Why blogging is perfect if you don’t like marketing, by Brook McCarthy
Does the thought of explaining – perhaps for the 62th time this week – how you work, what makes you different, and why you can’t work for the ever-elusive ‘exposure’, make you want to rock back and forth in a dark corner? Then blogging for business might just be perfect.
Blogging gives us a forum to have a long conversation about what they do, how it works, and why people might need it – without the conversation. Further, your blog posts remain useful for years and years. If you’ve never blogged before, or there’s tumbleweeds blowing through it, here’s how to get start blogging – or begin again.
Everybody overestimates everybody else
Most creative freelancers make one giant assumption that comes back to bite them – we assume people know what we offer, what’s involved (and what’s not) and how it all works. They don’t, they won’t, and it’s our duty – if we want new clients – to explain this, over and over again.
Stop worrying that you can’t write
Way too many of us sit on our bright ideas and opinions because we’re worried we can’t write well enough. Stop it! We’re blogging for business, not writing To Kill A Mockingbird.
Your ideas are far more important than your technique. And technique can be taught. So start already.
Write out your FAQs
Write a list of questions that you get asked all the time by prospects, inquiries and clients. Now add the questions you wish you were asked. Finally, go through your email outbox and see if you can’t find several of your emails where you’ve addressed these. Now you have a solid basis of topics to start writing and editing.
Identify your topic
Your key blog topics don’t have to be grand or original. There’s nothing truly original under the sun, so don’t get hung-up on uncovering ways to reinvent the wheel. But each of us brings our unique combination of background, attitude, perspective, and attributes to the conversation. And people need to keep hearing the same thing over and over again.
Know where you’re headed
Been admiring a particular person and want to know how they got where they are? Interview them. What to be known for a particular thing? Start blogging about it. Feel there’s something missing in a particular public debate? State your case – and keep stating it.
Don’t forget to tell stories
Storytelling is what humans have been doing for millennia. It’s how we create intimacy, rapport, and make sense of ourselves and our world.
But storytelling isn’t enough – it quickly slides from entertainment into self-obsession when the reader is forgotten. My favourite type of blogging is when valuable, helpful and relevant information is skillfully woven into storytelling. Combining stories with facts and research works to create rapport and trust while also building your expertise: a winning combo.
When I first started writing regularly on my business blog six years ago, I worried that I had nothing original to add. I thought I didn’t know enough. I imagined by competitors laughing uproariously at my arrogance and ignorance. Eventually, I got over myself and pressed publish. Weirdly, nobody called to harangue me.
A blog makes up a body of work that you can refer people to for many years into the future. It improves your website ranking, answers your prospects’ questions, develops trust and rapport, and builds your reputation. So if you’re hovering over the ‘publish’ button, dry-mouthed and sweaty-palmed, it’s time to get over yourself and get out there. You won’t regret it.
About the author Brook McCarthy
Brook McCarthy is a business coach and writer who enables creative service professionals to build their reputation and do their best work. She runs regular courses on blogging for business and social media marketing around Australia. Upcoming Sydney courses are April 2 and 3 2016; upcoming Melbourne courses are May 7 and 8 2016.