ASP 06: How to Generate Revenue Beyond Amazon
Quote of the day
Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do.
– Steve Jobs
In the first episode of the Authority Self-Publishing podcast (ASP 01: How to Generate Revenue Just By Writing Books), we talked about how to make a living from writing books. As we have mentioned many times over the past few weeks, Amazon is a great platform for selling your books. However, it is possible to get stuck in the Amazon trap, and in doing so fail to grow your business and readership to their full potential. That is why it is important to have a platform where you can build an audience and then market to them with other product offerings, to create new revenue streams.
To this end, Barrie runs a blog called Live Bold and Bloom, and Steve has a blog called Develop Good Habits that was originally intended to be an authority platform, but that he ended up focusing on after his Kindle books took off.
But how do you make money with a blog? Why should authors invest time, energy and money into build a blog?
A lot of people rely entirely on Amazon for book sales, but the danger there is that they could easily change their rules any time. By creating a content website (such as a blog, podcast, etc.) and email list, you can give yourself more flexibility.
Your blog is a way to build your fan base. If you continuously provide quality content and serve your audience, over time they will learn to trust you enough to buy from you.
Your blog is also a tool for discoverability. With it, you can build your audience by bringing in new people who discover your content. This is why it is important to use keywords when writing to your blog, since Google’s search algorithm is based on keyword density. However, it isn’t enough to just pepper your blog with keywords. Google has gotten smart these days, so you also need to provide quality.
How do I start a blog?
Technical steps to setting up your blog:
- Buy a domain. Choose something that has some keyword related to your niche.
- Purchase hosting.
- Create a compelling logo.
- Create your lead magnet.
- Design your site (WordPress is quite convenient, and has a lot of themes to choose from).
- Create a capture form to collect email addresses (great tools include MailChimp, Aweber, and InfusionSoft).
- Set up your autoresponder emails, as this will save you a lot of time and effort.
If you find that you are still struggling with the process, visit Authority Self-Publishing Resources for resources on how to build a blog.
Once your blog is live, you need to gain traction with your market. The best way to do this is to provide high quality content. People will respond if you are providing them with something useful, so don’t be afraid to go deep on a topic. And when writing your blog posts, remember that online readers have a tendency to scan. Thus, it is best to format your posts for easy scanning, by using attention-grabbing headlines.
You can also build and use a Facebook group to get yourself out there, and drip feed your content to groups. Social media is one of the biggest and most effective forms of promotion, and used correctly it doesn’t cost much.
Your lead magnet is an important tool to build your email list, so you will want to have different media types (such as videos, email courses, ebooks, etc.) available for free in exchange for email addresses. Building your email list is essential, as this is what you’ll use to market to your followers. It’s the #1 way to monetize your blog.
There are a few other strategies for gaining traction in your market. www.Nrsng.com uses checklists to gather email lists, while Barrie utilizes quizzes on here blog. Steve has found that commenting on other blogs is a good way to grow your audience, as they will see you as an authority and follow you to your blog. You can also do roundup posts, where you interview a bunch of bloggers and authorities and then consolidate the information for your readers. The important thing is to build up followers for your blog, so do what you can to leverage other blogs out there and build credibility across the various social media platforms.
When you start out, do one thing and focus on that for a while. This will help you to establish yourself as an authority. Remember that a blog post on a particular topic has a specific offer relevant to specific readers. Bring these readers into your funnel and then send them more content or let them know about a specific course.
As far as courses go, there are a number of ways to figure out what people want to learn. You can look at comments, create surveys, or even analyze the email responses you receive. You can then build your courses from material in our books, interviews, audio, worksheets, etc., to build a robust program. You will want to target your audience with specific content and courses that are directly applicable and relevant.
Barrie has put together a new course, and to add value to it was able to get an interview with Dan Harris, in exchange for promoting his book. This is a great example of leveraging connections and finding ways to provide your readers with more value (www.AuthorityCourse.com).
How much money is needed to build a blog?
The WordPress platform is a cheap way to make a good quality website. In general, you’ll be looking at spending between $500 and $1500 to build a five- to eight-page website. Use Upwork to find affordable developers. And if you are working with a smaller budget, you can always try Fiverr.
Go minimalist on your first website—make it easy to navigate and functional, and then once you see a lot of success, you can think about upgrading to something with more bells and whistles. The important thing to remember is that any brick and mortar business is going to cost a lot more to establish than you will spend building a website. This is a great way to sell content with low overhead.
What do people expect from a course?
How you structure your course depends on the form, size and depth that you are looking to create. A premium course with video, audio, and other content will of course be priced higher. When you are starting out, it is best to start small and simple. Then, as your audience grows, look at producing more involved, labor-intensive courses. Nathan Barry created a good app design book, and Udemy is a great option if you want turn your books into courses. Stephen Guise (DeepExistence) created the Mini Habits Mastery course on Udemy based on his Mini Habits book. Another valuable tool is SkillShare.
It is always important to remember that affiliate marketing is a great way to monetize your writing. Go out, find a topic, build up an email list, find products related to topic, and offer them to your email list. It’s actually quite simple. Of course, the more credibility you have with your readers (i.e., the higher quality your content, and the more you have established yourself as an authority), the more likely they will be to buy the products that you suggest. ClickBank is a good site to use when getting into affiliate marketing. But just remember that there are a lot of crap products out there. You don’t want to suggest crap to your readers, as this will damage your credibility. So do a sniff test before you start promoting. If and when you come across a product you’re interested in, look for the “affiliates” link and integrate it into your article, book, or blog.
Always save every piece of content you create. Although it might not seem like it at the time, you may find a way to reuse it in the future. Blog posts can be added to emails, turned into Kindle books or SlideShares, etc., and you can always work in the opposite direction as well. You can also create images with content from your books, blog posts, etc., and post these on Instagram and Pinterest. This is a great way to grow your following, and provide content that keeps your audience excited.
We are obviously fans of podcasting, and we feel that it is a great opportunity to open up your brand to differing opportunities. 99designs advertises on a lot of podcasts, and John Lee Dumas offers content through http://www.eofire.com/. These are examples of how podcasts can be leveraged.
Coaching and consulting
Some authors use books to generate interest and establish authority in a subject. Selling these books might not even be their end goal. Instead, they want to be seen as an expert in their field, because they can leverage this into coaching and consulting jobs that pay very well. This is yet another avenue for monetizing your content.
Finally, these days there are opportunities to freelance in nearly ever field and market. The Internet has created a global market for outsourced services, and what you specialize in might be a valuable service that can be leveraged into freelance work. In other words, don’t just stop with your books. There is a wide variety of ways to monetize your content, so get creative!
In the meantime, for those interested in our self-publishing course (which will be released in early January), stay updated at Authority.Pub!
Thanks for Listening to ASP!
We appreciate you taking the time to listen to the Authority Self-Publishing show.
Did you enjoy this episode?
If so, please do one (or all) of the following:
- Leave a comment on this page or ask a question if you need us to elaborate on the topic.
- Use the social media buttons to share this episode with your friends, family, and contacts.
- Go over to iTunes or Stitcher to leave a rating/review and to subscribe to the podcast.
We appreciate you taking the time to check out ASP! And we look forward to providing you with more content in the next episode!