Customers often ask me “Should I do a blog?”. My answer to them is pretty straight forward— Yes, if you are willing to be consistent and dedicated to it.
That’s the hardest part about blogging. But it’s also the part that will make or break a blog being successful. It’s probably why, until recently, I never did it.
Now, I’m not going to claim to be a blogging expert, I’m not. I’m barely scratching the surface, really. But what I’ve gained from doing it has been so surprising to me. It’s like the light switch suddenly turned on and I just couldn’t wait to share this info (and what better place than my blog?).
From the traditional perspective, blogging is great for your website.
First, it helps show your audience that you have knowledge that is valuable to them. This is great for building credibility. If someone looks at your blog, even without reading it fully, and can see that you are passionate and knowledgeable about your field, it will make it a lot easier for them to trust you.
Second, building content for your site is great for search engine optimization. Every time you publish an article on your site, you’ve created another avenue in which people can find your business. This is great for industry-specific posts, answering questions people have about your business, or even filling voids in a narrow niche.
Another great benefit from blogging is, while it may seem EVERYONE is doing it, it’s likely that your local competitors aren’t (or not very well). This give you a competitive advantage and helps set you apart and stand out.
These are the reasons I started writing— but what I’ve found out is that these are the most important benefits I’ve gotten. There’s something bigger.
My first lesson.
The first breakthrough I had with blogging wasn’t until just a few days ago at our local Chamber of Commerce breakfast networking meetings. If you’ve been to these, you know what they are like, but if you haven’t here’s a quick summary.
People gather and chit-chat. Chamber officials make announcements. Then one-by-one the people that gathered get to stand up and pitch their services to the group for about 60 seconds. Then come the door prizes, then, it’s over.
This kind of network is great for getting to know some people in your community. But the problem with it is you are often saying the same message to the same group of folks week in and week out. I could almost get up and do other peoples pitches for them at this point, I’ve heard them that much (Yes, I know, this isn’t necessarily a bad thing there is value in pounding your message into someones brain).
As I sat in my chair waiting for my turn, I hadn’t even thought about what I’d say— I was basically on auto-pilot.
“Hello, my name is Kyle and I own OGAL Web Design…”.
But I got to thinking about the post I had just published a few days prior about why you should be asking for online reviews. I had published it, shared it on all the social media channels (which is what I typically do) and then it just kind of sits out in space waiting for people to find it.
That’s when the first light bulb turned on.
That blog post is valuable to just about everyone sitting in the room. Most of them are business owners, and they too want to have a stellar reputation online.
Instead of saying what I’ve been saying over and over for the last 100 meetings, I stood up and said “Do you read online reviews before you buy something? Of course, we all do. And that means your customers are reading reviews about you too…”
I went on to quickly summarize my blog post and tell them that I had just written an article about how they can take a few simple steps to help their business have a better reputation online. My offer at the end was for them to visit my site to read the article, and of course I’d be happy to answer any questions they have or help them further.
There was no audible gasp, or standing ovation, but what I did notice was people paying attention. They turned their head towards me, they perked up, I saw people nodding their head in agreement with what I was saying.
I had just done all the traditional things a blog was made for (establish authority, build rapport, tell my story, stand out) but, I had done it right in front of them.
What is so neat about this is I just re purposed the content I had already created. I didn’t sound like everyone else in the meeting. I brought something of value and shared it with the group. No sales pitch, no “give me your money”— just honest advice from my experience and expertise in my field. People were able to take something from me with them from that meeting.
I don’t know exactly how many people went back and looked their company up online to see what their reviews looked like, or how many people read my blog post, but I’m more than certain some of them did.
In fact, I did get a email about my articles that really struck me:
I’ve been reading all of your blog posts and Facebook Notes etc. Just have to say I’m sooooo glad to be able to learn, troubleshoot etc. with you. You are a wealth of knowledge!
If that doesn’t motivate you— I don’t know what will!
My second lesson.
Most people new to blogging hit the same wall— they stare at a blank screen with a blinking courser not knowing even where to start.
Luckily, I’ve met some great folks in Facebook communities (like the Content Creators group) that have given me some great advice for coming up with ideas for blog posts.
One of those ideas is to take the questions you hear from you customers frequently and answer them in a blog post. This is my favorite little hack. It helps in two ways.
First, you get ideas for posts, and since you’ve answered these questions dozens of times you know how to answer them quickly and easily.
Second, the next time someone asks you, you don’t have to write out your response again. Simply link them to your post or copy and paste what you’ve already written.
It’s also great for SEO, because if people are asking you this question frequently, they are also asking Google.
But I’ve found an additional benefit— clarity about my business, what I offer and what value I can provide my customers.
When I’d answer these questions in an email or phone call I didn’t have to put too much thought into them. I was only talking to the person that asked, and after that conversation that information was gone.
But when you are publishing an article on your website, that’s different.
What I would write down and say is going to live on. People are going to read it that didn’t’ ask me directly.
Queue light bulb #2.
This was doing a REALLY good job of making me look internally at my own business.
What is my take on this subject? What have I learned? How have I helped people solve this problem? What advice to I have? What makes my answer valuable?
I’m literally learning about myself and my business on a deeper level each time I begin typing. I suppose it’s a bit like keeping a journal or a diary… except your broadcasting it across the world.
I’ve learned so much about my business already in the short amount of time I’ve been blogging. I’ve gained confidence in the service and value I provide my customers. I’ve realized that I’ve seen a lot of things in my field that could be useful to someone just starting out. I realized there are times I’ve really helped someone get past a problem or overcome a challenge.
These blog posts are giving ME as much (or more) value than they are giving my audience.
So, should you be blogging?
You’re going to learn so much about yourself. You will gain confidence. You will reach a new audience. You will gain credibility. You will stand out from your competitors. You will provide value. Your words will live forever online.
Who doesn’t want all those things?
So whether you’re a writer or not, whether you know it already or not— if you’ve been doing something for a long time, went to school for your work, or just have a passion for what you do you already have great blog posts in you.
Share that knowledge.
Be that leader.
Provide value to your customers.
I promise, when you do, you’re going to get as much out of it as anyone.