This week the WPBeginner team was at Affiliate Summit East in Philadelphia. While there, we had the opportunity to view a number of fantastic sessions. One such focus was on creating authority blogs and a passive monthly income. This was a panel presentation moderated by our own Syed Balkhi. The three panelists, John Chow, Zac Johnson, and John Rampton shared their experiences and takeaways from their combined 30+ year of experience.
A primary goal of the talk was to discuss making and maintaining an authority blog. As a panel, the group emphasized that authority blogs begin with quality content that fills a need within the community. The importance of a devoted user base cannot be underestimated. Regarding how to gain followers and a user base, the panel outlined social media, guest blogging, and participating in the communities of other websites as avenues to growing a fan base. For some of the panelists, this dedication to participating in other communities not only increased their user base, but also helped them to find platforms for syndication and cross promotion once their brand was established. For many on the panel, they were unaware of their blog’s authority status until others within their respective communities reached out to them for help or guidance. This also translated into recognition from not only a user base, but mainstream media (newspaper, television) for the presenters.
Many people strive for the internet dream of making money while you sleep, a truly passive income. Many online “gurus” will say: if you want to be rich, then just setup a website and start blogging.
However, the take away from this panel is that passive income from blogs does not mean no time spent working. All of the panelists indicated that they spent hours online (up to 12+ hours a day) creating content and engaging with others. Did you expect anything less? Creating a successful blog takes hard work. However, the passion they had for their work made this time enjoyable.
Despite the long hours, the panel reported spending little time on the actual day to day operations of their site, thanks in large part of automating time consuming processes through invited guest posts and advertising management plugins. The majority of the panel’s time online was devoted to engaging with others and launching new projects.
According to this panel, reoccurring income is possible without doing a lot of extra work which is what these experts consider smart passive income from blogs. The panelists recommended creating and segmenting an email list to maximize your ability to reach out to your audience when you are promoting products you believe in. Creating and reviewing products with affiliate systems was also recommended, as in some cases reviews from the past (as far as five years) were still generating revenue thanks to quality posts. Some products promoted by these affiliate such as Aweber offered recurring commission for life.
Regarding income, the panel reported advertising, affiliate marketing, and creating products was large part of their income. The recommendation for beginners was to start out with Google Adsense and slowly shift to private ad networks. This will allow you to get a better revenue share. Then slowly eliminate the middle man by working out direct deals with the advertiser. Product reviews, case studies, and recommendations were also endorsed as a revenue streams. The panel emphasized that you need to focus on products that are relevant to your audience and that you yourself use as you are the ambassador for your brand.
Secrets to Success and Panel Recommendations
The panel shared some secrets for success that they recommend that we have outlined for you below.
- Make and maintain relationships in real life and online. Relationships are not only important to promote and stimulate growth, but it helps to bolster you when you find yourself recovering from a mistake. Having a network of others at your level of development is important to keep your spirits up and to help set up expectations for yourself.
- Be passionate in what you do. Every panelist expressed only being able to move forward through failure and challenges because they are exceedingly passionate in what they do and because they fought hard to become the best they could be in their niche.
- Creating amazing content is still the best thing you can do for your blog. This extends to social media content too. The panel conceptualized Twitter, Facebook, and other avenues are simply the arteries and veins from the heart of your blog. The join of social media is to send out your content and bring back users, so ensure that every step along the way is quality.
- Failure is inevitable. Every successful person will have numerous projects that fail or fail to live up to expectations. Take this in stride and find support in others to keep you moving. And never forget to reward yourself. Small rewards for accomplishing the steps along the way can help you reach your big dreams. Your net worth is not your self worth.
- Remember that your personal brand is important. People will search for you and see if you really are who you say you are.
There were tons of great lessons learned from this panel. This was a fairly full room with tons of great questions. We hope that you liked our summary of this panel at Affiliate Summit. If you have more questions, then you can ask our founder Syed Balkhi on his twitter (@syedbalkhi).
If you want to attend this event, they are having the next one in Las Vegas on January 12-14, 2014. Book your tickets because the event solds out fairly fast.