Blogging is a business, so in addition to good writing and a basic grasp of technical things, you need a certain set of skills if you’re ever going to earn an income from blogging. Consider what Richard Branson said about his own career in publishing:
I wanted to be an editor or a journalist… but I soon found I had to become an entrepreneur in order to keep my magazine going. ~Richard Branson
So what exactly are the business and entrepreneurial skills you need to make an income from blogging?
If you’re going to grow anything, including the reach of a blog, you need to be able to visualize the ideal future of it. Where do you see your blogging business going? How do you see it branching out and developing? What’s your ideal readership? Or as Guy Kawasaki might ask, how exactly are you going to change the world?
Most blogs die prematurely. A burst of energy produces a few great posts and then, the blog becomes an abandoned ghost town. The reality is that initiative is necessary for anyone who is going to be successful at anything, especially blogging and writing. In the world of blogging, you have to decide to write, publish, and promote content.
Blogging can get expensive. From hosting and premium themes to the inherent costs of learning a new skill, you can wind up spending a lot of money. And some tools and products are definitely worth what we spend. But successful business bloggers have the ability to determine if an investment will pay off or not. Whether it’s a new logo or a specialized WordPress plugin, high income bloggers can decide fairly easily if they’re going to see their money back or not. And you also need to be resourceful. I work for a large organization, but I’m still always on the hunt for a free or cheap way to get big things done.
Be sure to check out Chelsea Lords’ How I Made 40K In My First Year of Blogging.
It isn’t just writing that you have to think about. It’s communication, which is more. Great writing is a start, but with blogging, you also need to understand how readers think. You don’t need a content strategy, you need a communications strategy that includes content.
Great communication means getting the right message through to the right people at the right time, and providing a right response to feedback to stimulate productive conversations… conversations that move needles and make things happen.
This one is more crucial than ever. The ability to connect with people is absolutely essential if you’re going to make an income from blogging. And proper networking means building relationships that are mutually beneficial. Networking requires us to get out of the box, to be pro-active, to listen and respond, and to promote the work of others as often as possible.
Have you noticed how fast things change on the internet? Today’s awesome apps are tomorrow’s techno-scrap, unless they are shaped by creative minds. If you’re still talking about “thinking outside the box” then you’ve just demonstrated a lack of creativity. That particular phrase has been used and abused in the business world for well over a decade now, so it’s not just about thinking outside the box. It’s about imagining things that aren’t quite happening yet, but could be with the right strategy.
Rebounding from failure is an absolute must for business bloggers. You’re going to blow it. You’re going to make some bad calls, write some poor posts, and tick off the wrong people at times. It happens. So learn from it and fail forward. Get up and write again.
There are more skills, but I’d like to let you fill them in. What kind of business skills does it take to successfully earn an income from blogging?