Not that long ago, I went to a business event hosted by a well–known television personality.
This presenter did a stellar job of MCing the evening, fielding questions from the audience and generally pulling the event together.
Then she let rip a clanger.
“If anyone’s interested, please come visit and even follow my blog,” she said.
“But don’t be too harsh. I’m still learning how to use it’.
“There’s the odd recipe and TV show critique. I really don’t know what I’m doing but I’ve been told by my social media guru that I have to have one!”
In other words, a la Jerry Seinfeld, it was a blog about nothing.
Of course it’s a free country. If said TV personality wants to blog, theres nothing stopping her doing it.
Blogging can be educational. Even fun. But blogging for blogging’s sake – at least in business, is really a waste of your valuable time.
Unless of course you are Mia Freedman. But that’s another story.
You want to blog on what?
But it’s not the TV personality that was at fault here.
What I’d like to know is what the so–called social media guru was thinking recommending she write a blog when there was no real direction, no strategy, no defined market and no real clue.
I don’t mean to be harsh, but unfortunately it’s a symptom of an expert knowing his field, but not his market.
And they’re not alone. There are hundreds if not thousands of social media experts out there all advocating that we all need a blog, without the slightest understanding of your business, your market, your capabilities and your budget.
The equation seems to be: blog equals new business equals success.
But nothing could be further from the truth. In fact it could be quite the opposite.
For a business blog to succeed, you really need four key things to occur in unison.
No I don’t mean passion to blog, though that’s handy. What I mean is that your product or services incite passion on the part of your readers. In other words, your product really needs to be something that floats your readers boat. Fashion, food, football and even some words not beginning with ‘f’ are great examples of the kind of topics that readers will want to seek out and share with others.
And for many workaday products and services, that level of passion just isn’t that great.
2. Time (or a ghost blogger)
Not everyone is a great writer. For some, coming up with an enticing and engaging piece of prose is just not part of their armoury. Valuable time spent coming up with good content and putting it in writing (or video if you’re a ‘vlogger’) may well be spent doing things that are more likely to help your business. Unless you can afford to pay someone to be your ghost blogger.
3. New stuff
This may come as a shock to some blog advocates, but there are some industries where nothing much really happens. Try as I might, I just cant think of too many relevant topics that a paper clip manufacturer or a sanitation company is going to be able to blog about – despite the search engine love it might bring them.
And there’s no point trying to manufacture news. Readers will soon cotton on to your lack of material and surf elsewhere.
Once you’ve created your enticing and engaging content, how will your market find out about it? Blogs are like business itself, 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration, the latter being the work required to ensure your words of wisdom are actually read by someone other than your family and friends – who secretly just follow it just to make you feel better!
Sure, search engines might pick up on some of your content and boost your prominence for relevant keywords, but if you’re in a competitive market, you might be a bit like the announcer on the graveyard radio shift – pumping out some great material but being heard by a few under-the-weather night owls.
On the other hand, if you do meet these criteria, blogs will be a sure path to an improved profile and low cost inbound leads.
For example, this very blog has been responsible for up to 75% of my new business, without a dollar spent in its creation or distribution.
You too may be able to attain these results or better. Just be sure that these four guidelines are met before you invest too much time or money in it.