Who is Brian Clark?
- None of the above
The option you pick to the question above will determine the success or failure of your endeavours online.
Brian Clark is a smart ass unusual entrepreneur who leveraged on the power of blogging as a marketing tool to build a software and education business called; Copyblogger Media LLC.
So next time when you see Brian Clark churning out epic shit week after week, watch out. Don’t be deceived into thinking he’s a blogger or in the so called blogging business.
Far from it!
He’s an unusual entrepreneur who is building a global business empire online one blog post at a time.
You have been warned, real entrepreneurs build businesses NOT blogs!
The Blogging MYTH!
The blogosphere is perhaps the most saturated field of human endeavour. Everyone and anyone own a blog. And thanks to several online gurus, everyone and anyone wants to make money blogging.
Therein lies the biggest misconception ever online; blogging is a business.
I am no guru, but what I know, I know.
Can a tool ever become a business? Saying blogging is a business is like saying marketing is a business, is it?
To find out, let’s go back to the basics.
What is a business?
The term business describes any activity that involves the exchange of goods and services for money.
The underlying theme here is this; business is giving out something [goods or services] in order to get something [money]. Period.
So if blogging were a business as many so called internet gurus claim, then readers ought to pay bloggers every time they read their contents, right?
Following our definition of a business, blogging as a business would mean bloggers give out something [contents] to readers in order to get something [money] in return.
But is this the reality online?
Do you pay me for every unusual article you read on naijapreneur?
If readers paid bloggers for every content they consumed, bloggers would be mega-millionaires.
Think about it for a second. If for every unique visitor your content attracts, you get paid as low as one cent. Just imagine what power blogs like Mashable, Copyblogger, Techcrunch, Problogger would be making daily?
But then, is this what’s happening in the real world?
In the real world, real entrepreneurs publish epic contents for several months before they ever make a dime. And just so you know, they don’t get paid for blogging. They get paid for something else entirely, expertise.
SO WHAT ARE YOU DOING ONLINE: Building A Business OR Blogging?
You are blogging when you begin to think every blogger you meet is a potential customer.
You are blogging when the majority of your readers are fellow bloggers. Except you are in the blogging about blogging niche.
You are blogging when you begin to lash out aimlessly online trading comments on every blog imaginable.
You are blogging when you begin to measure the number of comments on your blog post.
You are blogging when you begin to guest post on blogs where your target audiences don’t go.
The gap between blogging and building a business is what makes all the difference online.
Why Blogging Is NOT A Business!
The great management thinker, Peter Drucker was phenomenal in his observation of what the most important question in business is; “what is our business?”
I have been online, and I have seen many bloggers fail to answer that singular question.
What they seem to pay more attention to is blogging rather than building a business. The hard part is that many don’t even realize that they are making this mistake. Why? Because to them, blogging is a business!
But the reality shows otherwise; blogging is absolutely NOT a business.
I know a lot of you reading this now would be alarmed. And yes, it’s high time you are!
Let’s go over the fundamentals of business to really get the real picture of the above statement.
Building a business requires 4 key functions
- Value Creation [Product/Service]
- Value Estimation [Pricing]
- Value Communication [Marketing & Selling]
- Value Delivery [Distribution]
1. Value Creation:
A business must have a particular thing that it must offer to the market in order to attract the attention of the buyer. This particular thing is what we call product or service. The creation of this product/service is where a business begins.
Without this product/service there is no business. Why? Because people don’t buy anything, they buy something. And that something must meet a need or solve a problem for them. The ability of a product/service to meet the needs and solve the problems of people is what is referred to as value.
Value is what people pay for and why products/services sell. Without the value in them, they are as good as useless.
In other words, you are in business when you have created something of value and you remain in business by consistently creating value. Your ability to create value is the most important function of a business and the determinant of success in business. Your ability to make profit is hinged on your capacity to create value.
2. Value Estimation:
The second key function of business is pricing – the monetary estimation of the value you created. How much is the product/service you’ve created going to cost the customers who are in demand for it?
Remember, people pay for value, that is, what the particular product/service you have created is going to do for them. This is what value means, the inherent personal benefits of the products/service you created.
3. Value Communication:
You have a product/service; you’ve estimated the selling price, now it’s time to get the buyers attention.
This is where you spread the existence of your product/service. This is how you get those who may be interested in the value you have created to know about its existence. No matter how good your product/service is, no one will pay for it, if they have never heard of it.
Marketing is how they get to know about the value you created and how it can be of tremendous benefit to them.
At the heart of value communication is selling.
Marketing is about creating awareness and getting the buyers’ attention. Selling is about converting that attention into a business transaction.
Meaning, selling is about making the buyer a customer – someone who has given up his or her money in exchange for product/service you created.
Marketing and selling, make up the two key functions of the Value Communication phase of a business. This is where the business comes in contact with the potential buyer and what happens during this phase is what will determine whether the business will be successful or not.
4. Value Delivery:
After the sales comes the goods/service. That is, the particular product/service the customer paid for.
The value delivery function is about distribution. How does the buyer get what they have paid for? What medium do you use to transfer the product/service to the customer?
For some products/services, value is delivered immediately. But for others it takes a while for the product/service to be in the possession of the customer.
The Business Role Of Blogging
Blogging for business is simply a marketing tool.
Blogging for business falls into the value communication [marketing and selling] phase of building a business.
It’s an integral part of your internet marketing strategy. It is about promoting your business by using your contents to attract the attention of potential customers for your products/services. Without it, all your online marketing efforts will be futile. Why?
Simple; because the whole concept of the internet revolves around the dissemination of information. It is a technology that was invented to help people share information by connecting with one another.
Think about it, when you send or receive emails, what is the content of those emails? Information right? Ok. Let’s go deeper. What about when you update your facebook and twitter status, what are you sharing? Information right? Now to the very obvious one, when you visit Google, what are you looking for? Information right?
There you are, at the core of all that you do online whether it is sending and receiving email, chatting through yahoo messenger, Skype or on facebook, twitter, LinkedIn and even watching videos on YouTube, everything involves information. All your activities on the internet involves two major things; you are either giving [sharing, sending or creating] or getting [receiving, downloading or consuming] information.
Information is the foundation of on which your internet marketing efforts will be built. When people go online, they are not going to get to you by tuning to a TV channel or radio station or see your ad in a paper. No!
They are going to find you by searching for information. And guess what? Blogging is the most effective tool for creating and disseminating valuable information online in order to capture the attention of your target customers.
So your first task in using a blog to build a business is to clearly define what your business is or will be about [Value Creation].
Blogging is NOT their business as it might seem. Their business is providing informal education and tools required for successful blogging. Meaning, they sell expertise and resources on a subject which happens to be blogging.
All bloggers are not in this category and this is the tricky part and the origin of this whole misconception about blogging being a business.
You need to define your business and that begins with the problem [value] you are helping people solve.
So going back to the most important business question according to management guru Peter Drucker; what is your business?
This is the question you need to clearly answer before you begin blogging [marketing and selling].
Over To You
So what are you doing online; blogging or building a business?
Share your comments below. Thanks!
To learn more about how to use a blog to find, attract, convert and retain profitable customers, head over to differentiate online; the complete internet marketing solution for smart businesses!™