Thomas Quinn was the former CEO of Community General Hospital in Syracuse, NY. For 4 years he had a personal blog where he talked about community developments his hospital was a part of, highlighted positive things employees and physicians did, and talked about philosophical and health care issues such as compassion. I always enjoyed reading it, especially since it was a local hospital, and I liked knowing what was going on.
Me, the CEO
When he was needed the most was the final year he was CEO, which was also the final year that the hospital was a standalone, before it merged with University Hospital. While many hospital executives might have tried to keep the news quiet for fear of what the community might think about them, Quinn was front and center in talking about what was going on with the merger, with the unions, about the employees and how they were trying to save all jobs, and of course with his personal thoughts about why the hospital needed to move in this direction. Continue reading →
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. Continue reading →
By now, anyone who’s visited any of my blogs knows that I love the concept of blogging. Just as I was telling a group of life and business coaches a couple of weeks ago, when I gave an online seminar about business blogging, there are a lot of benefits to the process, some of which people just don’t think about. I figured that this would be a nice change to some of the articles I’ve written this month; we all can use a little motivation and consulting.
1. You get to show your expertise.
pizza grilled cheese; I made this!
This is always my number one statement whenever I talk about business blogging. No one knows your business or what you can do better than you. The hope is that you’re not a one trick pony who only knows one aspect of what your business all about. Blogging on a consistent basis helps to show people that you’re someone who can definitely help them.
2. You control your message.
One of the major gripes of people who get interviewed by the media is that they spend upwards of an hour or two talking to someone, only to have someone take a few soundbites of something they said and twist it around so that they feel like total idiots having to defend a statement that’s been quoted out of context.
With a business or personal blog, you get to control your message. Not only that, but if someone misinterprets something you wrote, you’re the one who gets to go back in and make it better. This is one of the few times where, unless you’re a big time celebrity, you get to change what’s on the internet to a degree. Even if the Database Archive happened to pick up what you said the first time around, it’s unlikely to ever rear its ugly head if you keep adding more content to your blog.
3. You can get things off your mind.
Writing is cathartic; I didn’t make that up. I find that when my mind feels cluttered and I’m not sure what else to do, writing helps me get back into the groove of things.
This isn’t the only reason one might have to get things off their minds. For instance, an issue might come up (Trump) that irks you so much (Trump) that you feel the need to say something about it (Trump) because it keeps making you mad whenever the topic comes up (Trump). Every once in a while on this blog I’ve talked about racism, freedom of speech, inequality, bullies, and health care (which I would since I’m a health care consultant, all topics that aren’t the norm on this blog… or my other blogs.
At least I’ve never talked about politics (Trump); we all have to have standards, right?
4. You can show your creativity.
How many people remember when the term “think outside of the box” was prevalent, so much so that we got tired of it so some guy we all want to slap changed it to “change the paradigm”?
Truth be told, knowing how to help people with their problems isn’t always as straight forward as it might seem to be. For all the years of knowledge I like to think I have in health care, every once in a while I get thrown for a loop when someone mentions a certain problem that have that, upon reflection, doesn’t quite fit the parameters of your knowledge. I’ve had to come up with some truly creative ways to figure out what the actual problems are and then get more creative to apply a fix.
The same goes for blogging. When you can show people you have he mind to be creative when it comes to subjects you write and talk about, it helps intrigue people who might be interested in your services.
5. The longer you do it, the more social cache you build up.
Most of you won’t know what this is, but for my main career I’m a charge master consultant. I just looked up the term “charge master consulting” on both Google and Bing; you know what I found? On Google I’m in the top 3 spots; on Bing I’m at #1 and #5. Yes, I have content on my main website that talks up this type of consulting, but what’s helped me stay at least in the top 5 over all these years (that site was built in 2003) is that I’ve also written about it multiple times on my blog (which I started in 2005). Having 11 years worth of posts talking about something specific and technical like that has helped my site stay prominent, and it can do the same thing for you.
6. Did I mention SEO yet?
Indirectly I did with #5, but let me go a bit further with it. You know how I said that Google has me in the first 3 spots? It also shows my site in 4th, 6th and 9th being mentioned by other sites who’ve linked to me. I’m actually pretty prominent in the top 20; that’s the power of SEO and the right keywords for whatever industry you’re a part of.
7. Give people something to share with others.
One of the best things about social media is that people love to share the content of others. Not only can you market yourself on social media but if people like you or what you write they’ll help you do it at no cost to you. Every day someone new becomes an underground superstar and it’s probably based on either a blog post or a video, maybe even a blog post you’ve put a video on.
8. Personality; believe it or not you have one.
Almost every study that’s been done says that people want to work with someone they feel comfortable with. When you write a lot, you’ll find that you’ll find your writing “voice”, which tends to allow people to see what your personality is like. If you’re engaging then people will want to read your posts to not only learn about your topic but about you as well. The thing about blogging is that it’s not a one-and-done proposition. Regular content is necessary to make it work for you, and the more you write, the most benefit you get out of it.
9. Blogging is the least expensive way to market.
If you hadn’t figured this one out yet, I’m here to tell you that the only real costs to blogging, if you don’t want to pay for it, is time. Although I’d recommend that you pay for hosting or add it as a subdomain to your current website, there are lots of free blogging platforms that will let you get your mind into the of blogging to see if you can actually do it. It’s content that can live forever, you can modify it whenever you want, you can interlink old articles or some of your webpages to current blog posts (which I’ve done prominently here so you can see how it works) and it’s totally in your control.
Although I find blogging to be a popular subject for many people to talk about, there are still a lot of businesses trying to figure out not only if there’s any kind of return on investment in doing it, as well as whether they have the time or the inclination to do it. I have a story that might be illuminating.
A few weeks ago I got an email out of the blue from someone wanting some consulting advice from another state. I sent her my phone number since it wasn’t included in her email (major lesson; always include all of your contact information in your business emails) and said she could call me the next day.
She did just that, and we talked for about 10 minutes about the possibility of my doing some work for her, work that will pay nicely. I asked her how she’d heard of me. She said that a friend had sent her some kind of newsletter that included a link to a blog post I’d written and that it intrigued her because it looked like something she needed for her company.
I asked her if she remembered which blog post it was and at the time she didn’t. She said that she’d find it and send it to me. When I got it I was surprised because it turned out to be a post I’d written almost 3 years ago.
So, someone else liked my post, used it as inspiration in a post they wrote for a newsletter, put my link in it, someone else got it and liked it and forwarded it to a friend, that friend then liked it enough to call me. And I have a shot at getting business out of it. Sure, years later, but what did it really cost me when I wrote that post many years ago?
I tend to write fast, so it might have taken me 5 to 10 minutes at the most to put it together, and it stayed on the blog for years, and now look at what’s happened. Even though I don’t get the contract, I had a shot at it.
That’s the power of blogging; that’s why I talk about it all the time. You never know who might find your content and be impressed enough about it to contact you for business.
Of course, now I have to address the question I’ve seen about whether every business should have a blog or not and whether it can work for everyone. That’s a question that’s hard to answer easily, although it’s an easy answer.
The answers are thus:
* If you can have consistent content, it can work for you;
* If you can’t it won’t work for you;
* If you can’t talk about what it is you do it won’t work for you;
* If you’re the only one who can do what you do in your area, no matter how small a business it is, it can work for you, but still refer to the first bullet;
* Same if there are a lot of other businesses doing what you do but few of them have a blog (I tell this one to accountants all the time, most of whom don’t have a blog);
* If you have a regular website that looks decent that you can associate your blog with it can help
My opinion; if you can blog and you can talk about your business, a blog will help more than it will hurt unless you stop writing on it.
I know some folks are going to be confused if they remember my post talking about my 7th anniversary of blogging on this blog. Well, that’s this blog… on my business blog, today is the 10th anniversary of blogging. If you look below you’ll see Mitch’s Blog and the link to today’s post highlighting it (click the picture lol). And, whereas it’s not always a good thing having a new post on a Sunday, this is the anniversary date; that’s that! lol
The interesting thing is that in the 7th anniversary post I gave 7 things about blogging after giving 15 (I actually did 15 twice) and 55 previous to that. You’d think I wouldn’t have any more blogging lessons to give but I actually do, coming at it from a different point of view.
When I first started blogging, I had no idea what to do. I made tons of mistakes, had some comment that, by now, I’ve made private because it was pretty lame. As a practice I still believe it was best to have a blog; in reality, a lot of that early stuff was pedestrian. I’d cringe, but it was what it was, and truthfully, I had a gem or two here and there.
Still, I learned some lessons from that blog which helped me start this blog off just a little bit better than I might have; a little bit that is. It’s in that vein that I know I have 10 blogging lessons that are new and different from what I’ve said before. Let’s begin:
1. Putting any old thing up isn’t a blog post. Back then I had blog posts that might have been one paragraph. I had a few that were only one or two lines. I’d link to a story or a newsletter of mine and that would be that. In retrospect, I wish I’d talked just a bit more about the topic before doing that; I’m sure Google looked at those things and said “what the heck is this?”
2. Too many posts in a short time. I’ve talked about having to recover blog posts off Google after my original host crashed. What I did was recover about 155 articles, and instead of spreading them out I posted a lot of them all at once. Way too much content, and a waste of being able to reintroduce articles that were pre-written, thus saving myself having to work hard to come up with new content immediately.
3. Staying on message is a good thing. Even though I had a lot of short posts, I had some long ones also; like this blog. Thing is, some of the long posts back then, like some of my early newsletters, were all over the place. Back then I tried cramming everything I could think of into a post; now I know my topic, write only about that topic, and only toss something in every once in a while for perspective or to be funny. lol
4. Spacing of sentences. Or more specifically, not having paragraphs that were long enough to be chapters in a book. If you decide to read a book like Atlas Shrugged or anything Anne Rice writes, you’ll be convinced that long paragraphs make people happy; they don’t. At least not online. Whereas I hate seeing blog posts where every paragraph is only one line, I also hate seeing paragraphs that go into the next day.
I really did look like this lol
5. Images; good! I wish I’d picked up on that one much earlier than I did. Every once in a while I’d put in an image but only if it was pertinent to the story. Images make blog posts so much better don’t they?
6. Standing up for a cause is also good. I’m a WWE fan, but back in 2005 they had a storyline that I had a major problem with. In essence they created an Arab-American character who spouted all this hateful stuff at the audiences. It was their attempt to capture the mood of the country at the time.
Unfortunately, it worked way too well. Not only was it racist, but some networks across the country refused to carry any show he was on. They removed the character pretty quickly, the guy was disillusioned (turns out he wasn’t Arabic) and he left the business.
I doubt I had anything to do with his removal (I know I didn’t) but the point is you must be willing to call out something that’s not right, even if it’s risky; just choose your words carefully.
7. Internal linking can be your best friend. I learned via that blog that linking back to previous content that’s either pertinent to what I’m writing about anew or certain words that I want to highlight within my content was smart. Sometimes people will check out posts you link to; the longer you can keep people on your site because they like what you have to say, the better.
8. Every niche can be expounded upon. I started out writing that blog only on the topic of leadership and diversity. I learned quickly that not only were there other business issues that interacted with those values but I also had my primary business that I could write on as well. When you’re trying to highlight yourself you should also be ready to highlight just how much you know… or at least think you know.
9. We all love stories. Who doesn’t like a good story? I found that the posts that worked best were those that told a story in which I was a part of. Not that people were necessarily all that interested in me but telling a story of something I dealt with or saw was much easier than telling a story in which I wasn’t involved. Not that I don’t do that even now but if you can touch people emotionally they’ll stick around longer and talk to you more often.
10. Do it or don’t. When I’d lost my blog (actually, I lost the entire website), I had a choice to make; quit or keep going. Once I decided I was going to keep going I have, obviously still writing 10 years later. During this time I also shut down a business and moved a lot of that content over here, which I introduce over time.
This is always a big decision by everyone at some point; to quit or go on. Some go on; some quit like my buddy Charles Gulotta did. Sure, there are times when it might make you look bad or might make you feel bad. Don’t worry much about that sort of thing; just do it or don’t, and let life go on. 🙂