Is it better for you to create a blog, spend time building it up, and then launch a product, or create a product first and then use your blog to market it? 

[Just so we’re all on the same page here, when I say “product” I mean anything that you offer via your blog in exchange for money. This could be an ebook, an online course or tutorial, or a service.]

I’ll just come right out and cast my vote. I think you should create a product and then a blog. I’ve never actually heard anyone else say this (whereas I’ve heard several people get behind the other approach), but I swear I’m not saying it just to be a contrarian.

Sure, there are some positives to starting a blog and then creating a product, including:

  • You can ask your readership what product they’d like to see from you.
  • You can do a big product launch once you’re big enough, have lots of subscribers, have street cred, and have online buddies that can help you promote your stuff. This will probably make you more money.

This is the conventional wisdom, though I’ve never seen any real data backing up that second point (it does make sense, though).

The big problem I have with that conventional wisdom is that most bloggers never get to that point where they’re “big enough” (whatever that means). They just blog. And blog. And blog and blog and blog. Until they realize their niche isn’t a “good one” or until they become too frustrated that they’re not making any money. The net result is an incredible amount of wasted time.

So I’ll say it again. Create a product (you could easily write an ebook in a week) and THEN create your blog to help you market that product.

Once you do that, every single blog promotion action you take (commenting, guest posts, social media, etc.) actually means something. Every single pair of eyeballs potentially means more money in your pocket. The correlation there is very direct, as opposed to the roundabout eyeballs-to-blog-to-mailing-list-to-six-month-wait-to-product-launch route.

Not only does every action you take have more real value, but you’ll be more excited about taking those actions. When you’re making money with your blog, you become more excited about it. It’s funny how money changes things. Your niche is much more likely to be a “good one” in your mind if you’re making money.

And then here’s the real humdinger that a lot of people forget about: You can create and release more than one product!

Create a cheap little ebook before you start your blog. Then start your blog. While you’re building your blog, you’ll be making money through ebook. Then down the line when you’ve built up your readership and relationships, do the big product launch. Bam! Best of both worlds!

  • What do YOU think? 
  • What have your experiences been with producing-then-blogging vs. blogging-then-producing?
  • Which strategy would you recommend to a newbie any why?

[And while we’re on the subject of creating blogs and products, let me plug two new ones that I came out with this last week: Creative Writing Prompts and Baby’s First Zombie Book. The former is a fun little site that automatically scrapes tweets with #writingprompt and #writingprompts hashtags, then publishes those tweets. I created it because I’m horribly inept at writing fiction and want to be better. The latter is a short, rather gory children’s book that I wrote and illustrated (under a pen name) just for fun. It’s my 4th Kindle book and my third in the last month.]