Last year I wrote a blog post titled 9 Ways Blogging Can Help You And Your Business, which turned out to be fairly popular. Yet, I didn’t think it was comprehensive enough for my tastes.
This time around I’m going to share a presentation I gave last year to a group of business coaches on the topic of blogging and how it can help one’s business. The last part of the presentation will be the video I created after the presentation because I didn’t actually get to finish it. I would have if there hadn’t been any questions though; that’s how live presentations go sometimes.
Sit back, relax, and enjoy the story that leads up to the rest of the presentation.
I. My Blogging Story
I started blogging back in 2005. My first and oldest blog is called Mitch’s Blog. I had read an article which said that blogging for business could help grow one’s business, and attaching it to your website was the smart way to go.
Things were going along pretty well, and I had written about 165 posts in my first year of blogging when the hosting company I was using crashed. By crashed, I mean they lost everything for every client they had. I was crushed at the time, and thought about never blogging again.
But for some reason I felt as though I had a lot more to say. So I changed hosts, then went online to find all of my blog posts via their being cached, re-added those I thought were worthy to the blog and continued going up until this day.
Who’d have thought it would’ve turned into what it has. Right now I have five blogs, I write for other blogs, and I have over 5,000 articles online. Some of those articles have helped my business, while others haven’t really done much for me, but overall I would have to say that my businesses and me personally have enjoyed some positive publicity because of blogging.
II. What Is/Isn’t Blogging?
Let’s briefly talk about what is and isn’t blogging. At this point you’d think everyone in the world would know what blogging is, yet every time I meet new people I run into a lot of them who have no idea what a blog is. Goodness, most of the people in my consultant’s group don’t know what a blog is, and we have a blog on our website! lol
It seems strange because there are almost 300,000,000 blogs out there, but maybe a lot of people are like me and have multiple blogs. No matter; let’s look at a few points of reality.
A. Blogging isn’t a diary.
A lot of people still believe that blogs are diaries without actual topics that people are writing about. I understand where that comes from because the first kind of blog I ever rode on was something called My Dear Diary back in 1996. At the time that’s what I thought blogging was, but that was over 20 years. You’d think the rest of the world would have learned by now; obviously not. lol
B. Blogging isn’t meant for bragging about yourself
When you’re writing a blog for business, although you’re looking to promote yourself, you’re also not looking to brag about yourself all the time. You’re looking to do two things. One, you’re looking to highlight your business and your business acumen. Two, you’re looking to show your proficiency by writing about topics that you’re interested in that apply to your business.
For instance, on my business blog I write about leadership, diversity, and a lot of other employee issues. I also write about health care since I’m a health care finance consultant. I write stories about things I’ve done that work and haven’t worked because I’m looking to get people to understand that there are lessons to be learned whether I’ve succeeded or not.
C. Think of blogging as a way to back up claims you’ve made about your business on your website
If your blog is attached to your business website, blogging gives you the opportunity to keep reinforcing what you say you do with search engines. This is where we get into the topic of SEO, also known as search engine optimization.
For instance, if you happen to be a florist, writing about all types of flowers and how to grow them and nurture them helps to reinforce that’s what you do in your business. If you write about things like blogging, which is what I’m doing here, then having a lot of articles talking about blogging, even if it is related to other things, is a smart thing to do.
D. Blogging is a big part of social media
Let’s get this out of the way: blogging is social media. It’s probably the first social media, although I’m remembering that my friend Holly thought that there were some other things that could have been considered social media back in the days when we used to do dial up and talk to each other through short messages on bulletin board systems. We were in the dark ages because it was an ugly way to communicate with each other compared to today.
If you think about it, a lot of what is shared on social media is from some kind of blog. Huffington Post and Medium are actually types of blogging sites, although way more massive than the blogs most of us will have that’s attached to our websites. Still, some people will read what we have to say and it gives us a chance to promote ourselves on other social media platforms. Therefore blogging is a major part of social media.
E. Blogging is the one way of getting an unfiltered message out, no matter what it is.
The best thing about having a blog is you get to put your message out to the world without anyone else getting in the way. Later on you might get comments where people are disagreeing with what you’ve said, if you accept comments, but it still starts out with you having your say.
This works out well if you’re in certain industries where maybe everyone else recommends one way of doing something and you decide to recommend another way of doing it. There’s no one to shout you down once you have your message out there. As I said, they may say certain things in the comment section, but if you feel strong enough about it then you’re good to go.
F. Blogging is a way to keep consistently new content on your website.
You know what search engines like? They like consistently new content, especially if its related to the topics you’ve highlighted throughout your website. What you’ll find is that if you throw up a website and never add anything new to it, search engines will get disinterested and rarely visit your website.
I don’t know how it all works in detail, but I notice the reality. If you don’t believe me you can go to Alexa.com and see if you have any ranking whatsoever. If you have no ranking, it shows that your site is pretty much dead, and the only way you’re going to get people to your website is sending them there by email, in-person networking or doing something with your content.
III. Why Business Blogging?
There are a lot of statistics that prove business blogging helps businesses get their eyes in front of their potential customers. The stats I’m about to show are from 2016, but that’s still a valid period of time for me to share them with you:
1. 57% of businesses that blog state they’ve attained a business to consumer customer (2nd to Facebook) because of it, along with 43% business to business (second to LinkedIn);
2. This equates to 46% of customers coming from company blogs;
3. Companies that blog get 50% more leads than companies that don’t for consumers, 40% for businesses
Now let’s go deeper:
A. Business Blogging gives you a voice within your industry; nearly 65% of small businesses now have some type of blog
What this tells us is if you don’t have a blog, even if you have a business website, that your competition has a jump on you and you better get started.
B. You can easily market from your blog
I like to tell people that it’s important to have a website because it can be used as one’s brochure, no matter whether the business is local or can offer things to the world online. What a blog helps you do is to continue the marketing process by having consistently new content.
Think of it this way. A general marketing campaign that’s going to do you any good could cost you anywhere from $5,000 – $100,000. If you have a blog and you can write for yourself, marketing costs you nothing except for the company that hosts your blog and a bit of your time. If you need to pay someone else to write your articles, it’s definitely going to cost you less than $100,000. You can also change how you market or what you market much quicker and easier than traditional marketing.
C. You can share your content in multiple places in multiple ways
One of the best things about having a blog is that blogs create links along with content.
One of the best things about having links is that you can post them in a lot of different places. For instance, I post my links on Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, and Google Plus. I could post them on sites like StumbleUpon or Reddit or any of those types of sites (if I was predisposed to do so) where people are stopping by, looking at articles, commenting on them and possibly sharing them with others.
What you can also do it is take a blog post and create either a video or podcast out of the content, if you’re not scared to be on camera or behind a microphone. Now you’re reaching another audience via another medium those people might prefer to having to read something. Ana Hoffman would recommend that you also add content into SlideShare, while others will tell you that you can take your content and create a bunch of small ebooks which means now you have products that you can sell. This is something I need to work better on, and I plan to do it more often in 2018.
D. If you build an audience you can interact with people who are interested in what you have to say, some being potential customers
These days the only blog I have where I’m actually trying to woo potential customers is my business blog. In that regard, I’ve gotten business from it, although not as much recently. I’ve gotten speaking engagements and a few business contracts, along with consulting gigs because of things I’ve written on the blog and in other spaces. That’s not bad considering the alternative.
Truth be told, I’ve gotten speaking engagements because of this particular blog and a previous blog I had that was about SEO and building websites. I haven’t really turned either of them into moneymaking ventures, but the possibility is always out there. I probably did get a couple of long term writing assignments because of this blog and my other blogs. So maybe I’ve been wooing potential customers for a long time; first time I’ve thought about it.
IV. Objections To Business Blogging/Blogging In General
If you’re like me, you probably know a lot of people who don’t blog and are amazed when they find out you do. You’ve probably had a conversation with some of them recommending that they blog. I’m going to bet that they’ve given you some of the same excuses that I’m going to mention for why they won’t blog. In some ways these gripes might be valid, but to me they’re poor excuses when it’s related to business blogging.
A. Time Consuming
It can take time if you’re writing a blog. For instance, this post is taking me longer than normal because it’s a long post. Some people will tell you it may take them upwards of 6 to 8 hours to write a blog post. Those of people who I would consider as professional bloggers because the people who put back on a time into each post are usually trying to make money directly from blogging.
For anyone else, if it takes you more than two hours to write a blog post, and that includes finding an image or adding links to it, then you’re probably doing it wrong by over-thinking the process. In any case, if you look at blogging as a type of marketing, it’s time efficient, it’s cost efficient, and it’s certainly not wasting your time even if it is time-consuming.
B. Don’t Know What To Say
This one is intriguing. If you’re writing about something you know nothing about, I can understand you saying you don’t know what to say. If you’re writing about something that you know something about and you don’t know what to say, then you should probably be in a different business. This is more of a dodge than a legitimate excuse if you’re in business.
I’m not talking about writer’s block, which a lot of people experience. I’m talking about people using this as an excuse not to even try. If everyone who’s considering blogging follows my recommendation of writing at least 10 articles first to see how it goes before making a decision it would make the blogging world a much better place.
C. Don’t Want To Be Controversial
I’ve actually had a lot of people who’ve said they’re afraid to blog because they worry that people won’t like it and will get mad at what they have to say. If you’re in politics or religion and have a particular point of view that you express in your writing certain things on your blog maybe controversy will come your way.
If you’re writing about anything else, there may be a person here and there who might disagree with what you have to say but it’s certainly not controversial. However, if people don’t agree with you, what’s the difference between it being on a blog and happening in real life? It’s not a job, it’s a business, and businesses don’t always do everything the same exact way.
For instance, an example I like to use all the time is if you’re a kitchen contractor, where everyone else is saying that counter tops need to be a certain type of material, and you’ve been using something else that your customers have loved, you may write about it and have the other contractors this agree with you. You’re also going to find that there’s a market out there for people who are looking for something different and you just might be the one to they want to talk to.
It’s what my wife and I did, not about counter tops but when we had to have our front porch repaired after ice storms and the “polar vortex” of 2015. Every quote we got came in over $9,500, with each of them pretty much saying the same thing. Luckily, someone else came along with a different plan that made a lot of sense and was half the cost of everyone else; we’ve never had a complaint. If he’d blogged it maybe other contractors would have argued with him but he might have obtained a lot of business doing things his way.
D. Can’t Control The Audience
This one is definitely true, but it’s not true just for blogging. Truth be told, you can never really control your audience even if you’re a professional speaker. You can control your message but only to a certain extent. Deciding not to do something because you’re worried about controlling an audience is illogical.
E. Too Much Spam
Don’t get me started on spam lol. You’ll get spam if you start blogging; I’m not going to lie about this one. What I’ll say is that if you have a business website and you have a way that people can reach you via email, you’re going to start getting spam anyway. Spam is one of those things that you’re just going to have to deal with, but unless you end up being really popular you’re not going to end up with all that much spam.
F. Not A Good Writer
This might be the most valid point anyone can make towards being reluctant to blog. The overwhelming majority of people in the world aren’t good writers.
There’s two ways to overcome that. One, you practice writing and become a good writer. Two, you hire someone else to do it for you.
There’s a number three, which is to say you’re not going to overcome it but it’s a good option. Use tools that can help you at least not look like an idiot.
For instance, there are spell check programs like Word; goodness, if you use WordPress, it highlights misspellings already. There are programs like Grammerly, which will check your grammar. There are processes you can learn to check things yourself such as reading what you’ve written out loud and listening for potential errors.
You don’t have to be a great writer; you don’t even have to be all that good. You just need to make sure you’re not lazy and avail yourself of some of the many tools which can help you at least look competent.
V. Finale – How To Business Blog & Should You Have One
Enough of the written part of this post. If you made it this far, I thank you for doing so. Now we have a video to go through the finale in full that I didn’t get to complete when I presented to this particular group.
Here are the points the video covers:
A. Add Content On A Regular Basis
B. Expand The Realm Of What You Have To Say
C. Add Variety
3. Guest Posts
4. Multiple Bloggers
D. Don’t Start One If You’re Not Going To Keep It Going
E. Add It To Your Website Instead Of Going The Free Route
F. Visit Other Blogs & Comment; respond to comments on your blog
That’s not close to being all there is to say, but it’s more than I wrote on the subject previously. I hope you’ve learned a thing or two that you can take away with you.