Do you write a business blog, but feel frustrated right now with your results?
I have a message for you: Don’t give up! The success you want may be just around the corner and the results can be exactly what you and your business need!
Most small business owners need to invest a considerable amount of money each year, if they want to introduce their services to targeted, prospective clients or customers. They invest in mail shots, radio and print advertising etc. Every time they want to reach those people, they have to pony up with some more money. It can be a costly exercise, especially for those small business owners who handle their own marketing and need to reach a lot of people in order to generate enough leads or sales, because they get the typical, crappy, small business owner response rates.
That’s how most small business owners market themselves. Yes, some attend networking events, hire telemarketing companies or hire PR firms etc, but they all involve spending often large sums of money, every time they need to generate sales or inquiries.
And then there’s business blogging
Most business bloggers, and I include myself here, start off with very few readers. It’s usually just us and a few contacts, who we share our blog with. Then, over a period of months the readership increases and if the content is attractive enough, we can build a sizeable, targeted audience. From this point forward, whenever we want to reach these extremely valuable people, we simply need to publish a post, (like this one.) There are no additional financial costs involved, for you to reach people and engage with them via your blog.
If we keep our content as valuable as possible to our readers and we focus our content, so it’s of direct interest to our core profile of clients, our audience increases in both volume and value. Once you have bought a URL (or web address) and some server space, there are no additional financial investments required to get started. Just a lot of work, creativity and the commitment to learn how to market all that great content. The rewards, however, are amazing and in some cases, life-changing.
Is it easy?
No! It requires time and commitment.
Is it worth the effort?
Yes! The results are easily the most powerful of any form of marketing I have encountered, as a marketing professional with 25 years experience behind me.
Powerful? Let’s take last week as an example. One of my blog posts was read by over three thousand people in just 6 hours, with thousands more reading it since. It was also featured on several websites. Last week I also did an audit of the financial value of business I generated directly via inquiries involving this blog, and it was over £100,000. I started this blog just 2 and a half years ago, with a £10 investment; which was the cost of the URL and the hosting that came with it!
Blogging and the law of return
Around 14-months ago, I decided to start taking this blog a lot more seriously, as it was quickly becoming my primary source of new business. Within weeks, the number of readers / inquiries increased.
Then last year, I invested in a fast, super-reliable dedicated server from WebFusion, who now generously sponsor this blog! This allowed me to be able to concentrate 100% of my blogging time on creating content, without worrying about technical issues or my server being down. Again, the numbers increased, in both readers and business inquiries, as I was able to produce more and more content, which people could access reliably.
In other words, every time I have committed more into this blog, I have seen a significant, measurable, bankable increase in my results.
Blogging and the need for speed
Whilst most forms of traditional marketing require a significant financial investment, they tend to reach people very quickly. As we live in an increasingly “instant” society, people like the idea of immediate results. It may cost 2k to send 5,000 prospective clients your latest mailing, but those letters can be on their doormats in a couple of days. Your blog, on the other hand, starts off a lot slower. Yes, it can be up and running for the cost of a lunch at Starbucks, but you will probably have to work at it for many months, before you can reach 5,000 people each week.
What about when you HAVE managed to build a blog, which reaches 5,000 or 50,000 prospective clients each week?
At this point, you will probably want to improve your blog hosting and buy a nice looking blog theme so your site looks polished and professional, like the one I use here. I built this blog from scratch, using Headway blog theme software (affiliate link.) From that point onward, so long as you continue to invest the time required to publish worthwhile content and you learn how to make your blog as visible and shareable as possible, you will be building your own, increasingly valuable marketing / media asset!
Think about it:
- You don’t need to pay someone for advertising, when you own a media asset yourself (your blog), which is read by more targeted prospective clients than their publication is.
- You don’t need to invest in mail shots, when your marketing is being read by hundreds and then thousands of prospects every day of the week, every week of the year.
- You may even get featured in The New York Times, just because they find value in what you have to say on your blog. It’s less likely one of your mail shots or ads will gain that kind of complimentary attention. The value to your blog of those kind of A-List links can also have an ongoing, positive impact on your Google ranking. Again, this builds the value of your blog as a media asset.
If you want to take your blog to the next level, here are a few ideas, based on the lessons I have learned over the past couple of years:
- Decide in advance to persevere during the initial 6-12 months, whilst your blog gets established. Your blog should be seen as a medium to long term investment, not a quick fix.
- Commit to putting as much highly valuable content on your blog as possible. When I was posting just once a week, the development of the blog was extremely slow. If you only publish 1 post a week, it will take you a month to publish just 4 posts. That’s 4 posts for people to share and 4 updates, to encourage people to return to your blog and check it out again. Give people a reason to visit your blog regularly, with frequently updated content. Make reading your blog a part of their routine.
- If you find it hard to write more than once a week, you may be trying too hard to make each post perfect. Blog posts don’t need to be perfect every time. Give yourself permission to write “as well as you can” on any given day. The perfection mindset destroys more blogs than anything else, in my experience.
- Learn how to Search Engine Optimize (SEO) your blog, so that it is as easy as possible for Google and others to find it.
- Learn how to write compelling posts, which people will want to read and share. The more good quality content you give away, the faster your blog will develop and the more people will value it.
- Make your blog as easy to share as possible, using the kind of share options you see at the bottom of this post. It takes time for Google to start sending you significant, regular traffic; yet you can start getting share traffic immediately, by writing great content and sharing it with your social networks.
- Read the top blogs in your niche and learn from them.
- Read some crap blogs too and see what they are doing – So you can avoid it!
- Ask people to subscribe to your blog, with a prominent subscriber box. Your subscribers are your most loyal readers and often your most valuable too.
- Be relevant. Focus your content, so that it is of direct interest to your ideal client profile. Don’t try and write for everyone, as this dilutes the value of your writing.
Nothing of genuine commercial value is ever created on the quick! A successful business blog is no different. It takes time and commitment. However, if you are prepared to invest the time, learn the lessons and keep on keeping on, the results can be simply stunning.
What would you like to add? What have your experiences been? Share your feedback!
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Photo: Justin Russell