This post was guest written by Derek Beauchemin of DerekBeau.com
Maybe you’ve been blogging for a while, but aren’t sure how to take your work to the next level. Sure, people are reading, they post occasional comments, people tell you they’re “entertained by”, “informed by”, or “amused by” your postings. So what now? Well, one option is to consider selling products through your blog.
Now, before you dismiss the idea as too cumbersome, take a deep breath. We’re not talking about warehouses full of products and setting up a shipping department. Here are a few options for you to consider that will make selling products through your blog quickly and easily!
1. Branded Merchandise
This really only works if you have a strong brand for your blog (think “Pink is the New Blog” or “Boing Boing”). At the very least, you will need an attractive logo or design that people want to show off.
With Café Press, you can put your message on a variety of objects, from T-Shirts to coffee mugs to sweaters for your dog (yes, really). Then, you can sell the items you’ve created, leaving the printing of the item, collection of funds, and shipping to the good people at Café Press. You set the price for your items and collect the difference between what Café Press will charge you for each piece and the price at which you’ve sold your masterpiece.
You aren’t charged anything until an item is sold. So, if you’re known for a particularly funny or memorable tag line, image on your site or overall message, convert that in to a sellable item, link to Café Press from you blog and tell your readers to buy it.
2. Creating and Selling a Digital Report
You’ve probably identified an important trend in your blog at some point, right? Take a couple hours to expand upon that material (consider creating about 10 to 15 pages), convert it into a PDF, and make it available for sale through a link from your blog. Simply send buyers the PDF (or a link) – no shipping to worry about at all! If you aren’t currently set up to receive payments online, consider PayPal as a free, easy option that will allow people to post funds directly to your account. You might also want to consider SecureDelivery as a way to collect payments and protect your downloads.
3. Creating and Selling Printed Booklets
Chances are you have dozens, possibly even hundreds, of great blog entries. You could use LuLu to convert those entries into a physical “tips booklet” for sale online without having to deal with printers or graphic designers. Your first step will be to review everything you’ve written and see how you can organize your posts into categories (hey, your tags might do the trick). Then, put your best material into one of the formats provided on the Lulu.com site, price it how you deem appropriate, and post a link from your blog. Your booklet will be printed and shipped on an “on-demand” basis and, like Café Press, Lulu will pay you the difference between what you charged and their set fee.
4. Recording Audio/Video Training Courses
Some people don’t like to read. They would much rather watch or listen to information. This can be easily applied to any type of how-to or training blog. Simply use your existing content to create a complete training package. Record everything as videos, screencams, and MP3s. If there are people interested in your niche, I can guarantee you there are people willing to pay for create multimedia content.
Will People Really Buy This Stuff?
You’re first reaction might be “Why would I post the material from my blog in a hard copy booklet?” or “Why would someone want to buy a [insert name of your blog here] t-shirt.” That’s really up to you, isn’t it? If your message is compelling, people will want to receive it in a variety of formats. Why do people buy T-shirts that say “Just Do It” or buy books that are available for free online? There are many reasons, but one of the main reasons is because they like something tangible – and you can turn your words of wisdom into something tangible through the ideas noted above.
Selling these kinds of items won’t work for every niche, but if you can make them work in your’s, you could stand to make a substantial amount of money from them.