Why should I have a blog? This is a question many of us in the marketing arena are often asked. From the personal branding perspective the answer is absolutely. A blog is where your personal brand is shaped. Unlike a static website or social media profile, a blog is where an individual’s personal brand comes to life. It’s where you can express your opinions and passions and demonstrate your experience. It’s where people get to know you, what you are interested in and what you are about. Your blog creates the narrative for your brand and allows you to express yourself how you want to in the way that you want to.
From a business perspective, why should a person blog? Besides creating a brand narrative, blogging helps to build relationships. Writing timely, topical, fun and informative posts builds a following. Have you seen Amy Adams and Meryl Streep in the movie Julie & Julia? The film demonstrates the power of blogging, and how it can impact an individual’s life or business. I won’t give away the plot, but the main character played by Amy Adams follows her cooking passion and writes about her struggles and successes. Her creativity, writing ability, emotion and content slowly began to resonate and attract a following, media attention and much more. Social media expert Seth Godin said, “It doesn’t matter who reads your blog. What matters is the humility that comes from writing (a blog)….the meta-cognition of thinking about what you’re going to say. How do you force yourself to describe in three paragraphs why you did something, how do you respond out loud? [Blogging] forces you to make yourself part of the conversation.”
What Will You Blog About?
What should you blog about? There are no rules here, but certainly something you’re interested in, an expert on or something you are passionate about. If you have trouble coming up with blog post ideas then maybe you should look to another subject for inspiration. A blog does not have to be all about business. Watch Julie and Julia and you will see what I mean. If you are looking to grow your personal brand and build relationships with people, post what you are passionate about and interested in. Readers will connect and engage with you. If you build your following and readership with content that you enjoy creating, then blogging will be a joy instead of a chore.
Consistency matters when blogging. Some may find that once a day or once a week works, while others determine twice a month works for them. No matter the schedule, stick to it. Consistency is vital to maintain reader interest. According to Jane Sheeba, author of Pro Blogging Success, “choosing a blogging frequency depends on various parameters for different people.” She emphasizes that blogging frequency is dependent on many factors including the blogger’s goals and preferences, the type of blog, and how new the blog is.
We are all pressed for time in our fast-paced world. Many of us have limited time to read and research topics we are interested in. We want information in a short and concise format. Susan Gunelius, author of About.com’s Blogging Guide says, “Most people who read blogs don’t have a lot of time or patience to read thousands of words of content. They’re looking for quick access to information or entertainment. Therefore, you should try to write succinctly and use headings to break up long blocks of text.” Blog posts should be a reasonable length that allows information and messages to be conveyed. For blogs that provide how-to or do-it-yourself advice, the length may be longer, but consider using bullet points. This will allow you to get the same message out but with fewer words.
A personal brand focused blog needs to be promoted in order to attract followers, subscribers and readers. Besides including keywords, tags and categories in and with the blog specifically, the following are several simple strategies for getting the word out:
- Post a link to your blog on LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter (use a shortened link)
- Use Facebook applications such as Networked Blogs to allow your blog to also reside on Facebook
- Send your blog link to your contact list and ask people to subscribe
- Ask friends to share and recommend your blog on social media and directly
- Put the link to your latest blog in your email signature – highlight the topic
- Each time you blog, ask 20, 30 or 50 or more people what they think of it? Share their comments and ask them to follow.
There are literally millions of blogs. According to Hat Trick Associates there may be as many as 450 million English language blogs as of 2011 and possibly close to a billion if you count all languages. Many of these blogs have virtually no readers. These brands aren’t growing they are stagnant. Become a successful blogger and create a brand that reflects you and your passions in life and business. Start by determining what you will write about, find the platform that works for you and start posting. Remember to be consistent and proactively promote your blog. To grow your brand and blog you need to tend to it, nurture it, create content for it and build relationships with it.
This article is provided by Bill Corbett, Jr., President of Corbett Public Relations, Inc., a leading media relations, social media and personal branding consulting firm. For more information, go to corbettpr.com or to his blog corbettprblog.com. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or @wjcorbett.