The world doesn’t need more content; it needs more engagement. I’m not going to cite statistics about how many blogs are created each day or how many have less than 100 visitors a month, but I realize that most people are going to disagree with me. Everyone needs their soapbox. Indeed, I have mine right here and it is not intended as a rant, but a wake up call.
Does the world need more bloggers? In my humble opinion, no.
The world needs more participants and more people adding to the existing conversations, so share your thoughts on someone else’s blog. Or, join a Biznik, LinkedIn or Meetup group and go the events that those groups spawn and meet in person, in real life. Do everything you can to connect with an individual, because the individual makes decision to buy.
Here are four reasons why you shouldn’t blog.
1. You won’t keep up a regular, consistent schedule
The majority of my blogging takes place as part of the team here on OPEN Forum, Small Business Trends and the Small Business Administration (SBA) blog. I have a half dozen of my own blogs, but I’m changing that ever so slowly because I’ve found that what brings me business is time spent in person or on the phone. I’m consistent here, but not at my own sites. If you are not consistent, you won’t build a following. If you’ll be consistent, blogging might be worth considering.
As an alternative, I recommend you create a simple welcome page on your website that explains what you’re doing online and how you participate and where, and how you can best be reached. Then, go out and spend your time on Twitter, or Facebook or BizSugar and share good content that you read. Become a curator of amazing content. When people comment or retweet your messages, engage with them one-on-one. Use that welcome page as the link you share in profiles and in comments (when it is allowed for you to include a hyperlink). Have an e-mail form on that page so people can reach your directly.
2. You have no idea how much work blogging entails
If it just looks like fun to share your thoughts and ideas, reevaluate. The best bloggers out there spend a ton of time on their blogs—not necessarily writing their posts, either. They spend a significant time chunk directly and intentionally promoting a blog and building a foundation of readers. Anyone who tells you otherwise has land to sell you in a swampy area. The blogging-to-riches stories simply are not true. There is writing and marketing work on this journey to blogger fame and fortune.
3. Blogging is an excuse to avoid contacting your potential customers directly
Sales is changing. The buyer is in control. If in doubt, read Jill Konrath's SNAP Selling book. She spells it out clearly. If you are considering blogging as some panacea to increase your sales, stop right now. If your sales approach isn’t solving a person’s problem, then how will you make your blog a problem solver?
Blogging, by most marketing and sales departments, is a time sink that isn’t tracked or measured. I challenge you to track how your customers find you. Please comment here and tell me how many have said, “Oh, I just read your blog post on underwater basketweaving and just had to call you and buy your product this second...”
Content, blog or otherwise, should be meaningful and designed to move a reader or viewer or listener to a real person who helps them directly and personally. Some will argue that you are building a relationship and it simply takes a lot of time to slowly nurture people to a sale. Hogwash. If you don’t have a conversion path and plan for your content, it will rarely drive sales.
4. People buy from you directly in person or via phone
Rather than blog, go to the LinkedIn groups, Focus or Quora and aggressively search for people who are asking questions about problems they have and that you can solve. Don’t sell them aggressively, but answer their questions thoughtfully.
Instead of spending five hours a week on your own blog with what you hope will be a problem-solving post, go and share your expertise in public forums one question at a time. I have received more customer inquiries from doing that than blogging. And while I have not been a super consistent blogger, I show up in a lot of prominent places (and I’m not famous or well known, not really) and it is through comments and discussion on my own or someone else’s post that I find new projects for my company. If your services are complex enough that you have to talk to a person first before they buy what you offer, then focus on solving problems and building relationships in online communities, not necessarily blogging.
You do not have to blog to be present online. The nice thing about participation is that you don’t have to worry about what search engines think about you (at least not as much as a blogger does). Plus, you can wander around and find the topics and people who interest you and share your expertise without a hard deadline for your own posts. But, if you absolutely insist on becoming a blogger, read this post by Laurel Donaldson: How To Create Stellar Blog Content (Part 1).
Image credit: Kirsty Hall