A couple of weeks ago, I started a series called How to Start a Blog, which seemed to go down well, particularly the idea of starting a mentoring scheme for bloggers – more of which later.
In that post, I talked a little bit about my reasons for starting the blog, and the adventures I’ve had with it since.
When you start any big project I think it’s important to start with your ‘why’. Why do you want to start a blog? Do you have a goal, or an end game? Are you doing it for fame and fortune, to highlight a worthy cause or to build a profile for your business?
Here are seven reasons why you should start a blog:
1. To promote a business
Blogging is a great way to showcase your expertise if you’re selling a product or service.
Let’s say, just taking a completely random example, you are a recruitment consultant. Recruitment is a crowded market, and you’ve just set up in business. Recruitment isn’t rocket science, but you want to tell your potential clients about your unique proposition.
You could produce a suite of expensive marketing literature, or spend a fortune on Google or print advertising. You could call the industry magazines and see if they’d like to write an article about your business and then keep your fingers crossed that the editor wants to print it, and that the right people read it.
Or you could start blogging about your point of difference, with real life examples, case studies, quotes and testimonials. You could then intersperse that content with interviews with industry luminaries, guest opinion pieces and insider information.
You could promote that amazing free content on social media, choosing the channels where your target audience is most likely to hang out – in this case LinkedIn.
You could offer people additional content if they subscribe to your newsletter and then keep those subscribers regularly engaged and returning to your website.
And all that is free. It just takes time, effort and a little creativity.
2. To build your personal profile
Have you Googled yourself recently?
There are several reasons you might want to build your own profile online. The most obvious one in my line of work, is that any research on a person starts with a Google search on their name.
If you have a blog, you will have some control over your online footprint, rather than relying on other people mentioning your name in vain and potentially damaging your reputation.
I’ve just Googled my name and my profile on Huffington Post is the first thing that comes up. That’s a good result, based on my own activity.
I’ve also just Googled my maiden name and there are a number of very unsavoury images that come up – they’re not me, I hasten to add, but a namesake who is obviously enjoying a successful career in the adult movie sector!
Is that what you want potential employers to see?
Take control of your online profile by creating your own content. Own it baby!
3. To share advice
Many coaches and consultants have websites on which they write a regular blog, to share great advice for free in the expectation that some of their readers will want to pay for more.
But there are plenty of people who want to share their advice or experiences, just to help others, rather than as part of a business. One of my friends is going through a painful divorce and is starting a blog, which will be a useful resource for those just starting divorce proceedings, who don’t know where to find help.
I’ve recently read a book called The Happiness Project, by Gretchen Rubin, an author and favourite of Oprah who writes about habits and happiness. The Happiness Project started life as a blog and took on a life of its own, allowing Gretchen to build her personal profile and a very successful business to boot.
4. To build a community
One of my big motivators for starting the blog was to meet new people and have a group to network with, online and in person. I was just starting a business, working from home on my own. I could easily spend six hours without any interaction with the outside world.
The blog has given me a whole new group of people to talk to, both virtually and face to face. I’m not a fan of big blogging events, but love meeting people on a more intimate basis over a cuppa. Instagram and my Facebook group for 40 plus bloggers are really supportive communities and I wouldn’t have those connections if I didn’t have the blog.
5. For personal development and new experiences
This is the big one for me, but it was also an unexpected benefit. I didn’t identify personal development as a reason to start the blog, but it is certainly the reason that two years later I’m still at it. Without the blog I wouldn’t have done any of the following:
- Lectured a University undergraduate course on blogging and social media
- Enjoyed a night at the Opera
- Been a panelist at a PR company debate on the influence of bloggers
- Starred in a mini-documentary for L’Oreal
- Guest written for Huffington Post
- Taken a photography course, a cookery course and many others besides
- Had the opportunity to review so many lovely products (which, by the way are not “freebies” – they are negotiated in return for my time and hard work – more about that in a later post).
6. To make money
Making money from blogging is a big subject which I’ll cover in a separate blog post. One of the most prolific parenting bloggers I know is only just getting to the stage where she can give up her day job. She’s been blogging at least once a day for four years. That’s how difficult it is.
So don’t think that blogging is a get rich quick scheme. Blogging isn’t all cosy socks, large mug of coffee, big white duvet, typing away on your Macbook – despite what the imagery will have you believe.
This is the one I’m least interested in and also the one I think is the hardest to achieve. Some get there through passion, hard work and consistently delivering great content. Others achieve notoriety in the same way reality TV stars achieve it.
Life in the spotlight, with the trolls and intrusion isn’t for me. But if you want fame, you need to be all over YouTube.
So what can you take away from all this?
Work out your ‘why’. What are you blogging for? If you don’t have a compelling reason, you might find that the effort is disproportionate to the reward. You have to either love it, or have a really good motivation for carrying on, when it feels like no one is reading the work you sweated and toiled over.
We Blog, You Blog
In the last post about blogging, I mentioned that I wanted to start a mentoring community for bloggers. I have since spoken to a couple of brands about the possibility of sponsorship, so I can make it happen.
I’ve also given the community a name: We Blog, You Blog.
If you’re interested in finding out about an event where new bloggers can meet, chat to and learn from more experienced bloggers at a mentoring event, please click on this link and fill in the form. Equally, if you’re an established blogger who wants to meet a group of passionate people and share your experiences, please join us.
What’s your reason for blogging? I would really love to know. Please leave me a comment below. I always respond.
Much love, Vx