Should you be blogging? Maybe, maybe not. To figure out whether a blog is a worthwhile communications medium for your business, you need to understand the current realities of business blogging. (Note: I’m calling it business blogging to distinguish it from personal blogging, which is a different animal. The assumption in this post is that you want your blog to help build your business or promote your career in some way.)
So here are a few things your blog will and won’t do for you. We’ll start with the things it won’t do so we can end on a positive note.
What your blog probably won’t do:
- Make you famous. Sorry to say it, but it’s going to take more than a blog to turn your name into a household word. Why? In short, because as with most Internet-based media, there are no barriers to entry. You can launch a blog in an hour without spending a penny. It’s like that Monster.com commercial where everybody runs out onto the tennis court and nobody can tell who the real players are. You have to find ways to get noticed.
- Gain a large base of loyal readers. Sorry again, but that’s not what blogging of any sort is about for most people. But that’s OK. You can still push people to your blog. Keep reading.
What your blog can do:
- Keep you thinking. Your blog is a commitment. You’re creating a monster that has to be fed. It takes time, but we all need to take time to step back, look at our industry, and think through how we go about it. I have two blogs (the other one is www.overcoffeemedia.com, which focuses on media trends). They force me to stay on top of my game, because they’re always there saying, “OK, smart guy. What are you going to come up with next?”
- Establish your credibility. Know the real difference between book authors and the rest of us? Guys who write books actually sit down and write. They don’t necessarily know more than the guys who don’t write, but they use what they have. Your blog, for a much smaller time commitment, can do the same for you.
- Give you a place to send customers and prospects. While you probably won’t gain a large following, you don’t need to. Rather, think of your blog as one tool in your media toolkit.
- Start beneficial conversations. For many businesses, everything starts with a conversation. Your readers can comment or ask questions, and those can lead to selling opportunities.
Of course, none of this happens if nobody ever sees your blog. So how do you get people to look at it? By using it as part of a comprehensive media strategy. By itself, it probably won’t do you any good. Combined with other tools, it it can be powerful. We’ll talk about ways to use it with other tools in the next post.