How long does it REALLY take to build a profitable and predictable online business through blogging or content marketing?
It’s a fair question, and definitely one anyone who is thinking about starting a blog or online business should be asking. After all, why would you want to spend time, energy and money on an investment that may never pay off?
The answer, though, is not quite so straightforward, because the truth is that it really depends on which path you decide to take. Believe it or not, there’s more than one way to make money online through blogging and content marketing, and not all strategies are created equal.
So let’s take a few minutes to look at some of the most common paths within the blogging and influencer world, along with how long you can expect it to take.
The first path is the “traditional” blogging route, which focuses on creating content and monetizing primarily through ad network revenue, affiliate links, and sponsored posts. This is what most people think of when they think of blogging—writing lots of blog posts, sharing to Pinterest, optimizing for organic search traffic, and trying desperately to generate as many page views as possible, since the higher your page views, the higher your revenue potential.
For the traditional route, you’re going to need a LOT of pageviews…..typically at least 100,000 visitors a month to make any sort of significant ad network revenue at all, and probably close to 500,000 page views per month in order to generate a six-figure income. That’s a LOT.
And that’s why if you take the traditional blogging path, it will likely take you at least 2 years or more of steady posting to generate any sort of substantial revenue, and possibly a lot longer than that. To be honest, a lot of bloggers give up before they ever get there because it just takes too darn long.
If you take the “influencer” route, and focus on growing your following on Instagram or TikTok, the bulk of your revenue will likely come from affiliate links or sponsorships, which typically pay pennies on the dollar. More likely, you’ll be able to score yourself a lot of free stuff.
Thus, your strategy will be to post as frequently as you can and share as many links as possible. For influencers, engagement is key because the higher your “engagement,” the more people will see your content, and therefore the more likely people are to swipe up on your stories and purchase through your affiliate links.
And yes, it’s all as exhausting as it sounds.
Not only that, because the payout for each click is so low, you really NEED as many people as possible. Because while free stuff is nice, it doesn’t pay the bills. Realistically, you will need at least 100,000 followers or more to generate any sort of substantial revenue, which will likely take you at least a couple of years of consistent posting and sharing, if you ever get there at all.
If you take the podcaster route, the bulk of your revenue will come from sponsorships, which you will either need to secure yourself by reaching out directly to businesses, or by joining a podcast ad network, most of which require a minimum number of average episode downloads to join.
The average payout for advertising on a podcast is an $18CPM for a 30 second spot. That means for every 1000 listeners, you can make $18 for every 30 second ad you include on your podcast. That means that if you record an episode, and include three 30 second ad spots, then have 10,000 listeners download that episode, you’ll make $540 in advertising revenue on that episode.
Obviously, like the other paths we’ve talked about, the secret to making the big bucks with podcasting is in generating huge numbers of downloads, which is actually pretty difficult to do without an existing platform somewhere else. That’s why nearly all of the most popular podcasts are hosted by well known celebrities, influencers or authors.
Thus, if you are starting from zero, it’s going to be a long road to profitability with podcasting. Without an existing platform, your only real hope is to get noticed by someone bigger than you, or to pitch yourself as a guest on as many other podcasts as possible. Even then, expect to grow slowly.
And don’t quit your day job.
YouTube is similar to podcasting in that the bulk of your revenue comes from advertising, but YouTube does make it a little easier, with the native advertising program they have built into their platform. Because YouTube is owned by Google, it is also a little easier to get found organically through search engines and SEO, which means even if you’re starting from scratch, you’ll still have an opportunity to grow.
That said, like most ad networks, the payout for YouTube advertising is pretty low, and therefore still requires a high number of video views to earn any significant revenue. Believe it or not, the average annual revenue for a YouTuber with a MILLION subscribers is still only $60,00 a year.
As you can probably imagine, it’s not that easy to amass a million subscribers—suffice to say, expect it to take a while.
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THE ELITE BLOG ACADEMY® MODEL
So what’s the solution? Is it really possible to grow a business from scratch online through blogging or content marketing in less than a year?
Here at Elite Blog Academy, we say YES.
In fact, we know it’s possible, because that’s literally what our ACTIVATE coaching program is designed to do.
You see, at ACTIVATE, we teach a business model for blogging (also known as content marketing) that is completely different—one that is designed to help you generate REAL revenue as quickly as possible. Our students typically see their first sales within 18-20 weeks of starting at Level 1, most will be generating at least $1,000 a month by the end of their first year, and a significant portion will be generating much more—yes, even six figures.
So what’s the difference?
At ACTIVATE we’re all about teaching you how to build a ego-free business that makes your customer the hero, not you. It’s a model we call the Customer Superhero Path™, which we affectionately call the CSP for short.
So what is it?
It’s a business plan that puts your CUSTOMERS first and focuses on creating the right core offer to meet their needs. That way everything else in your business—your blog, your podcast, or even your social media—can lead people to that core offer. We don’t focus on vanity metrics like pageviews and likes and engagement, but instead on creating the content and the products that will best serve your audience.
It’s simple and effective but also much faster and WAY more profitable than “traditional” blogging or influencer marketing. (Call us crazy, but we believe the numbers that actually matter in your business are the number of dollars in your bank account.)
And it’s a model that is helping SO many of our students make massive strides, faster than they ever believed was possible.
Bette Daoust is one of those students.
Bette first started her blog, Bette’s Makes, almost exactly a year ago. At 72 years old, she wasn’t interested in spending years building her platform, but she did think blogging might be fun.
Anxious to get started, she decided to enroll in Elite Blog Academy. For her first six months she focused on setting up her website, creating content for her blog, setting up a Shopify store, and growing her email list. Unfortunately, like many new bloggers, she found it hard to stay focused on just completing her coursework.
She got a little distracted and became convinced that she needed to do all the things that she saw “everyone else” talking about. She kept busy creating content and posting to social media in an attempt to increase her pageviews, but she didn’t feel like she really had much direction.
But then last fall, ready to take her business to the next level, she enrolled in our newest signature program, Product Launch Playbook Academy™ (also known as PLPA for short!).
It was during her time in PLPA that Bette’s business really started to take shape. There she learned about the Customer Superhero Path™ and was able to quickly discover the direction that had been lacking. She developed the right lead magnet and entry-level products for her audience, which in turn helped her to begin rapidly growing her email list. She even started seeing some revenue come in as she put her first products out for sale.
Bette was excited, but she also knew she was capable of more.
Thus, when we opened the doors for ACTIVATE for the first time in December 2020, Bette was one of the first people to join.
Her first quarter in ACTIVATE, she learned how to plan and execute what we call a Quarterly Sprint, which allowed her to focus on achieving a small set of very clearly defined goals.
And focus she did!
Her first three months in the ACTIVATE program she generated more than $40,000 in revenue, and successfully took her business from $0 to six figures in less than a year.
It’s exactly what happens when you have the right business plan to work with.
In the end, there’s no shortage of opportunities for making money online. But don’t be fooled—not all paths are created equal. When choosing yours, make sure you consider your own desires and passions, as well as how much time you have to invest, since some paths will take longer than others.
Ready to get started?
Download our FREE 6 Figure Blog Plan for a step-by-step guide to growing your predictable and profitable online business in less than a year.