eI did a search on Google recently for the term “how to make money online.” There were 504 million search results.
So it’s clear there are many people who want to make money online, and clear too that there are many sites who are promising the answer.
The answers they offered were interesting. Leaving out the amazing amount of garbage “get rich quick” sites (wow) just a few of the options included:
- Filling in surveys
- Affiliate marketing
- Selling stuff on eBay
- Sending spam email
- Selling your crafts or your talents
- And many many more
I was surprised to find sites like the Today Show and ABC News among the mix of sites listed about how to make money online.
Of all the sites I visited (about 75) the one I enjoyed reading the most was Seth Godin’s. Not surprising as Seth often has a very practical take on things.
One thing that did not surprise me is this.
A huge number of the sites were promoting the idea of using a blog and content marketing to make money online.
That makes sense to me, both because it’s what I do (and teach) and because I’ve seen so many succeed with this method.
So I thought I would share the three steps that I believe are necessary to finding lasting success and making money online with content marketing.
Add value to others by sharing knowledge
Please notice two very important things.
- Adding value to others is the name of the game, period.
- I did not say you needed to share your knowledge from your personal experience.
When it comes to sharing knowledge and adding value, you have more to say than you might think.
- You do have experiences that are unique to you.
- You do have insights that others will value.
- You can do research that saves time for others, adding value to their days.
- You can curate the best of the best information and share that openly.
People so often undervalue what they know, and can share.
But did you know there are successful sites dedicated to baking the very best chocolate chip cookie or how to throw a baseball faster or how to recover from double-hip-replacement surgery?
It’s true. The old world said that knowledge was power. Today’s world says the sharing of knowledge creates power.
- Marketing power.
- Earning power.
- Audience building power.
If you make your focus on adding value to others by sharing information you will take the first step to lasting success.
As Seth said “No niche is too small if it’s yours”.
Amen to that.
Build your audience
Here’s the funny thing about building an audience. It happens better naturally than when it’s forced.
Here’s what I mean.
I know a man who has wonderful information to share. Practical and helpful, he shares openly and his audience grows almost automatically.
In fact, the more he shares the bigger his audience grows.
To be clear, he focuses on doing the right things as part of this business.
- He uses an opt in form.
- He gives gifts to his list members.
- He produces the best information he can.
- He shows up on social media, YouTube and more.
But his focus is not on list building (as important as that is) but rather on building his audience by adding value to anyone who will listen.
I know another fellow who takes a different approach.
He buys endless advertising, sets up endless funnels, and tries to make the sale from day 1. He pushes and pushes and pushes some more.
He is less concerned with adding value than building a bigger list and pounding them with offers.
In fact, I’ve never heard him talk about adding value to the people on his list or who visit his site. Only about how many sales he should be making and trying to figure out why he is not making more.
Guess which guy is doing better?
I know you know.
The answer is obvious, it’s the person giving before he receives. The person who knows that the natural reciprocity we all experience when we give of ourselves will help him build his audience.
And he knows too that, once he builds that audience, all he will need to do is take great care of them.
As he does that, they will take great care of him.
And so he is free to move on to step three.
Grow your business
Growing your business has less to do with comparing sales from this period to the same period last year than it does with adding value to the people you have in your audience now.
Don’t get me wrong, knowing your numbers is incredibly important. In fact, many people would succeed faster online if they actually counted the cost and knew their numbers.
But what I mean by growing your business can be summed up this way.
Meet the needs of those in your audience.
When your focus is on meeting needs, you will do things like …
- Survey your list to discover what they need.
- Provide world-class customer support so their needs are met.
- Reply to comments on your blogs so real connection can happen.
- Design and create products that people need but can’t find.
- Review and recommend the best of the best products, at your own cost.
Things like this build your business because, even though you are selling, you are giving as well.
- You are giving of your time.
- You are giving of your attention.
- You are giving from your heart.
Sure, you could pound away all day long, buying advertising and sending countless ads to your list.
But instead you take time to create content, and share it openly. You sincerely try to discern and anticipate what your audience needs, and provide that.
When you do these things, when you share openly and care deeply about the people in your audience, you will build a business that will stand the test of time.
Your business will have lasting success online.
- A business that will sustain you in any economy.
- A business that can employ others and give them meaningful work.
- A business you can sell for a profit if you so choose.
- A business you can leave to your family when you leave this world.
And when you have a business like that, you have a very beautiful thing indeed!