I haven't stopped blogging since 2004! My first post, a rant about the influence of wine importer Frank Schoonmaker on the American wine consumer, appeared online on the Blogger platform. At the time I really had no plan in mind for my blog. I just figured I'd join the chorus of my other wine geek friends sharing tasting notes and chronicling visits to wine regions.
Little did I know what I was getting into.
Today, I now run a well-monetized blog about digital marketing and online entrepreneurship. And along the way, I've learned a few lessons about the value of blogging for (or as a) business.
When I first speak to small business owners about the value of a blog, I often see their eyes rolling to the back of their heads. For some reason, many people still equate a blog with a casual online version of journalling and recipe sharing. But when we dig deeper into the business and marketing benefits, then they start to become interested.
Here, in no particular order, are eight reasons I keep blogging, and why it might also make sense for you to do so:
Blogging Can Tell Your Story
No matter of you have a brand, a product, or a cause, there's a story to be told. Blogging offers a simple way to tell that story. You can use case studies, provide historical information, and even share data. But if you look at it through a storytelling lens, you can capture people's attention, and keep them engaged and returning for more.
Blogging Can Establish Expertise
These days, just about every one of us is an expert in something. And with a blog, you can put that expertise on public display. Not only will it demonstrate your knowledge and authority around a particular topic, but good, substantive content can help win over prospects who are considering working with you. Which brings me to my next point...
Blogging Can Attract New Clients
Blogging about what you do, why you do it, and how you do it can go far in creating new opportunities for bring you more clients. Some might shy away from revealing their "industry secrets" on their blogs because they fear that might be giving away too much information free. But, often, people don't really want to know how to do something... they just want to rest comfortably that they can hire someone who does.
Blogging Can Improve Your SEO
Search engine optimization isn't as simple as putting a bunch of strategically placed keywords into your blog posts, but that's certainly a great start. The real magic happens when your blog is engaging enough and appreciated by others to the point that its content is shared by other and referenced by others sites on the web.
Blogging Can Help You Find Your Voice
If you're not used to creating content for public consumption, you might stumble, initially, with what you're saying, and how you say it. But as you start to discuss new products, services, or other issues within your niche, you're also developing a voice for your business. If you're excited about a product, it will show, and your readers will be excited too.
Blogging Provides a Platform to Interact with Your Audience
You might not think of your blog as a social platform, but, in fact, it is. When you open up your blog to commenters, it provides you an opportunity to engage directly with your readers, discuss your posts, and respond to their feedback. Blog comments provide a great opportunity to learn from your audience.
Blogging Allows You to Manage Your Marketing Budget
You might not have a ton of money to put into marketing, but a steady, regular stream of blogging can bring you a bigger return over time than running a single ad on Facebook. Of course, blogging is a long game. You can't expect to publish a post and have money or new business rolling in immediately. But there are more than a few examples of blog posts from years ago that continue to bring new eyeballs to website on a regular basis, and with them, new customers.
With a bit of strategy, blogging has the ability to build a business faster than you might imagine. It takes a combination of understanding your audience well enough to know what they want to read about, a regular posting schedule, and some simple (and consistent) promotion of each post, and before you know it, you'll be gaining followers and momentum for your business and your blog.