We may earn money or products from the companies mentioned in this post.
When you first start, blogging can be a cruel hobby. Though a lucky few make money right away, the vast majority of new bloggers won't see any significant traffic or income for at least 6-12 months. For a handful, it's even longer – if ever.
Once a blog gets going, though, the return on additional time invested can be truly incredible. Take, for example, the 600-word post that took me less than an hour to write, but brought in $5500+ and counting.
The $5500+, 600 Word Blog Post
One of my big projects these days is a British TV blog. Because it's a topic I know well, I was well aware that Doc Martin was a favorite show among our readers. I also knew that British TV is sort of funny in that they do fewer episodes than a typical US show, and they don't always come out annually.
Doc Martin is a dramedy that comes out every 2 years, and it hadn't been too long since Season 8 had aired stateside. I was getting a lot of questions about when American viewers could expect Season 9, so I went ahead and wrote a post with all the information I was able to gather at the time. There wasn't much to say at the time, so it took around 30-40 minutes and 600 words to get the point across (and that was heavily padded).
Almost immediately, the post got a steady stream of traffic. A year later, more information became available and I went ahead and updated it. Another 15-20 minutes invested, and it was back to the top of the results.
The post has been live for about a year and a half, and in that time it's gotten a little over 170,000 visits.
This summer, I noticed the post's traffic had dipped, and I knew instantly it was because I'd been too lazy to update it sooner. The new season was filming in Cornwall and there was an estimated air date – so I updated it. It's not too hard to see roughly when it was updated:
Given that Season 9 comes out next month, the revenue for this post will probably drop off quite substantially in the near future – but for an hour or so of work, it was great while it lasted…
Post Earnings Details
While I know it's not ideal, I don't track all earnings down to the post level. For a few posts I do, but I don't usually bother when I'm just throwing out a quick news post or update. We can still run some very conservative estimates, though.
The easiest thing to estimate is banner revenue. To give a conservative estimate, let's say this post earned $20 per thousand sessions.
- 172 x $20 = $3440
Our Amazon RPM varies WILDLY, with anything from $10-30 RPM being pretty normal (depending on season, post, etc). To be EXTREMELY conservative, we'll pretend this one only earned $12 RPM. Just to clarify, the RPM we're using is calculated based on traffic and earnings. Amazon pays based on purchases and sign-ups, we just did the math to simplify things a bit.
- 172 x $12 = $2064
Total Combined: $5504+
Note that this doesn't assign any value to newsletter signups or people who chose to purchase our books. Given our low estimate for Amazon income and the fact that we don't track book sales from that post, the true value of the post could be quite a bit higher. I thought about going back and doing a content performance report through Amazon Associates, but they don't seem to count bounties, and that's what drives a big chunk of our income.
What You Can Take From This…
Now obviously, most people aren't going to have much luck if they just go out and write a post about the upcoming season of Doc Martin. You need some authority in the British TV space to rank for it, and even if you did, the show comes out in a matter of weeks so you wouldn't get a whole lot out of it at this point.
There are some very important lessons here, though:
1 | Once your blog is well-established, a single post can generate incredible results.
Yes, blogging involves a lot of hard work at first – but always remember, you're building an ASSET. You're building sweat equity in something that can generate returns for weeks, months, and YEARS to come.
2 | By paying close attention to your readers and your market, you put yourself in a position to capitalize on opportunities most people will overlook.
This is why it's important to blog about something you know – or something you're willing to immerse yourself in. That's especially true if there's any kind of news/current events aspect to your topic. Keyword research is a solid part of any blogging strategy, but knowing your market and creating the right content at the right time can be incredibly lucrative.
3 | This is not a once-in-a-lifetime thing.
I specifically chose this example because it has an expiration date. Though it will probably get some traffic for quite a while, the biggest portion of it will die off in the next month or so. Should one of my competitors happen upon this post, I'd rather not give them the precise formula for ALL my top-performing posts.
Every blog niche has opportunities like this. Some are time-sensitive, like this one, while others are more evergreen, producing income for years and years. Once you've built up your blog, finding and capitalizing on those opportunities feels a bit like treasure hunting – but much, much easier.
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