Posted in: Technology

10 myths of blog marketers debunked

snakeoil

Through our ongoing series on blogging we’ve explored different ways you can make blogging your career. The space still offers bountiful opportunities for those who are willing to work hard. And yet for the opportunities there are still those who sell blogging as a panacea to the economic woes of our time, a get rich quick scheme that will deliver millions all from your bedroom without the need to get dressed.

Not every blog salesman is the same, some offer solid advice and there are some good paid programs out there, but for every program I’d happily recommend, there is probably 100 I wouldn’t.

Here’s 10 myths of blog marketers debunked.

1. Blogging is easy (workload)

Blogging isn’t easy. Just because you can type some words into Blogger doesn’t mean that somehow that’s going to make you millions. Successful bloggers all share the same traits: they work hard, really hard, and often work longer hours than most would in non-blogging jobs.

2. Blogging is safe

Blogging can be a legal minefield that can get you sued when you least expect it. Only this month I’ve received a nasty email from a mainstream media organization. Depending on your targeted vertical the chances of legal issues can be higher again, for example celebrity blogs.

3. RSS is a license to republish other peoples content

RSS may stand for Really Simple Syndication (according to some..the original definition is Rich Site Summary), but those syndication rights are for personal use, not commercial use. You can use RSS to publish links (we do on the front page of The Inquisitr) and you’re usually entitled to run a short extract under fair use laws, but you cross the line with full posts and you can be sued for doing so. Further, splogs (blogs that republish RSS feeds) are rarely successful despite what some will tell you. The only people who make big money from splogging are those who do it on scale, often with thousands of blogs.

4. Blogging is a replacement for you day job

It can be, but rarely from the beginning. Most bloggers start while working other jobs, and only quit their day jobs when their blogs allow them to. Others might have a bit of money saved when they start out. If you want to start blogging full time, expect to be cash poor for at least 6 months, maybe longer.

5. Blogging will make you rich

Very rarely is this true. Very few one person blogs ever bring in big money. Most large blogs today have a team of writers, and even then in this economic climate, margins are starting to get tighter. See hard work for the success path.

6. You can post once a day

See hard work, but this is also a common myth, this idea that you post once a day and rake in the money. Quality helps, but the reality is that most successful blogs posts many times a day, and your chances of succeeding when posting once a day a minimal to zero.

7. Traffic is easy to come by

Simply not true. The build it and they will come approach is peddled by some, but attracting traffic on a blog requires hard work, great content, and social interaction outside the blog. There’s also the time factor: most blogs take a good 6-9 months to truly establish themselves, not just in building traffic, but in building incoming links and good treatment in search engines. Take The Inquisitr for example: we did more traffic in the first 13 days of this month than we did for the full total of our first 3 months.

8. RSS subscribers are the key and are easy to get

While having more RSS subscribers will help your blog, they are neither the key to success nor easy to get. Most big sites with big counts have those counts because they end up as a default option in RSS services such as Netvibes and others. For the rest of us, RSS is actually a hard ask. The Inquisitr has around 5,000 RSS subscribers, and while that number has steadily grown, growth has been much slower vs traffic. You also need to consider that RSS isn’t really that mainstream, and although you’ll do well with RSS in some verticals, others just don’t get the subscribers.

9. Writing for a blog is easy

You don’t have to be an Ernest Hemingway to write a blog, but you should be able to do more than string two words together. Tone and context are both keys in writing a great blog. Second: if you’re not in the United States, you also have to be multi-lingual. If you’re writing a local content blog, this doesn’t matter for you, but if you’re writing for a global audience, you really need to consider writing in US English. Yes, most of the world doesn’t follow US English, but chances are the bulk of your readers will. Despite blogging in US English for 4 years, I still occasionally get it wrong, after all, 13 years of schooling and a degree in Marketing are habits hard to kick.

10. You can blog in your pajamas

OK, so this is kind-of true and I was blogging from bed last night, but I’d note back into the earlier points: it was Sunday night, and I was blogging (hard work). Most full time bloggers do what everyone else does, they get out of bed, shower, get dressed, and dedicate themselves to a full working day.

Conclusion

Although this is a list of negatives, you can make something of blogging. You might be a stay at home mom, and a thousand or two is money you don’t currently have, and you might have 5-6 hours a day to home to blog…and that’s a perfect approach to it. You might be looking at adding a couple of hundred a month on top of your current job for spending money…another good approach.

Don’t believe the hype you read, but likewise blogging offers opportunities for those who work hard, have patience, and a long term outlook.

(img credit:Lab Notes)

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Comments

20 Responses to “10 myths of blog marketers debunked”

  1. LesB

    Points well taken. The “build it and they will come” outlook is a notorious failure in this field, where millions have built, and continue to build, and few know or care. On the other hand, there are a lot of other reasons to keep blogging – and perseverence counts.

  2. Susanne Waldau-te Brake

    good arguments! There is indeed a blogging hype sweeping through the world. In Sweden blogs make headline news on a regular basis. I wonder when we will see a backlash in the over exposure of private lifes….

    /susanne

  3. JohnMcDonald

    Good advice, but I'd like to add one more myth:

    #11: You need tons of traffic to make any money online. Well-matched ads in a specific niche market can convert pretty well while “general appeal” sites can bring in a lot of traffic that isn't particularly intent on buying anything. Of course, I don't mean to say its easy to get that small amount of traffic that does convert.

    The whole thing is a lot of work and effort but if you enjoy writing and discussion blogging is definitely the thing to do.

  4. Marius

    Is not easy and is not going to make you rich. Why do all of us do it. Beacause is easier and it makes you reach to other people.
    If money comes…is ok but that is not the goal…

  5. KeegsMom

    Would Mr. Riley care to elaborate on: “You might be a stay at home mom, and a thousand or two is money you don’t currently have, and you might have 5-6 hours a day to home to blog…and that’s a perfect approach to it. You might be looking at adding a couple of hundred a month on top of your current job for spending money…another good approach.” Is he talking all ad money? Wouldn't that take massive, massive traffic?

    this might be a dumb question but are there other obvious revenue streams not apparent to me? I blog about kids and film (outside the Disney realm), a topic that doesn't seem to be widely covered, and i'd hoped to make SOME $, but … it's slow going. And ads are not gonna come until i have major traffic. Um, I think.

    I love what I'm doing, and I do it in addition to other freelance writing, but it would be nice to see some income, somehow, some way.

  6. Duncan Riley

    KeegsMom
    it was a scenario description, but I take your point, getting to even a couple of thousand a month is hard going. If you want to ping me on email duncan at nichenet.com.au I'd be happy to take a look at what you're currently doing and share some personalized advice if you like. Always happy to help.

  7. Sheryl Loch

    I have seen the numbers of blogs created each day but, do not remember it. Although there are so many out on the web there are so many that are just left to blow in the wind. It is almost like a craze that everyone must have one but, few will keep them going.

    I started mine just so, I would know how to work the script so it was not planned out but, have kept it, not to make mass money but rather to have a place to send people that want info I have.
    I also find that many people have no clue what you mean when you tell them to sign up to your Feed.
    Oh well, all in good time.
    My daughter started her 1st blog at age 12 (now 14) and her friends are all into the RSS Feeds. Maybe the kids are more open to new ideas!

    Thank you for your post. I am kinda glad to know that I does not have the 'easy as pie' blog results. LOL!

  8. Dead Man Walking

    Two points I disagree with from the above list:-

    6. Surprisingly there are bloggers out there who have made a successful business despite not posting once per day, particularly in my part of the world (UK), where blogging is seen more as a personal journal, rather than a way of making money.

    9. I write in UK English, so I smoke a fag, giggle at the word fanny and fill my car with petrol, I am not going to change because of a few idiosyncrasies in the language (which incidentally, we created :P), I feel I'd be cheating people if I did that.

    However, apart from that, I agree with everything else here. I probably don't show the effort to earn much, I just do it for fun!

  9. RobinGood

    Hi Duncan,
    thanks for this valuable reminder which should help newbies get a more realistic idea of what expects them on this path.

    Two very small and humble suggestions for me as well:

    a) you miss to define what a “blogging career” is in your intro and what are the traits or characteristics that make it such. It transpires then through your writing that you are looking mostly at those that want to make money via advertising or other online money-making activity. It would help to know, given the great range of online publishing careers that have now developed, to which one(s) you are really referring to, as for many of your points it would make a huge difference in value knowing what you are referring to and why.

    b) Point 6) is your personal opinion, but it isn't a hard fact. There is quite a number of very successful online publishers who publish one or less than one post per day, and they no problems at all in making it convert into solid revenue. I think this too much of your personal opinion and it would be nice if you could support it with some good examples.

    Thanks Duncan, and, regarding your site here, I like it quite a bit the content which I happily republish the most significant headlines on my MasterNewMedia front page, but personally as an international reader I hardly enjoy your gossipy and local (US) star low-level chronicles. I can see the positive advantages in terms of traffic for this, but you may want to think also about who you are alienating as, if I may, a success career online is NOT measured ever, in my humble opinion in terms of traffic or RSS subscribers but in what you actually are able to do with those.

    Ciao! :-)

  10. jeff

    No, it is not easy and quality content does not guarantee traffic.

    In the introduction you write “…there are some good paid programs out there, but for every program I’d happily recommend, there is probably 100 I wouldn’t. ” Would you mind sharing some of the ones you would recommend?

  11. Robby G

    Kind of discouraging, but truth hurts sometimes. Then again, I think it's hard to succeed in anything in life without giving it your all plus some more. Keep at it and don't give up and overtime more opportunities will present themselves.

    Good post overall though.
    Cheers.

  12. laling

    Yes I totally agree with you Blogging need patience , effort and knowledge skill. For me TIME is major factor either we can hold on in this Marathon or we doesn't and then easily give up. English in my second language and is really hard to me string two words together at same time try the best include keyword strengh to catch SEO need.

    I probably not to continue blogging if I found this post 2 years ago..LOL Too far for me to going back and “Kick this habit”