Bloggers Who Blog… Are Blogging For Bloggers
How many bodybuilders does it take to screw in a light bulb? Three; one to screw in the light bulb and two to say, “Dewd, you're HUGE!” That's how a lot of people look at bloggers and blogging, however that is truly not the case. Most bloggers are just like you and me. In fact, there are over 450 million of us!
Blogging is not just for bloggers; it's for every business or person who wants to connect with like-minded people. Can it be used for selling? Of course, but if all you are doing is selling things, your audience will bore quickly (unless they are so in love with you and your products or services that they can't get enough of what you have to say).
The Food Court
Blogs are kind of like the food court in a mall. Your food court options are either the national chains or the local no name food stands. Having a national chain name behind it does not necessarily make the food awesome. Just because it's a small, local business, does not mean that they don't have the best salad or taco stand in the mix. It all depends on the quality of the ingredients and the people preparing the menu items that will make or break your foodie experience.
There are plenty of choices, but you have to sample them to see what is good and what is not. Many people will judge a blog by its following and its cover (art and marketing), but if you are adventurous, you may find a diamond in the rough. Yours could be one of those small blogs with a very small, but loyal, following. Of course, if you want long lines, that is what will happen when people start Tweeting, Yelping, Facebooking, Foursquaring, Pinteresting or blogging about you and your little food court offering.
The Dinner Party
Think of your blog as more of a dinner party. You have guests who know you and you know them. They share your taste in blogging cuisine. They are invited to the dinner party, and if they don't like what you are serving, you are not hurt when they get up and leave. You are the consummate host, and you make enough for the extra or random party guest. These guests find your invites through emails, social media and friends telling them about your party. You are not making cooked to order content; you are serving up a buffet of your knowledge and experience.
You are serving a specific meal for a specific audience. This is not a restaurant; you are in control of the menu (the content), and you encourage your guests to comment on the food, so you can revel in the joyous reviews or make it better next time if your flaunt was little flat! No matter what's on the menu, it is an acquired taste.
There are many answers to this question. Ultimately, it's about answering the questions and meeting the needs of your audience. Maybe they need to solve a problem? Maybe they want to hear your experience at a restaurant or with a product or service? Your audience is looking for an expert opinion or an affirmation that they are making good decisions. What are they not looking for? They do not need another advertisement or a blatant sales pitch! Guiding your audience to purchase from you or a trusted vendor is ok, but only after you have proven to them that you have the necessary experience to make you an expert or a trusted resource.
Blogging for business is part art and part marketing. It's true that there are bloggers earning a six figure income off of sponsorships and ads. More than likely, you are blogging to create awareness first, income second.
Below are a few other observations and tips about blogging, and reasons why YOU should want to blog:
- It's Sharing Your Passion – There are people in this world who are as excited as you are about what your passions are. I am passionate about dogs, golf and bacon. What do they have in common? Not much! You have to take each topic and focus on your passionate audience. Does that mean I should write three blogs? Maybe I should, unless I am talking to a very segmented audience who all love dogs, bacon and golf. So, if you bet a slice of bacon per hole, and bring your dog along in the golf cart to chase away the geese, you are part of a very targeted audience who will accept, respond and engage with that blog! Otherwise, you have one blog for canine lovers (black labs), one for bacon (recipes and quirky pictures) and one for hackers with a 14+ handicap who love challenging courses.
- It's Curating Content – Most people associate curating with museums. A museum is a collection of like items to put on display. Most museums sell tickets and hold fundraisers to allow the public to view the collection. Your content is no different. Your blog is a collection of your passion, knowledge, experience and opinions. Believe it or not, people will pay for it in the form of books, ebooks, products, training classes and more. If your blog is of value and is being engaged with for free, that doesn't mean that people will not pay for it if you assemble it into a simple and useful collection. Some of the best selling books out there are simply collections of blogs (see Chris Brogan's – Social Media 101: Tactics and Tips to Develop Your Business Online or my book – It's Not About You, It's About Bacon Bits!: 101 Relationship Marketing Tips!).
- It's Organizing Your Knowledge – One of my favorite sayings is “To teach is to learn twice”. This is so true when writing a blog. You are forced to take your knowledge and experience and organize it in ways that connect with people. Then, the public responds and gives you feedback through comments, likes and shares. Much of my content comes from giving presentations, teaching college classes and doing webinars. By teaching others, you are forced to take your unique perspective on the subject and create personalized encapsulations that will either connect with people or fall flat. Don't be afraid to fail, because we all learn from our mistakes (at least I hope you do).
Just start somewhere. My first blogs sucked. My later blogs sucked less. I recently hired a virtual assistant (thanks Kristi), whose job it is to make them suck even less. I had a long time, writer friend who noticed the changes and told me that she really enjoys reading my blogs now. (I guess my grammatical ineptness has diminished, but never deterred her before). We all start somewhere, and when you hit your stride, you will improve. Learn your strengths and weaknesses, and ask for help where needed!
I would love to hear your comments, feedback and any typo finds by the grammar police! (P.S. I spelled ‘Dewd' that way on purpose, so back off.)