So, if Lead Blogging is the answer, what is the question?
The question today (for the duration of this post, at least), is what is the best way to monetize a blog?
Answer: Lead Blogging
Of course, this answer itself opens more questions than it answers (like many good questions).
I have recently been learning a lot about lead blogging from Aaron Abber at FullTiltBlogging.com. Tomorrow, I'll be reposting one of his lead blogging pieces here. (If you just cannot wait for tomorrow, you can see it here.) For now, what follows is a summary of just some of what I have learned over the last few months.
What is lead blogging?
I've got my own “white hat” definition of lead blogging. Lead blogging is the act of developing blog content that is so valuable and compelling that it motivates readers to subscribe to your mailing list — creating a qualified sales lead. A more sinister view of lead blogging would have to do with blogging with the intent of luring bloggers to your list for the purpose of exploitation. That is not what I am interested in. Blogging, like all things in life (including direct response marketing), is best done with integrity. Integrity is what you do when no one is watching.
Why blog for leads?
Blogging for dollars
If you are in the blogging game as part of an internet marketing business plan, you are blogging for money. If you are blogging for money, the best way to monetize your blog is through your list. This is a truth of direct response marketing that predates blogging and can be found in marketing textbooks across the globe. The value of an marketing business is in the list. Your list is a collection of interested customers (or potential customers) who have given you permission to talk to them. They have told you ahead of time that they are interested in what you have to say.
Blogging for fun (or a cause)
But I'm not in it for the money, you say. Well, why are you in it? Are you trying to promote a cause? Do you need to call people to action to save the whales (or something similar). If that is your mission, your list can be even more important to you than the traditional “capitalist pigs” mentioned above. Your list gives you permission to contact people directly and persuade them, help them, or educate them. Your list is how you get their attention on demand.
Integrity and Trust is the Key
So, once you have a list, what do you do with it. From my perspective, you deliver value and content. You do things that make people glad that they signed up. When you promote products, you should only promote things that you really believe will benefit your readers. You have to act with integrity, and protect your readers. Don't make the mistake that Darren Rowse made a few weeks ago and promote a product without looking at the sales copy. Treat your list well.
Even Yaro Starak, in my view the ultimate in honest bloggers, is turning his attention to his list. If it's good enough for Yaro, it's good enough for me.