Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Blogging and Profit Potential -- Want to Start a Controversy?

At BlogWorldExpo, there was an entire track devoted to maximizing the profit potential of your blog. Each session was pretty dang interesting for the simple reason that, as bloggers, we tend to be purists. We want to be different than regular old public relations people. We want to be completely honest and open. For example, there were those who were solidly against ghost-blogging because it wasn't really truthful -- and blogging is all about truth, right?

Well, right, unless it's all about profit.

Throughout the conference, there were definitely two different schools of thought regarding creating profit through your blog. In a session that I attended called Good to Great: Blogging and Profit Potential, Jim Kukral gave us his ideas on this subject. Kukral is an award winning blogger and online marketing guru who specializes in helping businesses make money online. He is also really smart and quite creative when it comes to getting himself noticed. As a matter of fact, he got the attention of Mark Cuban with domain names such as www.markcubanfundmycompany.com. As you can imagine . . . he got Cuban's attention. Plus, he got to introduce him at his keynote at BlogWorld!

Kukral's vision is that you can make money with your blog through the use of memorable images and the use of ads and video on your blog. These things, along with his "secret sauce" is a sure fire recipe for success. Consider his equation for creating profit through your blog:

A Highly-Targeted Niche + High Quality Content that Solves a Business Problem + Good Ad Placement = Profit.

Pretty interesting, huh? And, it makes perfect sense. Now, those purists out there could argue that you could build profitability with the first two components of the equation -- leaving out the ad piece -- in other words, make money from your field of expertise as opposed to advertising links. However, Kukral would counter (I believe) that if you have well placed, conservative ads, you can make money from the links, too, without "selling out." And, he cited several folks who have made a bunch of money using this tactic.

So, how do you do this? One key (along with the above equation), according to Kukral, is figuring out the problem that has to be solved. . . then using that as the title of your blog, your domain name, etc. He gave the example of www.askthebuilder.com as a blog that does this really well.

In addition, to further build credibility and traffic, another important tactic is to use videos -- this is the new frontier of blogging (we heard this several times throughout the Expo). The idea is to put those videos out on a site like YouTube or Google, then also blog about the subject matter. Kukral believes that you can easily double the number of pages and ads viewed (if you use ads) if you utilize this approach. Moreover, you can place your videos on YouTube for free and can easily put your videos together for little cost (using a simple digital camera -- "The Flip"). Kukral indicated that he's done this and gets about five calls per week for marketing consulting (his core business) using this approach.

Finally, Kukral advises that to get more comments, you need to be a little controversial on your blog content. Controversy gets you lots of interaction. In browsing Mark Cuban's blog, he definitely does this . . . and I know, Cuban is a celebrity, too. However, he does put up some controversial topics on his blog -- and he gets a ton of comments from both sides of the controversy. Interestingly, Cuban (in his keynote address) stated that he is a blog purist and doesn't like the idea of ads on his blog. So, there you go -- the two different schools of thought again.

Interesting food for thought for us bloggers. I'd love to hear comments from you all on your thoughts about creating profits from blogging. Let's start some controversy!


fiat lux said...

It really depends on the type of blog you're talking about. If I saw a pile of AdSense on a corporate blog, for example, I'd think it was tacky and unprofessional. For someone who's trying to make a business of blogging instead of using the blog as a part of their overall corporate messaging, it's a different story.

I might or might not mind a ghost blogger; it would really depend on if the content were interesting. Hiring a ghost blogger to spew out bland marketing-speak is a bad move. Hiring a ghost blogger with something interesting to say -- well, it worked when the "blogger" was Cyrano de Bergerac, n'est pas?

Nancy Arter said...

Great comments!

And, if you look at Kukral's blog and some of the folks that he links to, I think that he does the ads very well.

I think that if you go overboard, i.e., the whole blog is really more about the ads than the content, then that is what gives the whole monetizing your blog idea a bad rap. In the session, Kukral went to several sites that did just this . . . and it was distracting and cheesy.

In terms of ghost blogging, I tend to agree with you. When it's done correctly -- as in your example -- I think it works very well. There's a difference between having someone use your original thoughts and make them into a better, more interesting read and having someone come up with the original thoughts and then posing as the person that they are writing for.