Back in 2014 I wrote a popular blog post about 13 Stark Realities Bloggers Face Today. In that post I highlighted many of the changed conditions we face as content publishers looking to earn a living online.
I wrote about audience sophistication, competition, content modalities, loyalty, positioning and several other very important factors that you must be aware of if you want your blog to succeed. It’s well worth a read.
Today, as we head to 2021 and onwards, I feel it’s necessary to again look at the present landscape we face online and how you can succeed with an online content business. There are new expectations, new techniques and new platforms that impact what works and what doesn’t work.
I write this because I want you to have an advantage in 2021 and also so you avoid making mistakes that will slow you down or even kill any chance you have of succeeding with a blog.
I also write this because, for the first time in many years, I am about to start a new blog myself (more on this in an upcoming post).
The advice I am about to give you is the advice I give to myself. These are the rules I am following that inform my overall strategy and the techniques I apply. I hope you do the same.
Let’s begin Part 1, focusing on CONTENT…
1. The “Long Tail” Is Your Only Path Forward In 2021
During the early years of blogging what you wrote as the title of your article became what search engines ranked your article for.
If I wrote a blog post with the title “How to use craigslist to get traffic,” a couple of days later my blog post would rank at the top for a search for “How to use craigslist to get traffic” and various similar phrases.
Today it’s not so easy to get a top ranking, but the core principle is still in place — the title of your blog post indicates to search engines what the content is about and thus what it should rank for.
Someone starting a new blog today simply cannot expect to rank well for any competitive terms very quickly…
The difference now is that due to the sheer volume of content online, the search algorithms have become a lot more complex in order to determine what should rank at the top.
Someone starting a new blog today simply cannot expect to rank well for any competitive terms very quickly, or potentially ever. However, there is another way forward — making the choice to chase less competitive, more specific search phrases — otherwise known as The Long Tail.
A long time ago when The Long Tail first surfaced, I wrote my own take on the concept. I suggest you go read it if you are new to the idea.
What matters to us today, and in fact I would argue it’s the ONLY path forward for bloggers in 2021 and beyond, is to focus exclusively on The Long Tail of topics to cover on your blog.
This means you write articles to attract search traffic where the competition isn’t too fierce, but there is a small number of people searching for that information every day.
This kind of traffic has the benefit of being highly targeted since these people are looking for an answer to a very specific question.
You can look at each blog post you write as the answer to one relevant question on the topic your blog focuses on.
Ahh, but you’re probably going to ask me — What questions should you answer? How do you know what topic has low competition yet enough search traffic to make it worth your time investing in writing an article?
Unfortunately, there is still no exact science to answer these questions. What we do have are keyword research tools.
What these tools can give you is an insight into what specific questions people search for that relate to your overall blog topic, how much competition there is (other websites with articles about the same topic) and how much daily search volume there is.
Bear in mind you should use the data as a guide, not a guarantee. You won’t necessarily get that much daily traffic to your article if you write it, and the competition being low won’t guarantee you can easily get a top ranking in search engines, but at least you have a starting point.
For my new project, we’re collecting all the questions people ask related to the topics I am going to start with on my new blog. This gives me a starting point of ideas for content.
Next, we’re looking at which have low competition and enough search volume to make it worth our time focusing on writing a piece of content.
This kind of basic keyword research is not new, search engine optimizers have been doing it for decades.
Smart people who start new blogs and create videos for YouTube use keyword analysis to give themselves the best chance to capture free traffic.
However, I’m pretty confident when I say most people who start blogs and YouTube channels DON’T do keyword research. A few still succeed by simply creating amazing content and doing it consistently over time (those are the stories you hear about), but most people will simply never get the traffic they need to succeed (the stories you do not hear about).
I’ll be honest with you, I’ve not been one to turn to keyword research myself much in the past. I have focused on creating content that is what I want to write about and where I can provide the most value. I believe value drives traffic more than anything, so I’ve done okay over the years without focusing on keywords.
With my new blog project I’ve hired SEO help to generate topics and questions that, according to keyword analysis, are things people search for and the competition is not impossible to beat. This is a deliberate choice because my new project is all about providing an answer to the questions people ask, not just what I personally want to write about.
I’m doing this because my new blog will be new. I won’t have any advantages and I’ll have to demonstrate, from scratch, why my content should rank at the top of search results. This won’t happen overnight, but it can happen more quickly than you think when you go after the right keyword phrases (the right topics).
In your case, do the research to see what The Long Tail of topics is for your subject. Chances are, the topics people search for are areas you will enjoy being creative to answer with your articles and videos anyway.
2. Your Blog Post Title Is More Important Than Ever
The basic idea is simple enough – you get most of your results from a few inputs or elements. The trick is figuring out what those key elements are, and then making sure you don’t go spend all your time working on the elements that don’t make a big impact.
You get most of your results from the vital few actions.
In the case of blogging, the single most important element by far is the title you give to each blog post.
Not only does it tell search engines what that content is about and what keywords to rank it for (hugely important in itself for search engine traffic – see the previous point), it also dictates whether a person first engages with your content and if they will share it.
To put it simply, EVERYTHING rests on the effectiveness of your title as a gatekeeper for your content.
Sure you need a great piece of content – that article or video should be amazing – but if the title on it fails to grab attention or hits the wrong search phrases, then no one sees all that amazing content you created in the first place.
Over the years I’ve interviewed many bloggers who have built million-dollar businesses off the back of free traffic from Google that comes thanks to all the amazing content they produce. I’ve also studied many reports from content publishers where they explain what changes they made that resulted in the big increases to their traffic.
The one common denominator in every single story was an emphasis on titles or the headline you give your content.
- Alborz Fallah explained to me how his car review blog post titles always followed a formula, including the make, model and year of the car, along with the word ‘review’ to hit the Long Tail of car review searches.
- Mitch Wilson told me something similar about how he ranks his blog posts about every single game in college football, including the name of the teams involved and the date of the game in the title. He continues this formula today with his newest website, PickDawgz.com, covering a range of sports.
I recently read an article where the owner of a popular blog explained how his team switched their focus from spending several hours on writing the article and just ten-to-twenty minutes on the title, to spending hours on the title as well.
This may seem like obvious advice, but most people never put in the effort when it comes to their content titles. Ask yourself, how much time do you invest when writing your blog post titles?
Blogging in 2021 means you simply cannot get away with poor titles. Audiences today have the least attention span of any time in human history because of the sheer volume of content we have available to us.
- To help you become a better title/headline writer, I recommend you start with my own article on this topic – How To Write Award Winning Blog Headlines.
- After that, head over to BuzzSumo and read their fantastic and well-researched article on the same topic – We Analyzed 100 Million Headlines. Here’s What We Learned (New Research).
These articles give you a starting point, but the only way to solve this problem is to start testing.
Write blog posts, generate various headline ideas for each article, then test them. Over time as you grow your blog you traffic statistics will give you insight into what types of titles work.
Data on your own audience is the most important metric.
At the very least, don’t spend hours writing an amazing article or producing a video only to spend five minutes coming up with a title. Put in the effort, get your creative writing juices going, and give your content a better chance to succeed.
3. Refer To Research And Authority Sources In Your Articles
When I first began blogging I initially focused on a simple formula for content — start my article with a story and end with a list of how-to steps to implement what the story is about. This formula served me well and is still a good starting point today.
Later, as I began to study a lot of books and content online, I began to use what I was learning in my articles as reference points. I’d explain what I had learned from an expert, weave it into my stories, explain how I was going to apply the advice and then present the customary how-to action steps. This formula worked even better than my initial one.
As the years went by I noticed new successful bloggers in my space emerge, using a very similar formula to my own for their blog posts. However, they took my research process a step further, tapping into academic journals to find the results of interesting experiments, which they then used as the basis for their articles.
When you add the power of social media as a viral distribution channel (people sharing posts on Facebook for example), one well researched and referenced article can spread far and wide.
While I don’t have access to their traffic stats, I suspect much of their growth was organic, powered by viral sharing of their blog posts, which in turn benefited their SEO rankings thus bringing more traffic over time. It’s a flywheel, and a powerful one for free traffic.
If you look at the world of content discovery and distribution today, most of us are getting fed what the social media algorithms think we should like.
What does that mean? Well, what gets shared the most tends to… get shared the most.
What gets shared the most tends to get shared the most.
I know that sounds like a catch-22, but it does make sense.
What people are motivated enough to like, comment on and share, plus of course spend time reading/watching, are indicators that this content is good, and thus it gets shown in news feeds and reaches more people… and the cycle repeats.
The other method of content discovery we are all well and truly familiar with is searching on Google or YouTube, the largest and second largest search engines in the world, with answers to almost every question.
If you study how to improve your content rankings in Google and YouTube, you quickly realize that engagement (how long a person reads an article or watches a video) is an indicator of quality. While not the only factor in search engine rankings, it’s an important one. The higher your ‘quality score’ the better your content ranks, thus the more traffic you receive.
To tie all of this back together, by producing well researched and referenced content, and mentioning relevant authorities, people are more likely to pay attention to your content in the first place, engage with it long enough to demonstrate to the algorithms that it is quality content, and ideally, share it with others, the ultimate indicator of value.
Take for example this article that recently showed up on my Facebook feed:
I was immediately curious to read this article because NASA is referenced. NASA is an authoritative source. I trust it and thus give more credibility to the content within.
This article could have been just about “18 plants that are best at naturally filtering the air in your home,” but with the addition of NASA it becomes that more compelling — and shareable!
The research in this article comes from this — A study of interior landscape plants for indoor air pollution abatement, otherwise known as the NASA Clean Air Study.
That’s scientific research done by NASA presented in an academic journal and available publicly online. If you’re not a scientist or academic, you might only remember those journals from your university days — that was the last time I saw them!
While reading this advice I am giving you here you might have heard Robert Cialdini’s voice in your head, or at least thought of his book – Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion.
To put it simply, I’m suggesting you tap into one of Cialdini’s six persuasion concepts, the principle of Authority. People pay more attention to and are more likely to take action when guided by authority sources.
This might seem simple enough, but when was the last time you used academic research as a source for your blog posts? It might be time to start doing so, if you want to stand out in the sea of competition you face in 2021.
4. Synthesize Sources To Make People Go “Wow”
Using academic and scientific research, and referring to authority sources, is like adding a stamp of authenticity to your content.
Even if your topic is not one that has lots of research available, just by mentioning an expert, or referring to a key concept or term that can be made relevant to your content, you’re giving people something fascinating to consider.
Once you get good at this, you can take things to the next level — concept synthesis.
To synthesize means to combine elements to come up with something new. By tapping into expert research, authoritative ideas, real-world experiences, and then weaving it all together to draw a new, powerful conclusion, you have the potential to make people literally go ‘wow’.
By doing this you also look incredibly smart — and you probably are — since it’s not easy to put together a collection of concepts from various sources and conclude with a new idea that is relevant for your audience.
Since you’re reading my blog, chances are you’re an expert yourself (or working to become one) and you’re teaching others how to do something. One of the best ways to demonstrate your expertise, especially when you are not well known yet, is to use concept synthesis to come up with new systems for people to follow.
It’s actually not that hard to do, once you tune your mind to look for ideas that reinforce what you teach.
Take people on a journey by explaining the results of interesting research, weaving in your own stories or stories from well-known people or even your own clients/customers if you have them already. Show how a concept connects with another one, and how they both lead to a big idea that is relevant to what you teach.
I did this for my audience when I linked together three concepts – the already mentioned 80/20 Rule, a concept from programming called ‘Sprints‘ and another concept from manufacturing in factories, the Theory of Constraints.
I explained how these three concepts together showed me exactly what I needed to work on first when building a system, what parts of the system are most important, and how to build each part as quickly as possible, without getting distracted by all the other potential things you can do to grow an online business.
Of course, I didn’t come up with this synthesis of information overnight. I had to first be exposed to all three ideas in books and see how they could be applied to what I teach, how to make money blogging.
Once I saw the connections, these three ideas became key tools for teaching my audience how to overcome a major issue – information overload causing paralysis.
When there are too many activities you can do, you end up doing nothing, or starting and stopping because you are never sure if what you are working on is what you should be working on. Combining these three concepts gives you a process you can apply to keep you focused and taking action on what matters most.
Bear in mind, when you look for ideas to synthesize for your audience, it doesn’t have to be about your topic. None of the three concepts I used were about blogging, but it was obvious to me how they could be applied.
The key to making this work is to always think about your audience and the problems they face. Then when you learn new things, consider how they might apply to help your people.
Next, let’s move on to Part 2, COMMUNITY…
5. Build Micro Communities And Foster Your Own ‘Secret Language’
When blogs first took off they were social media.
Although the internet had long been a place for community discussion in places like newsgroups and forums, the dawn of the social media age kicked off with blogging.
There was really only one reason for this — comments.
The ability to interact with the author of content created a place for people to dialogue about ideas.
Today we interact in countless ways online, from dedicated social media platforms, to chat apps, live streams and photo sharing, the entire internet has become one big conversation tool.
Sadly as a consequence of this, blog comments lost their leadership role and became mostly a place for automated spam.
Blogs though, remain one of the main content publication platforms we can use to reach people, to have that ‘first contact point’ experience. From there, we use other tools to build relationships with further communication.
If you’re a follower of my marketing methodology, you know email is what I use and teach all my students to rely on as a ‘next step’ communication tool. First you blog, then you follow up with email.
In 2021 and beyond, this may not be enough, or at least, it makes sense to add a third prong to this formula — some kind of community connection.
Community is vital because of the sheer volume of options people have to get help.
To make sure you are the person people turn to, and thus eventually buy from, you need to teach, but you also have to nurture.
People want to feel they are a part of something, not just with you as their leader/coach/teacher, but also with others like them.
This is where micro-communities come in.
A micro-community is a place where people can connect with each other to work together on whatever goal they are striving for. It’s a form of glue that keeps people connected, a safe place where people can ‘geek out’ and support each other.
Micro-communities are all over the internet, sometimes anchored to a person, sometimes just an idea.
They can exist on any platform, from a Facebook group, to the comment stream on a popular live broadcaster, a WhatsApp chat, a channel on Slack or Telegram, and even still on forums — the dinosaur of social platforms that is just as useful as it was back in the 1990s (I use a forum today for my community).
In your case as a person looking to sell your own information and coaching products, you want to build a micro-community with you as the leader, and everyone working towards the goals and dreams you help them achieve.
It’s not your job to be the only voice in the community. This is a place for a shared experience. You are a guidepost and a helpful voice, but the community is a network of people, not one individual.
As part of fostering a community, I recommend you come up with your own ‘secret language‘. It’s not too hard to do, because most communities end up coming up with their own anyway as a means to communicate about their subject.
You can encourage the development of a secret language by coming up with your own terms specific to your industry. I call this creating ‘language identifiers‘.
A language identifier is a word or phrase that means something to your audience. It’s usually a definition of some kind, an insider term to explain the name of something like a product or technique or activity.
In my case when I first started to teach blogging, I came up with the term ‘Pillar Articles‘ to describe a certain type of content you aim to produce with your blog. This caught on so well that other people even outside my own community started using it.
Other relevant language identifiers we use in our community are “Lead Magnet,” “Drip Campaign,” “Landing Page,” “Trip Wire,” “Front End,” “Back End,” “Sales Funnel,” and the list goes on.
All these terms mean nothing to people outside the world of internet marketing, yet to people inside the community they are very important terms we use every day to describe what we do.
In 2021, it’s important that you focus on three steps to set the conditions to sell your products and services –
- Publish blog content to reach people and create that first positive impression
- Follow up with email to continue the education and trust-building process
- Foster a micro-community around the journey or experience you help people achieve
Bear in mind your community does not need to be massive. It could be under 100 people, but these people are the most engaged and likely made up of your customers or people likely to become customers soon.
In my case, my community exists inside a membership site, The Laptop Lifestyle Academy. More specifically, it is the forums inside the membership site where for the past five years my most active customers have connected with each other.
If you’re just getting started, a simple free Facebook group might be a good place to start since people already use Facebook every day. If you’re a YouTuber, you may discover the people who leave comments, especially when you conduct live broadcasts, become your first micro-community.
Over time, as your community grows and you begin to get more customers, you may decide to create a more structured community behind a membership site model, something I have done several times.
What matters is you make the effort to bring a group together and create a place where communication can happen. This acts as the glue that keeps people connected to you and the ideas you represent.
6. Deliver Live Experiences (You Are A Unique Product)
One of the greatest challenges of running a business is narrowing in on your point of differentiation, or your USP (Unique Selling Proposition).
It’s a well established fact that specialization leads to domination when it comes to entrepreneurship. Focus wins.
The traditional path of a new entrepreneur is to start off as a generalist, usually struggle for a while to get any serious traction, then slowly over time refine your offer to something more specialized.
It can take time to figure out where to focus because ultimately it’s your customers who guide this decision. You respond to what they want, and once you determine a niche, you build your marketing messages around it.
The challenge online is that barriers are so low, it’s almost impossible to truly specialize since it’s so easy to replicate anything, especially as an individual who sells information.
Thankfully, as knowledge experts, there is always one point of differentiation that no one can replicate — YOU.
Specialization leads to domination when it comes to entrepreneurship. Focus wins.
The idea of becoming an ‘Influencer’ might not appeal to you, but at the very least you must find ways to leverage your personality if you want to succeed online in 2021.
Your voice, your face, your writing style, your mannerisms, the way you say things — all of this is unique to you, and a powerful force for building connection with other people.
In 2021, if you want to succeed as a person who sells education, you’re going to have to incorporate some kind of live experiences with you.
A live experience can be simple, starting with sharing short video or audio content on social media, for example, stories on Instagram and Facebook.
To take things to the next level, you can produce longer-form video content and release it on YouTube, LinkedIn or Facebook.
Once you get comfortable with these formats, you can truly go live, broadcasting on YouTube or Facebook or Instagram or any of the other social platforms with a live broadcast function.
If being on camera is not your thing, podcasting is an option. It’s not live, but because people hear your voice for a long duration on a podcast, it is a powerful way to leverage your personality.
Since you’re a coach or someone who helps by providing education, the ultimate live experience with you is direct human-to-human interaction.
This can take the form of coaching phone calls or webinars, small in-person workshops and masterminds, all the way to large conferences.
It’s up to you to decide how far you go with this. Just remember – the highest conversion rates, which means the most sales, come from the highest touchpoints with you (the more time they spend with you in person, the more likely they are to buy from you).
When I lived in Australia I occasionally presented on stage as a guest speaker at events hosted by my friends Liz and Matt Raad.
Liz and Matt are experts at buying and selling websites and run three-day live workshops, with anywhere from 100 to 300 people in attendance listening as they teach all weekend long.
During the event, Liz and Matt sell a high-end 12-month coaching program for as much as $20,000 a year. I was amazed to learn it was not uncommon for 30% of the people in the audience to apply for their program.
That means they can earn anywhere from $500,000 to a million dollars in sales from the weekend, depending on how many people are the right fit for their program.
Attending a live event over several days means people get to know and trust you as a friend, hence conversion rates even for high priced products can be as much as 30%.
Compare this to the conversion rate on a written sales page on the internet, which can be as low as 0.3% — that’s less than one percent!
The difference is all about intimacy. People buy from people they trust. Trust comes a lot quicker when they get to spend time with you in person, or at the very least see and hear you online.
7. Highlight Your Superstar Followers And Customers
With barriers to entry so low online, anyone can publish content and appear like an expert.
The one thing you can’t fake, are results.
While your own results are a big part of your credentials, the results that really matter, are your customers and people who follow your advice.
There are only a handful of true experts in any given niche who actually have a roster of successful case studies — example students who followed their training and succeeded.
If you’re one of them, then you have a huge advantage, one you must leverage in 2021.
There’s a good chance if you’re reading this you don’t yet have a successful student or client. If that’s the case, then your job this year is to get your first few successful case studies using your blog as a starting point to connect with people.
You don’t have to highlight only paying customers. People who buy your courses or books or coaching and go on to succeed are the best examples, but if you have people who can say they followed even one piece of advice from you and got a result, they can be part of your marketing.
To demonstrate to the world that you are an expert, integrate your superstar followers and/or customers into your marketing materials.
Testimonial quotes taken as screenshots from social media is a starting point, but let’s face it, these are everywhere.
I recommend you put in the extra effort to create some special content focused on each of your best success stories.
I began this process myself all the way back in 2012, recording my first ever podcast interview case study with a successful graduate of my Blog Mastermind coaching program.
Every year since then I’ve conducted more of these interviews as more people succeed, the most recent with Tien Chiu in 2019.
Your superstar followers and successful customers are the single most effective trust-building tool you will ever have.
Today you can find a huge collection of long-form, content-rich interviews with people who have purchased my coaching programs and succeeded. You can find them all listed on my Success Stories page.
This asset is by far the single most powerful selling point I have, and the reason why I stand out from all the other people who teach how to make money blogging.
If you’ve ever experienced any of my free email training series, you’ve probably seen some of these people show up as examples.
In 2018 I decided to up my case study game and traveled to Hawaii and Portland, hiring local video crews to interview two of my most famous graduates – Mitch Wilson and Janea Dahl.
I spent a day with each of them, sitting down to record interviews, which were later edited together with footage from around their homes. We even added aerial drone footage.
The end result are two professionally produced video interviews that act as my ‘flagship’ case studies.
In 2021 and beyond, you must work towards building a library of these kinds of case studies if you want to thrive long term.
As the internet — and your industry — gets more crowded, the lion’s share of customers are going to go to those people who have the most effective marketing that builds trust.
Your superstar followers and successful customers are the single most effective trust-building tool you will ever have.
8. Choose One Social Platform And Focus Your Outreach There
It might be disheartening to hear, but if you start blogging today you won’t build an audience just off the back of your content.
You’re not going to instantly rank high in search engines, no matter how good your content is, even if you use the perfect keywords and fill up your articles with amazing research.
Just like retail stores, where you set up shop matters. Starting a new blog is like opening up an ice cream parlor in the middle of a forest. No one is going to go there to get ice cream unless they are told specifically where you are (and they really want your ice cream!).
You have to go where the people are today, and then do something to get their attention.
The two most common methods to get in front of an audience for a small business owner are to use pay per click marketing and social media marketing.
Pay per click is unforgiving, at least on your wallet. You have to spend money to make money, and chances are when you start you will just spend money for little results.
Most people start with social media marketing because it’s free. You can make mistakes without risking anything other than your own time.
The challenge with social media is where to start. It’s an overwhelming place if you consider all your options — YouTube, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, TikTok, Pinterest, VSCO, and the list goes on.
I advise my coaching members to choose one platform and focus their outreach there, at least until you have more resources to expand. It’s better to build a base on one platform rather than spread yourself thin across many.
The platform you choose should be the platform that suits your niche and your content creation style.
Where does your audience hang out? What platforms are a better native fit for what you offer?
If I was starting something new related to business today, I’d use LinkedIn as my main focus. If I was teaching how to bake muffins, I’d head to Pinterest. If video is your thing, YouTube is all you need to get started.
It’s also smart to consider trending platforms.
As I type this, TikTok is taking over the world. It’s on a huge growth curve, but it’s not completely overrun with content or advertising yet. As a result, your organic reach there is much greater.
TikTok also uses a different type of algorithm to share content. Rather than rely on relationships like Facebook and Instagram, it shows people content based on what you show interest in, regardless of your relationship to the content creator.
Just for the sake of learning how to use TikTok, I created my first video, featuring my face using the Santa hat filter. I choose a piece of music I liked from the app, then hit upload.
To be honest, it was a pretty lame video, yet a couple of days later I had over 500 views of that video. I would never get that many views on a brand new (bad) video on a brand new profile in under 48 hours on any of the established social platforms.
VSCO is another rising star in the world of photo sharing. It’s like the more classy and natural cousin to Instagram, that’s taking off with a different subset of photography styles. It might also be the perfect place for you to start building an audience in 2021, before it gets too crowded.
The formula for success online with content is elegantly simple.
- Use your blog to publish content and attract long tail search engine traffic.
- Use your email list to build trust and sell your products.
- Foster a community to keep people loyal and focused.
- Establish a presence on one social platform to reach your audience where they already spend time online.
There’s work to be done, but if you focus on these four things you can achieve a lot, even with just you and a small team to support you.
9. Sell More To Your Existing Buyers Than Ever Before
A common piece of business advice that is frequently not followed is to focus on your existing buyers rather than try and attract new ones.
It’s easy to get caught up with marketing and growing your audience. It feels good to watch your stat counter rise, and to see your email list grow.
The real challenge is to turn a subscriber into a customer.
People underestimate how hard it is to convince someone to buy from you.
However, once someone has become a customer, it’s a whole lot easier for them to buy from you again. You have their trust, assuming their initial purchase experience with you was a good one.
In 2021, this advice is even more important than ever before for one reason – you’re going to work with smaller audience sizes.
The internet is a misleading place because we see a handful of people build huge audiences and become megastars.
The truth is you’re not likely going to become a megastar. You probably don’t even want to become one.
I suspect though you’d like to make a solid living online, ideally a full time income, possibly even enough to feel financially secure for the rest of your life.
To make that happen, you need to become very good at making sales to a small audience.
It’s way more likely that you will succeed with less than 1,000 people truly paying attention to you, and maybe even as few as 100 people buying from you each year.
Bear in mind I’m talking to people who are coaches and educators, people who want to sell online courses and membership sites. This is not about selling e-commerce products or building a software startup.
In 2021, your path forward is all about selling more to the people you already call customers. This means you will need multiple offers, and you’re going to have to get very good at sales.
This should come as a relief. You don’t need to focus on attracting over a million followers on social media, or building an email list of hundreds of thousands of people. You just need a core following who benefit from what you sell, then you just need to help them with more products to solve their problems.
What are these products?
I recommend you begin focusing on three levels –
- Private coaching/consulting as an entry point and initial cash flow source
- Followed up with a flagship course and/or a membership site
- Then some kind of high-level mastermind or workshop experience
That’s all you need to start earning at least $100,000 or more online in 2021.
10. Join Blog Mastermind 2.0 And Let Me Coach You In 2021
I’ll end this top 10 list with an invitation to work with me in Blog Mastermind 2.0 in 2021.
If you found any of what I have written in this post compelling, and you want help to build or grow your own blog-based business, then I have a unique opportunity for you take part in 2021.
I’m excited about 2021 because I’m starting a new content project myself, the first time I am launching a new blog in many years.
The timing is great because I can show you exactly what I am working on to grow my new blog business as a live case study that you can follow as you grow yours.
I’m going to do this via live coaching and case study webinars, but only for people who join Blog Mastermind 2.0. You can ask me questions, and I’ll explain my process as I implement it live.
Blog Mastermind 2.0 is my flagship course and outlines all the steps to use a blog and email list to sell digital teaching products like courses and membership sites.
It’s my most detailed training program, with over 20 hours of video direct from me, plus transcripts and audios for those who prefer reading or just listening.
I provide guides on:
- How to choose a topic
- Get the right domain name
- How to test an idea
- Structure your email sequence to sell products
- What products to create
- How to grow your audience using free methods
- …and so much more!
There is no other coaching program as comprehensive as this, and certainly not one with as many successful members as I have.
I’ve also been in this game longer than most, starting my first blog in 2004 and teaching since 2007.
For full details of what is in the program and to sign up, go to the Blog Mastermind 2.0 Signup Page.
I’m running a breakthrough in 2021 special to encourage you to sign up in time to join me on all the live coaching calls.
You can SAVE $1,000 using this link to Join Blog Mastermind 2.0.
You get the full course that you can begin immediately after you signup, plus all the live coaching calls with me.
Plus if you want even more support, you can bundle your Blog Mastermind 2.0 program with my Laptop Lifestyle Academy membership for a special price, which includes 24/7 membership access to my community, over 20 additional short training courses, interviews with experts and a private group Slack Chat with me.
There’s too much for me to explain in this already very long blog post. For all the details head over to the Blog Mastermind 2.0 signup page.
I hope you found this post helpful as you head into 2021. The internet is an incredibly crowded place today, but you can still carve out your little corner, find your customers and grow a solid business.
Here’s to the future, 2021.
P.S. Here is the audio version of the 10 steps I originally recorded back in 2020: