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Train of Thought

June 14th, 2007 · 8 Comments

I’ve just got back from Newcastle having spent the day doing some corporate role play. It’s always strange for me to be back in the corporate environment having left it nearly five years ago to pursue my acting career and it’s even stranger being on the “other side”, if you know what I mean. It’s great fun, though, because I get to play an awkward customer or a disgruntled employee – basically be an objectionable twat – and get paid for it!

Anyway, it’s a six hour round trip on the train from London so I printed out my copy of Blog Profits Blueprint to read on the way. Whilst I’d already read it online, I’m one of those old fashioned people that like to read things off the page. Besides, I take more in when I make notes as I go along.

Just before the train left Kings Cross, one of the other role players got on the train and sat next to me. After the usual pleasantries, she asked me what I was reading. The resulting conversation reminded me that sometimes we take things for granted and that it’s probably losing us money.

One of the first things she asked me after I’d given her a quick synopsis was “What is a blog?“. This seemed like such a ridiculous question to me. How could anyone not know what a blog was? Sure, she’d heard the term but didn’t really understand what it meant so I explained how a blog works and that one of the reasons people were turning to blogging was to make money.

How do they do that?” she asked me. “Do people pay them to write?“. I took a deep breath and gave her my elevator pitch on affiliate marketing. The look on her face was a picture! She had no idea that this multi billion dollar industry existed.

I went into a bit more detail and she started getting excited by Yaro’s concept of recursive affiliate income. “So you’re telling me that I can make money every month by just writing a few times a week?“. I told her that it wasn’t quite as easy as that but, yes, that’s the gist of it. You need to put a heck of a lot of effort into it but the rewards are there if you’re prepared to roll up your sleeves and get stuck in. I told her how I was getting money each month from Text Link Ads by simply displaying a couple of ads on my sites. I ran through my plans to start offering sports equipment through my cricket blog by using an online wholesaler and touched on the long tail approach by telling her about my new project which will be very niche focused.

She’s an established jazz musician so I suggested blogging about her band, using it to publicise upcoming gigs, giving advice to newcomers into the industry as well as dropping affiliate links to music stores, CDs, books and such like. I touched briefly on search engine optimisation but I think I lost her once I started to mention anyone apart from Google. She was looking at me as if I’d grown an extra head…

Anyway, to cut a six hour round trip short, I think that we often forget that not all of our readers are as web savvy as we are. The whole disclosure argument is a good example. Rand and Shoe approach the argument from the perspective of people deeply involved in the industry. In the past I’ve assumed that readers on my sites will see an affiliate link or a review and instantly dismiss it as being just that – an affiliate link.

My role player colleague wouldn’t know an affiliate link if it came up and smacked her in the face with a wet haddock.

Providing you are linking out to products or services which you genuinely believe will benefit your readers, you can sleep at night. The fact that you get recompensed as a result will go unnoticed to the vast majority of your readers. If you are providing them with access to a service which fulfils a requirement then it’s happy days all round.

Going back to my old roots in the corporate world, there was a saying that I heard in a gazillion meetings, training courses and conferences and it came back to me today on a train journey from Newcastle to London.

Never assume. It makes an ass out of u and me.

Tags: Making Money Online

8 responses so far ↓

  • John // Jun 15, 2007 at 9:52 am

    Great post, it’s easy to take it for granted that everyone know’s what we do about the Internet.

    Personally I think disclosure is more likely to confuse most people so you’re better off only promoting products or services that you believe in.

  • Terinea Weblog // Jun 15, 2007 at 3:26 pm

    Interesting train journey.

    Its always hard explaining the concept. I try mention the word blog until the end.

    Does your company website have journal like format on which you can engage your customers and up date it very easily on daily basis, the technology and concept is called blogging/blog/weblogs.

    Jamie

  • Mike // Jun 15, 2007 at 5:58 pm

    John – For sites where Joe Public are the primary visitor I definitely agree with you; it causes more confusion than anything. For this site, though, I’m starting to think that maybe there’s some merit in it.

    Jamie – Thanks for stopping by. She had an idea of what a blog was but couldn’t correlate her idea of a blog (i.e. an online diary) and making money. An interesting train journey indeed. By the way – love the Beer 2.0 logos!

  • Yaro // Jun 16, 2007 at 10:54 pm

    Lol – The old “What’s a blog?” question.

    We really do live in an very small echo chamber in the blogosphere. most people on this planet don’t know what a blog is.

    Great post!

    Yaro

  • Mike // Jun 19, 2007 at 10:44 am

    Thanks for stopping by, Yaro. I hope everything is going well and that you’re ready for the launch.

  • Mike // Jun 26, 2007 at 12:02 am

    Another good example of the fact that we often get so wrapped up in our own worlds that we forget that not everyone has the first idea of what we’re talking about.

    The SEOs Guide to Beginners

    Must admit that I’ve been guilty of a couple of them in client meetings 😳

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