Thousands of geniuses live and die undiscovered – either by themselves or by others.
~ Mark Twain
I am passionate about social media. That’s my one and only disclaimer. If, during conversation, I sense an opening, a teachable moment if you will, then I will attempt to convince you to set up a Twitter account. Depending on your business, I may steer you in the direction of a Facebook Page. So, yes, I have been known to get on my soap box.
Not often, however, do I try to make blogging converts. Why? It does take quite a bit more energy and dedication to blog than to converse in 140 characters or upload a cute photo for a caption contest.
But do I believe in blogging any less? No. Blogging is a very important to your business tool belt. In all likelihood you should be doing it.
Why? Here are five reasons right off the top of my head.
1. Blogging Gives You Street Cred as an Expert
Blogging allows you to position yourself as an expert. People tend to trust written information just because it is printed/published. Don’t believe me? Think of all the emails that people forward to you that should have been checked at snopes.com first.
My caveat with regard to being an “expert” is that you can become a trusted advisor “among your circle of influence.” Everyone has one. Humans are social; we belong in groups. There are varying degrees of influence, of course. Do people in your social group look to you for advice on parenting, which movie to see next week, or how to fix their leaky faucet?
You may never reach the heights of popularity of Zig Ziglar or Guy Kawasaki, but you do have influence. Find out what it is and start building up your street cred.
2. Blogging Develops Your Mind Skills
Maybe you won’t be able to perform Jedi mind tricks with your new WordPress theme, but you will be putting yourself in a position to think.
Even if no one reads your blog, it forces you to stretch as a person, learn new things, and practice critical analysis. Why do I say this?
It’s simple. You can’t just blert out whatever comes to your mind in 140 characters. You start a draft, save it for later, and come back to the post after a nice dinner. You write, then rewrite, then make your husband read it to see if it’s coherent. (Oh, just me?)
You get the point. Unless you want to produce work you wouldn’t dare turn in to your fifth grade teacher, then you’ll be correcting spelling, learning new words to mix up your sentences, and sharpening those grammar skills.
Another valuable part of the process is thinking of your reader. What will they know about me after this post is done? What will my reader understand about my business? Will I have created valuable content or wasted an hour of my time?
3. Blogging Expands Your Perspective
Blogging expands your world. Yes it is true. The more you blog, the more you expose yourself to other people’s blogs.
How? I presume you’re blogging to an audience, yes? If you are fortunate enough to have a reader who comments, then you should check out their blog (inevitably they have one). Bloggers are one thing, if not anything else: faithful commenters.
This causes your mind to think about new ideas. Cross polination begins; and, unless you’re a total shut-in, this is bound to naturally occur as your experiences diversify.
“Allowing yourself to cross-pollinate will make your ideas stronger. And it gets you out of the tired ‘same old’ marketing all of your competitors are doing.” Sonia Simone of CopyBlogger in “Five Marketing Lessons You Can Learn from a Weird ‘Real World’ Business“
4. Blogging Focuses Your Selling Points
You have marketing materials, I presume. You have services to offer? Whether you are aware of it or not, you may even have a mental script of your “selling points” on why we should hire your company, buy your do-dad, or go with you to that golf game.
Educating your fan / customer base is a fantastic way to promote your skills and is great fodder for blog posts. Does your client base know you can perform a building survey, build a custom bikini for their Hawaii vacation, or deliver pizza to their office?
It is very possible that your customer base has a fragmented knowledge of the cornucopia of your services. In fact, this year we plan to add photos and information on at least two different construction processes for that very reason.
5. Blogging Promotes Sharing
Let’s face it, Facebook has all trained us to look for that button that says, “Share.” Sure, there are other social sites for sharing, but the truth is Facebook has really changed our culture. Even my seventy-four-year-old husband knows to look for the word “share.” This is a major culture shift.
If your website is a traditionally static site, then there’s nothing to share. No sharing, no caring. No comments, no engagement.
You are actually harming your ability to be found through search engines, not to mention looking like a Luddite.
In a May 19, 2011, article by HubSpot they state:
We think their most noteworthy finding is that, of all shares, 60% were of links to published content… This means that, whether people are sharing links to your content or embedding it into social networks directly, an overwhelming 96% of the sharing that happens online is of content, not websites.
It’s very important to make your content share-able. I’ve noticed this trend in my own reading and sharing habits. If I can’t find an article online that I’m reading in a traditional magazine, I get frustrated. Why read it, if I can’t share it?
Copyblogger puts it best in their article, “Why Bad Writers are Eating Your Lunch And What To Do About It:”
“If your product isn’t tweetable, it’s irrelevant.”