Last week I had an appointment out of my home office… and I got stuck in rush hour traffic on my way home. I had forgotten how DRAINING being stuck in traffic can be.
On that day, I got two contrasting emails. The first came in from a client who has been blogging for 10 months now. His is a “traditional” business based in the “real world” where his clients have to battle traffic to get to him and receive his services. (There’s an interesting and probably overlooked entry for your SWOT analysis…. THREAT: TRAFFIC.) It’s the second email this year from him on this subject. The last one came in January when he got his first “referral” from his blog. He was thrilled. It gave him the “boost” to keep blogging.
One of the gifts this client possesses is the gift of “gab”. He’s a GREAT speaker, comes across well on camera and can construct a compelling word picture to illustrate complex concepts on the fly. He’s smart, he’s funny and he’s personable too boot! To capitalize upon this “gift”… he’s creating video versions of his radio commercials and posting them to YouTube (paying attention to proper tagging). He can then feature the clips on his blog AS WELL as making them available to a world wide audience.
Well, yesterday, a member of that world wide audience called him… from Brazil. (He’s in the US) He was shocked and amazed.
It’s working!!! It’s working!!! After almost a year, it’s working!
This is in stark contrast to another email I got yesterday. This business owner launched a blog 6 weeks ago. The posts to the blog are along the lines of “and this is what I had for breakfast this morning.” (The posts aren’t that bad… but they did remind me of another blog where that was the ACTUAL content of the posts. It’s almost possible to compute that person’s daily fiber intake from the blog entries!) The email from this client read, “My blog isn’t working and I think I’m going to take it down if something doesn’t happen FAST.”
Wow… what can I say. Six weeks and eight blog posts later it seems that the blog isn’t “working”.
First, read my post io9.com created 700 posts before launch.
My next question for the business owner will be: “What was it the blog was supposed to do?”
Is it supposed to magically funnel potential clients into your practice?
I use the term “magically” because filling the sales funnel for an independent service professional is a lot like pushing a 500 lb giant lead ball up a steep hill. If you think that 500 lb lead ball is going to roll up the hill on it’s own power… well, I hope you’re a graduate of Hogwarts if you think that is going to happen.
Instead, think of your blog as a bulldozer to help you move that heavy lead ball to the top of the hill.
Remember that your blog is a GREAT communication tool. It’s a GREAT way to communicate with potential clients… to convince them you are the answer to their most pressing problem. Your blog can get potential clients to that magical “90% sure” state…. just by reading your posts and watching your videos. That 90% sure state… where they’re 90% sure you’re the one who can help them…. is necessary for them to pick up the phone or shoot off an email.
I get those phone calls occasionally as a result of my blog. Someone has stumbled upon this blog, reads a few posts and then picks up the phone and calls. “I think you can help me” is how those conversations begin.
The service based professional NEEDS to provide that kind of assurance to potential clients and customers. The WIIFM (What’s In It For Me) question playing in their head is, “Can this person really help? Does he/she “get” my problem? Can he/she really provide a solution?”
Dosh Dosh asks “Why are you giving away content for free?”
If you’re a service based professional, the answer should be “To gain the level of trust needed to begin a conversation with potential clients.”