Blogging is no longer the latest internet must-have. Does this mean there is no point in blogging? Does a small business get a return for their investment of time?
As blogging is (mostly) low cost or free, money is not the issue, but time. As a small business your time is valuable and you should never spend time on something just because other people tell you it “should” be done. A blog will take time to plan, to create blog posts and to help them out into the world.
To make blogging work for you, and give you a return on your time, the real question to ask is
How can my blog help me with my business goals?
So of course the first question to ask is about your business.
Where is my business going?
When you are clear about where you are going, your time is spent in a more focussed way. You are less likely to be confronted by the demon distraction, more likely to get results, which builds confidence so you keep going! This applies to blogging as well as everything else in your business.
Once you are clear on your goals (and just for fun give yourself a number there somewhere) what next?You need customers to reach your business goals. As well as peers and mentors. Who are these people?
Then when you have got that worked out you can ask yourself the juicy question:
How can my blog help me with those goals?
Blogs are an amazing two-function powerhouse. Both the platform for your way of doing business, and the link when you read and comment on other blogs. Your signature includes your blog reference so readers can easily click through and read your blog.
Let’s say you have had success in a particular industry and would like more clients in that sector. Your blog can provide advice that is special for that sector to help people overcome their problems. You demonstrate that you understand what is going on for them, and that there is a solution.
You can answer questions, write about the problems that are special for that sector, provide advice and examples about the solutions, and comment on the trends, the events during the year, as well as the well-known people at the top of the tree. While you may already have pages on your website relating to your services, your blog can be more informal and friendly – and in many cases is easier to write. Once your blog has relevant content on it you can go out and connect with other blogs and be able to comment and contribute authentically.
On your blog you offer an easy way for people to find out more, to stay in touch, to buy a product, attend a webinar which could lead to a sale. (ideally you want a good relationship leading to many sales.) Or ideally, many sales and a good relationship.)
The final question is more about you.
Who do I want to be?
The world tends to see and value you the way you see and value yourself. Your blog gives you the chance to have your say, and actually to know your own thoughts more fully. You may not initially see yourself as an expert, but realise that your views and opinions are valuable to others. Then it will become clear that it is not just your knowledge but your personality that is being valued. You may be able to say things in a way that people “get” for the first time even if they have heard something similar before.
Listen for feedback when people tell you what kind of person / accountant / therapist etc you are. Very often other people see things in us we fail to see. So give yourself permission to “be” in a more distinctive way.
Once you write more easily, you may see how your blog posts could turn into a book or an ebook, or become authoritative articles or the basis for a speech or presentations.
There are many examples of where a simple blog led to book publishing deals and fame. that might happen for you. Even if it doesn’t, provided you have thought through these questions your blog can raise your profile and help you achieve your business goals.
To kickstart your blog to meet your business goals and get help answering these important questions join Jean Wolfe and Alice Elliott for a onc-day workshop.