Tuesday, October 5, 2010

How to Deliver ROI to Your Blog While Enhancing It’s Value to Readers!

As some of you know I started this blog about 18 months ago.  Since its inception I have worked feverishly to create content that consistently delivers useful, quality information.  Some of my articles have stimulated some very interesting conversations.  I am honored because you, my readers, have made this blog successful, by embracing it, contributing your comments to the conversations, and sharing my messaging with your social networks.  Thank you for that!

Strategic Vision for McCurry’s Corner

When I began this blogging adventure, I first spent some time developing a strategy for what I wanted to accomplish with it.  It was probably one of the smartest things I did, because it helped me get focused.  In brief, my goals with McCurry’s Corner were to:

  1. Build My Personal Brand — Strengthen my reputation and broaden awareness of my thought leadership across the events profession.
  2. Drive Change in the Meetings & Events Industry — Share new business ideas, technologies and processes with other like-minded people, with the mission of making the events industry better and stronger than before.
  3. Grow my Circle of influence — Expand my network of contacts and build some really meaningful relationships.

Blogging Strategy Centered on Helping People

My blogging strategy, which is centered on helping other people, was built around these goals, and to this day I remain true to this thinking.  One thing missing from my blogging business plan, was any kind of consideration for generating revenue.  In  hindsight, I believe the reason I overlooked this business piece was because I was not sure whether there would be any real sustained value to my blog.  I also had no clue on how to monetize a website.

Recently I have been doing a lot of research, and thinking, regarding how to add an income stream to my blogging effort.  Realistically, I need to see some revenue generated to justify the time and expense of maintaining this blog.  However, I adamantly refuse to compromise on my original blogging promise, which is, first and foremost, to help other people.  That is not going to change!

Delivering ROI to McCurry’s Corner

I have decided, after considerable thinking, and research, the best approach to providing some reasonable level of business results to support this blog is to very selectively participate in some affiliate marketing programs.  In the spirit of full disclosure, affiliate marketing is a marketing practice in which a business rewards one or more affiliates for each visitor or customer brought about by the affiliate’s marketing efforts.

For example, the blog theme I use, Thesis, has an affiliate program available whereby if I refer them business opportunities, by promoting their product, I will be compensated by them, for every business referral.  This is accomplished by utilizing personalized hyperlinks, which identify me as the referring affiliate.  Make sense?

Three Value-Added Features

In the very near future you will see three additions to McCurry’s Corner Blog.  My plan is to add convenient resources to this website, introducing products/services I myself use, or have used, which I find valuable and think you will too.   My commitment to you is:

I will not promote or support any product/service I don’t myself believe in.  Also, the prices offered through the links I provide will be identical to those offered directly by the product/service provider.  There is no markup.

Here is a preview of whats on the horizon:

Lara "Ready2spark" McCulloch

Ready2spark Online Education — Many of you know, or are familiar with Lara McCulloch. (aka @ready2spark on Twitter)  Lara, a brand strategist, social media expert and event professional, is also a veteran of the adult education speaking circuit.  She is now featuring a webinar series, targeted at assisting business people start and grow their online businesses.  I have agreed to assist Lara by providing some affiliate marketing support for these events.

‘Thesis’ WordPress Theme I will add a banner to the upper portion of the sidebar on my blog page, offering readers the option to click on it to preview and purchase the blog theme I use for McCurry’s Corner.  Over the past few months many people have asked me about the theme I use, so I am responding by making access to it available right at my website.

McCurry’s Books of Interest — I plan to add a bookstore link (affiliated with Amazon.com) to the menubar at the top of this page.  I will feature only books that I have read, and recommend, because I found value in them.  In fact, in most cases I will have written about them, or their author, in one of my blog posts.

I am excited about offering these new features to McCurry’s Corner.  I am even more enthused about continuing to write and publish articles that deliver value to you, my readers.  Thanks for bringing life to my blog, as it would not thrive without your participation and readership.

Question:  If you operate a blog, what features have you added to your site that not only delivered more value to its visitors, but generated operating revenue for your website?  What questions do you have about my goals and mission here at McCurry’s Corner.  Please share your thoughts!



Follow Michael McCurry on Twitter

{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Traci Browne October 5, 2010 at 7:44 pm

Good for you Mike! I don’t understand where the notion of everything in the Social Media world has to be for free. I am very appreciative of the content you have provided in your blog and respect your opinions greatly. What I’m trying to say is that if you have a recommendation I’m all ears. I consider you a trusted source.

Reply

Michael M McCurry CMP October 5, 2010 at 8:48 pm

Traci,

thanks so much for your post and for the vote of confidence. That is refreshing.

It will always be my first priority to find a way, with my blog, to help people.

I much appreciate your contribution to the discussion.

Mike

Reply

Dave Lutz October 6, 2010 at 9:32 am

Mike, good for you! I know you would never put your neck out there to make the equivalent of one happy hour cocktail. I’m looking forward to hearing about the results of this effort.

Jeff and I have kicked this around, but are steering clear from affiliate relationships for now. I really think though, that affiliate marketing will get some legs in the conference and event arena. Blogworld has a good model in that space.

Reply

Michael M McCurry CMP October 6, 2010 at 12:19 pm

Hi Dave,

Thanks for your comments.

My goal through exploring with affiliate marketing is to add value for my readers and visitors to this website. That is an important part of the vision. So, it will be interesting to see how it goes.

I really want to go to Blogworld. Just wish I had the time/money to do so.

Some day.

Thanks for contributing to the conversation.

Mike

Reply

Midori Connolly October 6, 2010 at 5:07 pm

Personally I think you should do the webinar #justsayin

As for affiliate marketing, I don’t think it’s a big shocker. I’m with Traci. How does anyone think the biggest blogs out there keep the party going?

And what about Facebook – we willingly subject ourselves to advertising because we know it’s customized to our likes (literally haha). I have clicked through to FB links several times because they were of interest and potential value to me. Smart campaigns such as the Nike Write the Future advertising became so popular because they generate relevant, self-selected content. And that self-selection, customized and social marketing led to them jumping from 1.6 million fans to 3.1 million in ONE WEEKEND!!

But you are, as usual, such a role model for full disclosure and fairness – thanks for the heads up about the changes we can expect the next time we stop by your Corner :)
Midori
@greenA_V

Reply

Michael M McCurry CMP October 6, 2010 at 6:50 pm

Hi Midori,

As usual I appreciate your viewpoints.

Your comments about Facebook are well taken as they are the king of advertising it seems. One thing I will absolutely not do is turn this blog into a commercial for vendors.

What I will do is heighten awareness of very select products and services I come across that I believe in, and then its up to people whether they are interested or not.

I love when you stop by McCurry’s Corner… its always a shiny moment !!

Mike

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