Before we dive into the first type, we’re going to exclude one type of blog, the diary or personal blog. This is a blog that is for the writer, not the customer. In fact, there is no customer. The writer is simply pushing out content for his or her personal benefit.
The Publishing Model
This is the type of blog we’re most familiar with. You publish content that gains the attention of a target market and then you sell that attention to advertisers. Magazines, TV stations, and newspapers also use this model.
When building a blog like this, your sole concern is visitors and page views. Nothing else matters. If you have low visits, you won’t be able to sell ad space and won’t have income, let along profit.
TechCrunch and Lifehacker are excellent examples of this type of blog.
If you’re building this type of blog, you’ll spend most of your time maximizing traffic and page views. you want visitors to hang around as much as possible.
Essentially, the business IS the blog.
The Business Blog
For this type, the blog is built around another business and used as a marketing strategy.
How do you know if this is you? If you’re selling something, you have a business blog.
The goal of the blog is to bring in people that were unaware of your existence, build trust, and give them a way to stay in touch with you so you can pitch them later.
In other words, you publish content that ranks in Google or spreads through social media to bring potential customers to you.
For a business blog, traffic won’t help you. If you get a huge spike in traffic, your sales probably won’t increase. They will only increase if that traffic is coming from your target market.
When running a business blog, quality of traffic beats quantity every time.
Some of you may be using ads on your business blog. Please get rid of them. They’re only holding you back. I’m willing to bet that you make little, if anything, from Adsense or any other ad network. Replace those ads with ads for your own product.
Your focus is on publishing content that your customers ask for. How do you come up with good content? Answer the questions that receive from your customers. Simple as that. Pay attention to the questions your market has and write a blog post about it.
Looking for an example? Check out KISSmetrics, I Will Teach You to Be Rich, and SEOmoz for businesses that use blogs to bring in new customers. Notice that there isn’t a third party ad to be found.
Can You Blend These Models?
Yes, I just don’t recommend it. There is a delicate balance between selling ads and selling your own products. Some people are able to pull it off like Andrew Warner at Mixergy. He sells premium memberships to his site while selling ad space at the beginning of his interviews.
Another great example is Smashing Magazine. They sell a fair amount of ad space but also release their own products such as the Smashing Book.
Unless you are a seasoned marketer and know your audience really well, avoid advertising and stick with your own products. Profits from your products will greatly exceed anything you’ll make from advertising anyway.
What products are you using your blog to sell?
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