Since we are getting new subscribers weekly for our Blog-in-7-Days E-zine, I thought I would give you a sample of what you get. You can read this post and decide if you would benefit from signing up for the free newsletter or know of others who may. This edition is called “To Blog or Not to Blog?” and it is actually one of the bonus editions to the newsletter.
There is really no question that blogging is here to stay. Those who blog and blog for a marketing purpose will usually agree it has increased their profits. The return on investment from blogging is usually better than the return on investment from other marketing efforts. Especially when you compare the actually upfront cost and ongoing cost for a blog. After you start your blog, time is really the largest continued expense.
From my own experience in doing a blog for a professional service firm, blogging works and works well for capturing new clients. It works in that it positions you as the online location to go for information on the topic, niche or target you are blogging about.
However, there are still those who ask the question, “should I be blogging?” Blogging puts you in a prime position to sell without actually selling. Blogging is an interaction between you and your target audience. It makes the interaction about a relationship, not just about features and benefits of your product or service. Blogs also allow you to have an online conversation with the people interested in your nice. But more than that, blogging has changed how we communicate with those in the same business we are in, our competitors and our customers.
You have the opportunity to show who you are and what you care about in a way you can’t with other marketing efforts. Even a “static” Web site or a newsletter. A blog enables clients and/or customers to get to know you and like you before they hire you.
This interaction between you and your target begins with you and your efforts to get involved in this ongoing conversation. In order to develop a successful blog and to use your blog as a successful marketing tool, you must take four steps. First, you have to Find the conversations in your particular target or niche. By finding, use an RSS reader and subscribe to other blogs in your niche or target. Second, listen to those conversations by paying attention to the headlines in your RSS reader and reading those blog post which catch your attention. Develop your “A” list of other bloggers in your target or niche and listen to what they are writing. Third, engage in the other conversations in your target or niche. Comment on other blogs. Email other bloggers engaging them in a conversation about your subject, target and/or niche. And, if you are lucky to have someone comment on your own blog, visit their blog, if they have one. Send the person who comments on your blog an email thanking them for their comment and for reading your blog. Finally, empower the readers of your blog to participate in this conversation also. Allow comments on your blog, even if you moderate them. Have a way for your readers to email you. And most important, keep the conversation going.
The interaction and conversation you are and will be developing from blogging is what sets it apart from other marketing tools. And it is that benefit alone which should help you answer the question, should I be blogging or not?
The Disadvantages to blogging:
Are there disadvantages to blogging? Like anything, yes there are. First and the one I mentioned above, blogging takes a commitment and it takes effort. Unlike other marketing tools such as a “static” Web site and a Yellow Pages ad, you can not simple throw up a blog and expect results. A blog needs your regular attention or it will become what we call in the blogging world, “stale.”
This does not mean you have to spend every waking moment keeping your blog up to date. I recommend to new bloggers they try to plan on posting to their new blog at least three times a week for at least the first month. This will get you noticed by both bloggers and the search engines.
However, there are two myths that new bloggers tend to listen to. First, you don’t need to write long, detailed ready for publishing in a book post. Good basic information, relevant content to your target/niche is what is key. Which brings me to the second myth some fall into. Don’t throw up content for the sake of content. It must be relevant to the target, niche or audience you are writing to or about.
Dealing with the two myths just mentioned is the other disadvantage to blogging which comes to my mind. You will have to give some thought to what you are writing about. However, as long as you keep it relevant to your audience, this will not be a problem for you. Chances are you are blogging about something you either know something about or something you are passionate about. Use this to your advantage to quash any disadvantages there might be to blogging.
There are very few reasons not to blog, unless you are afraid of having that interaction and conversation with the client and/or customer that pay you for your services or product.
So, the next time you ask yourself the question, “to blog or not to blog?” Your answer to yourself and any other naysayers should be “why not blog?” It really does not matter whether you are a professional service provider, a small business, a home based business or a large company.
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