I started blogging over a year ago and it has completely changed my life. For a long time, I felt completely lost about where I was going in life. I was not getting the breaks in my career that I wanted and I could not think of a business that suited my interest. Blogging began as a way to express myself, without any expectation of feedback or recognition. After a while, I realized how much I enjoyed writing. Through this process, I have discovered a purpose and a business that I love. I truly believe that blogging can be used as a form of self discovery for those who are still on this quest. However, if you have already started your business, blogging is your secret weapon. Below I have included the top reasons to start a blog before and during your business.
Start a Blog Before Your Business
1. It Takes Time
Let’s face it, we live in a microwave society. We want everything yesterday. We want to lose weight fast and make money even faster. Surely you know by now that the quick results don’t last. Blogging is about forming a habit and in this case, you should let time work in your favor. Life goes on regardless of whether or not you start a blog. So you might as well spend the time blogging. At least a year from now, you will have 1 year of blogging experience under your belt. Which means you are in a better position than if you had not started at all. You have a goal of where you want to be in terms of your career, business or finances a year or two down the road. Now is the time to start preparing for the results that you desire. So there is no better time to get started than now.
2. You need the practice
Unless you are a skilled writer, you can benefit from some long term practice. This will give you time to find your voice as a writer and this important if you want to grow your audience. You get to experiment by determining which topics excite you and which ones don’t. I have started several blogs and can testify to this fact. In addition, this practice time allows you to develop your skills. You will learn how to structure you blog and learn what appeals to your audience. In his book Outliers: The Story of Success, Malcolm Gladwell talks about how some of our greatest success stories came about because of the time invested by the individuals(s), not necessarily their innate talent. Set a goal for yourself to write a certain amount of words each day. The Commit App is great for keeping track of your progress.
When you first start your blog, chances are it will go largely unnoticed. That is unless you have some level of notoriety. When you have little to no traffic, it may seem discouraging at first. This is because we are programed to measure ourselves against the results of our efforts. The first thing you have to do is detach your efforts from your results. Remember, this is your time to practice. This is the perfect time for you to hone your skills, because you get to do so in complete obscurity. As you are well aware, there are some mean people in cyberspace. The comments can be brutal and experiencing this at the beginning of your blogging journey could be detrimental. Anonymity is your friend at this stage in your journey.
4. Blogging Can Become Your Business
There are thousands of people who started a blog as a hobby and have turned it into a business. Pat Flynn from Smart Passive Income is a great example of someone who turned a personal blog into business. He was studying for the Leeds exams and decided to start a blog to keep track of what he was learning. The information he shared also benefited others who were studying for the same exam. He was able to monetize his blog, which lead to a new career. The same has happened with stay at home moms and countless others including myself. You never know where this journey will take you.
5. It’s free
You can start a blog on WordPress or similar platforms at no cost. Oftentimes we select new years resolutions that cost money, like joining a local gym. Starting a blog is certainly cheaper than the exercise bike that my husband and I purchased last year, but rarely use. I would suggest starting off with a free blog, like Tumblr just to get your feet wet. Once you decide that blogging is something that you want to do long term, then it makes sense to upgrade at that time. Hosting providers like Bluehost offer great entry level deals.
Start a Blog for Your Business
Blogging is a great way to build your brand as an individual or as an enterprise. In addition to the products and services that you may offer, this allows you to set yourself a part as an expert. People will look to your for advice and guidance. As you gain the trust of your audience, not only will they purchase your products they will refer you to new customers. This also helps build your brand within your industry. You become someone that others want to connect with and learn from. Your growing influence will open the door for new opportunities within your industry and beyond. For example, if you have a successful bakery you may be invited to speak at a conference for food bloggers.
With all of the information that is available on the internet, competition can be tough. Searching for a life coach will yield several pages of results. What if a potential customer is looking for advice on selecting a life coach. If you have a blog post on this topic, you may show up in the search results. This gives you access to a potential customer that you may not have been able to attract otherwise. By blogging on various subjects related to your niche, it will allow for greater exposure. Gone are the days when you just type one or two words in the google search box. Now people type phrases and questions to get more specific results. Your blog may be able to answer some of those questions and in doing so, it can attact more customers.
8. Help others
Another good reason to start blogging is because it gives you an opportunity to help others. You are giving away free information or advice to a person who needs it. This person may not been in a position to patronize your business at this very moment. However, they will remember the valuable information that you shared. They may even subscribe to your blog. As you continue to share valuable information, they may become customers. The reach that you have via the world wide web is immeasurable. This is what happened with Pat Flynn. Some people purchased the study guide to show their gratitude, even after passing the test.
Change is constant. So when I talk about trends, I am not talking about fashion or music. I am talking about technology, marketing and communication. All have changed drastically during the past decade. Every industry has been impacted by these changes. Maintaining a current blog requires you to be engaged in the industry as a whole, versus an entrepreneur with your head in the sand. Being abreast of the latest trends allows you to stay ahead of the curve. As a result, you can pivot when needed, allowing you to capitalize on those trends. In addition, this allows you to keep your audience informed, further building your brand.
Blogging does not have to be a one sided conversation. You want your audience to feel comfortable enough to leave feedback, offer suggestions and ask questions. It also lets your audience know that you are a real person and not some “wizard of ox’ type of figure. The interactions will allow you to build a relationship with your audience, which in turn builds trust. Trust is very important, because at some point you may ask you audience to purchase your product or service. They will be more likely to do so if they trust you. This is what Scott Dinsmore has done with the Live Your Legend community which has over 100k members. You can build something that is bigger than you, connecting people from all around the world. In fact, members of the community are encouraged to start a blog.
Starting a blog is easier than learning to tie your shoe laces. It is also essential part of a successful business strategy. I hope these tips have been helpful.
Are you going to start blogging in 2015? Share your reasons in the comments section.