Monday, June 2, 2008

The Benefits of Blogging (Hint: It's Not What You Think)

I just saw an article on IttyBiz about social media marketing, and why it sucks. And this includes blogs. Basically, according to the post, us businesspeople and marketing people are really only talking to each other. The people who buy from us don't go to our blogs. They don't want to interact with us. They just want to find what they want quickly and for a good price, buy it, and go do other things.

I can't speak for everyone's blog, but I can say this commentary definitely rang true for me. The people who read my blog for the most part are writers. Not designers. Not SEO's. Not online entrepreneurs. (OK, maybe there are a few of you out there. But I think you're the minority.) And I know you all love me...but you probably won't hire me.

So if I'm not connecting with clients, what am I getting from this blog? It's not monetary gain; I make enough on this blog to go grab sushi every three months or so. That's not much sushi, folks. I explained this recently to someone who emailed me assuming that because my blog is well known in a few circles, I must be making money from it--and wanted to know how he could do the same thing. My email was a long explanation of the benefits of blogging--aside from money. Here are a few.

I do get clients this way. I just told you my readers are generally not clients. But that doesn't mean I haven't gotten work from this blog. Every so often someone looking for a writer finds this blog and likes my writing style. And every so often someone I know through blogging sends a referral my way. It does happen, even though my regular readers and commenters are usually not the same people who hire writers.

I build credibility. A good blog can be a career-maker. Mine is building my credibility for clients; I can now tell people I run an award-winning blog, and I can point them to an online writing sample here that I"m proud of. When potential clients see I'm well-respected in my industry here, it raises my credibility in their eyes. It gives me leverage to charge more. It helps me grow my business.

I rise in the ranks. Blogging helps your ranking in the SERP's. Granted, my blog is not attached to my website URL yet--so I don't think it's helping that beyond simply linking to it. But my blog posts come up in plenty of keywords important in my industry, and it can lead possible clients to my website. Even if you just use Blogger, a blog raises your visibility and makes it more likely clients will find you.

I get to talk shop. I originally conceived of CatalystBlogger as a way to connect with clients. I sort of envisioned myself as a writing expert of some type, dispensing advice from on high on how to write better copy. But when I got down to it, that wasn't what I found myself writing about day in and day out. This blog turned into, essentially, a place for me to "talk shop." I don't get that at home; I don't go to work with coworkers who do the same thing, and I don't live with or know a lot of people among my friends and family who do the same thing I do. I get it here, with all of you. I get advice, encouragement, and friendship--I've even met a few of you in my area for drinks and lunch. Occasionally I get a referral from my new writing connections, and I'm always happy to send referrals to people I've had contact with through their blog and mine. Connectivity does make a difference.

Blogging may not make you rich. But even a moderately well-trafficked, well-written blog can help you make connections, gain visibility, and build a more credible face for your business. Don't worry so much about whether or not you're making money or actively selling on your blog. Even if you're just writing for others in your industry, you're still making a difference to your business.


Anonymous said...

Hi, Jennifer –

I often get asked about why I blog (especially by non-writers and non-bloggers). But the next time someone poses the question to me, instead of answering it myself, I’m going to send them a link to this post! You really capture what I consider to be the greatest benefits of blogging: exposure, connections, and camaraderie.

Anonymous said...

This is a great post, Jennifer. I mostly write inspiration and encouragement on my blog, but I have had e-mails from people who found me, said they liked my writing style, and wanted to hire me to write for them. I've also used certain posts, and the entire blog, as writing samples.

Unknown said...

Yea, that's why I blog, too! It's like this - it's a creative outlet that is here for us to vent, create, motivate, inspire, and even showcase our abilities. Who wouldn't love that?

Anonymous said...

I'm not a SEO, Entrepreneur, nor marketing person. I'm not even your client. But I love you anyway! ;-) Not in the stalker-like manner, by the way. Hehe...