The truth is no online database will replace your daily newspaper, no CD-ROM can take the place of a competent teacher and no computer network will change the way government works.
How far from today’s reality does this statement sound? Would you say that who stated the above was a fool?
Yet before judging and feeling smart about yourself, I want you to take a step back. We are in 1995, the internet is still a marginal phenomenon, which was growing extremely fast, but less than 1% of the world population was connected to the web.
Of course, it easy to see what’s in front of us today. It is easy to assume where the web is going. According to Internet Live Stats more than 3.5bln people are connected to the web. Which means that over 40% of the world population is on the web!
The growth of the web was so wide and wild that none could have predicted how it would have looked like. To have a feel about it take a look at the graph below from Internet Live Stats!
Yet there is an even more staggering stat that any blogger should be aware of. If you launched a blog or website in 1995, you could potentially reach about 45million users (that was the world wide web population in that year).
“Cool” you may think, “I am better off today!“
Yet you would be dead wrong!
Why? Even though you could only reach 45million internet users, there were only 23,500 existing websites. In short, in 1995 the there were about 1,908 per website!
If you just said to yourself “Ok, not a big deal!” you have to keep reading!
As of 2015 the world-wide-web population has grown to over 3bln people.
Yet the numbers of websites/blogs has grown exponentially too.
In the same year there were well over 800k websites.
This means that in 2015 each website had only 3.7 users!
Is blogging dead? Let’s see…
By looking at those stats it easy to conclude that blogging is dead.
But is that really the case?
I don’t think so!
Blogging is still a great tool to reach an audience.
Yet while a few years ago, blogging alone was enough, that is no longer the case.
In short, in order to make your online business successful you must think it like an ecosystem, where blogging fits your overall business strategy.
In other words, if you want to succeed at online business you have to use your blog strategically.
The time of “I will blog and see what happens” is over!
Blogging entails that you set an editorial strategy.
I know it may sound too much, but if you stay with me for the length of this article you will comprehend why you need to treat blogging seriously.
Before we dive into it, let me give you a visual hook of how your online business ecosystem should look like,
Blogging is the trigger, from which your online business cascade will fall.
The process that I am going to show you is pretty simple.
- First, set up an editorial calendar.
- Second, build the social platform, which will work as amplifier.
- Third, test what works.
- Fourth, upgrade the most successful blog posts/articles to create a series of info-products (ebooks, online courses, webinars and videos) around what your audience deemed useful.
- Fifth, organize your first meetup!
At the end of this process you will rinse and repeat!
Step 1: Start with an editorial strategy!
Making content go viral is not an easy task. Yet we can optimize the process of content creation and improve our chances of having that content go viral.
On this aspect, Neil Patel can help us out, with this fantastic article,
The main takeaways are:
As Aristotle already found out in 350 B.C. you have to leverage on:
- Ethos (ethical appeal)
- Pathos (emotions)
- Logos (appeal to our rational mind)
We can put Aristotle‘s teachings in a framework that Jonah Berger architectured in his “Six STEPPS,”
- Social Currency (would your article make people look smart by sharing it?)
- Triggers (are you writing about something that is interesting?)
- Emotion (will your content arouse your audience?)
- Public (is it getting shared enough?)
- Practical Value (is it useful?)
- Stories (do you have a narrative attached to it?)
Although we are going to use this framework as reference throughout this guide, our objective isn’t necessarily to go viral.
Rather we want to make sure the content we are creating will have three main features:
- Usefulness (is there a niche market for it?)
- Upgradability (can we create other content around it?)
- Non-perishability (what is its shelf-life?)
Practically speaking this framework translates in few simple steps.
How do we determine whether what we are going to write will be useful?
The concept of usefulness needs to be extremely targeted. We are not trying to be celebrities. We don’t want unneeded visibility. We are building a business!
Therefore, we are going to find a problem and a group of people with that problem.
To find a problem, we have to find a pain point that a group of people have (your niche).
Therefore, problem + small group of people = potential niche
The greatest lie ever told about content is to think of it as a fixed, never changing asset. Yet content itself can be reused, and repurposed in several ways.
In other words, once you have picked a topic that is relevant to a small group of people, that content one day could become an ebook, a YouTube video, or a short webinar.
The question is, will the content you are creating have the potential to become an info-product?
This question can be answered also by looking at the last but not least important aspect,
Usually when we think about content, we tend to think at it like we do with biological organisms. In other words, we look at two articles and we tend to read the most recent.
Yet that is a huge mistake. Why? Because of the Lindy Effect!
In short, when it comes to content, the opposite is true. Take the Iliad. It was written two thousand years ago. Yet we can expect it (probabilistically speaking) to be relevant for at least another two thousand years!
There is a caveat though. Each time you are facing your laptop, and about to write content keep in mind only one question:
am I about to write something that has the potential to outlive me?
If yes, you are ready!
Step 2: Be Social
There is no need to say the numbers and stats of users of each social to understand the importance of integrating them in your digital strategy.
Yet the major question is,
Where does my niche hang out?
LinkedIn? FaceBook? Twitter? G+? Tumblr? YouTube?…
It is important to keep a presence across all these platforms.
Yet, it is crucial to understand where your niche hangs out and put most of your effort on that channel!
Step 3: The online world is your laboratory!
So far we managed to decide what content to create. Also we saw how to amplify it. We are ready to test what works and what does not. The next step will be to repurpose the most successful articles to convert them in other content formats. How?
Simply look at your stats!
What posts had more success? Who are your marketing personas? Which article converted more in terms of interactions (like and share) with your audience?
Step 4: Your content is like a cat. It has seven lives!
There are several myths that affect our society and it is funny to see how those same myths branch out.
For instance, while in Europe we say that cats have seven lives, in US those lives become nine.
Beside the number of lives a cat has, there are many myths about content too.
There is often the feeling that content has a short life and that it can only be used once. But is that true?
Not really! It is time to have the words on your screen to jump out and become spoken words and images. It is time for some new fresh content!
Once again, the content upgrade will depend upon the channel where your niche hangs out.
For instance, if your audience is mainly on YouTube it will make sense to create a short video. If your audience likes reading and possesses a kindle, than it may be the time to publish your first ebook!
Once again, no preconceptions. This is a business. Is your audience ready for it? Then you must be too!
Step 5: It is time to get offline!
It has become so easy to interact with people through the web that we forget about the real world.
Often times we neglect our family to chat through the phones with individuals we never saw, neither met in real life.
Yet there is nothing more powerful than meeting people. We can use all the senses to have others see who we are.
Also there is no better way to build a loyal, trusted audience!
Start very small. Organize a meetup with no more than 10/15 people. Teach them what you have been writing about. Have them share their experience with you. That’s all!
Rinse and Repeat
Running an online business is not rocket science. Yet it takes time and dedication. Once you set up your process it is time to rinse and repeat!