Blogging as a Business: How to Turn Your Blog into a Revenue Generating Source

Shannon O‘Shea

Sep 07, 20219 min read
Blogging as a Business

Did you know that you can leverage your blog content to drive a secondary source of revenue? How, exactly, you choose to do this depends on the unique needs of your business and your target customers.

For example, a local gym might monetize by offering special online classes or become an affiliate to promote a popular fitness brand’s products. A bookstore might start an online book club for paid members, or host ticketed author events via livestream. If you offer B2B services, a monetization strategy might involve online courses, paid webinars, or consultations. All of this could be supported by blog content.

With the right monetization strategy, your blog could support your business financially, promote your brand, generate new leads, and build lasting relationships with your customers. 

If you’re not sure whether monetizing your blog is right for you, try asking yourself these questions: 

  • Am I regularly posting quality blog content? 
  • What does blog monetization actually mean for my business?
  • What relevant online products or services could I offer within my niche?

Whatever your industry, your strategy has to make sense for your business in order to be effective.

Develop Your Blog Monetization Strategy

If you want to make money with your blog, you first need to know how you plan to do it. Marketing Director and The SEO Playbook creator Robbie Richards suggests figuring this out as early as possible: 

You should map out your monetization strategy right from day one, before you create any content. This insight will dictate how you build the content marketing strategy. Way too many people get it the other way around, and end up wasting a LOT of resources.

Robbie Richards

Your monetization strategy should be tied closely to your overall content strategy. This can help you to ensure that both your product and your blog content are in line with your overall brand identity. Plus, if you want to use your blog to promote that product, it will be a lot easier to do so if your content and product are already aligned.

According to Ryan Bennion of GOAT Marketing, one of the most common pitfalls people experience when trying to use their website and blog to monetize is “making it complicated or going off-brand to get a quick $1. Stay loyal to who you are, promote things that will drive you revenue, and be patient with your website.” 

In other words, your strategy has to make sense for your business and your customers. Stick with one that aligns with your brand identity and solves real problems your customers might experience:

  1.  Niche: What is your specific area of expertise within your industry? What makes your point of view unique? That’s your niche. Keep your products and services (and your blog as a whole) aligned with your brand identity by staying true to that area of expertise. 

Not only can this help you build a more cohesive content strategy — thus making it easier to use your blog to promote your products — it can also help you gain momentum in your space as readers come to view you as their trusted expert.

As Data Analytics Instructor Ryan Collins says, “...focusing on a narrow niche is a good idea. If you become established in a niche, you can broaden out your content and still see a lot of success, as opposed to the other way around, where if you start out too broad, you might find it hard to gain traction.”

  1. Audience: Think about your core customers, their backgrounds, lifestyle, and interests. Not only should your product or service serve their needs and interests, but your promotion strategy should also speak directly to them. For example, are most of your customers family-oriented? Then consider creating blog content around your product that speaks to that interest.

By speaking to your audience on their level, you can build a stronger relationship with them, and market yourself and your products more effectively.

  1. Pitch: Use what you’ve learned about your niche and your audience, and ask yourself:
    • What am I selling?
    • How does it satisfy my customer’s needs?
    • How do I plan to deliver it?

These questions may seem obvious, but nailing down what you’re selling, why, and how will help you to create a better experience for your customers. This way, you can craft accurate, compelling blog content that drives your target customers toward a purchase.

  1. Your Buyer Journey: One of the primary functions of your blog is to drive traffic and attract new visitors to your site. Effective content can transform those visitors into paying customers. Think about what type of information those new customers might need during each stage of their buying journey (Awareness, Consideration, Decision, and beyond). Make sure you’re writing SEO-friendly content to guide them through their purchasing journey
  2. Promotion: Make sure you have a strong presence on any social platforms your target customers are likely to use. You can use these platforms to build relationships and promote your content and product or service. Also consider adding guest blogging, advertising, and email marketing to your promotion strategy.

3 Ways Your Blog Could Drive Additional Revenue

Below are three examples of how you could leverage your blog to build additional revenue streams for your business.

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1. Create and Sell Online Courses

You’re an expert in your niche. What better way to share that hard-earned expertise than by educating others? Whether your business is B2B or B2C, you can use your blog to promote fee-based online courses that build your brand and support it financially. 

A full online course is typically made up of multiple lessons, each covering one topic within a larger subject. For more specific subjects that only require a single lesson, you could also offer paid webinars or training sessions, which would typically be completed all at once. For this article, we will refer to all of these formats as “courses.”

To create an impactful course, Ryan Collins suggests that the best approach is to consider your audience and take a solution-first approach:

I’ve come to realize that the best way to think about the next course idea is to find out the real-world problems that people are trying to solve, and find enough of those real-world problems to group around a subject and then take that subject and say, ok, let’s go create a course around X.

Ryan Collins

In other words, what problems might your target audience be trying to solve when they read your blog? What sort of questions are they asking? Create courses around those issues to become the ultimate resource for your audience. 

Online courses can be a valuable asset to monetize for a multitude of reasons. For example, when professionally developed: 

  • They establish you/your business as a trusted resource.
  • You can continue to sell them as long as the information is up to date.
  • You can repurpose your course materials for infographics, blog posts, ebooks and more. 
  • You can cross-promote them with your other courses.

Imagine that you own a yoga studio and have an active blog. As meditation and breathwork are a cornerstone of yoga, you decide to add even more value to your members and their practice by developing an introductory 4-hour workshop on the fundamentals of meditation that both members and non-members can attend for a reasonable fee.

Your blog can be an excellent platform to promote this meditation workshop. 

For example, you could write a post about some of the historical elements of meditation and its relationship to yoga. Then, at the end of your post, you could include a call-to-action about the 4-hour workshop, and link to a landing page with registration and payment information. 

2. Become an Affiliate of an Aligned Brand 

Affiliate marketing is a marketing model where a company compensates a partner (affiliate) for promoting their brand in a way that generates a lead or a sale. Compensation can include a commission based on a percentage of a sale, blog post bonuses, a flat fee, etc.

Many businesses are affiliates in other brands’ affiliate programs. For example, personal finance brand and small business FinanceBuzz publishes content on a wide range of topics, from credit card reviews and comparisons, to articles about investment apps and the gig economy. They are also an affiliate within other brands’ affiliate programs, including Chase, Ibotta, Stash and Robinhood.

“Being an affiliate is very simple if you have a network that trusts you,” says SEO Consultant Itamar Blauer. “You can earn passive income from others signing up with your referral link.” 

So, how might this revenue-generating option work for you, your business and your blog? 

Let’s return to that yoga studio example. 

Many students ask their trusted yoga studio team for recommendations on the best yoga gear, be it a mat, mat towel, yoga attire, etc.

As an affiliate partner to the brands selling this yoga gear, you could offer reviews of various products on your yoga studio’s blog, providing your affiliate link within the post. Should one of your yoga students choose to buy any of those products that you knowledgeably provided information about, your yoga studio would receive a commission. 

Every brand's affiliate program has its own unique parameters, but the general structure is essentially the same. You can learn more about the basics of affiliate marketing here

If this sounds similar to being an “influencer,” that’s because it is. The primary difference is in the compensation structure. Influencers tend to get paid an upfront flat fee to write about/promote a brand’s products or services, regardless of whether they generate a lead or sale as a result of their efforts. By contrast, an affiliate partner only receives compensation if their efforts actually drive a result. 

3. Offer a Paid Subscription for Premium Content

Offering premium content to paid members is another way some businesses generate additional revenue. 

Since we’re on a roll with the yoga studio example, let’s stick with that. Most people are familiar with how a yoga studio business structure works. An individual comes into a physical studio and either pays for a class, or they have a membership that gives them access to a series of classes at a discounted rate. They enter the studio, put down their mat, and get their flow on.

While physically going into a studio to do yoga is a wonderful option for many, it’s not always possible — a reality that was underscored by the pandemic. Although they primarily sell both products and services via a brick-and-mortar business, many studios discovered that only relying on this model for their business put them at a disadvantage, especially in a time of stay-at-home orders.

To expand their revenue-generation sources in a way that remained aligned with their mission and vision, many yoga studios offered a reduced-rate paid subscription option that gave people access to a variety of online classes, including classes that offered a more educational bent. For example, some studies offered fee-based classes on topics such as healthy eating, how to de-stress during stressful times, the yamas and niyamas, etc.

With this example in mind, think about how offering a paid subscription or membership might work for your business. If you offer a service, maybe you offer a fee-based certification course — or series of courses — related to that service. If you’re a product-focused company, perhaps you’d consider offering a paid option to access a certain number of free consultations related to using that product. 

Chances are, if you’ve been adding content to your blog for a while, you already have ample content that could be collated into a comprehensive course. And at the end of blog posts related to the course content, you could optimize your call-to-action to promote the course(s) and convey their value to your reader. 

Use Your Blog to Create a Revenue Stream

Whether you choose to offer a fee-based workshop, become an affiliate of another business, or offer a paid membership or subscription for access to premier content, you can use your blog to grow your brand and generate revenue. 

Your blog content is a key component of any monetization strategy. It attracts new customers, tells them about your niche, your business, and what you have to offer, and it guides them through their buying journey.

However, producing great content isn’t easy. Making sure that any content you post that promotes your offering is clear, compelling and constructive can require some unique skill sets. Learn more about streamlining your content creation with the help of a professional writing team at Semrush’s Content Marketplace.

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