Yesterday I watched one of my favorite movies again after a long time: Jerry Maguire. The hilarious “Show me the money” scene is as good as ever.
So when an Edupreneurs Club member shared an article on Facebook about Make Money Blogging (free backlink juice) today, I thought it might be a good idea to explain the difference between blogging and online marketing.
Because that is what most of these blogs are all about, online marketing – crafting copy to sell (virtual) goods. Blogging is a totally different animal but often gets confused with the latter.
So let’s start with a definition (my definition) of blogging.
Weblog = diary or navigation log of the Internet
First of all, we need to get back to the roots. Blog and therefore its verb blogging is a portmanteau / short form of weblog and weblogging. The first weblogs were often kind of navigation logs in which the creator wrote new sites down or reviewed new ones he had found while browsing the web. Remember, back then there were no search engines like Google so you discovered sites either by chance or by reading other people’s weblogs.
Over time weblogs have turned into blogs turned into online media outlets that have little in common with how it all started. Nowadays, everyone who creates written content on the Internet calls himself a blogger. Even marketers. But more on that in a minute.
Some blogger managed to build personal brands and a massive following in the early days and as most of them emerged from the tech space or were tech savvy they became highly influential once the dotcom bust was forgotten and new powerhouses like Google and Facebook emerged. Given that technology and social media became a hot topic those early blogger themselves suddenly became more important than classic news outlets and their journalists. Advertisers started to pour money into blogs instead of printed magazine and newspaper ads, and all of a sudden the concept that had started as an online diary or navigation log had a business model.
Eyeballs = Revenue
This is how the “make money blogging” hype started which brings me to the article with the same title. In general, I would say that everyone who writes a so called blog about making money with blogging is not a blogger. He, or in this case she, is an online marketer, selling his or her product which is usually about, yes – you guessed it – how to make money blogging.
If you know a bit about SEO (search engine optimization), writing copy etc you will immediately notice that this article is written around a specific search key term “make money blogging”. In order to get your article ranking on Google and other search engines and thus get the free traffic on your blog you need to follow certain rules on how to craft a text (although this is changing with new features like author rank). Generally speaking, the search term needs to be in the first one or two paragraphs, it’s good when it is highlighted, even better when it is in a headline and the page title. And of course the post in question fulfills all of the criteria.
What does this tell us? It is written to get free visitors who look for advice on how to – let’s say it together – make money blogging. And this post is of course not the only one targeting this search term. Just go to your search engine of choice and look for the term. Lots of choice. But what is the real reason behind this post? To sell the products which are obviously all related to the overarching promise of making money …
Blogging is not a viable Business Model
OK, here comes a spoiler: most people will never make money blogging. I know, shocking but this brings us back to the difference between blogging and writing ad copy.
In one scene Jerry Maguire tells Rod Tidwell that he has to play from the heart and not think about making money playing football, and why other people are more successful and get all the deals he wants and think deserves more than the others. The same is true for blogging.
Most of the Edupreneurs Club members are independent online teachers who look for ways to either generate more income or get new customers. Blogging can be an essential part of this strategy but DON’T – I repeat – DON’T start to blog with the premise to make money. You’ll be dead in the water from the start.
Do it because you love it
Blogging is a very personal thing. It’s like writing a personal diary but leaving it open for anyone to read in the coffee shop. Again, it’s pretty similar to Jerry’s memo (or mission statement). He writes it in a moment of enthusiasm and it starts this great journey from celebrated hero to unemployed and desperate sports manager to the beginning of something totally new.
It also kind of reminds me of how this blog started my journey into the education industry. Just because I had written a positive review about eduFire, the Myngle team started to isolate me on their platform where I used to be one of the top tutors at that time. But since I lost a significant part of my income based on a little blog post I started other things that have eventually led me to where I am today. Award winning blogger, speaker and moderator at events, Innovation Editor at Today’s Campus – one of the biggest magazines in higher education, Content Lead at OpenLanguage – an up and coming language learning company, advisor and consultant to startups in education and so on.
And here it gets interesting. Of course, blogging played a major role in my career and therefore one could say that I am making money blogging. I do, but because I love to blog, not because I want to make money from it. And that makes all the difference. Now show me the money!