Until last summer I had no idea electric bikes existed until a guy I had recently met let me try his. It was mindblowing.
I live in an area where mountain biking is super popular. In fact, our house is 50 yards from the trailhead. A year ago I figured I might as well get into mountain biking. Many people in the area are into it and no doubt my young boys will get into it big time.
These are not pleasure trails, but seriously steep trails riddled with roots and rock. I tried it with a non-electric bike and thought my heart would explode. I’m not an endurance athlete and have no aspirations to become one.
Then I went on the trails with my buddy’s E-bike and loved it. Yes, I got a good workout in. E-bikes aren’t motorbikes. You still pedal, but the electric motor assists you up the hills. It’s brilliant.
3 days after that ride I bought one. I knew it was THE answer to actually enjoying mountain biking as well as cycling to work (we have loads of hills on our roads too since I live on a mountain).
Purist mountain bikers scoff at the E-bike. So too do the hardcore cyclist commuters.
I wouldn’t bike 20 miles round trip to my office with a regular bike. The hills make it a drag.
With my E-bike, cycling is a joy, hills or no hills. I have a watch that tracks my heart rate and with an E-bike my heart rate is more than double resting heart rate for most of the ride. So I do get exercise but I’m not dying or dreading the ride.
The key phrase in the last paragraph is “dreading the ride.”
When I dread something, no matter how good it is for me or my business, I’m not going to do it consistently. I might do it for a week or a month but at some point I stop doing it. Chugging along on willpower is not my idea of a good way to live. Besides, it doesn’t work in the long run.
When I enjoy something, I’ll do it consistently and do it well.
I cycle several times per week in the spring, summer and fall months because I have an E-bike. If I didn’t, I would hardly ride. And that’s the point. I’m much better off health-wise and enjoyment-wise to ride with an assist than not ride at all.
It’s human nature to do what we enjoy and avoid what we dislike. The pleasure and pain thing.
This is important to understand with your blogging business.
I take it to heart.
I don’t do a lot of things I should do because I don’t like it.
Instead, I focus on what I like doing because I like doing it.
Yes, I leave money on the table.
However, arguably, I’ve done okay because I focus on what I like.
What is it that I like?
I like publishing content. I love it. I like writing some of it. I like coming up with article topics. I like adding great content to websites for readers. I like receiving reams of articles from my writers.
I’m a publisher at heart.
What is it that I don’t like?
I don’t like hustling such as outreach or content promotion. I don’t like running e-commerce either.
I actually don’t like marketing all that much. I’m not a salesperson. I can’t write copy. Yes, I sell stuff on Fatstacks and do a bit of affiliate stuff on my niche sites, but it’s done in an informative process rather than a purely marketing process.
I’m not big on making videos (probably because I suck at it).
The days I enjoy the most are those where I get to focus on pushing out content, whether working with my team on new content or improving old content. Most days involve both.
It’s a good thing too because as far as I’m concerned, content is the foundation of my business.
Once that content is published I have a choice. I can spend a day or a week promoting it. OR, I can push out dozens of more articles.
I know some marketers talk a lot about spending more time on promoting content than publishing new content. It works for them, but they’re often in business-oriented niches. It works in business niches.
There are many niches where trying to rank for low-competition keywords merely requires publishing awesome content and letting Google do its thing. In fact, it can be better in some niches to just keep pushing out content and spending little or no time on promotion.
Is it worth spending 2 days promoting an article targeting a 500 per month search volume topic that’s monetized with display ads?
Not at all. Those articles will never make a fortune or haul in mountains of traffic. They’ll chug along making a few bucks per month for years. That’s good enough. Publish enough of those suckers and you’re in business for real.
Do what the big players do
Do you think the Washington Post spends 80% of its resources on promotion such as reaching out to other websites for links? I don’t think so. I may be wrong, but I suspect they focus on publishing the best content in the world.
Same applies to BusinessInsider.com, Forbes and all the other top-tier sites. They focus budgets on content, not reaching out. I’ve never received a “hey can you link to my awesome article” email from any such site. How about you?
Doesn’t that tell you something?
If you want to break into the top-tier sphere with your site, do what the top-tier sites do.
Again, there are some (only a few) niches where all that outreach and hustle is cool and works – but they’re usually the niches that tell you to do all that outreach and hustle. Notice a pattern?
There’s one exception and that’s if you publish articles that specifically mention or reference a website or person. In that case, it’s smart to hit them up on twitter or via contact form letting them know. The chances that they’ll take some form of action is pretty high.
Oh, there’s another exception. If you’re into ranking affiliate stuff, you need the links. It’s a different business model. But my premise holds true – only pursue the “buyer intent” affiliate stuff if you like what’s involved. I’m not saying hustle or marketing or outreach is bad. I’m just saying it ain’t for me. If you like that stuff and can do it consistently, go nuts. I know it works – it’s just not the type of work I’m into.
Does that mean I don’t promote at all?
No. I apply the E-bike approach to promotion. I do the low hanging fruit stuff such as FB posts (done automatically via MeetEdgar). I may blast the article out to my email newsletter. I may pin some of the images. All this stuff takes seconds or minutes. It’s low-hanging fruit and while the resulting traffic isn’t great, it is some promotion. Often it’s sufficient.
What does all this mean?
Focus on what you enjoy as much as you can. If it requires a herculean effort that you don’t’ like, it’s probably not a sustainable approach.
When you like it, you’ll do more of it consistently. Consistency is key in this biz (in most businesses actually). You’ll also get better at it.
When you dread something, you won’t stick with it. If you do, you live a life of misery.
Me, I’m going to take the easy way and opt to enjoy even if it means leaving money on the table. Same thing with cycling. I won’t ever be a triathlete tooling around on an electric bike, but I enjoy the easy-going exercise that is more than enough for long term health benefits.
Just so I’m clear, easy doesn’t mean “no work”. Instead, it’s work you find enjoyable… in which case it’s not really work. For some people writing and publishing content is horrible. For me, I can do it all day long day-in and day-out.
Jon runs the place around here. He pontificates about launching and growing online publishing businesses, aka blogs that make a few bucks. His pride and joy is the email newsletter he publishes that’s “the best blogging email newsletter around.”
Hyperbole? Maybe, but go check it out to see what some readers say.
In all seriousness, Jon is the founder and owner of a digital media company that publishes a variety of web properties visited and beloved by millions of readers monthly. Fatstacks is where he shares a glimpse into his digital publishing business.