April Interviews Michael Martine of “Remarkablogger”
November 4, 2008 by April
If you’ve been hanging around in the blogging world for a while, you probably have a few favorite blogs and there may be some professional bloggers who you admire. I can think of at least six just off the top of my head. If one of those six bloggers recommends a product or shares some advice, I am more likely to act on their suggestions because I trust them and I value their opinions.
One of these six bloggers is Michael Martine of Remarkablogger. Michael has made a career out of blogging and even provides coaching and consultations to aspiring pro bloggers. I’ve had the pleasure of connecting with Michael on Twitter and he was gracious enough to agree to answering a few questions for me about profitable blogging. I’m very excited to be able to share his responses here with you.
April: Michael, for our readers who are not familiar with ‘Remarkablogger’, can you tell me just a little about your blogging experience, such as when you started blogging, how you started making money from blogging, and what kinds of topics you cover at Remarkablogger?
Michael Martine: I started blogging in 1999 or 2000 on Blogger, and I simply loved it. I had a personal blog and nobody was really monetizing their own blogs back then. I had a web design business and an unrelated blog. Google AdSense changed everything. It really kicked off a revolution: anybody could make money simply by slapping some ads on their blogs, easy-peasy. I had a video blog (which no longer exists) that was getting great traffic as a result of being on Blogger’s “buzz” list for 3 weeks. I put ads on it and began to learn about ad optimization. At one point, that blog made about $400 a month.
Remarkablogger is a much different story. It began as a blog to showcase my blogging skills and expertise in order to get hired to advise people and to design and set up blogs. It was a real business, in other words, and the purpose of the blog was to market the business. I became known for having the business marketing angle more than the “problogging” angle. I cover topics such as planning for your blog, converting readers into buyers, increasing traffic, and search optimization (so you’re found in search engines).
April: Based on your experience then, what would you say are the most over-rated and under-rated methods of making money from blogging?
Michael Martine: The most over-rated is advertising. Unless you’re managing ad sales directly with advertisers and have more than 1,000 visitors a day, advertising just doesn’t do much for you. Automated advertising, such as AdSense, is the worst.
The most under-rated method of monetizing your blog is sponsorships. Getting sponsored by a company can be situation that creates good will towards the company without the “sleaze” factor you sometimes have from advertising. Just make sure when you approach a company to sponsor you that in the negotiations you spell out that your content cannot be a mouthpiece for the sponsor or be directly influenced by the sponsor. Just thank the sponsor on a regular basis and if you want to mention what they sell or do, that’s completely up to you.
April: Excellent suggestion! I’m sure there are a few Mommy bloggers out there who may not have realized that sponsorship was an option. So then what’s the best advice you would give to someone who is new to “profitable blogging”?
Michael: Don’t worry about the profit at first. Build your audience by providing content they can’t live without. Become the best writer and content producer you can. Learn about copywriting and content marketing. But most importantly of all: build your personal network. On the web, this is done by commenting on other blogs and using social media sites like StumbleUpon and Twitter. Although it may be intimidating, learn the technical stuff. Learn some HTML, CSS, and how to use an FTP program.
After you have begun to build up an audience that is trusting and loyal, you can learn from them what they want. That’s how you will know how to monetize, and your efforts will naturally fit your blog and be more successful.
April: Michael, what’s the biggest mistake you see bloggers make when they’re trying to monetize their blog?
Michael: Not treating the blog as a business. Businesses make money by selling stuff at a profit. Thinking in terms of advertising is painfully limiting in this light. Sure, you can sell advertising, but generally you’ll make much more money by selling products and services. And on the web, what defines a product or service is a very much limited only by a lack of imagination.
Thank you, Michael, for taking the time to share your experience and knowledge with us. PMB readers, I hope you found this information helpful and if you have any questions at all, please don’t hesitate to ask. Remember, there is no such thing as a stupid question!