Have you made any hot blogging discoveries recently?
I have and you'll like him too.
Introducing Andrew Warner
A couple of months ago I submitted a proposal to do a webinar on guest blogging for Mixergy. I didn't know much about Mixergy but it sounded great and we're both helping budding entrepreneurs (or ambitious upstarts as Mixergy calls them) get their businesses off to a flying start.
It turned out to be a lovely connection because, after my proposal was accepted, I got to chat with Mixergy founder Andrew Warner for an hour about my favorite topic. You guessed it – blogging.
It turns out Andrew is no slouch when it comes to guest blogging . He's also used guest blogging to grow his blog and business and he's written for many other blogs including mega tech blog Mashable.
In this interview Andrew shares some of the ways he grew his blog and turned it into a useful and profitable business resource.
He doesn't even mention guest blogging either.
Nor does he mention his first internet business because he's far too modest and discreet.
Luckily I'm not. It was a gift card site which Andrew (then aged 21) set up with his brother and which went on to have a revenue was $38.5 million. Clever boy. Read the whole story here.
Or read on to find out about Andrew Warner's top blogging tips.
Interview with Andrew Warner, Founder of Mixergy
Please can you tell us the successes that have come to you from blogging?
A few months ago, I was sitting on stage with Gary Vaynerchuk and saying to myself, “In that audience are a hundred entrepreneurs whose work I admire. And they paid for the live event I organized, so they could watch me interview Gary.
“In a moment, two other founders who I followed and admired for years, Tim Ferriss and Ze Frank will each join me on stage so I could learn from them and help my audience build meaningful businesses.”
It all happened because I publish interviews with entrepreneurs on my site.
Blogging has helped me meet and learn from my heroes, and enabled me to get customers who I'm eager to surround myself with.
How did you get into blogging to begin with?
I was organizing events in Santa Monica and a venture capitalist named “William Quigley” came to one. As he was talking, I thought to myself:
“This guy has brilliant insights. Too bad only the people who come to my events can hear him.”
Then it occurred to me. I should record my conversation with him and put it on my web site. I did that and enjoyed it so much that I started interviewing others who were coming to my events. Pretty soon, I stopped doing events and started focusing on just doing interviews online.
What have the biggest hurdles been and how have you overcome them?
The biggest hurdle was trying to do daily interviews. It was important to me to publish daily because I wanted to build momentum with my audience and, more importantly, because I wanted to force myself to learn every day.
But the work involved — researching, interviewing, editing, publishing and doing everything else that goes into publishing interviews — was driving me nuts.
So I started charging.
Charging for interviews and courses brought in money, which I used to hire help. The first person I hired was an editor who took my raw interviews, edited them, and published them in a few different formats.
Once he came on board, I was able to publish consistently.
What's your hottest tip for new bloggers?
Don't just blog. Do interviews too.
Isn't it painful to blog? I mean, you need to come up with new topics every day. Then, every time you come up with an idea for a post, you're forced to look at a blank screen and fill it with brilliance. Then you need to publicize it. Then you need to do it all over again.
When I interview, my guests help me fill up each post with brilliance. Then they help me promote the interview by tweeting it to their followers or posting it on their site's press pages. Every time their followers discover my site, many of them return to see who else I'll interview.
And to top it all off, I get to meet and build relationships with interviewees who I admire.
How did you transition from a free site to a paid membership blog?
Very poorly, at first. But I learned and improved.
Have you ever done incredible work that people didn't care about? That's what I felt was happening to my older interviews. People loved the new ones that I published on my blog, but as soon as they got old, they ignored them.
So I got a plugin called “Wishlist Member” and used it to replace the video versions of my older interviews with a sign that said something like, “buy a membership to watch this video.” Instead of charging a fixed price, I basically said, “pay whatever monthly fee you want to watch all my interviews.”
That didn't do huge business, but it grew over time. Every month I got more members than the month before, and pretty soon I had hundreds of paying premium members. And, as I looked at who they were, I realized these were my most impressive readers — people who had thriving companies and didn't mind paying a few bucks to grow their businesses.
Then added courses, and membership really took off. I started by asking around to see if I could find successful founders who would teach the businesses tactics that made them so successful. I was looking for ideas like how to increase a site's sales or how to get more traffic. I ended up getting over 100 offers from founders to teach.
Like I said, over time, I learned and improved the membership.
Many bloggers believe people won't pay for content. What are your thoughts on that?
Mixergy is proof that people will pay for content. I have a lot of free content, but I also have solid premium content that hundreds of people pay for every month.
And I've interviewed lots of other bloggers who charge for their content.
Finally, please tell us a bit about Mixergy and what you do there?
Mixergy is a site where proven entrepreneurs teach.
Past guests include Andrew Mason, who talked about why his past startup failed and how he made sure Groupon was a success.
Thank You Team
A huge thank you to Andrew Warner for sharing his tips and experiences here and to you for reading it. I hope it left you feeling inspired and motivated to keep blogging and keep making your blog better than ever.
What's a key takeaway for you from this interview?
I loved finding a small, personally run site which is a hugely popular resource and also makes money for its hard-working founder.
It's brilliant to hear that people WILL pay for good content and definitely another option for making money from your blog. Please share your comments below.
Find out more about Mixergy now if you like the sound of being one of Andrew's ambitious upstarts.
You'll need to become a premium member to watch the guest blogging webinar we made but there's plenty of great interviews and information on business or entrepreneurship to keep you very happy for a long time.