“Why are you blogging?”
If you haven’t asked yourself this question lately, maybe you should.
Recently, I had back to back conversations in a single morning with three different types of bloggers and was struck by how different their individual blogging goals were.
While each fit a similar “demographic” profile and all three were business owners, their answers to the question, “Why are you blogging?” were all dramatically different.
The Conversationalist – blogging to build community and connection.
The first blogger’s journey into blogging began because she wanted to be able to easily update the content on her website. Enter the WordPress self hosted blog as CMS (content management system).
However, as time has progressed, this client has been feeling “called” to begin blogging with building community in mind. She wants to begin engaging in a meaningful conversation with prospective clients and visitors to her website. Because we’re already using WordPress as the CMS for her site, this will be an easy transition.
Creating a community conversation blog means installing some plugins to encourage conversation (a.k.a. comments) – WordPress plug ins like:
It also means adding some “social media” plugins such as:
The change in direction also means setting up Feedburner for the “new” information sharing style web presence. (The easiest way to make sure all RSS feeds go through Feedburner, use the FeedBurner FeedSmith plugin.)
All of these plugins are designed to make conversation and community “easier” on a WordPress self hosted blog.
This client has begun regularly “blogging” about a new “life design” she’s implementing. She’s started blogging regularly and making sure that her blog posts encourage others to join in on the conversation.
While it’s possible that this will blogging project will ultimately net her more clients – right now, the primary reason this client is blogging is because she really wants to connect with others and have them join her on this journey.
The Capitalist – blogging to achieve superior SERPS
The next client’s reason for blogging was entirely different. When I asked this client the question – “Why are you blogging?” – there was an uncomfortable silence as she considered her answer.
I “rescued” her by interjecting, “if you goal is to make the cash register ring – it’s OK! It just means there are some elements that you won’t want to embrace in your blog.”
The Capitalist knew that creating search engine friendly content is WAY easier when you build your web presence using a WordPress self hosted blog – and I think she was afraid that I would “condemn” her for not having “loftier” blogging goals.
In my book – a blogger who knows WHY he or she is blogging is already breathing rarefied air!!!
For the Capitalist, we skipped the plugins centered around “encouraging comments” but we’ll still be using the social media plugins because this client is very active on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn. She’s constantly making connections – not only to sell product but also has the goal of making joint venture connections via these valuable social media tools.
In addition to the tools above, we’re also using Viper’s Video to easily embed the informational videos she is creating for YouTube within blog posts. Creating YouTube videos is a GREAT way to leave what I call “breadcrumb trails” back to your blog.
Of course, this clients product offerings are available on the static pages of her blog. It’s amazing how many people I talk with who think that for some reason, a blog page can’t contain links to purchase products and services.
While the appearance of the blog is important to the Conversationalist – it’s even more important for the Capitalist. I can’t count the number of times I’ve “upgraded” the design elements on a small business web presence and seen the conversion rate climb radically just because the design went from “home grown” to “polished and professional”.
The first time I witnessed the “design effect” was when a client came to me with a site that got nice traffic but sales conversions were dismal. A simple “face lift” increased the conversion rate over 400% in a single quarter.
Content is king – but professional design is also important – especially to the Capitalist who wants to engender enough trust with visitors to get them to hand over their dough.
The Clueless Chump – blogging as a quick easy way to fame and fortune.
The first two conversations were with existing clients. These are women who own successful businesses which they want to take to the next level. The morning ended with a prospective new client call. During the course of the third conversation I discovered that this woman is looking for a way to make a six figure income with a minimal investment of time, money and effort. She’s obviously been infected with the “blogs as easy money” virus – which should be more feared than any strain of flu. For that reason, I’m dubbing her the Clueless Chump.
Ah, if only she had opened the conversation with a quick, concise statement which communicated the information above- how much easier my life would be.
Let me be clear, this isn’t a woman who wants to launch or promote an authentic small business. She’s not interested in adding value – which is what a blog with affiliate links must do to be successful. There’s plenty of value to be provided by the blog that offers reviews of products or services.
This woman is also not interested in selling products or services. She’s also not interested in connecting with others unless they’re willing to give her money without her doing anything to earn that money.
I’ve been burned by this type of “money for nothing” client enough in the past that I’m getting pretty good at spotting these early on and steering clear.
This third call was not a reader of my blog. When the Capitalist asked me why I blog – my response was I use my blog to try to “weed out” the Clueless Chump calls. In this case, this particular Clueless Chump has never read my blog and probably never will – she found me by referral.
It’s days like this when I learn first hand why it’s so hard to give “one size fits all” advice around the issues of social media marketing and blogging. As social media marketing emerges, it’s becoming obvious that crafting a social media marketing strategy is the most important step of all.
That’s why you should ask yourself “why”. Asking yourself “why” can give you a solid foundation upon which to build your blogging strategy.