Sunday, August 29, 2010

Making Money From Blogs

I've been blogging for a little over a year and one thing I have found to be true is that making money off of blogging is hard work.  First of all, you need fresh topics to write about continually.  You have to give your readers a good reason to keep coming back.  Then, you have to very highly publicize your blogs.  I'm getting better at this.  Currently, my blogs are promoted the following ways.

1.  Listed on Technorati
2.  Listed on Blog Catalogue
3.  Listed on Zimbio
4.  Listed on Delicious
5.  Shared thru Google Buzz
6.  Shared thru Google Reader
7.  Shared on Facebook
8.  Shared on Twitter
9.  Links with other bloggers.
10.Emailed to select readers

Since really getting into the blog promotion phase of this project, my page impressions have increased over 400% monthly.  Having a solid readership is of critical importance if you every want to make money from blogs.  You also need to invite people to follow your blogs.  This can be done through Google Friend Connect, Feed subscriptions, and anything else that is available for readers to click on to follow.

Some things I didn't think of until a friend of mine suggested it is to link my blogs together.  I currently have 4 active blogs.  Each of these has links to the other 3 blogs.  This makes it easier for readers to find all of my blogs.  It also helps your Google search ranking which is very important if you want people to find your work.  Other things you can do to increase your page rank are:  incorporating search terms in your blog titles and in the body of your posts.  I also use a labels gadget to make sure all of my labels (which are nothing more than Google search terms) are repeated several times throughout my blogs.

Once you have readers, now you have to figure out how to convert readers into dollars.  The easiest thing to setup for starters is Google AdSense.  These are the ads that you often see at the top and along the sides of pages you read on the internet.  When people click those ads, you get paid a small fee for driving traffic to those advertisers.  The problem here is that Google doesn't allow you to actually TELL PEOPLE TO CLICK ON THE ADS.  So, people just have to figure that out for themselves.  You just have to hope that the ads are enticing enough to get people to click. 

Most of the time, when a person doesn't want to click ads, there are really just a few reasons.

1.  Privacy - many people fear that advertisers can track their internet usage.  Nobody wants this.  Clear out your cookies and temporary internet files and that should take care of most of these worries.  Generally speaking, your privacy is safe with Google AdSense.

2.  Safety - it is common to fear viruses and other harmful applications that can hit your computer from clicking on ads.  For me personally, I will click on ads from reputable companies because I trust that those ads will be safe.  Generally speaking, ads are safe.  Just be smart about what you click on.

3.  Value - If ads do not appear to have great value, nobody is going to click them.  This is the responsibility of the advertisers.  Your job is to simply get eye balls to see the ads (but don't tell people to click them).

4. Attraction - if the ads aren't visually attractive and stimulating, many people will not think to click them.

Remember though:  you can not tell people to click on your ads.  Instead, your viewers have to understand that these ads are how you pay for your time of providing valuable information to them.  Your information is free to them.  If they see an ad and have interest, then clicking on it can benefit them and compensate you for your good work.

Other ways that you can make money from your blogs include:

1.  Sell something related - I am going to use my blog to promote my upcoming management book.

2.  Offer advertising space to willing advertisers.  You may be able to get paid directly from advertisers.  I am going to contact some of these companies for this very reason.  Eventually, someone will agree to a deal.

3.  Associate / Affiliate Programs - these are programs where you get commissions for selling products on your blog site.  You provide links to products and when people click and purchase, you get paid. is big in this area.

4.  Offer you personal services.  You are probably an expert at the topics that you write about.  Someone might want more individualized help from you.  Offer this as a consulting service and get paid for it.

These are just a few of the points that will help you make money from your blog site.  Surely there are other ways and you should explore your options if you want to make money from blogging.  Start with the information here in this article and build from there.  If you're like me and you're already writing blogs, you might as well get paid something for it.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Business Management: Don't Be Blinded By Success

I've learned a very valuable lesson this year following 3 back-to-back-to-back record breaking years (hence the name, Record Breaker).  Never be blinded by success.  It can be here today and gone tomorrow - especially in the field of medicine where most times, your biggest competitors are the state and big insurance companies.  Legislation can eat your lunch if you are uninformed and under-prepared.  That's really for another article, at another time.  For now, the lesson is to not be blinded by success.

Success is great.  Celebrate it, but do it again.  We had such huge success over the last 3 years, that it sort of masked some serious problems that needed our attention.  As my office's top manager, this is my responsibility - to not take my eye off the ball.  The first 4 months of this year were very bad.  We had a lot of catching up to do.  Along the way, we realized that we needed some new training and new processes.  We found that what got us here wasn't going to get us where we wanted to go.  We've had to slightly change the way we operate.  We've plugged some of the holes and we're working on plugging the rest.

Success in business deserves celebration today and then a short memory tomorrow.  Always re-assess your current situation and make sure you keep doing what it's going to take to get you where you want to be tomorrow.  Smart competitors will adjust to adapt to their failures and to try to beat you.  The legal environment may find ways to work against you.  Be ready.  Be over-prepared.  KEEP WINNING.  Being a Record Breaker is about on-going success.  It's about breaking through barriers.  It's about never quitting and it's absolutely about BREAKING RECORDS.  So, do what it takes to keep breaking records and DON'T BE BLINDED BY SUCCESS.

Incidentally, because we took the short-term blinders off, we've gotten back on track because that's what happens when you're on top of things.  We are now on pace to have an exceptionally good year and finish strong.  Record Breakers find a way to create success.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Negotiation Backfire!

A week ago, I wrote about a business negotiation I was doing for some yellow pages advertising space.  You can read that at the following link:  Today, I finalized the deal and wanted to tell you about the outcome.  The title of this post is "Negotiation Backfire!", because of the way it ended up for the sales lady.

After she applied time pressure to me last week, unsuccessfully, she went on vacation and didn't get back to any of my emails until today.  When she finally replied to me, she told me that her boss wouldn't accept my offer of $2,500 per month for the back cover of the phone book (basically the best advertising spot on a phone book), and that it was originally going for $4,500 per month.  Incidentally, reading back to my previous post, $200 above my offer would have been $2,700 per month and I would have said yes to the deal.

Since I last spoke to her, I surveyed lots of my customers to find out that 72% of them use the internet for search instead of the phone book.  Seems like a no-brainer to me too, but written statistics can be very powerful, so I put together the data.  I presented the data to her and told her that with that information, I no longer cared if I was in the book or not, and that I would just go ahead and continue my previous 1/2 page advertising, but I would need it for 1/2 the price.  This was not a threat.  It was just a matter of fact that I was going to cut my advertising in half with her phone book.  That's a great negotiating principle - sometimes, a great impact can come from pulling dollars off the table that were already assumed to be part of an agreement.

Her response was priceless for me.  She sort of did the same thing that I did.  She told me that because we took so long to come to an agreement, that the advertising on the inside of the book had already "closed" and that my previous ads were no longer an option for me.  The only remaining option was this UNSOLD back cover, so she offered it to me for $2,800 per month.  (No kidding, as I write this my I'm smiling with a feeling of excitement.)  Anyways, I turned that back around and offered to take 100% of my dollars off the table instead.

I said that since I couldn't get my prior "ineffective" ad space for half price because she took a vacation in a failed attempt to apply even more time pressure on me and caused me to lose the only thing I had even a little interest left in, that I would pay $1,400 per month for the back cover.   If we couldn't do that deal today, I told her I would just take that $1,400 and advertise with her competition (it wouldn't be the first time I had to do that anyways).  She faxed over a contract for $1,400 two minutes later.

So, let me summarize the value that I got from working all of the necessary tactics on this deal.

Back Cover original price = $4,500 per month ($54,000 per year).
My Final Negotiated price = $1,400 per month ($16,800 per year).
A difference of $37,200 per year in my favor.

The real killer part of this deal though is not in the money that I saved above, and that's a lot of money for something like this.  No, the best part is that for $329 LESS PER MONTH, I have the BEST advertising spot available.  Being inside the book is like being burried in and around the competition.  Now, for $329 less per month that my previous ineffective 1/2 page ad, I'm able to help my prospective new customers to never have to look inside the book where my competitors are.  I essentially get to make my competition invisible.

OK, so here are some negotiating lessons that you should gain from my this experience.

1.  Never fall to time pressure.  Turn it around and use it to your advantage.

2.  Deadlines are very often not real.  Push them back as often as you can so that time pressure is on your side.

3.  Take money off the table that was previously assumed to be part of the deal in order to get a better deal.

4.  Paint the portrait of pain.  I did this by showing the sales lady how I would take all of my money out of her book and put it in her competitors' books.  She would have lost the sale and her competitors would have gotten stronger.  I was absolutely going to do this.  Be prepared to do what you say you're going to do.  If your bluff is called, that can seriously backfire on you.

5.  Use market data to back up your position.  The power of the written word, especially in relevant statistics, can be a very powerful tool.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Get Hired In Spite of Your Weaknesses

In a recent blog post, Abdus Salam ( points out the importance of being ready for interviewers to ask you about your weaknesses.  He says to be straight-forward and honest.  While I most certainly agree with his point, my response is below.

Great advice. I happen to be responsible for hiring new associates and while weaknesses are important to know about, it's more important to understand that we all have them. If I'm asked about my weaknesses, I'll admit that I need a calendar and task list to be organized, otherwise all bets are off, but I'll also say that with those tools and my other strengths, I'm going to break records. Immediately redirecting to strengths and opportunities is a good way to keep interviewers on-point as to why they would be making a huge mistake not to hire you.

Take a loot at Salam's Better Jobs Advice blog.  It's really good and he makes extremely good points. 

When it comes to getting hired, always, always, always be honest when asked about your weaknesses, but do your best to keep the interviewer focused on your strengths and on the opportunities those are likely to bring to the company.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Negotiating Experience of the Day

Today I had a very nice meeting with a new sales rep for a major yellow pages publisher in my area.  This was a great opportunity for me to sharpen up on my negotiating skills.  So, I made note of all of the tactics she used on me (knowingly or not) and I used my own in response.  Here's what happened.

The tactics she used with me.

1.  Time Pressure - The book was closing tomorrow, so that I would have to decide today.  I did not decide today, so time pressure didn't work.

2.  She told me who else wanted the ad space that I was considering.  This happened to be someone that I know and respect.  So, instead of it making me feel pressure, it made me reconsider purchasing the ad space at all.  Backfire.

3.  She deferred to her higher authority to come up with a price.  I told her she would have to do better than that and get back with me.

4.  She tried to get more and more information from me.  I said as little as necessary because that information was a strength for me and could have been turned into a weakness if I shared it.

5.  She said she could keep the price the same instead of raising the rates in order to convince me to do the deal today.  I said that I might just pull out of that book all together.

6.  She offered to give me free ad space to sweeten the deal and convince me to say yes.  I accepted that with the condition that she would also give me better pricing and then I continued to hold out for a better offer.

What else did I do?

1.  I was completely disinterested.
2.  I was noticeably uncomfortable with the idea of signing another agreement.
3.  I was very quiet causing her to give me more information.
4.  I mentioned that my plan B was to completely stop advertising in her book.
5.  I deferred to my higher authority by saying that my CEO would have to approve anything that I agreed to.
6.  I reminded her of the last time that I pulled $35,000 of annual advertising dollars from her company just a few years ago and spent it at the competition.

My best guess is that first thing tomorrow morning, she will email me and offer all of the ads that I want, including the free ads, and come in at no more than $200 per month more than what I was already paying last year.  If that is the case, then I'll accept the deal after she reduces it $100 more per month.  We'll see.