Why and For Whom Do you Blog?

Darren Rowse has an interesting article about a “new” breed of blogger,  who doesn’t blog for money but rather earns income as a SIDE effect of blogging.  His post was inspired by a post written by Seth Godin (the MASTER of earning income as a side effect of his blogging) called “The Wealthy Gardener” in which Seth writes:

Blogging is much the same way. The best bloggers make money, but mostly as a side effect, not as a direct result of setting out to use a blog to make a profit. It’s just too long a ramp up time, too frustrating and too uncertain to be the best path to make a living.

AMEN!!

Which is why I encourage my clients to embrace the “new breed of blogging” with a passion.  See, in my practice, my clients are engaged in making what Neil Rackham classifies as the Major Sale.  According to Rackham, a major sale is one in which the seller needs to establish a trusting relationship with the buyer in order to complete the sale.

If you’re an independent service professional, chances are good that YOU are engaged in making a “Major Sale.”  If that’s the case, then a BLOG is a great way to communicate with potential clients and begin building the TRUST needed for them to eventually hire you so you can perform your services for them.

With that in mind, when I have a client who expresses desire to “monetize” his or her blog, I encourage them to think FIRST of why they’re blogging and then WHO their target audience is when they blog?  A consultant whose monthly retainer is four or five figures should probably focus more on building a relationship with potential clients rather than focus on the nickels and dimes a “monetized” blog will generate.

Even blogging superstar Micheal Arrington of Techcrunch began blogging not with a “monetized” blog in mind, but rather as a way to get up to speed quickly on the emerging technologies of Web 2.0.  It wasn’t until after he had built a MASSIVE audience that he parlayed his blogging “success” into a successfully “monetized” blog.

Mark Butler writes about the things Courtney Tuttle did right when he launched his blog and the first item Mark identifies is Court “began with the end in mind”.

Figure out what the ‘Why’ behind your blogging is, and remind yourself of it every day. Hint: “To make money” isn’t specific enough. Your blog should have a clear place in your business plans and goals. Define it, and stick to it.

I recently wrote about a GREAT contest being launched by the Search Engine Journal blog where they’re inviting guest writers to create dynamic posts to their blog.  It’s a great contest, but one I won’t be entering.  Why?  Because my blog is a promotion tool for my business and my clients are NOT RSS subscribers nor readers of the Search Engine Journal.

A conversation I had this morning with a client illustrated this point well for me.  I found myself creating a word picture for a client to help her to understand the difference between her domain name based email account and her beloved Hotmail email account.  (The word picture involved an RV, a mail box, and two dogs named Outlook Express and Hotmail.)   Trust me when I tell you that the readers at Search Engine Journal do NOT need that word picture to understand the concept of having two separate email account.

It’s easy to get distracted by shiny objects and small furry creatures as you build your blog.  However, when you keep in mind WHY you’re blogging and FOR WHOM…. it makes it MUCH easier to decide where to invest your most precious commodity…. TIME.

Brian Gardner’s one smart cookie….

I met Brian just before the Colts went to the Superbowl.  Brian’s not only a talented Word Press blog theme developer, he’s also a Colts fan who happens to live in the heart of Chicago Bear (the Colt’s Super Bowl XLI opponent) country.    Are all great minds Colts fans, or is it just an amazing coincidence?

Anyhow, Brian has since quit his day job and struck out on his own and he’s hit the ground running!!!  Last week, he launched an affiliate program where he pays commissions on sales of his premium Word Press themes.  Yesterday, Brian has announced his own version of March Madness…. offering fabulous prizes to his top affiliates in the month of March.

The promotion works on two levels:

a) It’s a great way to promote affiliate sign ups.

Sales is a numbers game.  In affiliate programs, 20% of your affiliate will generate 80% of your sales.  The more affiliates you have, the more sales they will generate.  It’s just that simple.

b) It’s link bait.

Not only must you sign up as an affiliate to join the contest, but you must also link back as well!

GREAT JOB Brian on crafting a compelling contest to promote your new affiliate program.