3 Brands That Are Blog First, Business Later (Yet Still Are Turning a Major Profit)
By Aaron Agius
There was a time when marketers used blogging as a way to manipulate search engines and artificially inflate rankings. By churning out subpar content and accumulating dubiously sourced backlinks, you could make your site more visible than your competitors—regardless of whether or not this visibility was warranted.
Fortunately, Google has been clamping down on SERP gamesmanship in recent years and is now only rewarding sites that put out high-quality content. If your articles don’t genuinely help and educate people, don’t expect to use blog writing as a way to successfully market your business. It’s impossible to be effective with blogging if you don’t have a genuine desire to help people.
When I read my favorite blogs, I can get lost for hours in the content. When articles are written with the intention of helping and educating, I’m left with a warm impression of the brand and this often leads to a financial transaction somewhere down the road.
Here are three examples of businesses that prioritize blogging, yet still make a great profit:
As a successful entrepreneur and investor, Neil Patel was already making a great living before he founded Quick Sprout. Ironically, he set up his blog to impart his marketing knowledge rather than to make money—yet this endeavor proved to be extremely lucrative too.
Neil’s primary method for monetizing Quick Sprout is to generate leads for his SEO consulting business. Because Neil charges premium rates for consulting, his services aren’t accessible to the average Quick Sprout reader. However, because Neil’s articles are incredibly actionable and help both solopreneurs and multinational corporations, his content gets shared far and wide. This results in massive brand exposure and instead of having to pitch to high-end clients that Neil likes to work with, they find him first.
Neil explains his client acquisition strategy succinctly: “A lot of my best customers come from my blog. They’re reading a blog post, like: ‘This guy seems smart. Let’s hire him!’”
The lesson here is if you relentlessly publish and promote high-value content that changes people’s lives for the better, customers will come out of the woodwork looking to hire you. And because of Neil’s status as a marketing expert, huge brands like AirBnB and Intuit seek him out and hire him.
Smashing Magazine exemplifies the ethos of educate first, monetize second.
Designers and web developers can browse Smashing Magazine’s free content for hours and gain plenty of actionable insights. In addition to technical tips, there are plenty of articles which pertain to winning jobs and marketing yourself, which is an under-discussed element of this industry.
Because designers and web developers view this magazine as a source of high-quality educational content, they’re happy to opt into the mailing list and check back whenever new articles are posted.
Since Smashing Magazine has a precisely defined core reader (designers and developers), it’s easy for it to offer products that this audience will resonate with. The pain points are common, as are the ambitions, goals, and values.