How To Pick A Profitable Book Topic – Monetize Low-Income Blog Content

Welcome to my “Write a book” series.  Here are all the articles:Create-Space

Article Summary

  • You can make good money from some blog content using Adsense and affiliates.
  • Most natural blog content doesn’t make any money from Adsense and affiliates even if there is demand for that content (search engine traffic).
  • You can’t charge the readers directly for the non-money-making blog content.
  • You need to repackage the non-money-making content into a format where you can charge the readers ie book/ebook/course.
  • Example of evaluating a product topic.

On with the article!

One of the themes of this blog is that if you want to write a blog post that has money making potential from Adsense and affiliates, the topic must be evaluated against the following three criteria:

  1. Demand:  It must be a topic that at least a few people are searching for information on.
  2. Competition:  If there is too much competition in the SERPs (search engine results page), you won’t be able to rank high enough to make any money.
  3. Advertisers:   They have to want to buy ad spots on your post.

Popularity and competition are somewhat basic business concepts which apply to pretty much any kind of business – not just SEO posts.  If you are operating a store, then it should sell something that people want to buy.  If there are already too many stores selling that same product then you probably won’t be successful.

The third idea that you need advertisers to want to buy ads on the post, is not as universal.  Most companies operate using a business model where the client pays the business directly for a product or service.

For example; the business model of a bakery is that the baker creates the product, a client walks into the store, hands over some cash and buys the bread.  There are no other business entities directly involved in the transaction.

But what about a radio station?  They give their product away for free, so how do they make money?  Third party advertisers of course.  Normally when you listen to a sports talk show, you will hear commercials that are often geared towards the supposed audience (men).

Radio station programmers don’t plan talk shows to cover any topic the host wants – they plan the topics to attract an audience that is desirable to potential advertisers.  That’s how they make money.

If you want to make money from blog posts, then you have to do the same thing.  Write about topics that will attract the search engine visitors that advertisers want to be seen by.  If you can accomplish this feat, then you should be able to do well with Adsense and affiliates.

What happens if you like writing about topics that do not attract third party advertisers?

If that is the case, it’s a lot harder to make money.  Adsense and affiliates will probably not perform very well on those posts, even if you are getting decent search engine traffic.  Not all search engine traffic is valuable.

For some reason, which is a mystery to me – it is verboten for online content providers to charge money for their content.  This is quite unfortunate, since there are a lot of interesting topics which are not covered extensively on blogs because there is no way to make money from them.  Conversely, there are a lot of topics that are beaten to death over and over again on many blogs, just because those topics are money makers.

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If it was acceptable for blogs/websites to charge “reading fees”, then the content would be determined by reader demand for topics, and not just the demands of third party advertisers.  However, that is not reality.

My novel (pun intended) solution

Write a book or product on your topic that doesn’t do well with Adsense.  Of course, this idea is not novel at all – I just thought it was a good pun.  Book..novel…ha ha.

In the language of make-money-online bullshitters bloggers everywhere – “Productize your content“.

Of course, a book is not the only product you can create – it can be a physical book, ebook, course/tutorial, presentation and probably many other formats as well.

Why will creating a product make money when my blog doesn’t?

By creating a product to sell, you are essentially charging people to read and learn from your content and expertise.  As I mentioned, it would be easier and more logical if you could just charge your readers directly, but that ain’t gonna happen anytime soon.

How to evaluate your topic for money-making potential in the form of a product you can sell

If you want to create a product that you will charge money for – you have to evaluate the product topic against the following criteria:

  1. Demand:  It must be a topic that at least a few people are searching for information on.
  2. Competition:  If there is too much competition for this product, you won’t make much money.
  3. People want to buy your product.  Does it give them value?

Demand and competition are still factors you have to look at.  If you offer a service nobody wants, or if everyone and their brother is already offering that service – then it will be very difficult to make any money.

The difference is #3 – instead of a blogger relying on third party advertisers to create Adsense income for a post – a blogger selling a product relies on the client to pay for the product directly.   With Adsense or affiliates, a financial transaction takes place between the reader and a third-party company.  With your own product, the financial transaction takes place between you and the reader.

There has to be a financial transaction involved in order for any money to be made.

By selling a product directly to the client, you change your business model from the typical blogging model where third party advertisers provide the revenue, to a more common model where the client provides the revenue.

Specific steps to choose a product topic

  1. Decent search engine traffic
  2. Minimal Adsense or affiliate income
  3. Enough content for a product
  4. Value added for reader?
  5. Will people buy it?

Pick a topic that gets decent search engine traffic.

Search engine traffic should be the first indicator of demand for your product.  If your topic doesn’t get much search engine traffic, that indicates not many people are interested in the topic or there is too much competition.  Either way you won’t sell any product based on that topic.   Do you have several topics that are high traffic/low income?  Start with the highest traffic topic.

Pick a topic with low income

Of course, you can productize a topic that makes good Adsense/affiliates, but that’s not the purpose of this post.  Pick topics that are not making money already.

Pick a topic with enough content

Your product doesn’t have to be huge, but it’s a tough sell if you are offering a book that is only 600 words.  Or a tutorial that is only one 15-minute lesson.  You have to make the product “big” enough to be able to charge for it.

Pick a topic without too much competition

The fact that search engine traffic is decent probably indicates that competition is moderate.   If I wanted to write an ebook/book on a topic then I would try to do some Googling on the topic as well as check Amazon for books on the topic.

Pick a topic that gives a value proposition

When I say “value proposition”, I really mean “saves money for the client”.  I wouldn’t say this step is mandatory, but it’s a lot easier to sell a product if the product promises to save the buyer money.  At the very least, it has to promise some sort of benefit for the buyer.

An example of a potential product

Search engine traffic and income

I know from some blogger friends that posts on natural cleaning products that you make yourself fit the criteria for a potential product.  That topic gets decent search engine traffic (which indicates demand) and very little income from Adsense or affiliates.  If you think about it – what advertiser would want to be seen by someone who is interested in a diy product which doesn’t involve buying anything?  Answer – none.

Ok, so now we have identified a topic that has demand and minimal Adsense and affiliate income.

Competition

Competition is hard to measure – offhand I don’t think diy cleaning products is a hot topic, so I’m guessing there isn’t a ton of competition.  The fact that the posts get good search engine traffic is also a good indicator that competition isn’t too fierce.

Let’s check Amazon.com for some potential book titles using the following searches:

Diy cleaning products
Do it yourself cleaning products
Homemade cleaning products

Those searches indicate that there are books on the topic, but not too many.  I’d say competition is not too heavy.

Enough content?

I think it’s safe to say that there are many possible diy home cleaning products – if you have only written about one or two – then you’ll have to find more and write about them as well.  Content won’t be a problem for this topic.

Does it add value for the reader?

This section can also double for marketing ideas for the product.

  • Save $200 per year on cleaning products by making your own.  Everyone likes to save money.
  • Create environmentally-safe and green cleaning products.  Green is in.
  • Make your own cleaning products that are safer for your family.  I have no idea if this is true, but it sure sounds good.

Go for the long tail

This is really part of the competition section, but it’s worth examining by itself.

The “long tail” is term used by bloggers to refer to search engine queries for very specific items.  For example – I can write a hundred posts with “gold” as the main keyword, and I will never rank high enough for “gold” to get any search engine traffic.  Competition for the keyword “gold” is fierce!

What about “How to store gold in Toronto?” – keywords are “store,gold,Toronto”.  This search is far more specific than just “gold” which means that:

  1. Less competition
  2. Less traffic

Of course, if traffic is too low, then those keywords are useless.

The point is that if you are a blogger, you need to write posts that are more specific so that you aren’t competing with the big boys in your niche.  Same thing with products.  Want to write a book about general personal finance?  Good luck – this field is dominated by huge celebrities like Orman, Bach, Ramsey etc.  Joe Smoe cannot in a million years compete against those guys.  Even big name personal finance bloggers like JD Roth and Trent Hamm would have a hard time against the big names.  Both of those bloggers have written books recently which are probably selling ok, due to the fact they have a large audience.  Outside of reader purchases and reader-influenced purchases (ie a reader telling a friend about the book), it is unlikely they will have many sales from people who have never heard of them before.

How about a book or ebook topic called “Balance your budget using the envelope system”?  That topic is far more specific (long tail) than a general personal finance book.

  • Is there any demand for that topic?  I don’t know – start blogging about it and see if you get any search engine traffic.
  • Competition?  I can guarantee that there will be less competition for that book compared a general personal finance book called “How to improve your finances”.
  • Do you have enough content?  Start writing and find out.
  • Does it add value?  Of course, who wouldn’t want a balanced budget?

Conclusion

If you have blog content which is popular, but doesn’t generate income – consider creating a product that you can sell.

To evaluate a potential blog product consider:

  • Demand
  • Competition
  • Will people buy it?  Does it give them value?

If you are trying to come up with a product topic, then try to be more specific (long tail) rather than more general.

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3 Responses to “How To Pick A Profitable Book Topic – Monetize Low-Income Blog Content”

  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Better Blogging, Nick. Nick said: @MoneySmartsBlog Link doesn't seem to work – http://bit.ly/aRFsls […]

  2. DerekPadula says:

    I’m trying to apply the same principle of what you’re talking about in this post with my book The Dao of Dragon Ball. The book’s blog has articles that are related to the book’s content. They will cross promote one another, as I mention the blog in the book. Hopefully that combination will generate more visitors and sales.

    Nicely written, by the way. You provided a lot of information in bite size portions. Not easy to do.

  3. Mike Holman says:

    Hey Derek – excellent point about cross-promotion. I didn’t think to put that in the post, even though I do it on my blog/book.

    Good luck with your book!