If you’re interested in making a living from your creative work online with your blog, you need to understand one seemingly ignorable fact about blogging …
It takes time.
That doesn’t mean you should throw your plans out.
Start building today.
The earlier you start building the following three things for your blog, the earlier you’ll be able to move forward, reach milestones, and achieve a sustainable living from your creative work with your blog.
Let’s get started …
Let’s talk about it.
The discussion we build around our content usually consists of the exchange of ideas, opinions, experiences, and information relating to a specific topic.
At the same time, the discussion is also about discovering what causes your audience frustration, confusion, or feelings of defeat, which is why it’s a good idea to keep the comments section enabled ( at least while your blog is still learning from it’s audience ).
The discussion goes much farther than your comments section though, so even if you do decide to disable your comments section, you’ll find the discussion taking place elsewhere if you’re creating content your audience finds compelling.
If you don’t get the chance to read Ramsay’s guest post about listening to your audience, you should at least read this much:
The more your content compels your audience to join the discussion, the more you’ll learn about what they need from you. In theory, this should help you write content consistently with little to no problem.
Then again, writers will be writers.
So, where to start?
Start building the discussion with your content by asking your audience a question at the end of your post, when you share an article across the social landscape, or even when you’re speaking to someone in person.
Make it easy for them to join the discussion by asking their opinion.
You’ve heard this one before.
The email list is one of the most powerful tools available to publishers, as it enables direct contact with your audience when and where you want.
What’s so great about direct contact?
It’s the best way to achieve the undivided attention of your audience.
That’s why everyone wants you to sign up for their newsletter, sign up for coupons, or sign up to get 40% off right now. Direct contact increases the chance your audience will take the action you want them to take. Sure, you could spread the word about your latest ebook across the social landscape, but that doesn’t mean your audience will see it. In fact, if you’re using Facebook to build an audience, you’ll only reach a fraction of your audience until someone likes, comments, or shares it with their friends.
The Facebook bait and switch was just one example why creative artists working online should focus on building their independence. And one of the best ways to do that is to build an email list, because no matter how evil Facebook or any other social network becomes, you’ll always have that list of people who want to hear from you.
How do you start building an email list?
Start using MailChimp.
It’s easy to get started, it provides a beautiful experience for you and your subscribers, and most importantly for beginners, it’s free to start and scales nicely as you grow.
What attracted your audience?
The answer to this question will reveal what you need to offer (more of) in order to compel your audience to join a membership, especially if you’re building a premium membership and require monthly payments.
And therein lies the beauty of building a membership … monthly payments.
It takes time and energy to build a membership worth joining, but once you do you’re able to collect payments on a monthly basis, which is 12 times more than what most bloggers are collecting by selling ebooks.
Let’s compare a few numbers:
- Sell a $20 ebook to 100 customers this year, you’ll make $2,000.
- Sell a $20 membership to 100 customers this year, you’ll make $24,000.
This, of course, assumes you have no cancellations, chargebacks, or disappointed customers, but this is the reason why some of the most success blogs in our community have built premium memberships for their audiences.
What your membership offers is up to you, but here’s a short list of ideas:
- Support from you
Building a membership takes a lot of energy, so be sure to think about what kind of assets you want to include, what you want to explore later (as a way to give your existing members more), as well as the overall structure and pricing of your membership.
To start building your membership, take a look at some of the free membership plugins available in the WordPress repository.
Want to make progress in 10 minutes?
Whether you’re interested in building a discussion, your email list, or some kind of membership, you can actually start making progress in as little as 10 minutes.
Discussion: Make it easy for your audience to join in.
It’s all about the first and last line of your content — hook their attention, cast a question.
Email list: Start using MailChimp
Before you call me biased ( I’m building the creativeblogger email list with MailChimp ), but keep in mind that I’m also an AWeber customer … and AWeber has a pretty damn juicy affiliate program. It’s free, it scales, and it’s beautiful for both you and your audience.
Membership: Browse the free membership plugins available.
If you’re interested in building a membership program with your blog, you’ll need to set aside some time to explore what features plugins offer. For example, the membership I’m building at wearabl needs to be able to accommodate the use of multisite in addition to membership levels.
You think about your content regularly ( if you write regularly ), so next time you think about what content you should write up for your blog, think about what content you could include in a premium or free membership as well. This will either help you improve the depth of your content, or give you a massive headache.
Jokes aside, if you want to make a living from your creative work with your blog, you gotta think about your membership.
Remember, making a living from your creative work with your blog takes time, but that doesn’t mean you can’t begin building the foundation for it all today.
Which of the three aspects of your blog will you focus on building first?
Let us know below or join us over at Google+ for more.
Creative Commons Image via Flickr by 8623220@N02