Two Facebook posts in the last week got me thinking: Should I really keep blogging? Does is still make sense for me?
First, Geoff Livingston talked about how if he had to do it all over again, and start his social presence from the ground up, he would NOT blog.
Then, I followed a conversation thread on a private solo PR group I’m a part of where many folks were talking about why they really don’t consider blogging a great tool in terms of new business and inbound marketing.
And, it got me thinking: Should I keep blogging in 2015? Does it still make sense as a business and branding tool? And maybe most importantly, is it still worth the time and effort?
I’m going to think out loud a bit in this post–it will allow me to get my thoughts down on paper. So, bear with me for a minute. But, here’s my thinking so far:
I love to write, and blogging has been a creative outlet for me for the last six years
I started my blog almost six years ago now. In the beginning, blogging was all about a creative outlet for me. I was a bit bored with my day job, so blogging gave me an opportunity to talk about all these interesting things in the industry that were happening. Six years later, that’s the exact same way I look at it. I love to write, so blogging comes naturally to me. I don’t really have the time to do this–but I MAKE the time, because I love it. That’s what I tell people when they’re considering blogging. If you don’t love to write, and you don’t love the topic you’re blogging about, don’t bother. You won’t last. So, for me, blogging isn’t really all about leads, clients and business. It’s about me! (big shock, I know, a blogger who’s all about himself!). Not in a selfish, ego-centric way, but more from a “I love to write”-kinda way.
My blog isn’t all about business for me
I remember when I was starting my business, a friend of mine made an interesting statement: “Now your blog will have to be 100% focused on your business and your services.” Huh, I thought. Why would I suddenly change and blog only about my business? That seemed odd. So, I didn’t do that. I still blog about things that RELATE to my business–sure. But, I also blog about things I find interesting. Like cutting the cable cord a couple years ago (we’ve been a cable-free household for two-plus years now). Or, the death of the phone call in PR. These kinds of things aren’t directly relatable to my business or a service offering. But, people find them interesting. And I find them interesting. And, it leads people to my blog and site where they can learn more about me. Which is all I really want. If I can get people to my blog, to know who I am and what I’m about, that’s a big win for a solo consultant.
I’m not overly concerned with page views
Here’s another area I think most agencies/consultants get hung up on. I don’t. Why? Because 30,000 page views a month doesn’t do me very much good, if none of those folks are potential clients or influencers now, does it? So, what I’ve learned is that page views don’t matter–especially when search is now bringing up to 60 percent of my blog traffic. What DOES matter is getting the RIGHT people to read my blog. Largely, that means people in PR and digital marketing here in the Twin Cities (where 95% of my business comes from). I still love that people from around the world read my blog–that’s led to speaking engagements, guest blog opportunities and a variety of other deals in the past. But I really, really, care about getting those local folks to read my blog. That’s where the rubber meets the road.
My blog isn’t all about “new business”
When people think about blogging from an agency/consultant point of view, I think they get a little too hung-up in making the direct line to new business. That’s REALLY hard to do. In fact, I don’t know if that’s ever happened to me. BUT, on the other hand, my blog has been INSTRUMENTAL in many new business endeavors from an AWARENESS point of view. For example, I remember sitting in a new business meeting with a B2B prospect a few years back. In the room was the PR lead, the HR lead and another high-level exec. During the course of introductions, I remember the PR lead saying she had read my stuff regularly on PR Daily, and how that was a big deal for this guy (me) to be on an industry web site like that. A few days later, we started working together. That kind of thing happens fairly regularly. It’s not a direct line of sight to new business, but it’s pretty darn big.
My blog feeds my Talking Points e-newsletter
My Talking Points e-newsletter now has 1,000-plus subscribers. I’ve worked heard to earn the trust and build up that readership over the last two years. But, a big part of that e-newsletter success has been my own blog content. The whole point of the e-newsletter is to curate content from the previous week in PR/digital marketing. So, I’m serving as a filter of sorts for my audience. But, I also insert my own posts into that mix each week. After all, why not? And you know what? My posts are typically some of the most clicked-on posts week in and week out. So, without that content, the e-newsletter doesn’t have the same feel. And, it’s not driving traffic back to my site. So, this is a big factor for me, too, in keeping the blog going.
So, I guess I just talked myself into blogging again in 2015.
Who am I kidding? I’m most likely going to do this for a long, long time. For many of the reasons listed above.
What about you? Have you considered starting a personal blog? What’s stopped you or why haven’t you pursued?