Chances are if you've attended any seminars in the last few years on leveraging new technology, social media, and the mighty power of the Internet, you've been told that you and your business must blog. Chances are, you've also been told just how easy it is to start a blog and that a monkey can do it.
Throw up a page of some kind on any of the popular hosted blog platforms (WordPress, Tumbler, Posterous et. al.), or hire a broke youngster via some crowd-sourcing firm who'll gladly hook you up with a self-hosted blog for a price of a cup of coffee a day, if only because where he happens to dwell, your money still has a ton of value.
Once you have secured your blogging space, you can now truly broadcast your message to millions of potential customers with a click of a button, so long as you syndicate, and almost anyone looking for whatever it is you are selling will undoubtedly see your blog come up in the first ten results of Google. If not, there are always adwords, or SEOs, either of which will get you some place reasonable on Google for a price of twice-weekly sushi dinner for two at a nice joint, or thereabouts, per month.
Here is what advice they don't give you at those seminars or e-books on the magical power of business blogging and social media: They don't tell you that blogging = content creation, i.e. writing (mostly), and for some photography, videography, illustration, etc.
That blogging per se is a meaningless word, thrown out there to make it less intimidating for the non-writers amongst us to throw our thoughts into the great wide world of the Internet. That the only differences between writing a blog or writing an article for a newspaper are that with a blog, you will be less likely to suffer public humiliation should it be lousy, and a small but important fact that there is no editor to guide you, help you fix it, or simply say that your content is not worthy of publication.
Here is why it's important:
Few people in the world are born great writers, or photographers or anything else that requires a natural gift and the tenacity to hone it overtime. Numbers-wise, probably just as few as have a natural gift for music, painting, or architecture. Fewer, still, have the passion to pursue whatever gifts they are born with. The bloggers who have made their business successful by blogging had not just the gift, but the passion and tenacity to pursue it. You can't learn how to blog effectively in a 20 minute webinar any more than you can learn to paint by taking those paint by numbers classes. And even more importantly, I am of the opinion that we won't get good at something for which we lack a natural predisposition by repetition. Trying something may help you discover if you have a talent and passion for it though, but chances are, you already know what you are good at and what you enjoy. Most of us do, past middle school anyway.
So here is my sincere recommendation to anyone who is contemplating diving into the world of blogging for business. Take a step back and look at your style of communication, before you do anything else. How do you come across in your correspondence? Would you read you? And if yes, would you hire you to do whatever it is you are selling? If you don't think you are good enough, do the smart thing. There are people who are good writers, photographers and online communicators. Find one of those close to you, if your place is a mom and pop type, or elsewhere if it's not, and entrust that person with maintaining your blog and your social media presence. After all, if you are going to blog for business, your blogging and your social media efforts should be looked at as marketing. In simple terms, posting a half-baked blog online is akin to sending someone a postcard you manufactured on your 1990s Xerox. Your potential clients who see it won't complain or comment. They'll just file you into the irrelevant folder, and few ever manage to earn a comeback from that one.
Today's guest blog post was contributed by Inna Hardison, wife, mother to two kids and two adopted pups, marketer, writer and owner of HaMedia Group, a kick ass little ad agency.