I was working with a client the other day who feels really conflicted about blogging. On the one hand she is hearing advice that she must blog regularly and then in the same day she’ll hear it’s pointless and she shouldn’t waste her time.
So what should she do?
Determining whether or not to include blogging as part of your business plan should be based entirely on the type of business you have and the goals you have for your business.
As a marriage and family therapist this client’s business is 100% service oriented. She doesn’t offer any products or programs and if you want to work with her the only way that can happen is if you visit her office for a 50-minute session. So while being seen as an expert in her field is necessary, a blog on her own site is not the only way to get there.
For the most part blogs are intended to create a community and a conversation. They are a fabulous tool but it takes a lot of work to build a community and a loyal list of followers. You have to ask yourself…
- Will there be enough people rallying around this community for blogging to be a worthwhile activity for me?
- Will it increase my revenue?
- Will it bring me more clients?
- Does writing come easy to me?
- Do I have a running faucet of ideas that I can barely keep contained?
If the answer to those questions is yes, then blogging may make sense for your business; however, if the answers to most of those questions was no, then you may want to rethink the strategy.
There is no such thing as build it and they will come and there is nothing more disheartening for potential clients (who you’re trying to woo with your awesomeness) than to come to your site and see a ghost town.
SO, HERE ARE A FEW IDEAS YOU MIGHT WANT TO TRY FIRST BEFORE YOU COMMIT TO WRITING YOUR OWN BLOG.
1. Create a blog on a site such as Yahoo Shine or become a contributor on a site such as Psychology Today. If you have a lot to say about your topic then you can use their platform, and their readers, to test out your content. You will also get a sense of how much work it takes to build a following. If you have a mailing list, you can make sure to send them links to your posts so they can see what you’re writing about and how it might relate to them.
2. Write 5-10 articles/posts about the 5-10 most popular problems or concerns your clients come to you with. Post them on your site as articles or as blog posts, depending upon how your site is set up, but remove dates and times. This will provide potential clients with an opportunity to get an idea of your style, approach and personality and it will allow you to showcase some of your expertise or particular areas of interest without having to devote hours and hours every week trying to keep up your blog. By removing the dates and times on the posts, you make the content more evergreen. And when potential clients land on your site, they won’t know if you posted the article 6 months ago or 6 minutes ago. It will feel fresh to them.
3. Ask every new client you work with how they found you. This is something I recommend all of my clients do. If 9 out of 10 people you ask say they came to you because someone recommended you, then you would be much better off spending your marketing time on nurturing your referral network. If the next 5 clients who walk in the door say they found you from an article you wrote for Psychology Today, then I would continue to submit your articles to similar publications rather than spending time trying to get people to visit your new blog.
When I work with clients who are almost exclusively providing dollars for hours services, finding out where their current clients came from is the first order of business. Once you know that, you can determine what you need to do more of and what you’d be better off leaving behind.
Blogging can be a great tool for your business. But it can also be a time suck you don’t need and a tactic that simply isn’t the right fit for you. Make sure you know who your clients are, what their needs are, and the goals you have for your business before you determine whether or not blogging makes sense for you.