Summary of Doing Content Right, by Steph Smith

Summary reading time: 21 min

Book reading time: 5h17

Score: 8/10

Published in: 2021

Main Idea

Content is like startups. To work, it needs to solve problems.

Table of Content

Chapter 1: Your Personal Monopoly
Chapter 2: Building Your Home
Chapter 3: Distribution
Chapter 4: SEO
Chapter 5: Monetization
Chapter 6: Extras

About Doing Content Right

Doing Content Right is a book written by Steph Smith.

Overall, it’s really good, but I was annoyed reading it.

The book is disorganized. There is no clear hierarchy and the information is weirdly dispatched. At times, we speak about newsletters and at times, we speak about blogs.

There are often links to external resources, and the reader must constantly weigh and choose whether he wants to get down the rabbit hole or stay with the book.

It’s annoying. But that’s because Doing Content Right is not a book. It’s an encyclopedia. You’re not supposed to read the book cover to cover. You should treat it as a dictionary, reading the parts that will help you solve problems.

Apart from these minor issues, the content is priceless. Steph speaks about all aspects of blogging, and the book will teach you almost everything you need to know to run a blog.

Be careful though. The content is dense. The author bombards you with so many external resources like newsletters, Twitter accounts, quotes, platforms, and services you’ve never heard of that you can get quickly overwhelmed.

Not gonna lie, I have been blogging for two years, and the thought of quitting blogging actually crossed my mind at some point throughout the book.

So remember that Steph took care of content for almost a decade, and did it at a professional level.

Overall, I give Doing Content Right 8/10.

Bear in mind that in this case, I am only reviewing the main PDF. Normally, the entire offer comes with exercises, a Discord server, videos, and a bonus section on podcasting. As a result, you could argue I didn’t test the entire offering – and you would be correct.

Finally, if you want to have a complete image of what blogging entails, I advise you to follow the free 7-day email course of Growth Machine. It complements Doing Content Right very well.


Get the book here!

Summary of Doing Content Right Written by Steph Smith

Chapter 1: Your Personal Monopoly

Writing content online has become super easy.

Each minute:
• 1,800 WordPress posts are created
• 3.8 million Google searches are made
• 500 hours of video is uploaded to Youtube
• 150,000 emails are sent
• 350,000 Tweets are sent

-> If you want to succeed, you need to write new and valuable stuff.

Blogging is about writing what people want to read.

And while it seems that blogging is saturated, it’s only saturated if you can’t create anything new or better.

-> what type of content can you write better than everybody else? Better in the way you deliver (eg: infographics, etc), or better in what you write (or both).
-> what new problem can you identify, or what old problem can you solve better?

As long as you can do one thing better than everyone else, you’ll have an audience.

Why do you need to be better? Because attention on the Internet is not evenly distributed. It’s a winner-takes-all approach.

The first Google result page takes 99% of the clicks. This is why you need to be better – better than everyone else. Grant Cardone said “if you’re not first, you’re last”. In this case, it is “if you’re not first, you don’t exist”.

Winner takes all.

The best way to be the best is to operate in your domain of expertise.

If you have worked for 5 years doing yoga, then your area of expertise is yoga.

About this, the author explains she was glad she waited until 2019 before launching her blog. In 2019, she had acquired a lot of expertise on a lot of topics, enough to launch and become the best right away.

Had she launched in 2015, the blog would have failed.

She was successful because she wrote on :

  1. Something she knew better than everyone and that didn’t exist.
  2. Something she liked and did because she was interested – hence something interesting.
  3. Something that was unique.

Instead of writing about what you think others will like, start with your own interests and knowledge and work backward from there.

This is why copying is useless. When you copy, you don’t have your personal monopoly edge + since it’s been done already, it won’t have as big of an impact.

Consider the following questions if you’re struggling to find a niche:

  • What is something that you have done that 95%+ of the population hasn’t done?
  • What unique insight do you have that 99% of the population doesn’t have?
  • What is something that you have spent 5+ years on that you can translate to others in significantly less time?
  • What is something that you think about in the shower?

If you struggle to find things to write about, it may be best to delay blogging and learn some stuff first.

If not, make sure to focus as much as possible on your specialization as well as on your target audience. The more focused, the better.

Audience Cross-Check

Now you need to ensure that people are searching for what you want to write.

  1. Use Google Trends or Google Keyword Planner to look at whether people are searching for your content or not.
  2. Check whether there are existing newsletters, blogs, communities (Reddit) that cover your topics. Having competitors is a good thing. It means there is demand.
  3. Ask yourself how much your audience grows over time? How your market will evolve? If you’re talking about combustion engines, it’s a thing that will die. Choose a market that will increase in the future.

How does this work?

Look for the competition (who is writing about this), search volume for queries (how many people are looking for this), and the existing communities dedicated to the topic.

Once you know who your audience is, you need to find the people dying to read you.

Questions to answer about your audience:

  • What are their demographics?
  • Where do they work?
  • Where do they hang out (both online and offline)?
  • What do they read?
  • What are the pain points that they face daily, weekly, monthly?
  • What do they enjoy doing? What do they hate doing?

Here’s how you can find out about these questions:

  • Get in touch with your readers
  • Use SimilarWeb to know where your competitors get their traffic from
  • Use this to browse for subreddit communities, then use Subredditstats to know which type of content performs best.

Write to solve problems. Don’t write to make money. Making money is a consequence of solving a problem.

To quote the author, you don’t have time to create content that doesn’t serve a purpose.

Solving problems is nice, but with no market or no way to reach it, you’re toast.

Here are all the channels you can use to distribute your content.

– Your newsletter
– Quora Answers
– Reddit -Hacker News
– Lobsters – Producthunt
– Pocket -Designer News
– Twitter
– Linkedin
– Facebook
– Medium
– Pinterest
– Youtube
– Forum
– Communities
– Subreddit
– Facebook -Twitter
– Quora -Newsletter
– Reddit -Pinterest
The different distribution channels for your blog.

Should you have a blog, a newsletter, or both?

Both. The more channels, the better.

Types of newsletters (they depend on the purpose you want to achieve with them)

  • Daily: usually news
  • Long-form
  • Digest: focused on curation
  • Hybrid: both long-form and digest
  • Popup: for a particular occasion (music festival, etc)

How to find interesting stuff to write:

  • Take a piece of paper and write on it everything you think is interesting and why it is interesting.
  • Follow your curiosity: read Wikipedia page, create tools you’d use but that nobody made, etc. Explore rabbit holes.
  • If you run out of things to write, ask your audience what they would like to know.

Chapter 2: Building Your Home

A blog is a brand. You should define that brand, what you will do, and what you will not do.

If you have a newsletter about finance, you are not going to write about intersectional feminism (your readers won’t stick around for long.)

Choosing Your Stack

(Note from Aure: The following are recommendations of the author, not mine.)

You will need:

  • Domain: the author recommends Namecheap or Porkbun.
  • Hosting: depends on your blogging platform. If you use WordPress, use WPEngine. If you use Ghost, use DigitalOcean.
  • Blogging platform: use WordPress or Ghost. Avoid Medium, Squarespace, and Wix.
  • Email service provider: there are many, like ConvertKit, Mailchimp, Mailjet, etc.
  • Modal software: for email capture, Opt-In Monster is good.
  • Analytics: Google Analytics, Simple Analytics, Google Search Console, Facebook Pixel

Should you give your content for free, or should it be paid?

The Internet has created a tsunami of free content. The problem is that it is often mediocre.

This is why many have managed to create paid blogs and newsletters. They ensure quality.

Pros of paid:

  • Direct validation
  • No struggle to know where money will come from

Cons of paid:

  • Restricted distribution channels
  • You can’t actually distribute your content since…well, it’s behind the paywall.
  • Slow growth
  • Your content must be extremely good

You can also create a paid publication piggybacking a free publication.

Eg: you run a free crypto newsletter but add a paid Discord server where you discuss brand new cryptos and your own investments. In that case, paid becomes “for those who want more”.

Your price should reflect the value it delivers, not the effort you have invested into them.

Chapter 3: Distribution

Creating a blog rests on two pillars:

  1. Creating amazing content
  2. Being amazing at distributing the content

If you write amazing content but you don’t distribute it, the equation is:

Writing great content X 0 readers = zero impact.

Similarly, if you write low-quality content and distribute it very well, the equation is:

Great distribution X zero-quality content = zero impact.

As a result, your time between distribution and content production should be split evenly.

Distribution is a multiplier. If you write an amazing article, the more you distribute it, the more impact it will have.

There are 6 types of channels.

  1. Bedrock/evergreen: SEO and your newsletter. They take a long time to grow, but they compound over time.
  2. Viral: it’s like hitting the front page on Hacker News. It gives a quick dopamine hit, but it doesn’t stay.
  3. Social: there is some sort of evergreen quality to it, but if the algorithm changes (or you get kicked out), you lose all of your followers.
  4. Syndicate: it means reposting your content, whether in full, or slightly changed.
  5. Targeted: Slack, Telegram, Subreddit, Facebook communities
  6. Paid: ads.
Find Steph Smith at

Content distribution depends on its nature. You have two types.

  1. Informational: answering a question someone googles. Eg: the alchemist summary
  2. Inspirational: writing about something people aren’t specifically looking for

So, how do you choose which channel to use?

You use the CODES framework.

  1. Cost: the price you’re willing to pay.
  2. Ownership: how much do you control the channel? Do you own it (newsletter list) or do you use it (Facebook page)?
  3. Dependability: how consistent is the channel? Viral isn’t consistent at all.
  4. Effort: the effort you need to expend to set up the channel and keep it running
  5. Scalability: how scalable your channel is? Can you reach one million people if you want?

Test until you find something that brings traction. In the beginning, focus on a few channels (1-3) and stay there for 2-4 weeks before deciding if you want to move out or now.

Repeat with different channels until you have 2-5 to focus on.

Label your channel with tiers:

  • Tier 0: the channels everyone should have: SEO, a referral program, and a newsletter.
  • Tier 1: the channels you are using every time you publish.
  • Tier 2: channel you use only for certain pieces.
  • Tier 3: testing channels.

You will have to do things that don’t scale to find your first subscribers (eg: asking your friends).

Ask everyone you know, especially your weak ties. This is because your “weak ties” live in a different “world” and have access to people and environments you don’t have access to.

Another way to do get an audience is to “build in public”. When people see you hustling and struggling, they’re always happy to help you.

1. Bedrock Channels

These are the channels you must have.

You need to understand:

  • The audience you are writing for
  • Where you can find them (what they read, which communities they hang out in)
  • How to talk to them

In order to build an audience, you need to create value before you capture it. That means giving before taking.

And that takes time.

The channels are:

1. SEO

There will be an entire chapter dedicated to SEO (click here to go there).

2. Quora

Quora is great to gain SEO points. Don’t be overly promotional, and set up Google Alert when a new question with certain keywords is posted so you can be the first one to answer.

If you don’t want to write answers, email people that wrote good answers and ask them to add a link to your article if it benefits the answer.

3. Your Newsletter

One of the most important channels. People joining your newsletter are transformed from one-time readers to followers.

So, how do you increase the number of sign-ups? You use conversion modals.

Using Conversion Modals

These are opt-in forms that enable you to capture email addresses. You have many different versions.

  1. Welcome mats: these are giant popups asking you for your email address.
  2. Popup
  3. Slide-in: these are forms sliding usually from the right to ask you for your email address
  4. Embed: these are forms in the middle or at the end of articles, like mine asking you to sign up for the newsletter.

Here’s how to create modals that work.

1. Provide value

  • Have a the right value proposition: most modals scream “sIgN uP tO mY nEwSlEtTeR”. None of them say “Improve your marketing“.
  • Have the right CTA (call-to-action): say “get smarter” instead of “subscribe“.
  • Add social proof: “200 000 people read it each week!”

Don’t have several CTAs on one page, one is enough. The same CTA can appear several times.

I changed my very own opt-in form when I was reading the book.

2. Different types of modal

  • Event-triggered: when customers leave, or when they go halfway into your article, you can have a popup or slide-in coming in.
  • Fixed: an embed at the end of an article, or a welcome mat.
  • Landing page: visitors can first see your landing page when they come to your blog

Always provide value in exchange for the email address. Can be a “free pdf”, or anything like it (I give subscribers access to a hidden article).

When people subscribe, you should send them a welcome email explaining what you do, who you are, and what they can expect.

You can also have a welcome series that will last several days or weeks.

Other ways to grow:

  • Have an ambassador program
  • Giveaways: organize a lottery for people that subscribe to your newsletter and give the winner free stuff. If you don’t have enough money, you can partner up with brands for discount codes or products. You can also give early access or sneak-peak of a product you have.

2. Viral Platforms

CODES: They’re free, low efforts, aren’t dependable or scalable, and you have ownership.

You will gain big hits but when they’ve passed, you’re often left where you started in terms of audience.

Hacker News: HN is a community where you need to participate to get anything in return.

  • Be as straight to the point as possible in your title
  • Only post articles talking about brand new ideas
  • Don’t post only your articles, also post other people’s articles
  • Engage with people
  • Post products in Show HN and questions in Ask HN

There are plenty of this type of sites on the Internet.

Producthunt is another one. It’s not a place to post once, but can be used as a real bedrock channel.

  • Don’t launch on Producthunt from the very beginning. Launch there once you already have a solid list.
  • Channel traffic to a landing page to capture email addresses.
  • Be clear about who this is for.

There are also Pocket, Flipboard, Google Discover, etc.

Pocket and Flipboard enable you to save an article and come back read it later. When a lot of people save the same article, they feature the article in their newsletter which enables you to have massive, short-termed hits.

3. Social Media

Social media are great as they enable you to acquire social capital. However, you don’t control the channel.


You gain followers by following influencers, commenting on their posts, and adding value.

Eg: if someone writes a book, you can write a review of the book or a Tweet thread, tag them, and they will likely retweet it to their followers which will enable you to gain followers. If you look at Naval Ravikant‘s account, he mostly retweets stuff other people write.


  1. Join small communities in the beginning. Getting 100 followers is harder than 1000, which is harder than 10 000.
  2. Only follow people that deliver value. Remove everyone else.
  3. Don’t be a company: people follow people, not companies.
  4. Stay in certain spaces, those that interest you the most, and build a name for yourself there.
  5. Get a niche. Be known for publishing only on a restrictive number of topics. It’s best if that thing is a Twitter topic.
  6. State what you tweet about in your bio.
  7. Update your threads: they don’t have to be sent at one time.
  8. Be retweetable: this means tweet things everybody thinks but nobody says.
  9. Engage with your followers.


Great if you do something niche and work-related.


You can no longer reach your friends on Facebook as Facebook asks you for money for that. The only way to drive traffic is to post in Facebook groups.

4. Syndication

Syndication is republishing content.


Medium pays you for the number of views you get (but in order to get paid, you need to first acquire 100 followers).

Always post on your blog first before posting on Medium!

And when you post on Medium, add your canonical link. The canonical link is the link Google should give priority to (the link of the article on your blog).

2nd and 3rd Largest Search Engines

These engines are Youtube and Pinterest.

The con is that making a video out of your article takes time. The pro’s is that they unlock brand new channels. Test each one one at a time, and invest in the one that seems to work.

The channel you will privilege will depend on your content. If you are already doing interviews, put them on Youtube.

If you have nice data snippets, put them on IG or Pinterest.

5. Targeted

These are places where you will find your “true fans”.

While Hacker News will bring a ton of traffic during a short period of time, these will bring little traffic over a long period.


If you have a newsletter, you can partner with a similar newsletter.

Guest posting

Great to get backlinks, but it takes an insane amount of time.

Don’t accept guest posting on your own publication.

Building relationships

You do so by replying and contacting the people you read stuff of on the Internet.

Groups (Facebook, Slack, Telegram, Linkedin, Quora)

Whenever you write about a topic, do a deep search to see where these people are hanging out.

Participate in the discussions by adding value. Answer questions, write comments, share interesting articles.

Track relevant keywords with Google Alert so you get an email every time someone mentions something specific and you can participate in the discussion.

(Not-so) Niche Forums and Communities

If you can’t find a community, build your own.


  • Reddit is big: the front page receives 1.5 billion users per month.
  • Reddit’s audience is critical: when you share a link, expect mean comments.
  • Users want to stay on Reddit. They will rarely leave it. The idea therefore is to copy-paste the article in the post, then put the link to your site at the end of it.
  • Reddit is specific. You have communities for virtually anything. A lot of tools help you explore which communities are related to which communities. You can use these tools for new ideas for content and new places to promote.

6. Paid Growth

One of the quickest ways to grow. To do paid growth well, you first need to understand how much a subscriber is worth to you, and make sure you stay below that price.

Linkedin and Google are expensive.

Facebook, not so much. Think about Reddit, Quora, Pinterest, and Twitter.

Finding New Avenues for Growth

Competitive research: searching where your competitors are targeting their audiences.

  • Use F5Bot to search for keywords appearing in Hacker News, Lobsters, and Reddit.
  • Do the same thing with SimilarWeb
  • Use Moat and Facebook ads library to see which ads your competitors are running.
  • Go through your competitors’ sign-up flow and look at the “how did you hear about us”? That will give you an idea of the marketing channels they are using.

Building resources: make listicles (12 best SEO tools for marketers) and contact people you include. They’ll be happy to share your listicle.

12 more quick wins:

  1. Add a trust bar (the famous “as seen in” bar).
  2. Incorporate testimonials from people
  3. Repurpose existing content
  4. Test your headlines
  5. Make your image recognizable: that means take care of your site branding so that it is recognized by looking at the image.
  6. Make it easy to share (tweet your articles yourself, with a quote).
  7. Quote your own piece
  8. Track your own content with F5bot or Syften so when someone mentions you somewhere on the internet, you know and can join the conversation.
  9. Channel your inner guerilla marketer: do real-life giveaways, not everything needs to be digital.
  10. Be human: your readers are also humans. Ask them to share, have some humor, etc.

Small Stuff

Things that don’t move the needle.

  • Newsletter frequency. Start with what is doable. Don’t start by sending emails every day.
  • Time to send: no one cares if you send at midnight or noon.
  • Length: focus on value, nothing else.
  • Deliverability: these are things like not using words like “sales” or “free”.


How do you know whether you are successful? You use SMART goals.

Smart goals should be:

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Attainable
  • Relevant (focusing on what moves the needle)
  • Time-bound

Smart goals are not about the output (what you get), but the input (what you produce).

It’s about writing a definite number of articles instead of getting a definite number of readers.

Here are some benchmarks to keep in mind as you are assessing your progress:

  • Conversion rate to your email opt-in form should be 2%. You can’t hope for more than 4.77%.
  • Open rate for your email newsletter should be minimum 20%, but aim for 35%. Get rid of the subscribers that stop opening.
  • Don’t pay too much attention to click-through rate for your newsletter.
  • Unsubscribe rate should not be higher than 1% (Netflix’s is 2.4%).
  • On-site metrics: bounce rate should be less than 70%, and time spent should be higher than 1 minute.

Chapter 4: SEO

Every second, 70 000 queries are made on Google. Google is great because it gives you a wealth of information about what people are searching online. You can use this info to inform your content creation process every step of the way.

From the CODES framework perspective, SEO is great.

  • Cost: it’s free
  • Ownership: while you don’t own the traffic, Google still directs traffic from their website to yours.
  • Dependability: you pretty much know how many people you’ll have on your site every day.
  • Effort: SEO is difficult because it is slow and must be for the long term.
  • Scalability: nothing scales as well as SEO

If you want to do SEO well, you need to:

  • Understand user search intent (how people think)
  • Leverage the information Google shares for free (what people are searching)
  • Optimizing your content (integrating what people want)

Many people try to optimize (with the right keywords, fast website, etc), but they don’t understand what they are optimizing.

You can optimize a website with crappy content all you want, it will still be crappy content. Since Google seeks to deliver to users the best content on the Internet, that’s what you need to do: write the best content.

Good content is:

  • Credible
  • Relevant to the query
  • Usable for the searcher

Google judges these with different criteria:

  • Keyword density
  • Site speed
  • Time on the website and bounce rate
  • Links to your page and domain authority

Yet what Google favors above all is user experience. If you type a problem, find a page that seems to answer it, spend 1-2 minutes on the page then close your laptop or input a totally different query, Google knows you fixed your problem. As a result, the page will rank higher.

This is ultimately how you rank on Google.

Understanding Search Intent

When people search on Google, they have four different intents.

  1. Informational: the user wants to know or understand something. Often these are queries that have a who, what, when, where, why, how in the query. But not always. Eg: if you type “red wine stain carpet”, you’re likely to be asking how to clean a red wine stain!
  2. Navigational: the user wants to get to a specific site or product. Eg: Aure’s Notes.
  3. Transactional: the user wants to do something. Eg: “From word to pdf”.
  4. Commercial: the user wants to buy something, but often wants to compare beforehand. Queries that have “compare”, “best”, “reviews”, “vs” are commercial queries.
  5. Ambiguous: if you search for “apple”, you may be searching for:
    • The company that makes iPhones
    • Apples to buy
    • Information about apples

As a result, Google will present you with a page and different results on it (the company, the wiki page about apples, etc).

Listening to Google

If you want to know the real intent behind a bunch of keywords, simply google the query and look among the first three results (they get 70% of clicks). Are the results, informational, navigational, or something else?

If you are not addressing the right type of intent in your article, it won’t work.

Keyword Optimization

Informational VS viral

Informational articles rank with SEO because they explain how to do something someone is going to search online. Eg: how to make an omelet.

Viral articles don’t rank with SEO. These are random articles you read when you see them, but you won’t actually look for them. These are articles such as “Thing You Need to Know About Life“.

Let’s have a look at how to target the right keywords.

Primary keyword

Your primary keyword should get the right intent, and be niche enough (not too broad).

You want something that people are searching (high volume) but which people have not written too much about as there will be competition otherwise (low difficulty).

As you grow your site and improve domain authority (how credible your website is), you will be able to target more difficult keywords.

Search intent

Make sure that you test your keywords in Google prior to using them. Some keywords won’t simply have the intent you thought they had. Some keywords will be too broad. If your article is informational, make sure the first results that pop in Google are also informational websites.

Search volume

You can’t select the keyword purely based on search volume.

  • It doesn’t capture the intent
  • You need domain authority (DA) to rank high
  • It doesn’t say anything about keyword difficulty

Indeed, the first page of Google gets 99% of traffic.

1st place on a small keyword > 15th place on a big keyword. Make sure competition is not too high.

Optimizing your keyword

Your primary keyword should be:

  • in the title of your article
  • in the meta description
  • in the slug of your article
  • and multiple times throughout your article

The author recommends having the keyword as it is, which means no using alternative versions or synonymous.

Second Chances

As time goes by, your domain authority will increase, and Google will show more and more articles to people. This is why SEO is a long-term game.

Domain Authority

It’s a score Google gives you that indicates how relevant or important your website is. The higher your authority is, the higher the chances to rank high.

You gain authority with backlinks. Furthermore, DA is a logarithmic value. It means that going from 0 to 10 is much easier than going from 30 to 40.

Ideally, you should try to get 30 backlinks (from 30 different websites) as soon as possible.

Link Building Strategies

  1. Find some old websites of yours and put some links there in the footer.
  2. Pay for links: you can buy links for roughly $100/link today.
  3. Build your own link-building team: these are people using different strategies from backlinko.
  4. Buy a domain or website and put a link there.
  5. Guest post: it’s saturated, but it works
  6. Do interviews: it’s what most people do now. If no one is asking to interview you, reach out and ask to be interviewed.
  7. Interview others: great as the person you interview will likely share the interview on their social media, which will increase their following.
  8. Partnerships/exchange: link exchange with another company/creator.
  9. Give reviews: write a product review and ask if you can be featured on their homepage with a link to your website (many online tools quote what “Mary, marketing manager at” said about their product).
  10. Claim unlinked mentions: search people that mentioned your website but didn’t add a link to your blog. You can also upload pics on Unsplash then ask people that used them to reference your blog.
  11. HARO: Help A Reporter Out is a service connecting journalists to sources.
  12. Become the reporter: use HARO to get answers for an article you want to write. Once your piece is written, notify all the people you talk about so that they can share the link.
  13. Create a linkable product: create a tool on your website that people will refer to.
  14. Solve a problem: every time you solve a problem, write an article about it so people can find it and share it.
  15. Submit to communities and directories: find a directory talking about the best blogs in your niche and ask to be added. Submit your articles to communities you hang out in.
  16. Submit on Producthunt, Hacker News, Reddit.
  17. Do competitor research:
    1. Find a competitor of yours, someone slightly ahead of you
    2. Look at where they are getting their backlinks from by plugging their site into Ahrefs
    3. Go check if you can get the same backlinks

Best practices

  • Scan for dead links on your website.
  • Update your content: your “best list of 2020” should be updated the next year.
  • Speed up your site

Chapter 5: Monetization

Monetization will be like distribution. You’ll have to try a few different channels.

Consider how your audience views you: if they trust your opinion, do affiliate marketing. If they trust your knowledge, build a course, etc.

Monetizing Content

You do so by posting it on Medium. Expect to earn a few dollars per article though, no more.


Use tools that help readers make a donation.


Two types: self-serve, and hidden.

Self-serve are platforms or programs anyone can join. Amazon is the most famous one.

The key to making money with affiliates is to go for objects or programs and teach people how to use them. The teaching part has high SEO value + is a complete ad that encourages users to use your product.

Hidden programs are programs where applications aren’t open. You need to write to the company to get in.


They slow down your site, don’t pay much, and take massive real estate. Not recommended.

Newsletter Sponsorship

These can generate much more money, depending on the sponsor and the customer lifetime value.

Think about whether you will charge per email you send, per email that is open, or per click. These all depend on the sponsor and on the size of your list.

Finding Sponsors

Find companies relevant to your theme and audience. Don’t hesitate to contact them and explain how an ad in your newsletter could deliver value for them.

You can also subscribe to a newsletter like yours to see who sponsors them.


This is the hardest. Creating your own product may also distract you from your site. But monetary-wise, it’s actually the best!

Digital Information Products

These are ebooks, courses, paid webinars or workshops, etc.

If you don’t know who to teach, ask yourself this:

  • What do I know that 95% of people don’t?
  • What do people often ask me about?
  • What product could be a great extension of the free value I have given?

If you don’t know whether someone will buy your product, test it! You can pre-sell on Gumroad.

Community – Membership

Create a community you charge people to access.


You can create apps, plugins, or create a board (like a job board) and rent it out to people that would want to advertise there.


Some bloggers, known for a topic, created a professional service agency (for SEO, growth marketing, etc).

Even if you don’t monetize your writing, you’ll get opportunities thanks to it at some point.

Physical Products

From food to clothes to stickers, you can sell anything.

Chapter 6: Extras

Biggest Mistakes

If You Write, They Will Come

Great content is not enough, you need to distribute it.

Getting too Micro

Don’t obsess over what time of the day you should send emails, and that type of micro details.

Not Defaulting to Action

Just take action, don’t worry too much about planning.

Good Problems to Have

These are problems you’ll run into when you succeed.

Losing Your Time

When you grow, people will send you messages asking you for stuff. Make sure to put some limits.

Losing Your Edge

You lose your edge when you start getting mean comments and adapt to those comments. Don’t do that. Write for your true fans, and screw the rest.

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The following isn’t in the book. It’s just random notes I have taken about building a blog. I am adding them here so I can free space on my phone.

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  • Post category:Summaries
  • Post last modified:May 26, 2022