Some people think it’s strange whenever I refer to the “business of blogging.” That’s because for people who don’t blog, they still think most of it is personal diaries and not something that can be used for business.
Truth be told, even blogs that are more personal than business related have a business aspect to it. There are a few relatively well known people who can put together a blog and know people will come without doing much for it; some of them don’t even write anything, just add pictures like they do on Instagram. Unfortunately, for the rest of us we can’t just write a blog, add pictures, video or podcasts and think we’re going to be successful or famous without any effort. Most people don’t think bloggers are going to be famous, but many who initially get into it think if you write it people will come; this isn’t Field of Dreams.
I’ve written lots of posts on blogging and on driving traffic over the years, but times have changed and so have the results from all that change. This article isn’t about that though. This is a little different, though it may end up covering some of the same territory.
I’m writing this one because I was asked a question at a consultant’s meeting by someone who didn’t quite understand how blogging could help her business. Even after all these years, this question still comes up. Since I haven’t touched upon this subject in 18 months, let’s talk about it again. The format may be a little weird, but stick with me.
1. Blogging can definitely help your business. Blogging gives you an opportunity to show your competence and expertise in your particular field. Blogging doesn’t have to be about business, but it can certainly help.
There are multiple ways blogging can help your business. You could get consulting gigs from it. You could have people contacting you for coaching. You could sell products related to what you blog about. You could use it to drive people to a paid membership site.
2. Blogging won’t help your business if you aren’t consistent in writing articles, not consistent in your message, or if you never talk about things you do in business. Whereas on this blog I talk about more than the core of topics I try to stick to, on my business blog I only talk about topics I actually consult and do presentations on.
Even then, I tend to tell people not to be too specific with their niche, not because it won’t help for SEO purposes, which it will, but because people who niche to finitely run out of things to say way too soon. The worst thing for a business blog is to suddenly stop having articles on it.
3. What does consistency mean? If you only write one post a month, do you really think you’re going to build up a faithful audience if you’re not a celebrity? Some people will subscribe to your blog feed and won’t notice if you’re not more consistent, but that doesn’t help your business much. If you can’t write, or have someone else write, at least 2 posts a month, don’t bother to start.
4. It’s okay to have someone else write your blog. If it’s for business purposes, it’s more about marketing and advertising than being pure. I’ve been a paid writer for a number of blogs over the years. Even now I write the articles for my accountant’s blog (we trade services) and most of the articles on my consulting group’s blog. For the right price I’d write for blogs these days as well, but I don’t come cheap and there are some things I’d stay away from (I’m not writing about today’s music lol).
However, blogging isn’t only about writing and content, and if you think it is you’re going to learn quickly that kind of thing just doesn’t work. Whereas I, and other writers, can add content to your space that matches what your business is all about, if it’s your blog then you should know what the articles say and respond to some of the comments on your own. That’s the piece I’ve never seen on any of the blogs I’ve written for others; most of them have never looked at anything I’ve written (which makes it easy for the writer but not as efficient for the business owner).
5. Why should you care? There are two things that will work against you if you don’t.
One, if people stop by to comment on your blog, they’re going to want some feedback on their comments, otherwise they won’t stop by all that often, even if they’re interested in what you have to say. You’re not Seth Godin (whose blog I won’t visit because he doesn’t take comments; personal thing with me), which means people aren’t just going to stop by and be impressed by your acumen. If you pay someone else to write for you, you’re probably paying them to comment on responses.
Two, That’s something I’ve done over the years and I’ve been lucky to never have been asked something at such a high level that I couldn’t respond to it. Someone else responding to comments for you can be dicey if they’re not in the business. I can easily comment on a post I write for others because I have to research topics I don’t already know. But if I were asked a detailed question I’d be lost because I’m not a true expert in the field. Sometimes, the answers given to a blog comment can be as important as the post itself.
6. While you’re at it, you might as well know that you’re probably going to have to go out and “troll” for visitors. That’s not quite a fair term, but let’s go with it.
Most of us learn pretty quickly that to help drive people to our blogs, we need to post our articles on social media along with going out, visiting other blogs, and comment on them whenever appropriate. “Experts” will tell you to only comment on blogs where people are talking about the same thing you’re writing on, but that’s not necessarily true.
There should be some of that in there, but if you’re an electrician and you visit electrician blogs, the best you can do is either agree or disagree with what the person said. It’s probably a rare thing where you’ll be able to expound on something where the comment makes any real contribution without making the other person look bad.
On this blog, I get people who write on all sorts of topics visiting, and I visit blogs on many different topics as well. Luckily I get to decide which of my 3 blogs I want to comment from, but it doesn’t always match up like one might think. The act of commenting encourages different people to stop by your blog, and making sure you’re promoting your articles on social media on a regular basis makes a lot of sense.
7. The final piece of the pie is personality. It’s hard to get if you have someone else writing your blog, unless you don’t mind them showing their personality in their articles. The other problem is if you’re a small business and the personality of the blog writer doesn’t match the personality of you or your employees if you get a call for services.
This is a small problem because if your blog generates sales, either online or brick and mortar, then its done its job, and you’ll finally see the benefits of a blogging business strategy. Still, blog owners need to pay attention to the content being created on their blogs whether they’re writing it, their staff is writing it or they’re paying someone on the outside to do it.
8. If you’re not writing a business blog, all these other things apply to you as well. If you want visitors to your website, you’re going to have to work for them, online or off. If you don’t, then risk falling behind your competitors who are doing it.
You can’t say you haven’t been informed now. What are you going to do about it?