes, then I have to do the same on my:
- Social Media Platforms
- Weekly emails (newsletters)
- Books that offer for free
- Books that I write to sell
- The products that I am building to market
- The services that I provide
Quality content is integral part of providing value.
Make sure, in terms of Quality, your videos and pictures are high-resolution, clean and clear. Make sure your podcast is noise-free. Make sure the background of your videos are neat and organized.
Likewise, your blog posts should be clean, neat and organized. Add pictures. Edit the post before you publish. If you notice an error after publishing, edit and fix immediately.
Treat your blog as Apple treats its product packaging.
Energy is the raw material for enthusiasm. You have to stay fit, exercise and be healthy. Read What is the easiest way to live a very healthy lifestyle?
Apply the 80/20 here to get your base covered.
Now you have the energy it takes to be a real-life blogger who actually makes a living or decent passive income from her/his blog. Great! You must feel good to have all this energy to work so hard. Not 4 hours a week but 100 hours.
How do you use this raw energy to create a positive, uplifting enthusiasm that motivates your community and wants them to come to your content again and again?
Follow these 3 Simple Rules
1. Do not engage with haters, spammers and negative people, comments, or content out there on Internet. Save your energy, every ounce of it and use it for your blog. If someone makes you angry or frustrated, instead of fighting, turn that emotion into a blog post. (Remember, everything is a material for a writer).
2. Present a positive solution, scenario and interpretation to a negative problem, scenario and story. Go deep. Go long content. When you are trying to cover a topic or an issue, get to the heart of it. Again, look at this Quora answer as an example. It is pain to type such long answer… my back is hurting; I want to drink coffee; it’s Saturday and sunny, I rather go out… but damn! my answer is not complete yet! But I am going to write until the question is completely answered.
3. Engage with your fans, readers, customers, whatsoever you call them as if your life depends on it. And it does. They pay for your services or books. They use your products. They send you thank you emails and talk good about you. These all makes your life more meaningful and makes you feel fulfilled. Do whatever it takes to make sure you are replying to all comments, even if they in hundreds. Reply to as many emails as you can. Again provide value. Be energetic. Be a lion. Be a cheetah. Be a deer. Be a rabbit. Be whatever it takes.
Attitude is your mentality, your personality. How do you interact with failures? How do you take losses? Attitude is very important.
Even if you do everything right as I ask you to do in this post, there are chances that you will fail ten times. May be you wont see readership or visitor growth for 6 months or a year.
May be you are having hard time coming up with new ideas. Perhaps, it will be hard for you to allocate this much time to build a great blog.
What will do? Because, I can tell you, this will happen.
And if you are mentally not prepared, you will quit or settle for a mediocre blog which no one reads and then you will ask a question on Quora, how to get more traffic to my blog in hope of as if some magic answer will you fix your attitude problem.
Are you a sheep? Or are you a lion? Are you a giver, quitter and loser? Or are you made for hard battles and fighting until you win or die? Ask these questions before you wet your feet in the murky waters of online blogging-businesses.
Successful blogging business is not for the faint of heart. But if you think, this is You, then welcome. Start today. Hit me an email or comment. Create a network of other successful bloggers.
Share ideas, exchange tips. Help one another. Create a mastermind group (online or in your city). Create a Facebook group and share your daily wins and fails. Have fun. You have to make this process fun because it is incredibly time consuming and difficult. But can it be done with laughter while having a good time? Oh yeah, that’s what I am having.
Guest blog and mutually support one another.
I am sure, thousands of other bloggers can say the same.
Welcome to the club! Bloggers 4.0.
Stick to a theme (a topic). If you want to cover a slightly bigger niche, break down your blog posts into various topics or categories. Check out my blog (Naked Soul Blog | The Blog of Salil Jha) as an example. Tim Ferriss (author) does the same thing.
On the other hand, another popular blogger Maria Popova (Brain Pickings) focuses on books, art and life advice. James Altucher focuses on writing, books, and online business building.
On social media too, you would notice the biggest accounts or pages are those who stick to one theme or context such as fitness, bodybuilding, jokes, poetry, etc.
Start with a sub-niche. Then cover your niche to which your sub-niche belongs. If you are successful up until here, go broader.
That said, it is always better and more effective to cover a single theme or semi-related, overlapping ideas. Both Tim Ferriss and I, for example are doing the later.
We cover more than one topic on our blog and social but all of them are overlapping with a single goal of improving our self.
Hope this helps!
Now go build or do something meaningful!
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If there are aspects of this important topic that you would want me to cover in-depth or an area you think I have missed and should have touched, please let me know in the comments and I’ll update the post or write a new one. What do you think? Tell me and share with us your thoughts on blogging 4.0. The first 10 commenters are always my favorite and I like to personally communicate with them. So share your thoughts.
Have you ever considered writing an e-book or guest authoring on other sites?
Hi Jordan, yes, I have a book coming out on Authorpreneurship early next year. Stay tuned.
How do I grow my blog?
Just follow the steps Aaron. And give it time… work hard at it. It is difficult but with consistency, you will do well. Good luck!
I stalked you from Quora 😉 Thank you for a very informative post. Being a newbie to the blogging scene, theres much to learn. What you say makes sense. I started my blog as a vent with a ‘as if anyone would even WANT to read my stuff’ attitude.. But what I have realized in the past 1.5 months (yes, that’s my blogging age) is that this has evolved into so much MORE! I have wonderful readers and I look forward to writing stuff that would resonate with them. But simply writing good content just doesn’t cut it anymore. There’s this entire world of promoting and getting your writing out there! Anyways, I shall cease my ramblings and sign off by saying that I look forward to reading more from you!
Welcome home, my blog family member! All bloggers and writers are one family! I wish you all the best and would love to connect with you on social media.
Very informative. I just started my blog late this year, Would much appreciate if you check it out and give me some needed tips. Thank you
That’s great Richard! I would have to say, you are onto something big! Now keep pushing forward. It takes time but you are on a right track!
Nice blog here! Also your web site loads up very fast! What host are you using? Can I get your affiliate link to your host?
Hi Marlin, thank you! I am using SiteGround for hosting and love them. Here is the link you can use to get 50% discounted rate for all your hosting needs.
Where will you distribute your blog content? This is a burning question as less and less people read content directly from blogs and more on social media or sites such as Medium, Tumblr and WordPress. What do you suggest?
Hi Bran – glad to hear from you. First, make a list of the platforms where you will distribute your blog content. I recommend, publish your blog posts on Quora (as blog), LinkedIn (as posts) and Medium (as blog). Repurpose your blog content into smaller chunks for various social media such as Instagram, Twitter and Facebook.
Lastly, I do not believe it is completely true that you can not have your blog earn its own traffic. Keep writing and publishing great content and you’ll have your own tribe build and centered around your blog. Your blog is your home.
Hello, yeah this is truly nice and I have learned a lot of things from it concerning blogging.