I’m often called in when these business soldiers are on their last leg. It doesn’t take long for me to hear the hoofs the horsemen riding off into setting sun. Curious, I ask
“What’s killing your blog?”
Horsemen #1: I Don’t Have Time
This is a fair concern. I normally would tell you to suck it up and make blogging a priority. But that doesn’t work especially if the tradeoff is prospecting for clients or spending time with your families. Even I am willing to admit that some things are more important than blogging.
The challenge is being able to justify the time you spend blogging. Unfortunately blogging is often tied to vague goals like engagement. If you put “engagement” up against “getting revenue” blogging will fail everytime.
Instead consider these more practical blogging objectives:
Marcus Sheridan often cites an “aha” moment when he discovered that his best prospects had touched 30 pieces of content. Using this information he reorganized his sales process to put resources behind the 30-touch prospects.
Every blog post is an opportunity for a prospective customer to demonstrate their interest in your product. For example, I spend time with blog update and blog marketing subscribers. Every post I write has these call-to-actions after the post. The more I write the better information I get about my prospective clients.
Establish Your Authority
Blogging is a great way to explain your unique perspective. Every post is an opportunity to demonstrate your expertise. Think of your blog archives as a library where anyone can use to understand why they must do business with you.
Attract Future Customers
Your future customers will come from your current audience. Think of your blog as an insurance policy for tough times. Time invested writing and promoting your work will attract three types of readers 1) Cheerleaders, 2) Buyers, and 3) Investors.
Cheerleaders love telling everyone about your work. These folks grow your online footprint.
Buyers: These readers vote with their wallets. They want your product, services, time, and encouragement and they are willing to pay for it.
Investors: Repeat buyers often want to do more for your business. They want to push all their chips in and do whatever takes to help you succeed. I call them investors because they identify personally with your success. These people are amazing. Find and hang on to them.
Horsemen #2: Blogging is Too Expensive
The term “expensive” is relative. For some spending $100 on a well-designed blog theme is a steal for others it’s highway robbery. It’s helpful to evaluate your blogging expectations.
For example, are you planning to build a business with your blog? If so, is it realistic to start a brand new business with less than $100 in capital? Not really.
Another flawed expectation would be the promise of “Zero Cost Marketing.” It’s easy to get snared by the siren-song of zero-down riches. Practically this isn’t the case. A blog requires hosting, design, email software, and analytics to start. This is a cost. This cost is declining steadily for years but it is still a cost.
Go ahead and list the costs that you expect. Many times, the real cost is lower than you thought.
One last point, Blogging is always too expensive if you don’t have a plan for earning an income from your effort. It’s tough paying out money and seeing zero dollars in return.
Horsemen #3: I’m Not A Writer
That might be true. But what most people mean when they say “I’m not a writer” is that they aren’t a “great writer”. We have a tendency to set the bar higher than we should.
I want you to let this next point sink in. You can be a great blogger and a “good” writer. Blogging is about reporting what you see, explaining what you think, and being a producer of information that helps your reader. That’s it.
The good news is that you were Born to Blog. You have one of five important skills to get started. They are:
1) Dreamer – They see a different world and work tirelessly to make it a reality.
2) Storyteller – Life is a stage and they love crafting tales where you are the hero.
3) Teacher – Patience of a saint. Heart of gold and a knack for making the complex simple.
4) Persuader – You’re wrong but that’s fine because they’ll put you on the right path.
5) Curator – They find the diamonds in the haystack and get a kick out of displaying them for your enjoyment.
One most likely two of these traits drive your passion to blog. Check out Born to Blog to learn which trait powers your blogging.
Horsemen #4: I Don’t Know Where to Start
We are swimming in blogging info. Heck there’s over 400 posts here on the topic! I know how you feel. Let’s start with this:
A Simple Blog Theme:
Studiopress has a few simple themes that you can install and start publishing. Don’t get distracted by fancy themes with whiz-bang features. Remember people are coming to your blog to read not play with bells and whistles.
Write One – Every Day:
You’ll get good quick. I know of at least 100 different reasons you can’t write once a day but I only know of one way to build an effective blog – write as much as you can.
Love On Every Reader:
Collect reader email addresses and make a point of using email to stay connected.
Don’t complicate this. Pick a theme. Write. Email. It’s seriously that easy.
Horsemen #5: I’m Not (Technically, Creatively, Business) Savvy
Join the crowd. Having technical skills enables you to do more but it’s not critical for success. Here are a few ways to get help with technical questions in a pinch:
1. Support Forums: Visit the support forum for your blog . The best theme providers have a thriving discussion forum staffed with skilled geeks. These forums have saved my butt many days
2. Q&A Sites: Did you know there are huge websites with thousands of smart as heck people answering technical questions for free? My favorite is StackOverflow. Go there, register for free and ask your question. I normally get 3–4 amazing answers for every question.
3. Freelance Help: I suggest using Odesk to hire someone if your problem is too big for you to handle. Excellent freelance programmers and designers bid for jobs and usually complete their assignments successfully. I prefer oDesk because you can filter freelance proposals by satisfaction ratings, language skills, and area of expertise.
4. Hire a Coach: Find someone who is accomplishing the goals you’ve set out for yourself and hire them. You’ll move faster, learn more, and create a relationship to get to your destination.
Fighting Your Own Horsemen?
Which doubt is dragging down your blog? Talk to me.
Day 9 of the 30 Day / 30 Blog Challenge
You can join and start your 30 Day / 30 Blog Post journey at any time – just count out 30 days, note the final day on your calendar and start writing!
(Amazing Image found on: nynir.deviantart.com)