“Blogging is basically about people who want to express their creativity,
showcase their work, generate new interest in people,
talk about what they love and learn from others.”
A blog acts as a journal and a showcase, just like social media, but with unlimited space and creative scope. It’s a place to let your personality shine through, to talk properly about what you do and to share insights and interesting projects with your readers.
Search the internet, and you’ll find thousands of reasons, from building self esteem to making lots of money, but for creatives like us, with small businesses, here are the main ones:
Talking about what you do in detail, particularly in a well-written, interesting and visual way, is likely to get people interested in your product or service. Your blog is a talking point and a way for people to find out what makes you tick. It also gives you an opportunity to promote your product by explaining how it came about.
Blogging about a topic in which you would like to be viewed as an expert can illustrate to readers, customers, buyers and your network that you are are skilled and knowledgeable. It builds credibility and professionalism. In the same way that your website shows you mean business, a blog backs up what you’re doing. By regularly sharing helpful information about a subject, you build trust and position yourself as an expert. The more knowledge you can impart about what you do, the more of an expert you seem to be, the more likely people are to buy your brand over that of a less-expert supplier.
A blog piece gives you more personality than a faceless website and builds rapport. Blogging also helps you connect and puts you in a social circle you might not have known and allows you to meet new people who may be friends, colleagues, wholesalers or customers.
Blogging requires you to learn what you don’t know when you’re writing an article, and to articulate what you do know. It’s a process of organising your thoughts, filling gaps in your knowledge and imparting what you know in the best way you can. This is a challenge and pushes you to learn, evolve and write better.
Tell your story
With a blog, you can tell your stories in the form of an online journal. This documentation of your life is a great way of keeping a diary and a permanent record of you and your business, your passions and your thoughts – you never know, it might lead to a book one day!
Did you know that 99% of people online are only there to view and observe? Only 1% of people create content. Isn’t it a good idea to separate yourself from that 99% and have a small amount of influence? Standing out helps you to get ahead in business.
Your blog might even get you noticed as a writer/expert in your field and lead to interest from professional bodies or organisations wanting to give you a voice. This could lead to bigger things in your industry, freelance work or a new contract. An insightful blog can sell you better than a resumé. It gives potential wholesalers, distributors and customers a full picture outside of the facts and figures.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is the process of getting traffic to your website from free, organic or editorial search results on search engines. The better your SEO as a candle manufacturer for example, the more likely you are to appear at the top of a search for “candles.” SEO is based on content and every time you post, you are adding a page to your website, increasing your content. The more pages you have, the greater your presence online, the better searchability you have. You’re also creating content that people can share on social media, increasing your reach to new audiences.
SO HOW DO YOU BLOG?
Blogging platforms such as Blogspot, Blogger and WordPress are the best places to start. Join up and pick a theme that incorporates a blog (there are thousands of beautiful ones) and customise it with the help of an online “how to” site.
You may find that if you’re already on a platform such as WordPress for your website, it is possible to activate a blog page function with only a few clicks. If your site doesn’t have a blog but you want to incorporate one, you can start a new one (even with its own domain name) and link it to your website. And if you haven’t embarked on a website yet, a simple blog theme with a contact page and about page might be all you need. Using myself as a case study, I had already set up a portfolio website (not linked to WordPress) to showcase the work of Callie & Co Design. However, when I later decided a blog would be a good idea, it was simpler to buy a new domain name, Callie’s House, sign up to Wordpress, buy an inexpensive theme, customise it and link it to my main site. It cost me under $100 to buy the domain name and the theme and a day to set up. Once I had my blog, I clicked on “add new post,” started typing and added pictures though the “add media” icon. Simple. All I had to do was find things to write about.
Yes, what do you write about? Start with research. Read what other bloggers are talking about in your field of interest. How often do they write, what are they saying, how are they mixing up their subjects and categories? Spend time figuring out your style and then start a calendar. One post a week is more than enough to start with, with two ideal for small business and daily if you have an endless supply of things to say. Try and plan at least a month in advance what your topics will be. Maybe you want to follow a project through and report on its progress as it goes along. Maybe you want to focus on other people doing good things in your field. Maybe you want to share recipes, projects or travel stories, or maybe you want to review a book you’ve read. As with everything online, make sure you make sense, you don’t share other peoples’ images without giving them credit and lots of linking to other websites increases your SEO. So what are you waiting for?
WHY NOT TO BLOG
Which leads me to the difficult subject of whether a blog is for you. I’m lucky. I find writing easy and enjoyable, but there are a few reasons why you might decide not to start a blog:
Lack of passion
You have to be passionate about a subject to be able to blog about it. I personally love graphic design and like to blog about amazing design I have found, or projects that I have undertaken myself. Food bloggers, parenting bloggers, fashion bloggers and interior design bloggers are all passionate about their subjects, making it easier for them to find content and show themselves as experts. If you don’t have this passion, blogging will be hard work.
Not knowing your audience
Yes, that old chestnut again. But it’s true. If you don’t know who you are talking to, you can’t position yourself. A family blogger is speaking to parents and would be wise not to talk about the stock exchange for example. Figure out who you’re talking to and it will be easier to have relevant content.
It might sound like a good idea, but actually, you have no intention of doing anything with it. Without a plan, a regular calendar and a voice, a blog is a white elephant that makes you look worse than if it wasn’t there at all. It is a commitment that, like all areas of business, needs work.
I myself am often caught in the “too busy” trap. I think we all are. You can’t run a small business sitting around drinking coffee (?!) Blogging for myself means I’m not “working” and my clients tend to take priority. However, one of my resolutions this year is to find the time. I know the benefits, and I need to earn them. And I can drink that coffee while I type!
Here are some resource to look at if you’re considering taking the plunge:
Blogging for Creatives by Robin Houghton
Blogging for Passion, Profit and to Create Community by