ProBlogger ran a poll last december, asking readers how long they had been blogging. Surprisingly, out of the 18,000 readers who answered, 4,000 admitted to never having a blog, with another 4,000 who were just within their first few months of getting started.
If you are reading this, chances are you are among the 8,000+ folks who have yet to really plunge into the underworld of blogging, and there are probably a number of good reasons why:
Time (Never Enough)
One of the biggest reasons that people procrastinate starting their website blog, is they just don’t have enough time to make the commitment. They imagine spending hours behind the screen during their off hours of the day, when they would much rather be spending it with family and friends.
A close cousin to the concern of not having enough time, is the overwhelming feeling of starting something new. There seems to be so many steps to success, such as purchasing a domain name, the design/layout, organization, ideas, promotion, learning all the terms (SEO, backlinking, etc.), and finally the necessary time for the blog to take-off and build-up a community of followers.
Fear of Failure
Another big reason for procrastinating to blog is the fear of failure. Blogging is a very personal thing. With each post a blogger gives a little piece of him or herself. What if people don’t like it? What if I put a bunch of time into such a project and end up with nothing to show for it?
Of course, if passion is not what gets you going, profit most certainly will, and blogs are full of potential when it comes to driving consumer and media interest. Here are some of the monetary benefits of starting your own blog:
Gain recognition as an expert in your field- This will bring trust and confidence to both your product and company, which in turn, drives more consumer interest and more profit.
Free advertising- Popular blogs get attention from the media websites who will come to you for a story. These type filler stories in the media are the ultimate in free advertising.
Build a community- A good product has a community of users, whether it is an athletic shoe, software program, or business methodology. A blog is a natural means of creating such a community. Readers will become regulars on your blog, sending links to friends, and coming back daily to see what’s new. This is what customer loyalty is all about.
Search Engine Boost- Google search engine ranking is a big deal, and most successful businesses have at least one to three paid professionals whose job is to make sure they remain at the very tops of these lists. Google search loves blogs, and you will find no easier way to drive traffic to your website, than with your own blog.
Profits- If you have something great that other people want or can create the need for it amongst your audience than the blog is your podium, a place where you can freely engage in conversations with customers, address their candid concerns, discuss features and benefits, do product comparisons and more. A website blog offers many marketing and branding opportunities other communication channels limit and it should be part of every healthy marketing strategy if ranking high and increasing profits is your goal.
Ultimately, the proof is in the pudding. Let’s look at a few successful, “non-techie” entrepreneurs who have made their business a huge success by starting a simple, useful, and practical blog:
Timothy Sykes blog is an excellent example of a non-tech blogger who has found great success in writing about what he knows. What started out as a simple blog teaching readers about penny stocks (among other things), has quickly become a million dollar income source.
Did Timothy use any specific marketing technique, have a particularly fantastic display of colorful graphics, or mind-boggling photos? No. His success is based off a proven track record of information he took the time to share with his readers.
By showing his readers that he is successful at what he does, he has built a network (or community) of trusted members. These people were then willing to go the extra mile and purchased his subscription services, which promise to go further in depth with his knowledge.
Another great example of a non-tech entrepreneur growing his business, is Steven Spangler of Steve Spangler Science. His business began as a simple, Internet-based educational toy catalog. Simple, marketable, and profitable, but Steve had much bigger plans in mind.
Steve began a blog focused on parents, teaching them about the benefits of getting kids interested in science through various fun activities. He would feature these great ideas on his blog, and over a matter of time it grew in popularity, and eventually he began to create a community of trusted followers who saw him as an expert on the subject.
What followed was truly amazing. He was invited on television programs, such as The Ellen Show, where he further displayed his expert opinion, and drove even more consumers to his blog and Internet catalog. Today, Steve’s blog directs no less than about 12 percent of his yearly sales, which is well worth his time!
Seth Godin’s Blog is another great example. It is one of the most read blogs on the Internet, and is consistently number one on the Ad Age Power 150. Seth’s books, which are sold on his site are best-sellers, but what if we told you that he has never once bragged about them in his blog to increase sales. He has never even promoted any of his companies (Squidoo) to his readers (well for the most part), unless it was pertinent to a topic he was discussing.
Seth’s blog is not about his books, but rather about helping other people to succeed in their own business and life. He is truly passionate about teaching, and his readers respect him for that. It is this honest and focused attitude that has given Seth a trusting community of followers who know they can count on him to offer good, solid information each day. It is not about what they can do for him, but what he can do for them!
The benefit of building such a community, is that you do not need to hand feed your product to consumers, as they will seek you out. There is no hard sell necessary when you build a strong Internet community through your blog!
You can’t have a lesson on why to blog, without mentioning Tim Ferris and Gary Vaynerchuck. Tim is a big name today, and much of his community of followers stems from the beginning of his blog. Tim captured the attention of business members by offering tips on making the most of their life, but most importantly, about making the most of their precious time.
It was through these simple blog tips that his successful book, The 4-Hour Workweek, sprung to life. Would this have happened without the help of his blog? Perhaps. But would it have happened as quickly and effectively? Most certainly not!
Gary Vaynerchuck also has a popular blog and best-selling book, called Crush it! Gary’s philosophy is to use Internet social media sites and blogs as a means for consumers to interacting with products and ideas, rather than be sold to.
Today’s consumer no longer wants to be told what they want. They want to be given a voice to express what it is that they want. This is exactly what a blog allows. Chevrolet and Chrysler found this out the hard way. They had been telling consumers that they wanted in a vehicle for years, and now they are finally being forced to listen to what it is the consumer wants for a change.
Gary’s best advice for starting your own blog is to get on Twitter Facebook or Google and find a community that would be interested in your product/service, and then get involved with them. Find out exactly what it is that they want, and then find a way to give it to them!
Marketing a product or service today is more about listening and caring about your consumer, than force feeding them PR jargon. Today’s consumer is too smart for that. A blog is a perfect way to get in on their level and create a relationship that they can associate with.
If you can talk to a family member or a friend about issues that are important to them, then you have what it takes to write a successful blog for your brand. This is how you build a strong community of loyal consumers, based on respect, mutual understanding, and above all… trust!
Important Points to Remember
Write about what you are passionate about and the ideas will come easily.
A blog is an opportunity to create a strong community of brand loyalists and customers who will come back, again and again and bring their friends with them.
Having a blog is one of the simplest ways to brand your company as both knowledgeable and authentic.
A clearly written, honest, useful, and practical blog establishes a relationship with potential consumers, creating a pool of trust for your product or service that radiates across the network and beyond building your integrity and credibility. People do business with those they know.
Need a blog?
Our platform of choice at Pixelfanatix is WordPress. We can launch WordPress sites in a matter of days. Contact us for more information.
Marzena runs the ideal agency. She listens and listens and listens, giving you time to understand your own needs... then injects her insight and analysis... then synthesizes beautiful solutions for you to review... then actually turns those ideas into reality through her commanding interaction design skills, her ability to manage all aspects of the project, and her constant communication. You'll come back.
With exceptional creative talent and proven strategic leadership, Marzena has the ability to understand strategy and flawlessly implement user centered solutions that are always on the mark. Her creativity combined with usability expertise are exemplary. She is confident, extremely talented, a delight to work with. I highly recommend Marzena and her team.
Marzena, owner of Pixelfanatix is an excellent leader and consultant. I've had the pleasure of working through technology and project ideas with great satisfaction. She brings years of knowledge and expertise to the table and is an excellent resource when your company needs to outsource technology for a specific project or ongoing basis. Marzena is also an excellent connector in the media and technology space. Her organization and development of BIZCULUM in San Diego has filled the much needed gap of bringing together the best technology execs in the city.