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Today you will learn:
While you may assume that because my headline contains the word “blogging” I’m going to tell you how to reach those income figures in any industry, that’s sadly not the case. This update is just going to focus on a very specific niche that only a few people will be able to have success with. There are literally only about 100 places available on the entire web for people to be successful with this angle. A lot less if you only include the English language. Really.
I know it would be nice if all ideas I share would be able to apply to all people in all industries, but I couldn’t do that with this topic. However, I think it would be a shame not to share something I would love to do myself just because not everyone can make money from it. After all, it’s still an idea I have that I don’t have time to implement, and the income potential is through the roof.
The headline for this series update was inspired by Neil Patel of QuickSprout.com. A ViperChill reader recently asked me what I thought of his challenge to make $100,000/m with a brand new blog. I hadn’t seen his goal prior to being asked about it but found the concept interesting. Neil hasn’t started the challenge yet so there’s not much to say on how he’s going to tackle things, but if he truly isn’t going to leverage his current audience in any way – and the site is not just going to make money from advertising and not really “blogging” – then I think he has one HELL of a challenge on his hands.
I don’t think his industry choice will let him down though: Neil is attempting to reach $100,000/m revenue in 12 months from a blog in the nutrition industry. Fat loss and dieting has to be one of the top three industries online for making money so a subset of that no doubt has the potential audience for him to reach those income goals.
The hard part is whether or not Neil will stick to it. I have a bad feeling that he liked the idea of doing this project far more than he’ll enjoy working on his case study site. Unless he totally loves that industry, works on the site pretty much full-time (which he can’t because he runs other businesses) and knows some big secrets nobody else does, it will be a struggle.
Of course, I hope he does succeed, because doing so – without leveraging his current audience or wealth – would surely teach me, you and countless others some things we didn’t know about blogging and internet marketing.
If I was going to challenge myself to reach $100,000/m this year (so, in less than 8 months) from blogging, what would I do? Well, I wouldn’t be building a nutrition blog because I have very little interest in that topic. Instead, I would build a blog to teach people about a specific ad platform and become the “guru” for that network.
Why? Because on networks like Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram (the latter two rolling out more this year), advertisers will be spending hundreds of millions and even billions of dollars to create profitable campaigns for themselves and clients. There will be zero hesitation on their part to put money towards educating themselves about a specific network, especially if that education can lower their ad spend, increase conversions or all of the above.
What’s $1,000 on a training course when they’re spending $5,000 per week on ads anyway? Just three sales per day and you’ve hit $100,000/m.
Of course, there’s a bit more to it than some simple (hopeful?) maths, so let’s get into some more detail.
The above screenshot is from AdEspresso, a SaaS (Software as a Service) offering that allows you to optimize your current Facebook campaigns. It wouldn’t be fair to say they’ve made their income from their blog because it’s clearly not the main focus of their site, but their blog is a good example of how to give massive value to readers and then enlighten them on your related services.
Trying to become the next Facebook expert through blogging is probably not worth it by now. Sure, you could start a blog on Facebook Advertising and attempt to become the guru for that platform but it will not be easy. For starters, most of the things you are going to write about will have been written before.
Where I think the beauty lies in this Niche Ideas update today is the available seats on the experts panel for other networks where people are spending (or are about to spend) unfathomable amounts of money.
They include platforms like:
Now that you have a grasp of the niche I would enter myself to in order to build a successful blog and the limited but exciting angles available, let’s look at one in a little more detail.
In the last few years I’ve came across the name Mari Smith on various blogs but never associated her with Facebook until doing additional research for this series. As it turns out, she’s managed to brand herself as the “Queen of Facebook” and many big marketing sites are happy to call her that.
Buffer – the popular SaaS tool that allows you to find the best times to share your content on social media – featured her story of going from $50 in her pocket to over 500,000 social media followers. In their interview with her it’s interesting to see how much was going on in her life when she decided to make a real go of advertising on Facebook, “it was clear that my marriage was coming to an end right around the same time I got introduced to Facebook and decided to switch from online marketing to Facebook marketing.”
In comments later it’s clear she has a good grasp of the network and the problems people face when looking to use it, “I think the challenge is that people are not having enough of a shift of mindset being able to just accept, ‘OK, Facebook is pay-to-play now. I need to get smart about ads; I need to get some training, set aside a budget for it’.”
One of my favourite podcasters, John Lee Dumas, also had her on the show and of course used that moniker, ‘Queen of Facebook’.
Her own Facebook page, /MariSmith/, is just shy of 150,000 fans as I write this. I especially like that she is more than happy to regularly share the links of her “competitors” which really just enforces her authority status on the platform.
I couldn’t find anything public about Mari’s income from her guru-like status around Facebook advertising but let’s just say she undoubtedly makes a very healthy full-time income from her knowledge of the platform. After all, three of the four products she sells on her website are Facebook related and just the first two I clicked on will both set you back $225.
If you decide to put this idea into action, I recommend looking at other places she has been able to get people talking about her on the web because it’s clearly working.
The first name I think of when it comes to people who have made themselves well known as an expert on Facebook advertising is Jon Loomer. Jon has put years of hard work into his site to make it the ultimate resource for all things Facebook. He not only covers the dimensions your images should be on ads in handy infographics but also goes into strategy, like whether buying Likes is even worth it when organic reach is down.
While I don’t really like to estimate what people are making without some official numbers to back it up, I’ll take a stab and say that Jon is doing around $50,000/m profit (minimum) from his authoritative status on Facebook advertising. My number doesn’t just come from knowing he has a huge audience (85,000 Facebook Likes who are very active) but because of his skills in selling his many products through video and webinars.
Here’s just a few of the things that generate revenue for Jon via his site:
Now here’s probably the most interesting part for all of you who think this idea has potential but you’re not sure if you can become an expert on one of these networks.
I paid Jon $397 for a phone call without seeing a single profitable Facebook campaign that he has ran. (Due to demand, his prices have now increased).
I have read dozens of blog posts on his site but have never seen any mention of him making a lot of money from Facebook advertising outside of teaching Facebook advertising.
While that’s the case, the phone call with him was totally worth it for me. He didn’t give me any hidden secrets about Facebook that they reserve for a special few or anything like that, but simply enlightened me about features of their platform I either didn’t know about or didn’t know how to use.
If you’re going to have success with this, you don’t have to do much more than that. I’m spending thousands of dollars per month on Facebook; if you show me just one thing about the platform that can help me, I’ll perceive your time and advice as very valuable.
When writing this post the first example I wanted to give you for a site that covered Facebook in-depth was AllFacebook.com. I remember a few years ago I used to read their site quite a lot – it always came up in Google search results – for anything to do with Facebook updates and changes, particularly regarding Facebook Ads.
I was quite surprised to see that the site in its old format no longer exists, but there is a happy ending: The company was the flagship property of Nick O’Neill’s Social Times brand which was purchased by WebMediaBrands.
I can’t work out how or where Adweek come into this but it looks like the Social Times brand is now an Adweek property.
When pushing for juicy information about the acquisition, here’s what TechCrunch had to say, “O’Neill couldn’t comment on the acquisition price, but says that he is pleased with the deal.” All we know is that he was given the resources to hire at least 10 more full-time writers, so that acquisition fee would probably have made any of us reading this very wealthy people.
After all, WebMediaBrands are no small company. Just prior to the acquisition of AllFacebook.com and the smaller AllTwitter.com they sold Internet.com for $18 million.
As mentioned earlier in this article, AdEspresso are not really a blogging company. While they did receive a $500,000 seed investment in 2013, I’m not going to lie and tell you that was probably because of their awesome Facebook-focused blog.
The offer a service which allows small to medium business owners to optimize their Facebook campaigns. However, they do have a really great blog as well, and there’s no doubt it has been successful at attracting new users to their service.
There’s no reason you can’t start out with a blog on Facebook or Instagram or Reddit and then venture out into software yourself either. That’s the beauty of this idea: Position yourself as an expert, reap the rewards from social and search traffic, and then promote whatever you like to that audience.
Who knows, you might be creating the next AdRoll ($89m in investment for Facebook remarketing) or Perfect Audience (backed by Y-Combinator) with a similar offering.
A strange sub-heading, I know. but bear with me. Throughout this series I really want to refrain from covering anything that is specifically “make money online” related. I will never tell you to go and start an internet marketing blog to teach other people internet marketing. Though, of course, you’re free to do so.
This reasoning is primarily why I put this Dark Post Profits example last as it is a product aimed at teaching people how to make money online with Facebook advertising. That being said, I believe the creators of the product (now on version 2.0 and around $497) have had a large majority of their financial success outside of teaching how to ‘Make Money Online’.
My business partner Diggy purchased their Dark Post Profits 2.0 product and actually told me about them because (he believes) they talked about doing over 5,000 sales on the launch of their last product (Dark Profits 1.0) which sold for $1,000. However, he can’t remember where he saw that and I can’t find any information on it so I don’t want to say that is a fact.
I guess I’m just writing that story here in the hope someone knows what we’re talking about and might have some information so I can update this section.
I could find however that they were still doing at least $50,000 per week in sales a month after their launch.
I wanted to include this example so you can continue to see the huge income streams people are able to make by figuring out specific ad networks and how there are still huge opportunities out there for networks other than Facebook.
Twitter is only second to Facebook in the English-speaking social network stakes and has 288 million active users. While there are tens of thousands of generic blog posts on the web about how to make use of Twitter advertising there is not one person (that I can find) focusing solely on helping people to master their advertising network.
It’s not like their advertising platform hasn’t taken off or anything. Thanks to Venture Beat, we can see how many millions are being sent their way for advertising opportunities on the site.
“While the social networking giant’s user growth is slowing, it said today its ad sales for the fourth quarter were $432 million, up 97 percent year over year.
Twitter also said it had total revenues of $479 million for Q4.
In its Q4 earnings release, which the company put out just minutes ago, Twitter said its global ad revenues for the quarter came in at $2.37 per 1,000 timeline views, its standard engagement metric. That was up 60 percent from a year earlier. For the quarter, mobile ad sales accounted for 88 percent of the total, up from 85 percent in the third quarter.”
That is huge.
Yet, I can’t find a single blog dedicated to mastering Twitter advertising like you can with Facebook.
Let me say that one more time if this idea still hasn’t totally sunk in just yet.
Even though $5.3 million dollars is being spent on Twitter advertising every single day*, I can’t find a single person who has emerged as an expert trying to help people get the most out of their ad spend. This blows my mind.
*I do know that advertising does not make 100% of their revenue but it’s pretty damn close, leaving me to do the calculations with the base numbers
If I had nothing else going on, that would be my sole focus for the rest of this year. In just a month or two I believe I could figure out enough about the network – that first time advertisers will have no clue about – which would position me as a guru in advertising on their platform.
While a lot of that advice would be given away for free to give value to my audience and show my credibility, you can bet I would keep some of that back for paid membership sites, video courses, private consulting and the like.
And since I put the time in to figure it out (hypothetically), I deserve it.
@ViperChill BTW you tried Tw Ads? Really good traffic but can't seem to get my CPC down to FB levels.
— Ramsay (@BlogTyrant) April 6, 2015
When well-known bloggers ($20 AUD please Ramsay) are confused about Twitter advertising and want to know how to take it to the next level you can see there’s a huge gap in the market.
Side note: If there is a blog dedicated to Twitter advertising already and I missed it, they’re doing a terrible job with marketing ;).
Earlier in this post I listed a few more opportunities for this angle, such as creating a blog ready for a possible Snapchat advertising platform, helping advertisers get more out of LINE or helping people who spend money with Stumbleupon. To be totally honest with you, I would ignore them.
Why waste money on getting ready for Snapchat advertisers if they may monetise their app with paid features or a subscription service like Tinder. LINE are very secretive about their ad prices and advertiser results so even getting your own data to test would be difficult (especially because big brands get the most out of the exposure). And while StumbleUpon did $40m in revenue in 2013, it’s estimated only a very tiny fraction of that is profits, meaning they just aren’t reaching enough advertisers who have found value in their platform.
The big five that I would focus on if you’re going to do this are:
I can’t recall a single, notable example of people dedicating blogs to these advertising platforms and doing it well. Pinterest and Instagram might have obvious reasons why there are no dedicated advertising blogs – they aren’t fully live yet – but they will be eventually.
As an aside, I know there are big social networks in other countries that people use such as QQ in China and Badoo for Latin audiences. If there are other opportunities you see for this to do well in your own country or language, of course, feel free to do so. In fact, I highly recommend it as it will be easier to position yourself as an expert.
If one network or angle (media buying on blogs, for example) comes to mind and you’re ready to roll with this, here would be my plan of attack…
If you’re going to be perceived as an expert in any correct interpretation of the word then you cannot base your advice and recommendations on second-hand sources. While I agree there are things other people have uncovered about certain ad platforms that you will find useful, you have to be testing things for yourself.
For example, you’re going to look really stupid if you start a blog about Twitter advertising and tell people to sign-up for an Ad account and assure them they can have their first ad running in minutes. As many people may have found when trying to use Twitter ads, you need to have an active account for quite a while first before you will be approved as an advertiser.
After a few ads have been approved, your ads will start to go live instantly without any approval. This is unlike Reddit Ads, Facebook Ads or any other network I’ve worked with when working on a low budget. These are the kind of details and “cool” things you learn by being an active advertiser on a network.
Now, that doesn’t mean you need to spend tens of thousands of dollars before you have anything interesting to share. You can learn a lot about Facebook’s ad platform with $5-per-day campaigns and you can do the same on Twitter with similar numbers. Keep a small but fair budget and you’ll have advice to share in no time.
While the goal here is of course to build a website that eventually makes money, you are not going to generate an income by selling any products or services without first building up a valuable brand and reputation as an expert in your field. The best way to do that is to give away most of your best information for free.
I am not one to toot my own horn very often but many people have told me I could sell these private niche ideas for a lot of money and they would still be worth it. Yet, here I am on a Sunday night, sitting alone and writing out a niche idea that won’t make me a single penny.
My main focus is just to give readers (that’s you) as much value as possible. While in my situation I can’t really be seen as an “expert niche finder” (well, it’s not the greatest title even if I could) you can be seen as an expert for your chosen industry.
There’s a great quote by Zig Ziglar which goes well with my message here, “You can have everything in life you want, if you will just help enough other people get what they want.”
Help people learn the ropes of a network and give them advice you worked hard to discover, for free. When you help enough people with your value, you’ll start seeing that value being returned. Trust me; this motto has never, ever failed me.
Anyone who has read ViperChill for a long period of time must have been expecting this one: Please have a design that makes people say “This is where I’m supposed to be” when they land on your site. Now, I know there have been studies by various internet marketers saying “ugly websites work” or “ugly websites will get people to click on more ads” and so on. I don’t care. I’m not wrong here: Ignore them.
If you want to build a personal brand as a guru for a specific ad platform, please make sure elements of your design are relevant to the platform you’re talking about.
Now, I’m not talking about making your blog post updates mimic the exact style of a Facebook news feed item – funnily, there are WordPress themes for this – but having subtle hints around your site that make people know that you care so much about the appearance of your site that you must care about your content as well.
For example, if you’re running a blog about Instagram then maybe the design of your navigation bar takes cues from the logo that everyone associates Instagram with. The camera icon which features a top leather- bar with four colourful stripes (red, yellow, blue, green) to the left. Why not have your navigation bar take that same brown leather effect. It’s easy to do and wouldn’t cost a lot if you have no idea how to do that kind of thing yourself.
I’m not saying you have to win design awards; I’m just saying you shouldn’t have a run-of-the-mill theme that millions of other bloggers can download on a whim. Start with a basic framework then make some tweaks to suit the platform you’re blogging about. AdEspresso do a great job with this.
One aspect I know a lot of bloggers like about what they do – myself included – is the opportunity to have your thoughts and words watched by thousands or even millions of people who are interested in the topic you talk about. I guess you could say it appeals to your ego and it’s flattering to have people asking you for interviews or even blessing internet “awards” upon your blog.
With such a narrow focus here, you aren’t likely to have thousands of people coming to your site daily, having tens of thousands of subscribers or building up a 6-figure following on Facebook. Instead, your aim should be for when people decide they are going to start advertising on a certain platform – like LinkedIn or Twitter – to have your name pop-up first in their mind.
And when they’re spending hundreds or thousands of dollars per day and want to improve their results, your products, services and coaching should be where they’re spending money for further education.
To get to that point, you must be constantly looking for sources of news and inspiration to cover that specific ad platform. That could be things like:
And so on and so on.
Basically, you need to be seen as being part of the “pulse” of news around that network. Follow Jon Loomer on Twitter or Mari Smith on Facebook for a great example of this key recommendation in action.
With every niche angle I cover I like to share at least one marketing approach. After all, a website will never make you a penny if you can’t get people to visit it. While I do think there’s a lot in this idea inherently that will help the content market itself (being one of the first to cover a network in such detail), it never hurts to have a lot of marketing options.
What I would do once I’ve figured out a specific platform is let influencers who may talk about me get some advice for free. I would probably just email it off to them directly with advice for their specific situation.
Let’s say I’m focusing on Reddit. I would send over an email to people like Pat Flynn of Smart Passive Income – who is known for linking to great resources – and telling him, for example, that the /r/Entrpreneur sub-Reddit has ad openings for the first time in two months and I think it would help get hundreds of extra subscribers to his podcast for a small fee. I would include a few examples of previous ads as well so he doesn’t have to think too much about the copy to use.
Do remember that this is just an example; I don’t want Pat sending me angry emails because everyone is pitching him on Reddit Ads. Hopefully the idea is clear: Let influential bloggers, in any industry, “in” on the valuable information you’ve discovered about specific networks and how they could help them personally.
Don’t ask for anything in return; just do it. Trust me, if your advice is good, you’ll get the value you’ve given back tenfold. Whether that’s in a blog post mention or when someone emails them for advice on that platform and they recommend you, it will happen.
If I woke up tomorrow with zero credibility and no websites to my name, this is the second thing I would start (after a marketing agency, but we’ll get to that in a few months, this is still gold) on my path to make a lot of money online. At least $100,000/m to be specific.
If you have any doubts about this idea then it’s definitely not for you. If you have little interest in this specific niche idea then don’t attempt to make any headway in it. As I said at the start of this article, there are only around 100 spaces on the web for people to be hugely successful with this and that isn’t a big number at all.
I am aware that my confidence in being able to make money with this idea largely comes from being able to build a lot of successful websites in the past but please don’t get me wrong: I genuinely believe a beginner to making websites and making money online could do very well with this if they’re willing to put the work in.
Because honestly, that’s all it needs.
There are no Pinterest advertising experts out there. The platform has only been out for a few weeks and everyone is still figuring it out. I don’t even have access yet and I signed up to the waiting list more than a year ago.
Instagram ads haven’t even launched to the public yet – just select advertisers – so nobody has had the opportunity to become an expert there either.
LinkedIn Ads have been so expensive for most people from their first campaign that they generally just give up on the platform and look elsewhere to spend their hard-earned money.
While working smart can get better results than someone working hard, just putting in the hours here is enough to get you to the position you want to be in.
As far as monetisation goes, I believe all of the best angles have been covered already in this article: Charge for coaching, membership sites, information products or even hire a programmer to make custom software that advertisers on that platform would pay to use.
Now I will be honest in saying that it will be much easier to hit $100,000 in one month than it would be to hit $75,000 per month for a few months in a row. Why? Because a product launch is going to interest your whole audience but it will take a lot of continual work to get new people paying money again and again for a once-off sale.
I can see why Jon Loomer has his monthly membership option: Subscriptions are the best way to stabilise a high monthly revenue.
My own process would be something like:
While you could launch something with a much lower price point you’re typically looking to attract people who are at a minimum spending $1,000 per month on a specific network (it’s not huge, just $33/day) who understand the value of your hard work in figuring out that platform. Those people are going to be more than willing to pay a % of their monthly ad spend for education which may lower it in future.
I do feel a little bit bad about sharing this idea knowing that it won’t be useful or practical to implement for a large majority of the people who receive my emails. That being said, I like to think that I’m one of the few voices online who will give you specific niches and specific angles to cover that you won’t hear about anywhere else. Sometimes it will be the case that what I say just has nothing to do with your own ventures.
If that was the case today, I hope there is at least something you can take from this that was worth at least skimming through the article for and you’re still willing to stay subscribed to this email list. At the end of the day, if even just one person takes this idea and crushes it – in part because I went into the idea in such detail – then that’s all worth it to me at the end of the day.
You can never please everyone, but I’ll always try and share value in the only way I know how. Thank you, as always, for reading. It means more to me than you’ll ever believe.
P.S. As always, if you have any questions, feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I don’t have an assistant and read every single email myself. If I feel I can help you with your question I will update this page with my answer – just like I did on the last niche idea – and reply to let you know I have done so.
Thank you for reading and I can’t wait to send you the next niche idea.
With every niche idea sent out you’ll see me go back to it now and again to answer any questions received or update people based on any feedback.
Update #1: “Which option do you recommend, blogging with your personal domain name or the name of product name?”
I guess there isn’t too much difference between the two unless your name is really hard to remember or pronounce then use a nickname. After all, Jon Loomer and Mari Smith seemed to do just fine without using a brand name.
My personal preference would be something related to the network, like Twitpress, Instatips or Snewblogger (Snew is the name of the Reddit alien in their logo). I haven’t put much work into these name ideas so I don’t recommend using them. I would personally prefer something related to the network for branding reasons – you might grow the site and have other people working on it – and if you were to sell it in the future it would be much easier if isn’t relying on your personal name.
Update #2: “Do you think I can still work on your idea (becoming an expert in a specific ad network) even though I can’t speak English very well?”
Your English is close enough to being very good Oumar (I fixed your question a little), but I do understand you will have a more difficult challenge for English speaking audiences. Generally I find if people notice a lot of grammatical mistakes in writing they will be put off from your content.
I don’t see any reason why you can’t do this for a French speaking audience though. People in France most certainly advertise on Facebook and it will be even easier to position yourself as an expert there.
I understand your audience potential will be more limited, but the income potential still exists.
Update #3: Chris Record from Dark Profits was kind enough to share his stats
Here’s what he had to say, “If you are just looking for stats on the products, I can give those to you quickly to start things off.
Dark Post Profits 1.0 launched in April of 2014.
There are over 5,500 members, who paid $100 for the course.
The course generated over $500k in revenue in it’s first year, however there were expenses such as running some FB ad campaigns to promote it, as well as paying some affiliates to promote it, so it wasn’t all profit, but it did quite well.
Dark Post Profits 2.0 launched in March of 2015.
There are over 2,500 members, who paid an average of $300 for the course.
The course generated over $800k in revenue in it’s first month, and just like 1.0 there were similar expenses such as running FB ad campaigns and paying affiliates commissions when they promoted it to their lists, but it was still very profitable and members are loving it.
Sales will continue to roll in over the course of the year potentially up to another $1,000,000+ in sales on top of the $800k that came in from the 5 day launch week promotion.”
He also sent screenshot proof of his sales and was very open about being able to answer more questions. Much appreciated, Chris!
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