A blog post doesn’t gather dust on a bookshelf. It’s there for as long as we have a world to power the Internet. Please don’t take your knowledge, research and experience into your dotage or the grave unsung. It is your legacy. Sandy McDonald, from her TEDx Talk, 2014
Blogging is a game changer. For these five compelling reasons alone if you’re in business, the question shouldn’t be are you blogging? But, if not why not? Or, if you are how can you blog even better?
Claim to fame
As a business owner, whatever your offer or solution, you’ve invested heavily in your knowledge and compassion and created a framework or process by which you implement it. Blogging is the intersection.
Your claim to fame is your insight into your industry, your years of experience, expertise and talent and your wish to do good. All of which amounts to your particular mountain of value.
How do you communicate all of that?
A meet and greet pitch is at best a key to the treasure chest that is you, depending on whether you’ve been compelling enough for someone to want to open it.
So, how do you promote what you do?
You’ll have a website. At the very least, let’s hope it’s not written in the third person and talks only about the benefits and features of your offer.
You know the sort of thing: ‘Our company is blah blah, we do such and such brilliantly and you will benefit from blah blah’. This will result in the equivalent of a door slamming as your visitor exits instantly with the click of a mouse.
Then there’s the sales brochure, which if it does its job well is a teaser and taster of all the tantalising stuff that’s to come.
What else? Certainly a book. If you’re self published, how successful you are in leveraging off your book will depend on time and money. It should however, be a key to lifting the lid on your compelling offer.
And then there is blogging.
Why blogging works
What blogging allows you to do is to unpack and present your claim to fame in bite size pieces, post by post, which as a bonus hang around for ever.
You can’t do this effectively unless you are clear about what you’re positioning — you, your offer, your business or your industry niche and why.
But, when you structure your blogging platform so that it matches the components, processes or architecture of your offer and positions it correctly then, providing your content offers valuable insights or solutions, your posts will become building blocks. Each one will reinforce both your offer and your leadership in the field.
BONUS: You develop a profound understanding of what you are offering and to whom. Good blogging insists on your knowing exactly who you’re talking to and why. It can’t be random or lacking in purpose, otherwise, you’re wasting your time.
INSIGHT: Think of your mountain of value as a filing cabinet. Imagine organising everything you know and have experienced into drawers in the cabinet and then put manila folders into each drawer to represent your topics. That is how you should organise your blog.
Tea Silvestre from Story Bistro, Portland USA works with businesses to tell more engaging stories. She is, as you would expect, an advocate of blogging to build her and others’ businesses and explains: ‘My blogging has led to a published book as well as several paying clients (found via Google, they were looking for specific answers). Blogging also helps me refine my message and build community.’
Nick Armstrong from WTF Marketing, Colorado, puts his claim to fame where his mouth is and writes, ‘Online, your words are you. There’s no better platform to connect on a personal and professional level than through a well-written blog that sounds, looks, and feels like you.’
Everyone trots out the mantra these days, ‘People like to do business with people’? What? Not robots? Or it’s extension, ‘People like to do business with people they trust.’ What? Not snake oil merchants?
Generating new business would be bliss if you could simply say, ‘I am a person, you can trust me, so let’s do business.’ Or, ‘You’re wearing the same school tie, so let’s do business’.
Handing out a business card or a sales brochure doesn’t crack the trust nut either, even when you’ve eyeballed them with a meaningful look of deep integrity.
That, as you’ll know from experience, is just one rung up from the cold call and a long way to ‘let’s do business.’
But what if to begin with, you’re seen as a leader in the field because you’re an established blogger on the subject. Even to the uninitiated on the subject of you and your business, presenting your bone fides as an established blogger changes the dynamic. If you can blog a lot about what you do, you must be an expert.
Even better, if during the conversation, you’re able to point to a post you’ve written that would answer your networking companion’s problem — that will shift you several rungs further up the relationship ladder. A bit like drawing a royal flush in a game of poker.
INSIGHT: The key point here is that you blog to serve others, not yourself and that is why you can legitimately proffer your post as a solution. If you are self-serving, then it will be seen as no more than an ambit claim for business and you’ll be dismissed with the rest of the snake oil people.
BONUS: There are five components to building trust: competency, inclusivity, transparency, disclosure and authenticity. Good blogging insists on your demonstration of most of these all of the time. It holds you accountable for the brand expectations you’ve set.
Sharon Hurley Hall, a wordsmith from the Carribean explains, ‘As a professional blogger, my own blog provides a concrete example of my abilities for potential clients. And the examples I share of my published work have brought new clients in, not just once, but many times. It’s a key tool in building my business.’
Blaze Lazonroy, a consultant business coach from California, adds: ‘I believe blogging increases your viability, likability, and trustworthiness. In addition to helping you create your business platform. (…Plus it’s fun!)’
Finding your voice and cementing your brand
Getting to understand, love and claim a consistent voice is all about your brand, assuming that we’re agreed your brand is the intersect of why you do what you do for and for whom.
At first, using that voice online might require both courage and belief. You have to get over the idea that some people might not warm to you or your messages.
If they don’t, they aren’t the people you will best serve. You don’t change the tenor of your voice or the essence of your key messages when you speak face to face and nor should you when you blog.
You are indeed a person, not a company, representing whatever you are positioning for yourself or on behalf of others, and your readers are people responding to that. That’s why the third party gambit doesn’t work and never did.
People want to know how you can help them, pretty much as they want a solution to their problem when they enter a bricks and mortar shop. We all know the result of poor customer service.
INSIGHT: Your voice online is the equivalent to a promise. Clear, consistent and true, you keep it. Mire it with multiple possiblities, ideas, theories, changed directions, arrogance or ambivalence and you break it.
REFLECTION: Quirky, caring, technical, colourful, playful, serious, poignant, humorous or a combination, your voice shouldn’t shake when you blog. It shouldn’t waver between strong navy blue one day and fluorescent hot pink the next, or at least not without an explanation. If you’re transitioning, you’ll need to bring transparency and inclusivity to the journey.
Carolyn Tate, Carolyn Tate & Co, Melbourne reflects this promise when she writes ‘blogging allows me to express my non-conformist, courageous beliefs and connect authentically with like-minded people.’
Tim Reid is the The Ideas Guy helping businesses realise marketing’s true potential. He says, ‘blogging makes it easy to capture and share my knowledge. In doing so, I educate and entertain my prospects so they can make better informed decisions around the marketing of their business. As a result, they develop an emotional connection with my business and my brand becomes that little bit stronger.’
Alina Leang, graphic designer and founder of Soul Bucket, wrote about her blogging, ‘it gave me a platform to “find” my voice. It’s a powerful clarity exercise for the meaning maker in all of us.’ and George Siosi Samuels of Siosism agrees: Blogging allowed me to share my experiences and provide value that could be shared with others.”
There is an unexpected by-product of successful blogging, although without it, you wouldn’t be successfully blogging – chicken and egg stuff. Good blogging hones your antennae and tunes you in.
It’s the red car syndrome. You buy a red car and suddenly they’re everywhere. You have an insight and within a micro-second every second person is talking about it. Its called the Baader-Meinhof Phenomenon and is explained evocatively in this 2006 article from Alan Bellows on his blog, Damn Interesting.
‘Good blogging exaggerates the phenomenon which, when properly attended to, niches your research.
‘This is powerful, because you want to get to the meaty stuff online fast. No time for rabbit-warrens, link-clicking, hour-wasting dead ends. You only have one lifetime, even if the Internet wants to absorb a vast proportion of it.
‘As I wrote in this post Antenna, Tuning In To Your Inner TV, ‘tuning in also acts as a filter for your business. If you’re overloaded with ideas and opportunities and all that you must do to realise them, your antennae are in fast rotating swivel mode, incapable of tuning into any frequency.
‘This sensation is no different to the buzzing noise-filled screen of early television-watching days. Once trapped in this white noise, you lose the ability to choose effectively. It’s anxiety inducing as much for the inability to decide what to do next as for the anticipation of all there is to do next.’
BONUS: Tuning in helps you to cut through the clatter and the clutter and discover the people whom you can best serve and with whom you can best collaborate. In real time, with real people, you can test how to better serve them. In our social networking world, we gather clusters of meaningless connections, so that’s a real benefit.
Nicole Fende is the Numbers Whisperer and concurs that ‘blogging gives you a chance to test what your market really likes and wants, which has led to my incredibly successful finance business, Mascots & Villains.’
It’s your legacy
Are we agreed that we all sit on a repository of knowledge, research and wisdom?
For each of us, this is a unique recipe that is the sum total of our experience, the people who are in our lives, our personal and professional journeys, the curve balls and triumphs that have buffeted us with unexpected storms and emotions to test our resilience, grit and determination.
I believe the intersection of your knowledge, compassion and blogging changes lives.
So ask yourself, is it right you take this knowledge with you when you stop working, move into older age or go to the grave? Is it right that you forfeit the right of others to benefit from your awesome knowledge? What you know and can pass on can change the lives of those in your professional and personal lives, now and into the future.
Blogging is your legacy.
As Michelle Church, a marketing support specialist writes, ‘I believe blogging is about connection. Not only connecting to clients/potential clients/colleagues that may need what we offer but connecting to our true authenticity and providing an opportunity to reveal and share that inner truth.’ This is corroborated by Fiona Lucas, ‘Blogging gives a voice to your business. It brings about invitation and connection and allows you to put your flavour on a topic and share your knowledge. This reinforces your brand and your message.’
Back to those questions I posed right at the beginning, are you blogging? If not, why not? And if you are how can you blog even better? I’m here if you need help either way.