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Guest Post: Can your blog pay your rent? How to turn a platform into profit

This is a guest by Matt Cheuvront @LifeWithoutPants. He’s an incredible connector of people so stay tuned tomorrow for my interview with him.

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What has your blog done for you lately? This is a question I open almost every conversation I have with a fellow blogger. Why? Because if you don’t know what your blog is doing for you, why are you doing it?

I set out with my blog, Life Without Pants, almost exactly one year ago from today. Since then, my blog has become anything and everything but a blog. It’s become a outlet for a communication, a hub of collaboration, and a platform for opportunity both personally and professionally that I would have never imagined.

So the next question is, “how”? How am I making more money through my blog than I was at my nine to five? How was I able to gather over 50 people to collaborate on an ebook? And how was I able to write over 200 posts in the past year without getting burned out? Here are three ways to turn your blog into a living, breathing, thriving community that can carry you into a whole new world of opportunity.

The more I read, the better I write. It’s as simple as that. Inspiration cannot be forced, it just happens – usually randomly – when you least expect it – and don’t have a pen to jot notes down. But more than anything else, my inspiration comes from reading – reading books, reading blogs, just getting out there and becoming a sponge for good content. RSS readers are your friends, your local Borders is a sweet hangout on the weekend. Never underestimate the power of reading.

In fact, go try it right now – go read a chapter of that book sitting on the shelf that you haven’t picked up in months – I can almost guarantee, in 15 minutes or less, you’ll have come up with an idea for something to write about on your own blog.

Stay consistent

The quickest way to lose people is to lose your rhythm. If you post on Tuesday’s and Thursday’s – stick with that, don’t rock the boat too much – don’t post every day one week and then nothing for the next three week – space things out, pace yourself, or you’ll run the risk of burning yourself out FAST and losing your community in the process.

Let your “people” do the talking

Self promotion is a part of the marketing process – I don’t care what anyone tells you, at some point in their career or tenure as a writer, they too were a self-promoting maniac vying for attention. But…don’t overdo it, and when you can, whenever possible, let others do the talking for you. Plant a seed here or there, and let other’s take it and run with it.

For example – I offer a plethora of design and consulting services. But you don’t see me pimping myself out 24/7 – it’s more of an afterthought – and somehow, with no promotion on my end, the next several months are booked with clients – all who have found me through word of mouth. If I never have to market myself and self promote my services a day in my life, I will be a happy man. Besides, people trust their friends more than they trust you.

Just write

This is the big one. I talk to a TON of bloggers behind the scenes – and over and over again I hear the same thing. People don’t know what to write about. They want to turn their blog into a business of some sort, so they think they have to write about just that. “If I’m going to be a Social Media consultant, I have to write about nothing but Social Media”.

This is wrong, dead wrong. Maybe you shouldn’t write about your dog Cowboy every other day or the bad date you had last weekend (if you are trying to keep things somewhat professional) but you DO NOT have to pigeon-hole yourself into writing about one specific topic. The key is to write, write well, write consistently, be engaged in conversation, and build relationships.

Whew, that was a mouthful, but I promise, it can be done by every single one of you reading this. If you’re not blogging already – you should be – if you’re not getting anything your blog – you should be. It’s up to you to define what your purpose is and then run with it.

There’s nothing sweeter than doing what I love, meeting all of you amazing people, networking like crazy, grabbing coffee with people I respect and admire, writing about my passions, and having that turn into something I can call “work”. It doesn’t get much better than that.

Want to learn more about Matt Cheuvront & see how far the rabbit hole goes? Subscribe to the Life Without Pants RSS feed & follow him on Twitter to keep in touch!

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