Whether you use blogging as your business or you use your blog to support your business… the truth is, blogs are still SUPER relevant to a whole lot of marketing today.
Enter Jason Logsdon, someone who has not only successfully monetized his blog in a B-I-G way but now teaches other people how to do it.
He’s going to show you the different ways you can monetize your blog, how you can find content that will speak to exactly who you’re trying to reach, and what you should be doing for every single post.
This one will have you itching to create, so buckle up!
Alyson Lex 0:01
Back in, oh gosh, 1999 I had a blog. And it was all about my love of the band Incubus. And I did nothing with this blog, but pretty much just post shirtless pictures. Let's be honest, I was a teenage girl. So that is not the kind of blogging we're going to be talking about today. Even though blogging has been around since the 90s. They have come really far. And today we have Jason logs done from the making bacon podcast. amazing food made easy, and He is an expert strategist when it comes to this, so I'm really excited to kind of pick his brain about how I might have made money from my Incubus fan site back in the day, Jason, thank you for being here with us.
Jason Logsdon 0:51
Thanks so much for having me on. I'm looking forward to diving into all things. Incubus.
Alyson Lex 0:56
Yes, we're changing the topic for today's podcast from blogs to Incubus I had no idea. Oh, no. You for six
Jennie Wright 1:03
years. And I had no idea that you had an Incubus blog. We're literally going to hashtag this with like, Incubus or something.
Alyson Lex 1:10
Oh, yeah. No, I was such a fan girl. Okay, so back on topic. Jason blogging clearly has been around since my cringy teenage days. What is different now than it was when they first started? I think
Jason Logsdon 1:24
when blogs really first started, they were a hobby for a lot of people. They could be an online journal, they could be a fan site around Incubus, it could be someone sharing their favorite recipes. There's a lot of people that are passionate about things. And the internet, at its most basic allows you to share your passions with a really wide audience. So I think that's really where blogs started. And what we're seeing now, especially over the last five to 10 years is that blogs are turning into a business. There's nothing wrong with having a blog as a hobby with having, you know, sharing things online that you're passionate about. hobbies are very good to have. But people are now seeing that there are these small groups of people that are passionate about subjects. I don't know if you can build a profitable blog around Incubus, but you can build it around types of cooking, you can build, build it around, you know, gardening around indoor plants. I know a Jenny, you know, left handed spoons, you could put a blog together around there that people are passionate if you speak to those people. And there's something that you can problems you can solve for them. You can make money from a blog. And I think that's where we're seeing the evolution now as blogs as a business, not just a hobby.
Jennie Wright 2:38
So, as a follow up, I just want to ask, should we do a blog around our passions? I'll admit I had a blog, too. It was my cringy teenage years. It was a blog with my Gothic poetry. Very Yeah, I was I was I was Yeah. Long time ago. Alison's dying over there. Because it was totally dark. It was all gothy it was like read vampire script on like a back industrial background. It was really I thought I was awesome. Anyways, back to the question is, do you think we should have a blog that is around our passions now? Is it worth it? is it doing you know? Is it worth doing it just for fun? Or should we be focusing on the on the things that are actually going to make us some some money?
Jason Logsdon 3:23
I think it depends what your goal is. If there's like I said, there's nothing wrong with having a blog for a hobby. If you love Gothic poetry, then you want to do a blog about that, go right ahead and do that. And, you know, I play this, this applies to things that aren't just blogging, like these are all hobbies, all things that we do in our life, you can make money from, you know, dog walking, you can make money from landscaping people's houses, that doesn't mean that you shouldn't be landscaping your own house or taking your own dog out for a walk. If you just like doing that, you know, I play volleyball, I do improv, I am never gonna make a dime from any of that no one has any interest in paying me to do that. But I love doing it. So I do it. But I also need money to do things like that. And so I'm trying to create a business. When you're creating a business, you need something that people are willing to pay for it, depending what your passions are, that can overlap with them. I'm less concerned about you focusing your blog around a passion of yours and more, more concerned about you focusing it on something you enjoy, that you're interested in that you like, because if you try to just do something to make money that you dislike, that's going to be a hard struggle, because blogging or almost any business is not this overnight, you know, get rich scheme, this is a lot of work going into it, there's going to be a lot of time spent on it. And if you're doing it on something that you just really don't care about that you don't like talking about, you're going to really struggle. It doesn't have to be your true one passion in life that you just you know, wake up every morning dreaming of but it should be something you enjoy that you'd like talking about and you like diving into.
Alyson Lex 4:56
really like the way you said that because i don't think i can monetize shirtless pictures of Brandon Boyd. That's the lead singer of Incubus. Just don't know. I don't think I can monetize that. I mean, I could try but probably not a thing. But what if I'm hearing you, right? Like, you can't always monetize your passions, but you shouldn't chase things you don't like just for the money, it's got to be a nice blend of passion, or at least interest and profit. Right?
Jason Logsdon 5:24
Yep, I think it's, it's a lot easier to speak to an audience to create content around things that you care about, and that you're a member of that audience. You don't have to be your, you know, ideal member, like I write about an amazing food made easy. I take like cvwd cooking, I take molecular gastronomy, like these high end restaurant techniques, and show people how you can do it in your kitchen, impress your friends and family with very little effort. Like I am currently not all the way in my target audience because I'm teaching a lot of people that don't know cvwd. Like, I know, cvwd, I'm an expert at suevey. Like, I used to be in that market, but I'm not anymore. So you don't have to be the ideal member. But you should be a member of someone that likes to be that knows your, your topic and the things you want to talk about. Otherwise, it's just I don't know, dealing with something. If you're creating a business for yourself, dealing with something that you don't really care about. And making your living around that when you have a choice going into this is I just don't understand that kind of that mindset, to maybe make another 5% income while you're doing something that you dislike, that just isn't a trade off I want to make.
Alyson Lex 6:31
seems silly. So since you mentioned income, let's talk about the different ways that you can monetize your blog, like what do you know, what are you doing? What's up what's out there? What are the options we have.
Jason Logsdon 6:45
So at its most basic, what I try to keep in mind is that a blog is a marketing engine. There are very few people that get paid to blog. If you work for a large company, corporate website, you might get paid to write blog posts, if you work for a marketing agency, you might get paid to blog, I don't get paid as a blogger, I get paid from ad networks who want to access my readers, I get paid from fans of mine who buy my cookbooks, I get paid from people to take my courses or take my hands on classes. None of that is getting paid as a blogger, my blog is letting people know what I have out there, there. It's building trust, it's showing who I am, how I approach problems. And keeping that in mind is important. Because if you know how you actually want to make money down the road, you can then start figuring out what type of blog I want to develop, what type of audience do I want to bring in, and then you can kind of go from there. And a lot of this still comes to your passion like it, you know, things that you like, it's, I'm a food blogger, that's where my background is. And so I talked to a lot of food bloggers, and so many of them get in this rut of saying, like, I'm going to do keyword research. And I'm going to see how many people I can get to my blog. And then I'm going to have ad networks on there. And they keep doing this. And then people, you meet them at conferences, and they're like, I'm just getting burnt out. Like I hate keyword research. I hate doing, you know, the kind of analytics that I have to do to keep my blog going. People don't care about what I'm writing on my recipes, because they just want the recipe. And it's like, well, how do you make money from these people, they're like, well, they click on an ad. And they come from Google, like you're attracting the type of people that you you know, using tools that you don't like doing. And so that's why I recommend, like, if you're a food blogger, and you love photography, like build a blog, that's all about promoting your photography, so you can get photography clients, like that has nothing to do with being a food blogger. But that can help you get there. It can help you showcase yourself and find the type of clients you want to work with.
Alyson Lex 8:44
But now, the analytics and the keyword research does matter. Right?
Jason Logsdon 8:50
Yeah, there's a lot that it's not like this is you know, this paradise, you can be like, I'm just going to do the things that I like doing. And I don't like paying taxes. So I'm not going to worry about that. There are levels of expertise you need. And I like to say that there's, there's kind of like these cut offs that if I don't have an Instagram account as pretty much any business owner, especially a blogger, though, it's gonna hurt me. Because I have, you know, applied to speak at conferences, and they're like, oh, what's your Instagram handle? And it's like a required field because I just assumed that you had to have it there. If I talk to brands, they're like, oh, what's your Instagram account. And so for someone to come to my Instagram account and see a list of, let's call it at least 50 posts on there that have good, good quality photos that are kind of showing my brand that is infinitely more valuable than not having an Instagram account. And if I spend 40 or 50 hours a week on Instagram, I'm going to be one of the top Instagram masters in my field. I'm going to be growing my followers, everyone in my niche is going to know me I'm going to be creating so much value from Instagram, that I'm going to be crushing it But if I spend five hours, that isn't gonna make me five times better than spending an hour a week just posting up one or two images and having my account, there's this. It's different for everything. But it's trying to figure out where is this line of spending this amount of energy gets me 80% of the way there. And then I have to spend all this energy to get that last 20%. If you're not going to go all the way, it doesn't matter. So keyword research, yes, if you want to dive in and use that to drive your blog, and you enjoy that you can do an amazing thing. But if you don't care about that, you still need to have good recipe, like, especially in food blogging, you still need to have good Google schema markup, you still need to make sure that your headers and that your site structure is good, you have to make sure it loads these kind of foundational aspects of it, because without those, it actively hurts you. But once you get to that, then you can look at and say Am I willing to put in the all the additional effort to take me to that next level. And if not, then I shouldn't just kind of waste two or three hours a week, I should spend that on whatever I really want to dive into. And that could be doing videos or doing courses or doing summits, you know, or doing podcasts like we have a limited amount of time. So spend that on the areas that you really want to stand out in. And then make sure everything else is good enough and the do the thing that's your superpower, really, and dive into that and really crush it.
Jennie Wright 11:23
I see the blog as a way to play the long game, to have content on the ready for whenever people sort of find your website and want to get to know you and things like that. That's how I approach it my business. It's not a bloggers first approach. Mine is more of a content first on social media. Oh, and go check me out on my thing. But it is the long game regardless, am I right? And it's how we're connecting to our audiences, how we're providing them a snapshot of who we are in what we do. So I just want to make sure that I'm on the right track. It's a traffic source.
Jason Logsdon 11:53
Yeah, I think it's a way to you, no one have a record of what you've done. Like I've been amazing food made easy has been out there for 10 or 11 years at this point. Like if I had only focused on, I think MySpace was still around when I started it. Like there was social media platforms that don't exist anymore. And if all my kind of history was on there, I would have lost it. And to me, it's kind of my home base, it's where everything points to people come back to it's for my newsletter is and it's it's something that I own like that in your mailing lists are the only things that you really have any long term control over. And so I try to use it as a real home base. And like you're saying that is this history of information and kind of who I am. That doesn't mean that I can't have social media precedences. And it doesn't mean that I can't go do other things. But I think having a blog, and having kind of that home base that you own is critical to just kind of risk adverse behavior for me that like if Facebook changes their algorithm, like it's not going to decimate my business overnight.
Alyson Lex 12:59
Okay, so you mentioned earlier that you have like ad networks who want to access your readers. And then you also have courses, classes, book sales. Are you focused more on the ad networks or on the building your audience and monetizing that.
Jason Logsdon 13:22
So for me, I came to ad networks pretty late, I put on I finally got on ad thrive, which was, it's a good one for food bloggers. Two years ago, before that, I didn't have an ad network on my site, I was 100% focused on selling products and services to my fans, which helped me attract a certain audience. I think ads are a great foundation, I've put them on my site since and I think they're a good way to help bring in money that, in my opinion, should allow you to do other things. And my example is, you know, numbers are very relative to each other, what's a lot to somebody is can be nothing to someone else. But if you have 100,000 monthly visitors and you want to double your income, if you are on ad networks, you have to double your traffic. And you've probably been working three, four or 510 years to get to that point. So double your income, you have to double your traffic. Or you could put out a book or a course or do a paid for summit, you can do other things that are going to allow you to monetize the audience you already have coming in, that's not going to hurt your ad numbers. And it's also gonna allow you to build this following. And that's where if you look at the site traffic for a lot of blogs, almost everyone's new coming in. Like it's a ton of new people. And so that's why they don't care about what you're writing, you know about your personal aspects, your authenticity, because they're there for the first time and they probably won't come back. When you start monetizing in other ways. You're trying to attract people you're trying to build up trust, you're trying to speak to a specific community and that allows you to monetize the solving of problems. In my opinion, I think it also makes your blog stronger for the people that are coming for the first time, because it does have a more human touch, and you can start creating those longer term interactions.
Jennie Wright 15:10
So how do we take our blogs? Even if you're looking at it from my point of view, which is a content ad, for me, it's not my main source. But even if, even if it's somebody like myself, how do we use our blogs to take people and move them from just the new people who are coming in into a raving fan into a lead? Like how do we convert from them.
Jason Logsdon 15:30
So I think blogs are great for bringing in new people from Google from different traffic sources. I am a huge fan of like many email courses as a way to build trust. So that's one of the things that I try to do is I try to have solid content on my blog, it's content that shows my expertise. And it's content that is solving a whole lot of small specific problems. So and that is where we come back to Google Keyword Research. In some cases that it is like, I can figure out what problems people are searching for. And so when someone says, What's the best way to see your a ribeye after cvwd. Like, I know, that's a high keyword search phrase, and then I can create content around it. But my goal isn't to just have them click on ads, it's to show my expertise and say, like, hey, you're interested in seeing a steak you want to know more about, you know how to use your sous vide machine, if you're searching for that you're probably a beginner. So here's a course that I have, that's a free email course. And then that's where I really use it to try to build authority and trust with them, that I promised them, I make a promise. In that case, it's like I will get you using your soothing machine and feeling comfortable with it in a week. And then by the end of that week, they feel comfortable with their cvwd machine. And because of that now they want to be on my newsletter, they start buying my cookbooks, they start joining me for hands on cooking classes, kind of this whole ecosystem of products and services I have. But without that trust, and without my website, bringing those people in, it's really hard to create fans.
Alyson Lex 16:59
I love that. Blogging has gone from cringy, goth poetry or Incubus fan girl ness to to really a sustainable way to add value to your audience, grow your business, your visibility and begin to convert from some other traffic sources besides social, right. So thank you so much for giving us all of this information today. Where can we find out more about you.
Jason Logsdon 17:34
So if you want to learn more about subida cooking if you're a foodie, and you want to really make some amazing, super great food, but that's also like really, really convenient. You can go to amazing food made easy.com. And if you want to learn more about moving your blog forward about different ways to monetize self publishing, I do a lot of self publishing talks, including at the Jenny's amazing conference coming up. And you can check that out and make that bacon calm and have a podcast there as well where I interview experts in the realm of moving your blogs forward.
Jennie Wright 18:09
That's so good. And thank you so much. You know, at the time of this recording my pump, my summit is about to go live, when this actually comes out, it will have been several months. So we're speaking to the future. Which is kind of cool. So, um, before we wrap this up, Allison and I have been taking notes furiously about this. And we have a couple takeaways that we'd like to share at the end of these episodes. These takeaways are things that we think that you can grab from Jason's really great talk today and apply into your business. If blogging is a thing for you. Now, I know I have to get more consistent with blogging. So these takeaways are really actually for me, it's quite selfish. So number one, a blog is a marketing engine. and use it as such, right, making sure that you're using the right keywords and things like that, so that people can actually find it when they go into search, and be able to see that you know, find those search topics and then it comes up. Number two, make sure you check your analytics and see how you can tweak your blog. So you can get more visitors have them read the whole thing. Maybe it's your title, your time what's going on in your blog, so that you can make sure that you're optimizing it for the most amount of time reading it as humanly possible.
Alyson Lex 19:21
We also want you to create solid content that creates that I'm sorry, that solves it doesn't create it solves a whole lot of small and specific problems. Because you can use Google keywords to figure this out and create content that really meets that and then you can make Lastly, you can make those specific offers to your audience based on the content they're consuming. Like Jason said, if they're looking for how to sear a steak after surveyed, they're probably a beginner and he offers them his beginners course. So really go very specific with your offers to the readers based on the content they're consuming and get them into your community on your list into your world.
Jennie Wright 20:05
Those are really great things that I think you can take from what Jason was talking about, and apply it to your business. So Jason, I just want to take a second and say thank you so much for taking the time. And being a really great podcast guest today.
Jason Logsdon 20:18
I appreciate you having me on. It's I love talking about this stuff. And it's always fun touching base again and catching up.
Jennie Wright 20:23
Absolutely. It's only We haven't seen each other virtually in the past 24 hours, the time that we're recording this. So having said that, I just want to take a second to thank everybody who's listened this far, who's enjoyed this podcast if you're enjoying what you're hearing from System to THRIVE, if you're brand spanking new to us, and this is the first episode you're hearing, then I want to recommend that you check out more of what else in and I do head on over to System to THRIVE COMM And check out the different episodes also go to our free gift for you which is System to thrive.com Ford slash content. I think Allison, I'm really bad with memory stuff so for yet for slash content, and make sure that you're doing that as well. And if you're listening, please make sure you're following us on any of the platforms that you listen to your podcasting and leaving us a review. Thank you so much, everybody for listening. We'll be back again soon answering another big question.