I believe that blogs are products. Just as a mobile app. Like a an innovative organic cosmetic. Like a new PC part.
What does it mean for you? It means that a blog needs marketing. That it’s owner is an entrepreneur. Or at least a marketer.
The misconception that to succeed, it’s enough to be good at writing and have a few post ideas, is still prevalent.
I understand that in the world dominated by ads and sponsored content, some of the bloggers don’t want to get involved in the marketing mechanism. They want their site to be sales-free. They don’t want to think about it like about a product. And they prefer to say that writing is their mission. Or at least a hobby they want to share.
So why do I still think that a blog is a product?
Products work according to the rules of supply and demand. Blogging is no exception.
Whatever you have to offer – knowledge, opinions, experience or whatever else – won’t make it far if nobody cares. You can only draw people’s attention by giving them what they seek. By solving their problems
Whatever product, from whatever niche, sold wherever in the world – they all work according to this rule.
They solve problems.
If your blog doesn’t solve problems, doesn’t provide value sought by the reader and doesn’t make his life more interesting/easier/better – then you’re going to have it hard to stand out.
Every new business has to answer the question about what problem it solves. Because nobody cares what you offer, if the customer doesn’t benefit from it.
Another common misconceptions is that high quality content is all you need to get noticed. It’s like thinking that your blog is so awesome, that it’s going to draw people all by its own.
That, of course, is totally untrue. If we look at the TV commercials, we’ll quickly realize that the most popular products aren’t the truly best nest. Popularity is earned thanks to the amount of effort put into the product marketing.
Practically speaking, your blog also needs marketing. Whether you make money of it or not.
“If you need to persuade someone to take action, you’re doing marketing”, says Seth Godin, a world-class marketing expert, on his blog. He says that “marketing goes way beyond advertising, email pitches or the way you do pricing. In fact, most of the time, marketing has nothing at all to do with money.”
Marketing = drawing people’s attention to what you’re doing.
Learning its basic principles will help you no less than it helps a freshly baked entrepreneur.
When you think about it, bloggers and entrepreneurs aren’t all that different.
Now’s the time when you ask: “Let’s assume I agree that my blog is a product, but what does it actually change?”.
I promise you, suddenly your blog will start looking different. Running, promoting and maintaining it will look different.
The most basic change should be how you perceive your Readers. They’ll stop being a nameless mass of people accidentally interested in the topic you write about. A blogger-entrepreneur knows their reader inside-out. They know what are their problems and what keeps them up at night. They select the content for the blog to answer these needs.
On a deeper level, you should start thinking about reaching new people. You’ll wonder how to attract new audience, what to offer to them, where to go to meet it. You’ll look for new ways of building their online authority.
As a blogger-entrepreneur, you’ll also become aware that now you represent more than just a bunch of notes published on their site. You represent a brand and so you’ll be much more careful not to harm it together with your reputation.
A beginner blogger wonders how not to run out of post ideas. They think about their blog only when they’re writing. A blogger-entrepreneur keeps their site in the back of their heads at all times. They think about promotion. They think about their brand, online authority and about the needs of their Readers. They become their own specialists in marketing, business development, market research, ads and public relations.
In the software industry, there’s something called beta tests stage. It’s the time when the mobile or web app isn’t launched yet, but you as a user can create an account and test it.
The main purpose of beta testing is to gather feedback about the software’s weak points and bugs. Most of the companies in the industry rely on the customer’s feedback long after their official launch.
As a blogger, you’re not less dependant on your user – readers’ – feedback than a software startup is. Sometimes you’ll have to swallow a bitter pill and accept that something on your site isn’t half as cool as you thought it was. Or that you need to change something, give up on something, improve something.
Successful companies know that listening to their customer feedback is the shortest way to improving the product.
Even Bill gates said that Your most unhappy customers are your greatest source of learning.
Regardless of how you look at your blog and yourself as a blogger, some universal things don’t change.
Your site’ visitors will always judge you based on the content you provide. Just as you won’t spend money on shoes you don’t like, they won’t spend time on a blog that doesn’t answer their needs. You can accept it. You can also discard the idea of a blogger-entrepreneur and lose these readers.
Jump in the comment section for a while and let me know what you think. Do you sometimes think about your blog as a product?
Hoping to make easy money from blogging? Sorry! It’s not going to happen. I’m going to tell you why in the next post.