I first wrote ‘the blog about my blog’ 2 years ago. I wanted to lift the bonnet on ‘Pinch of Thought’ to show how it actually works and why. My premise – that writing a blog is no longer a nice-to-do, but a business essential. The intervening 24 months have deepened this belief. You see ‘content creation’ is an increasingly important part of the connection puzzle. Last week I wrote about the Gig Economy and how we need to create our own personal brand equity to avoid the commoditization of our expertise. Content creation and sharing via a simple blog is still the best way to get started. It’s not new, but the likelihood is that you are not doing it. I’ve heard all of the excuses (“too busy”, “too hard”, “it doesn’t work”) – and that is all they are.
Blogging is a low cost, efficient and even enjoyable way to connect with your market, develop and display your thinking and simply remind people that you still exist! It’s about helping people and in the process starting a conversation that may – or may not – become commercial. Importantly, you must be genuinely happy with either.
So here’s a bit of a refresh on how it works and why I reckon it’s now imperative that you get onto this.
First let’s de-bunk some myths
No one is waiting for your blog. No one will call to say they haven’t received it (well, your mum might). You are unlikely to be inundated with an avalanche of sales enquiries seconds after you press SEND. Indeed, often you will give digital life to your painfully-crafted wisdom and receive in thanks a deafening silence…….
So is it all a giant con? Has your reluctance to jump on the content creation bandwagon been vindicated? Are we bloggers just spinning our wheels?
Sorry, but the answer is NO!
Like most things in today’s ambiguous world, binary answers don’t serve. It’s too easy to say the blogs are a waste of time (or that social media or online marketing doesn’t work). It’s simplistic, lazy and just not true. They all work, but you have to learn how and adapt accordingly.
How blogs really work to drive your business
Make no mistake. Your blog has the potential to become a veritable Energizer bunny for your business. I find it works in a few ways:
1. A consistent reminder to your customers (existing and potential) that you are out there and active
Your customers are unlikely to work with people and businesses they don’t know. You don’t, I don’t, so it’s nuts to expect any differently just because it’s our ‘brilliance’ on display. Like a personal relationship, it takes time to build trust. Through your blog, you will often be creating impact without knowing it. It’s likely that only a few readers will respond when you post, but many more are reading and forming a positive view that may later convert into business. I invariably find that the first time most of my clients experience me is through my blog, which they’ve been silently consuming, often for 6, 12 or 18 months before making contact.
2. A permission-based vehicle for you to showcase how you can help your clients solve their most pressing problems
Remember, at some stage, readers have elected to let you into their inbox. That’s a precious thing and the starting point for a great relationship if what you offer is what your customers need.
3. A brilliant format through which you can test and evolve your thinking, services and products
Blogs are a great way to trial ideas with your market. They’re a perfect vehicle to build a client community around your concepts and to start conversations that will help you better-understand needs and opportunities. The best blogs are brief and informal. They are the equivalent of a café chat, not a boardroom pitch.
4. An elegant prompt to remind customers to get in touch
After I post my blog, I usually get a lot of emails about unconnected conversations that are in play. The blog acts as a gentle prompt that saves me having to follow up (which can appear needy) and keeps projects moving.
Some Blog Rules I’ve found helpful
1. Great content is essential
Without good content, you ARE wasting your time. For any leaders, entrepreneurs and experts who struggle with this I run several individual and group programmes, so please get in touch below.
2. Be consistent and persistent (post at least every 2 weeks)
Ever had an unreliable friend – one who turns up late or just doesn’t show? It’s hard to build a trusting relationship with someone like that and definitely a bad look for a business. Your blog has to show up like clockwork. Even if it’s not opened (and expect that most won’t be), your customer will know that you are still alive and kicking. Subconsciously they are assured by your continuing activity.
3. Be Patient
Do not expect fast, dramatic results. You blog is a powerful, but necessarily, slow-build strategy. It’s like dropping pebbles in a pond. The ripples that your activity creates may take a long time to reflect back. But, if you are patient, they will – often from completely new and unexpected directions.
4. Don’t be boring
Take advantage of the less-formal nature of the blog format to find the voice that will really resonate with your customers. Avoid dry business language and cull all jargon and acronyms. ASAP!
5. Have a point
Dare to have a point of view. Don’t just refer to a new report or piece of research – tell your community what you think about it and what action they should take. There’s no better place to develop your market thought leadership and influence.
6. Don’t sell
Use your blog to provide value, never to explicitly sell. Of course, you are selling all the time (this is a commercial activity after all), but you do it by attracting customers to what you do. They will come over time, but the choice is theirs. Your blog is there to provide value.
7. Think multi media
I’ve described a traditional, written blog like Pinch of Thought, as it is the most common blog form and the most straightforward to create and distribute. Your blog can easily take other forms such as video, audio, infographics and slides. Once you’ve mastered the basic form, it pays to play with re-purposing your content into these other formats.
And finally…….. have some fun
It’s not War and Peace. Don’t take yourself too seriously – I find self-deprecation is always appreciated)
Blogs make money
My blog has led to at least $150,000 of billings for me in the last 12 months. I am a solo consultant – just me, my brilliant Business Manager, Kathryn, Muddy the dog and 2 cats.
Imagine what that could look like scaled up for your business – at virtually zero cost! If you are not harnessing the blog form, you are, at best, missing a trick and, at worst, leaving your business exposed as competitors fill the void left by your inactivity.
You know it’s time. Get cracking, ignore the doubters and that little voice in your own head. Write something and JUST PRESS SEND. If you need a hand, just drop me a note.
Work with Mark
Since 2010 Mark Hodgson has been successfully helping executives, coaches and consultants to build confidence, gain clarity in their message and position themselves as influential thought leaders who people want to work with.
He is the author of Time To Shine - Adapting who you are and what you know to succeed i... and a leading thinker and speaker on adapting our personal leadership to succeed in a volatile world. To book Mark as a speaker for your next event contact him here.
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