This critique will be useful to you if you believe you are doing all the right things but are still not getting the results you want.
I get a lot of clients come to me with similar situations and many are on the verge of giving up due to this frustration.
Fact is, you could be doing many things right. The design could be lovely, your content great, and you have products and services that people should want. But still no further towards your goals.
What could be going wrong?
Onibalusi ordered a critique for he YoungPrePro.com site and I think he is in the situation I described above. He has good traffic, he has subscribers, Twitter followers, Facebook fans. He has appeared as a guest writer on popular blogs.
His site actually looks great – much better than many.
If he is doing so many things right, why are few people taking up his offers? Why can’t he live the passive income lifestyle that he wants?
Looking around his blog you quickly discover three fundamental issues holding him back, plus a few less critical items. I will start with the foundational pieces:
Uniqueness or Point of Difference
The first thing we need to straighten out is there is an overwhelming sense of “been here before” about the blog.
This is one of the major problems with “doing all the right things” – if you only do what is expected or the “done thing” then why should anyone visit your site? It is just like all the rest. And the rest have been doing it longer and with more to talk about.
So we see
- Make money online content
- Income reports
- “Quit your day job” promises
- “how I make over $3,000 online monthly” ebook
We have seen it all before.
What is fresh? What is new? What will make us take notice?
A unique personality and back story is very important, and he has this going on. But we need more.
You need a hook.
- Be different
- Stand out
- … in a positive and beneficial way
Fill in the blanks in the following statement:
Unlike other _____ blogs, I ________ which means you benefit from ___________
This exercise will make sure you find a point of difference that has a compelling benefit for your audience. It’s not about what you do, what you talk about, it is what they get that they really want and need.
Outcome or Deliverable
Which brings us to the outcome or deliverable.
What is it you show people? What do people get from hanging around your site?
You need to really drill down and define your exact target reader. Who can you most help and who would you most want to work with?
- Do you know the motivating goals of your target audience?
- What is the mission your readers want help with?
- Why would people click through from your guest articles?
The header says “Helping Young Entrepreneurs Change the World” – is that really what your audience wants? Is that a compelling and specific benefit?
Big claims need big proof, which brings us to the next point …
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All of the rest might not matter so much if there was strong proof to back up the claims.
Darren and I see messages all the time from people who follow this logic:
- People are making money blogging
- I want to make money blogging
- The big blogs I see making money blogging blog about making money blogging
- So I will start a make money online blog
- … and one day I will make money blogging
Is this familiar?
What is the crucial step they are missing out?
(Ignoring the fact there are a gajillion blogs out there claiming to help you make money online).
Yes, the problem is you are not going to be able to teach others to make money online until you have made some money online!
Look around at the popular blogs that talk about this stuff.
- I started out back in the mid 1990’s blogging in the programming and IT space. I spent 7 years working for top advertising, direct marketing and branding agencies before starting my own consultancy, and twice I ran online advertising networks.
- Brian was in real estate and is an expert copywriter. Jon Morrow, one of the editors at Copyblogger, also started out in Real Estate.
- Darren’s biggest blog is about photography (makes me feel sick that I sold my own photography blog, heh) and before that he had blogs on all kinds of subjects.
- John Chow has been running a tech site since 1998 and has an associated advertising network.
- David Risley also started with tech and computing stuff.
- Yaro started out with Magic the Gathering amongst other things.
Notice a trend? (Apart from the extreme geekiness, that is)
Yup, none of these folks started out with teaching “Make Money Online” … until they had made some money online!
Why Should Someone Learn this from YOU?
It comes down to WIIFM. What’s In It For Me?
There are all these choices and options out there, why should someone choose you?
What have you done that stands out? Something that someone else would want to learn.
I would say in the case of Onibalusi, there is something in the guest blogging – a great deal of workload and visible experience.
Instead though the claim is that you can help people make thousands of dollars a month! The earning reports are actually working against this claim because essentially Onibalusi has a writing job. My definition of job is where you work exclusively for one employer:
This is due to me signing a contract with my current client not to take additional writing job so for my blog to have brought me over 7 clients I think it is a business and I’m qualified to talk about making money online.
If it is true that you have turned work down, and we have no evidence or testimonials, then you have some credibility to show people how to get freelance writing work. This is a good market that tons of people are getting into every day. Perhaps you could negotiate with your current contract to allow some hours per week to work for other clients? Being exclusive to one company is very dangerous, I have been there and got burned by it when we parted company – don’t put all your eggs in one basket.
My point is, teach people what you demonstrably know.
You will get more attention, your credibility will grow, and your income opportunities will open up.
The blog looks great and you have done an excellent job of generating a traffic and audience through your guest blogging. Use your actual knowledge and experience as a strength and as a compelling hook, rather than try to come across as something you are not (yet!).
Share your unique point of difference, show how that will benefit your audience towards their goals, and back it up with proof!
What do you think? Was I too harsh? Do you have any other thoughts to share? Please let us know in the comments …