Lessons On Blogging: What Passing Out Flyers Can Teach You
Did you ever think you could learn about how to make money blogging from passing out flyers? Yesterday afternoon I was helping a friend pass out flyers at their appartment complex, and several thoughts came to mind.
It’s a really great ministry. Each month they sponsor events for people in the complex and organize things like parties and dinners for those in the community. To let people know about the month’s activities, they must manually put out flyers at each of the 35+ buildings. For those who have lived in an apartment before, you can appreciate how much of a workout it would be to trek up and down 150 flights of stairs (so I volunteered to assist).
Along the way, I couldn’t help but draw several parallels to those who are successful in the world of blogging, and hopefully these few insights will help you in your business (and yes, this is an actual flight of stairs I climbed yesterday).
Don’t Retrace Your Steps
I’m always trying to find ways to maximize results and minimize the work involved. As I learned the lay of the land yesterday, I quickly came up with a path where I could minimize the actual number of steps I had to take to get to each door. By glancing over the layout of the buildings, I realized that if I followed more of a serpentine path I could hit all the doors in the quickest time, and subsequently get done with my section quicker.
Immediately I hit the ground running (walking) and set off to get started. It didn’t take me long to realize that this was by far the superior path to take. Instead of just going around the building, or hitting one hallway then just looking for the next one, it dawned on me that having a plan was critical to this important point of not retracing already tracked steps.
It works the same for blogging. Do you find that you spend 90% of your time thinking about design only to go back and change a theme once a “better” one comes along? Do you spend the better part of your energy dreaming about what your blog can become and not actually writing any content? Do reading forum posts, the latest “opportunity of the day” from the gurus, or any other number of things keep you from actually doing the menial and tedious things required to make money with a blog?
If you answered yes, than make today the day to change.
The basics to making money online are pretty straightforward.
Create value, answer questions, and do it in a way that engages a community and develops a relationship with your customers and readers. People buy from people and brands they know. If you’re the brand, make sure they know YOU.
There, you have it. Give me $1000 bucks for my “secret” if you want, but believe it or not, the actual “secret” to making money online is as simple as that phrase in one form or another. It’s how I approach every website I develop or purchase, and it’s a key point to actually making money. It’s not hard, we make it hard.
After I made a couple missteps yesterday and ended up having to go back and retrace steps I had already taken, I realized that we all do this in our online businesses. Once you find a nice theme, stick with it. People won’t care if it’s 2 or 3-column, they just want good content or answers to their questions. Once you’ve learned the basics to WordPress, installed a theme/plugins, and done a few tweaks to make it more SEO friendly and to your liking, LEAVE IT ALONE. Start writing content and link building (the two most important factors to building a blog you can actually make money with). Don’t retrace your steps. Move forward.
There’s Actual People On The Other Side Of The Door (or Computer)
After hitting about 20 residences, my entrepreneur mind started kicking in…
‘If I owned this complex, I would have roughly X people paying me $X per month, and heck, everyone needs a place to live. Then, if I…”
I was taken aback by the sheer numbers. Every one of the 100 or so doors I visited was a REAL person paying REAL money to live in this complex. Furthermore, they spend money on groceries, going out to dinner/movies, telling their friends about this great deal they got on a new piece of furniture, and all these things that someone in some industry was making money from.
Immediately, I began to consider how each one of these people could become part of my business, a customer of MINE, someone I could be providing a service too and getting paid in return (after all, that’s the point of this whole thing anyway, getting revenue in return for a product or service you provide).
Now all this is well and fine, and I challenge each of you to always be thinking of ways to find new customers for your blog or website, but I used the heading I did for an even more important reason.
To GET these customers, someone working for that complex had to put out a sign, place a radio spot, or do any number of things to attract them to the sales office. Once there, a salesperson had to give them a tour, answer questions, follow up with them if necessary (still with no guarantee of getting anything in return). It’s all unpaid, pay it forward type work that is focused on getting the person signed up to become a tennant.
Your blog or website is the exact same. No one is going to pay you to buy that domain, get a hosting account, put a website together, write content, or answer customers questions. You do it because you have the end result in mind. You WANT to be home with your kids. You WANT to be able to work from home and make you own hours. You want, want, want. In order to get that desire in return, you have to do the prerequisites that DON’T give you anything back (just yet).
One of my favorite authors is C.S. Lewis, and in his book The Weight Of Glory, he said a line that can be easily adopted here:
The only people who achieve much are those who want knowledge so badly that they seek it while the conditions are still unfavorable.
Isn’t that the truth? I love how simple and powerful that sentence is.
To GET customers, you must toil while the “conditions are still unfavorable.” To actually KEEP these people as your customers, you must remember they are real people on the other end of the computer and not just numbers in a tracking software. I’ll check my stats sometimes, see the number of visitors that came to one of my sites, and almost immediately they seem to be more binary code and numbers than actual people.
If you want to be successful online, you must remember and treat your customers/readers as the real people they are. People with fears, apprehensions, questions, opinions, judgements, all of it.
It’s your job to establish the relationship with them so they know you have their interest ahead of your own. They want to know you connect with them, their problem, or their need. Once you establish that dynamic, and mean it…you’re as good as gold. Don’t try to fake it though. People can just as easily see impersonations of the real thing. We all have that voice in the back of our head. Genuinely care about the needs and wants of your customers or readers, it’s the best business to build.