Is blogging dead?
This is SUCH a controversial topic, so I am excited to be explaining my opinion on it in this episode.
Here’s what I think: blogging without understanding your customer journey is dead, but content marketing is alive and well!
Your job is to provide content for free with a purpose, and that purpose needs to be mutually beneficial to you and your future customer. I really think that it is as simple as that.
I don’t think that blogging alone is a profitable business model, but I do think that content marketing is a great way to attract your ideal customer to you.
I really want to hear your feedback on this episode, so please DM me on Instagram @monica.froese!
Have you’ve been spinning your wheels creating free content that is leading you nowhere? I recommend thinking about creating digital products. I would love for you to join me for a free training, 3 Secrets to Creating Digital Products that Sell Like Crazy!
[00:00:04] You are listening to the Empowered Business podcast, I’m your host, Monica Froese, a mom of two and your secret weapon to creating a six figure digital product business. I’m on a mission to help 1000 women make 100000 thousand dollars a year. That’s right. One hundred million dollars towards financial independence for women. As an online business expert, I am teaching you everything I know right here week after week so you can join us on the journey to one hundred million dollars. Sound good? Then let’s jump in. Back to solo episodes, I’ve had some really amazing guests on for the last few episodes, but today I’m going to get back to a solo show and I am pretty sure it’s not going to disappoint before I tell you what it’s about. I want you to know that I welcome your feedback. I’ve said it before, but I’ll say it again. There is no one way to run an online business. You don’t need a digital product to be successful in online business. Just because I teach the method doesn’t mean it’s the only method. However, you do need to understand how your business makes money or else it’s not a business. So before wanting to get mad at me for what I’m about to say in today’s episode, I challenge you to listen to all the way through. And then please send me a direct message on Instagram. My handle is at redefining Mom and let me hear your thoughts. I am the only one on my team who reads and responds to dms, so you will be sure that you’re talking to me if you have feedback to share. And I hope the feedback is negative or positive. You are willing to share and open up dialog with me. Just remember to be respectful. There’s no reason to be angry. Let’s just have a great conversation about what we’re about to talk about. So I guess we should dove right in today. We’re going to be talking about a potentially controversial topic, if you couldn’t tell. And that’s because I’m asking the question, is blogging dead? And I’m going to cut right to the chase blogging without understanding your customer journey is dead.
[00:02:13] Content marketing is alive and well. So I guess it’s important to understand the difference between the two. First, I do have to say I’m not a huge fan of the term blogger. I think it diminishes what a lot of very smart and intelligent people have accomplished in their online business, especially women. Blogging is content marketing. A blogger is a content creator or even better, a blogger is a business owner like everyone else who has worked their butts off to grow a brand. Content marketing is the act of publishing free, valuable content. It’s not limited to blog post content marketing also includes things like video content on YouTube and podcasting, like I’m doing right now. A lot of people get confused about the difference between a blog and a website. A blog is not the same thing as a website. A blog lives on a website and not every website needs or has a blog. A website serves as a hub on the Internet. For someone to come and get to know your business or brand. It should also serve as a central hub for people to pay you money. So, for example, empowered business.co we do not have a blog. The whole purpose of this website is to showcase our suite of digital products. There is no reason for a blog on this website because there’s no need to put out regular free content regarding each of these products. Instead, it links out to our individual sales pages. Empowered Business.co was built to do one thing, educate the consumer on our digital products suite. Now on Redefining Money.com and Monica Fros.com, we do have a blog. On Monica Froese we use the blog to repurpose highly valuable email content that we send out. These are emails that are long and usually heartfelt that we want to share with the masses. We also use it for our podcast show notes. And this is not the only purpose of Monica Phroso. We link up to our shop, our courses, our podcast landing page, and we educate the consumer about who I am and how I can help it. Exmoor more as a central hub for my business.
[00:04:12] Now, Redefining mom was started as a blog back in twenty thirteen when the landscape of blogging was much different than it is today. Essentially, the whole purpose of redefining mom was to be a gigantic blog role blog post after blog post with free content geared towards working moms. It was a website, yes, but it lacked the important functions of a website, which is to make money because free content is just that free. It wasn’t serving a purpose unless I came up with a defined objective as to how I was going to monetize the free content. This was not talked about very much back then. It was more like put a blog on the Internet, create lots of free content, get 50000 page views and page views are the number of people who come to your website and then start running display ads. Oh, and while you’re at it, link to a bunch of other people’s products using something called affiliate links and you’ll get a small percentage for every sale. So let’s stop real quick and talk about what a display ad is. A display ad is when you go to someone’s website and they have ads running to other brands, you probably most often see it at the bottom of your screen and it will block out some of the content that’s on the website. Video display ads are becoming much more popular lately. And I have to say, I pretty much despise them because I find that they make the website a lot harder to use. Now, if someone clicks on the display ad, they are sent away from the website they originally landed on and the original website owner receives a small amount of money for allowing the ad to be displayed, essentially. Through an ad network, other businesses are paying for an ad spot on your Web site. And here’s the thing about display ads that I don’t understand. You spend hours, if not days, creating a valuable piece of content and put it up as a blog post. You then spend a ton of energy getting people to your website just to let them click away from your website to someone else’s website. What it’s like chasing your tail with very little payoff for most content creators, not all, but most very few blogs.
[00:06:22] And I say blogs in quotation in this regard, very few blogs end up succeeding because they lack a sustainable way to make money for all of the free work they put into them. Of course, there are exceptions to every rule. If a blog was able to get hundreds of thousands or even millions of page views, display ads can certainly be lucrative. Keep in mind, a lot of established blogs driving large numbers of traffic to their sites have put significant investment into their infrastructure and have been around for a long time. Blogging was different in the 2010 to 2016 time frame. There was way less competition and way more free traffic from social platforms there. Now there’s more noise and left. Now there is a lot more noise out there and it’s a recipe for disaster and burnout. If you want to build a business, you need to get paid while doing it. That doesn’t mean you can’t be offering free value. At the same time you can be doing both. How much work does it take to bring that many people to your website? Well, probably years, especially now. So here’s the thing. If you’re going to be starting an online business and competing against huge websites that have StaffWriters producing free content for them, do you really want to spend your time getting people to your site just to send them away? Or would you rather monetize with something you control so that when money exchanges hands, it stays inside of your business and you own that customer relationship? OK, so this is my issue with the other way that I find bloggers, let’s call them content creators, are taught to monetize affiliate marketing. OK, so here’s the thing. Affiliate marketing is when you recommend another company’s goods or services, affiliate marketing can be a very lucrative revenue stream inside of your business. You can’t create all of the products people need for every single problem they have. However, you have to keep in mind that when you send people to another brand to buy a product or service, you do not own the nurturing that goes into closing that sale or the checkout process. You have zero control over someone buying or not, and most importantly, you do not own the customer relationship.
[00:08:35] So this is why I teach to mainly only recommend affiliates via email so you can still own the customer relationship and have an avenue for selling your own products and services. A business owner should be concerned about owning the relationship with their customer and not relying on all of their revenue to come from external sources that they have no control over free content. Content creation. Blogging in and of itself is not bad. What’s bad is not understanding the purpose it serves in your business. Oftentimes, you won’t know the purpose your content needs to solve until you’ve decided what exactly it is that your business is going to sell. Yet I see so many people starting a blog thinking the blog in and of itself is going to make the money and it’s just the wrong way of thinking. You need to understand what you are selling. What is the customer journey from free content to you getting paid a blog post for the sake of publishing a blog post because you think you have to post a new blog post every week. It’s just not the best decision. If you cannot tell me the exact return on investment that you expect the blog post to produce, you shouldn’t be focused on. It is a business owner. Your concern is making money, constantly. Putting out free content with no purpose is not a means to making money. And this is what I see a lot of new in quotation marks bloggers being told to do. Here is your permission to stop putting out regular blog posts. Blogging is not in and of itself a profitable business model. However, content marketing is a way to attract your ideal customer to you. It serves as an entry point into your brand, not someone else’s brand. So what is your purpose for creating content that you put out into the world? How will it make you money? Typically, if you’re talking about acquiring a new customer in your business via free content, it will mean you’re leading your visitors down one A4 path. The first path would be to get on your email list so that you can continue to nurture that relationship in a medium that you own.
[00:10:43] Because remember, you don’t own social media, your social. Followers are irrelevant, you cannot guarantee your reach to social followers, however you own your email list and the ability to communicate with people who are on your email list. Now, the second way, the second path, I should say that you would use free content would be to get someone to buy your digital product. The third path could be to buy a physical product that you sell, and the fourth path would be to pay you for your services. And these could be done for you services, your service provider. You offer group coaching or you offer professional services like therapy. Now, in my Facebook group for our signature program, I’m building digital product sales funnels called the Empowered Business Lab. I asked this question. I said I’m about to record a podcast episode called Is Blogging Dead. When you hear that, what comes to mind? Do you think it’s dead? Why or why not? The answers had a common thread. An overwhelming number of people said, no, blogging is not dead. Now, I want to share some of the answers I received back because I find them very interesting. Most people had an adverse reaction to thinking I was insinuating blogging was dead by asking the question. But after engaging in the conversation, it always circled back to blogging, being about serving a purpose for your business. Jennifer, a long time friend of mine in the online world, started her blog back around the same time I started redefining mom. We were essentially taught to blog in a similar way. She had this to say. Nope, nope, nope, nope. I don’t think it’s dead. I think it’s different now than what I thought it was five years ago. What a blog does is provides a platform to then create a digital enterprise, which is something that I never knew five years ago when I started. Maybe it wasn’t even that big of a thing back then, but it’s a way to build a brand in a necessary first step. That is pretty awesome since the investment is minimal to me. A blog is a stepping stone to the digital world.
[00:12:41] And she’s right. Starting a website with a blog doesn’t take a ton of money to do, which is why a lot of people view it as a low barrier to entry into the online world. Where I see so many new content creators going wrong is that they don’t take the time to really understand why they are pushing out all the free content. I strongly believe you need to start with the end of mine and work backwards. So the entry point to your business may be free content, but what good is that free content if you don’t have a purpose for it? So you’d be surprised how many people teach this backwards, which is why it’s important to be vigilant about who you take advice from when you’re starting your business. Now, Mia said. When I look at the earnings I make from SEO, which is search engine optimization, generally that would mean Google and Pinterest, which is another search engine. I would say blogging is not dead, but I did it very strategically very much from the beginning. All SEO optimized content around my pillar posts were very niche down and had one goal, to sell her books, she says. I think what is dead is what people often understand as blogging that a blogger posts once a week and their blog followers come to the blog to read the bloggers news stories. It’s just my way of content marketing like others have a YouTube channel or just start it. Or like how I just started my podcast, she says. I invested a lot of work in the beginning and now it’s bringing customers nearly on autopilot. So Miah makes a really strong point here. She focused her free content all around her customer journey. And while she may not have had a ton of traffic to her free content in the beginning, over time it started to pay off. And lucky for her, she knew from the beginning that her content had to serve a purpose in her business, not just be content for the sake of content. Angela went on to offer very practical insight. She said, no, blogging is not dead, and for the simple reason that the Internet exists on content without content, there’s nothing to fill all these queries and searches.
[00:14:39] While the Internet exists in its current form, I think there will always be a place for blogging to supply content that it needs to function as a business. I think it is also changing. There was a bit of a move towards, we don’t need to create more content, but I think that people are realizing that, yes, we do need to create more free content. Sure. Not just for the sake of creating it, but because without it, we are missing the key piece in content marketing. And with it, everything from Pinterest to Google SEO gets so much easier because then you have something to be pushing out to the masses. Now, I’ve said this before, but I honestly don’t know if I’ve shared it on this podcast. So I’m going to take some time to elaborate on what Angela said. And amid a big mistake that I made over the last few years, I stopped putting out free content via a blog post. Back in twenty eighteen, I started spending my content creation time on what I’ll call behind the paid firewall, meaning if I was going to sit down and create content in my business because I didn’t have a big team and I didn’t have unlimited amounts of time, it was going to be content that people paid me for, like in my online courses about Pinterest, I would put the majority of my before the paid firewall content into collecting email leads with strategic free content that required you to get on my email list first. Before I actually delivered the content, I then used my email list to really connect with my community, sending heartfelt emails and engaging with people. Now, I don’t regret pausing my free content efforts, but I will say I wish instead of pausing my free content, that I spent more time on those critical pillar pieces of content that would serve my customer journey in the long run because then I would get strong Google SEO. I would essentially get Google over time recognizing and setting me free traffic. And it’s not that I don’t have that now because I have been putting content out for a long time, but I essentially took a break from it and I don’t necessarily think that was the right thing to do, because the fact of the matter is that email is very important for running a sustainable online business because it is that only medium that we own for communicating with our customers.
[00:16:50] However, we also know that 100 percent of our email list will not open every single email that we send. In fact, if you get 30 percent of people to open all your emails, you’re pretty dang lucky. So what this means is I was creating and putting out a ton of free content constantly to my email subscribers by writing these really long emails, but not everyone was seeing it. That is when it dawned on me that a lot of my emails were repurposed into blog posts and that email is a way to connect and amplify my message. But it shouldn’t have been my main way to distribute free content because it was behind a firewall, meaning if you weren’t on my email list, you didn’t even have the chance to see it. So now that I’m podcasting, my main means for providing free content is via the podcast. And I amplify that free content every Thursday by reminding my email subscribers to tune in. It’s no secret that the customer journey I prefer and that I teach about is creating paid digital products. So if you are listening to this in real time, I am about to host a free four day live training event April 20th to the twenty third of twenty twenty one. And it’s called the Digital Product Dash. Now during this live event, I’ll be showing you how to identify, validate and choose the perfect profitable digital product that you can sell over and over again, even without a current audience or email list. I ran this event this past January, just a couple of months ago, and we had over 2000 people participate live. And it was really one of the most amazing experiences I’ve had to date in my business. And one of the biggest takeaways that participants shared with me was the freedom to stop blogging without intent. So many people that joined this training were spinning their wheels, creating loads of free content that led nowhere. And they were super frustrated and burned out because they had put so much effort with almost no return. And that is why I really do think that digital products can be life changing for online business owners. You get paid to take all of your knowledge and strategically share with the world while getting paid to do it.
[00:18:54] It doesn’t mean that you’ll never release free content again. It means that you’re done sharing everything you know for free. Now, if you want to join us live, April 20th to the twenty third head on over to empowered business, that Kofod flash dash to sign up will also put that link in the show notes of course. Now I’m going to leave you with a question that I got at the end of the digital product Dash in January. Rachel said, I’ve always done everything for free. How do you switch over to charging online now? I want to answer this question now. I want to share the answer I gave to her, because I know if you’ve been stuck on the free content hamster wheel, you may feel the exact same way Rachel did. So here’s exactly what I told her during the digital product dash a few months ago. You are in the business of making money and you cannot have a business if you don’t make money. It’s called economics and economics. There is an exchange. I have valuable information. You need it and you are going to pay me money for it. It’s that simple. It’s not emotional. A business requires money to exchange hands. So here’s where I feel the blogging model went wrong. I started blogging in 2013 and the online competition was nothing like it is today. So there was like there is for everything ahady for blogging. But it gets to a point where there’s all these bloggers that come in, they build these great sites and have valuable content. And then a year later they tried to charge money for stuff and people revolted against them. It’s like, yeah, well, you gave everything away for free. There was a point where I was a great way to build an audience and there was a lot less competition. But you don’t have a business if you’re giving everything away for free. So to me, it’s just pure economics. I have the skill or this knowledge and you need it. Pay me money for it. It’s emotional. I cannot stress that enough. I don’t feel bad about it and I don’t feel bad if people decide not to pay me money, but.
[00:20:45] If someone wants my brain, they’re going to pay me money for it, so don’t apologize for asking for money. Now, this reminds me of a situation I was in recently where I was talking to a single mom who expressed mom guilt during the pandemic. She was trying to balance working, home schooling and caring for her kids all day. And, of course, she is alone doing it. And I said to her, yeah, I don’t do mom guilt. And she said to me, What do you mean you don’t “do” mom guilt? And I said, I don’t do mom guilt. I just don’t. I’m a human being. I have likes, desires and other interests outside of my kids. I have a brain that I want to use for my business. And I’m not going to feel guilty about extending my energy in other things other than my kids. I don’t do mom guilt. In fact, I have a mug in my office that says mom guilt and it’s crossed off with a big X. My eight year old will tell you if she tries to get me for working, I shut her down. It’s like, no, not happening. And this is exactly how I feel about getting paid for what I provide online. You don’t have to give me a dime, but if you want what I have to offer, you do have to give me money. So to anyone who is worried about starting to charge for something that they’ve been giving away for free don’t. No one is entitled to your brain for free. Your job is to provide content for free with a purpose, and that purpose needs to be mutually beneficial to you and your future customer. Here’s the key. It’s not a one way street. Your whole existence online is not to give everything away for free. And in the blogging model, that is what I’ve seen happen more times than not. And that is basically what this entire podcast episode is about. It’s to encourage you to create strategic free content, which is content marketing with a purpose, a purpose that not only serves the person, the person who’s coming to read that free content, but that it leads to a journey in your business where you can connect to that person and eventually sell them something, because that’s how we make money.
[00:22:46] I hope you’ve enjoyed today’s episode. And again, if you have an opinion, share it with me. Go ahead and hop into my direct messages on Instagram. My handle is at redefining mom. And keep in mind, I am the only person on my team in there. So you will get a response directly from me. I would love to have a conversation with you about this. And if you’re ready to learn how to transition from constantly offering free content to getting paid for your content, make sure to sign up for the digital product. Dash happening April 20th to the 23rd and empowered business.co forward slash Dash. All right. Until next week I’ll talk to you again. I hope you enjoyed today’s episode of the Empowered Business podcast. Be sure to subscribe and leave a rating and review. I read each and every one in love hearing from you. As always, you can find all of the links and information mentioned in this episode at Monica Froese Dotcom forward slash podcast. Thanks so much for tuning in.