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Merchandising

Cafe PressIf you ever attended a conference or convention, you’ve probably gone home with an armload of swag. You know, the bags, pens, shirts, and mousepads, covered with company logos and URLs. Our LonTalk router company has used such items for years, the most popular being post-it type notepads and frisbees.

Now that you’re a professional blogger, create some swag of your own! I’ve been using CafePress exclusively for years. Here’s the process:

The Name's Blonde Tee

  • Sign up for a CafePress account (free)
  • Create your artwork
  • Upload the artwork
  • Select the products you want the artwork to appear on
  • Choose your markup
  • Link to selected items from blog posts or the sidebar

CafePress does the web design, promotion, ordering, screenprinting, payments, handling, shipping, customer support, and even returns. You just collect monthly checks. It’s very simple.

This is a great way to create passive residual income. I haven’t created or promoted anything in my store for years, I and still get a tidy monthly check like clockwork.

Sure, you can put your blog logo on products, but unless people love your blog to death and want to pay for the privilege of advertising for you, that’s probably not a good money-making proposition. Instead, create some tee-shirts, mugs, or bumper stickers about the causes and interests of your niche blog readers.

Veni Vedi Vector BagFor example, if you have a blog all about what it’s like to be blonde, create a number of items to share the joys and pains of being both adored and maligned for the color of your hair. (I created the Jane Blonde t-shirt, above,  for all my blonde daughters.)

If you have some kind of technical blog, create mugs, shirts, caps, and mouse pads to address the nerd population that are regular readers. (Coming from a family of nerds, I use the term with great love. The design on this math vector bag was created in honor of my father, the math professor.)

Merchandising works well for a number of reasons. When people have a common interest, they love to share and promote it. Doing so brings a sense of community pride and solidarity. By creating merchandise that caters to the tastes, humor, and inside information of your niche, you can increase your earnings by providing things that are a perfect fit for your readers.