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No-Good Excuses for Business Bloggers

June 9th, 2009 by Lauren · 6 Comments

stop, by whizchickenonabun (on Flickr)So, I’ve been kinda quiet around here of late. My schedule got full and writing blog posts kept falling to the bottom of my to-do list — not because I don’t love writing, or because I don’t have a ton of ideas, but because it got to that point where it just felt like one more thing to do, and I couldn’t drag my ass to the keyboard to get it done.

It feels like this may be an opportune time, therefore, to talk a bit about blogging for your business, and a few of the misconceptions that get in the way of good blogging. (I’m hoping that by writing this down I’ll present myself with fewer excuses the next time things get busy.)

This isn’t just a pep talk, though — my hope is that it’s also a helpful reality check in terms of evaluating the relative importance of blogging to your business. I recently had a conversation with a client of mine who wants to start blogging but is feeling daunted by all the marketing tasks he’s juggling right now: As a sole proprietor, he is wisely cautious about tackling yet another marketing venture that seems likely to require a lot of time and is relatively unlikely to increase his cashflow, at least in the short term. His reservations are entirely valid, and in fact I totally relate — as a business owner myself, I have a hell of a time prioritizing my blogging over other items on my to-do list that seem much more urgent. In fact, I have a whole litany of negative statements that float into my mind whenever I consider procrastinating on another blog post. And I bet at least one of them will sound very familiar to you.

Please believe me when I say that I have been guilty of buying into all of these at one time or another — but I’ve learned my lessons after nine years of trial and error as a blogger (and just as many years as a web designer whose clients turn to me for advice on all things online-marketing-related). Here’s a handful of the blogging excuses I’ve stopped buying (or at least, am going to try valiantly to quash whenever they enter my mind — they’re kinda resilient).

No-Good Excuse #1: I can’t earn my keep through ad revenue.

Nope, you probably can’t. At best, you might be able to pay your hosting costs and a bit extra. If you’re a professional full-time blogger you might be able to earn a living this way; the time required to sell the ads and generate the kind of content you’d need to drive a lot of clicks to your advertisers’ sites is definitely a full-time gig. But for most of us — who are blogging off the side of our desk while trying to do something else for a living — ads are not going to pay for more than a few perks here and there. You’ll have to earn your rent some other way.

However, here’s what you can earn through your blog: stronger, two-way relationships with customers, prospects, and other interested parties; a reputation as a thought leader and trusted source of information; and great search engine traffic. And that’s just the first three things that came to mind. (Feel free to add your reasons in the comments.)

No-Good Excuse #2: Blogging doesn’t lead directly to sales.

Blogs are not a panacea, and setting up a blog won’t send your revenues through the roof. What blogging is good for is connecting with your community of customers, prospects and interested parties and forming relationships (AKA branding). Rather than looking at your blog as a sales vehicle, look at it as a playspace where you build friendships and share ideas. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t announce sales, products, and other business news on your blog — it just means that shouldn’t be the only information you’re sharing. When was the last time you read a sale flyer that landed in your mailbox? All business and no personality makes your blog a dull read, so enjoy yourself and behave like a great salesperson — be yourself and ask good questions.

No-Good Excuse #3: If you can’t post every day, you might as well give up.

This is a controversial one. I know there are lots of people who believe fervently that daily blogging (or at least, weekdaily (to coin a term) blogging) is the only way to go. But you know that saying that the best workout routine is the one that you actually do? That’s how I feel about marketing in general, and blogging in particular. Every other day is better than every other month, and once a week is better than once a year. Do what you can and knock those guilt gremlins out. They’re not doing you any good.

No-Good Excuse #4: If you don’t have something fresh and fascinating to say, nobody will listen.

This is a trap I fall into a lot. The problem with this belief is that it hinges on the idea that your readers are a passive audience of listeners. Au contraire! They may be reading your words, but what they want is engagement. If you don’t have breaking news to share, how about starting a conversation? Try asking your readers for feedback on new product ideas. (Talk about a win-win: Your customers get a voice in shaping your product line, while you get the benefit of free focus groups.) Or invite them to share their favourite tips on a topic that’s relevant to your business. Blogging can be a tool for listening as well as for talking, and every good conversationalist knows that asking questions is a key ingredient of great dialogues.

No-Good Excuse #5: My posts aren’t long enough.

Does anyone wish I’d drag this out longer than it needs to be? Didn’t think so. ‘Nuff said.

(OK, actually, I have one caveat here. If you’re keen to brand yourself as a thought leader, you probably will need to write some lengthier, article-type stuff on your blog — or at least, post it somewhere and link to it. But I’ve never heard anyone complain about a too-short blog post.)

Tags: Business Advice · Resources for Women in Business · Thoughts

6 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Ananda Leeke // Jun 9, 2009 at 12:17 pm

    Wonderful blog post. I loved all of the insights on blogging. My favorite is,

    “Blogging can be a tool for listening as well as for talking, and every good conversationalist knows that asking questions is a key ingredient of great dialogues.”

    I posted a link to your blog post on my Facebook page.

    Thanks.

    Ananda

  • 2 Lauren // Jun 9, 2009 at 12:32 pm

    Thanks, Ananda! Glad you enjoyed it. :)

  • 3 Danielle LaPorte // Jun 10, 2009 at 11:27 am

    love. it.

  • 4 Laura. // Jun 11, 2009 at 1:45 pm

    oh, this really is helpful! right now, as i get ready to launch my business, i am using blogging as a way to lay the groundwork of connecting with people so that when i do launch my business (june 30!), people will already be interested (hopefully). these are encouraging words, as sometimes blogging just doesn’t feel like enough, or what i do as a blogger doesn’t seem quite right. but i’m learning, right? and how can i learn except by doing?

  • 5 ashley brooke // Jun 18, 2009 at 9:29 am

    thank you thank you thank you!! I needed this today! Especially #4. Perfect.

  • 6 Laura Sultan // Dec 30, 2009 at 8:07 pm

    Thanks for this article. I have used most (or all) of these excuses at one time or another to justify not creating a blog for my business. I have always wondered who has time to write a blog and run a business at the same time! However, I now have a different understanding. Blogging should be an integral part of my marketing plan so I should not think of it as separate from my business.