by Cara Lumen
Everybody’s doing it – or so it seems. But is blogging for you? What will it do for you? How much work is it? What does it cost? What kind of results can you expect and how soon? Here are some of those answers.
What will blogging do for you?
Blogging is an incredible way to self-express. Blogging is now my favorite things to do. But then I love to write and I find writing is a great way to sort myself out, to think “out loud” in a way, to make solid my thoughts and ideas. I write first thing in the morning. Sometimes it gets posted; sometimes it waits to be reviewed with a fresh viewpoint a few days from then. But I always feel fulfilled after I write.
Blogging helps you meet new people. When you blog you are putting out your thoughts and ideas, your concerns and your insights, and those who are interested will find you and start hanging out. They may comment on a post, subscribe to your feed, or write you an email or come buy something from you. One recent comment on my blog was “Another new post with correct points, We have been a lurker here for some time but wish to be a lot more involved from now on.” How great. That person checked me out till I proved my value. I touched someone, I got someone thinking, or considering, or maybe even finding new choices. You want people to engage. You want them to start a discussion by adding comments. You do want to make them think. And as you do you start to build a community of people who have similar values and interests and needs and desires. And you have found and connected with your target audience.
Blogging helps you learn. If you want to learn something teach it. If you want to get clear about something blog it. For instance, one of the first things you want to do with your blog is write your Cornerstone Content, a series of foundational articles that you will refer back to again and again. Since my target audience is people considering starting an online business, mine starts with "Are you cut out to start an internet business?” and “Are you a natural entrepreneur?” to help people see if what I have to offer is what they are ready for now. To write those I had to be really clear about my target audience and what they needed. This post is part of the cornerstone content for Magnetic Blog Builders to help people know if they want to add blogging to their marketing strategy and if we are the people to help them. By the time I finished writing this post I had ten other topics for cornerstone content – things I know new bloggers will want to know about post length, and keywords, and optimization and editorial calendars. Writing those will take me deeper into each topic. I will learn more as I teach – as I make it clear for others I make it crystal clear for myself.
Blogging establishes your expert status. As you blog about what you love, express your passion and enthusiasm for your topic, and share resources and concepts that give value, you will quickly become the go-to person, the expert, the thought leader in your field. And that is pure gold. You will become an expert, you will become the go-to person if you consistently put yourself out there through your blog and offer thoughtful, insightful, valuable information on a consistent basis.
How much work is a blog?
Like any chosen marketing strategy you have to work it. You have to be sure its topics are right for the community you want to build and that you keep a consistent flow of posts coming their way.
Like any web presence it has to be well thought out. For instance, in the package we offer in Magnetic Blog Builders, you start with me, an internet marketing and Book Yourself Solid coach And the first thing we work on is why you are doing a blog and who you are doing it for. Sometimes people know, sometimes their niche is way too big. We sort that out and set the focus. Then we work on personal branding, and how to select topics that will attract the people you are meant to serve, how to write a post and optimize a post, how to use internal and external links, and how to use social marketing to draw people to your blog. That work will help you aim your marketing arrow at the right target. So yes, there is some very vital foundational work to be done in the beginning.
Then you will want to post at least three times a week which can be reveling, enlightening and valuable all at the same time.
What is the difference between a blog and a web site?
None and some. I see them as having two different uses. My web site is where people go to see what I offer – my services as a business coach and curriculum developer and educator, my large collection of signature products and courses, my training and background, my media page. It is a place from which to purchase my services. My blog Passionately on Purpose is about who I am, what I think, my insights, my values. It is a way for people to get to know who I am and what I stand for. It is a way for us to get to know each other and build relationships. You can place both those aspects in one place by using static pages on your blog for the “what you offer” part and the blog for the “get to know me” part.
What does a blog cost?
Nothing and something. You can get a basic WordPress site up for free. You can put a free template on it. You may need to pay for a host. Or you can get some professional help and have valuable, time-saving, money-saving guidance on these important first steps. For instance, Nancy Hendrickson is our WordPress Wizard. She loves to help people make new blogs. She spends a great deal of time checking out new plug ins and learning new ways to optimize a blog site. She explores new resources. When we first partnered I had a list of plug-ins that I knew about from two other sources and she often had a better version of a plug-in that would do what I wanted to do. She knows her stuff. We recommend a Thesis Theme, and Scribe Optimization and we customize the plug-ins for each client. I don’t want to learn that part, I want to keep learning about being a better blogger, so you can see why we are a great team and offer a great package. We call it “Ready, Set, Blog “because you can be in off and blogging in four weeks. Nancy’s part goes faster than mine. She’ll have an active blog before you and I have our second meeting. You and I have to help you learn some strong foundational techniques during the four weeks we work together.
What kind of results can I expect and how soon?
Your success will depend on the value of the content you create, Like any marketing strategy, you have to work it and let it evolve. You might write something so meaningful that people flock to sign up to your RSS feed. Or, you might have lurkers who check you out for awhile before joining in the community. You have a lot of writing to do. You have to develop your cornerstone content; I’ll help you design a series of posts and a strong editorial calendar. Then you need to plan to post at least three times a week.
Your success also depends on how you learn to work your social media sites. We set you up so every time you post your contacts on LinkedIn, FaceBook, Twitter and any other place you’ve signed up for will receive notices of that post. So you’ll want to work on building your social media connections too.
You blog will add value to your business offerings. My emagazine Passionately on Purpose used to have one article in it. Now it contains links to everything I’ve written in the two weeks since the last issue. It contains posts from both blogs and my radio show talks. It’s a lot of good content. And now I’m adding links to outside sources that I have discovered to be helpful. So blogging has increased the value of the content of my emagazine and builds my community.
People can make money on blogs through affiliate marketing. Sometimes blogs are big enough to attract sponsors. Some bloggers use ads. But the first thing it’s going to earn you is friends – a community of qualified prospects who take time to get to know you and eventually become those incredible assets – loyal followers.
Is blogging for you?
It’s inexpensive, it’s effective, and it’s fascinating to do. If you love to write, then it’s an extremely satisfying place to be as it steadily builds a community of people who see like and trust you.
Give us a call. We’ll get you blogging like an expert in no time.
© 2010 Cara Lumen