A lot of you are on the fence, no? Perhaps some or all of these have transpired:
- You’ve heard me and others talk about the high value of blogging
- You want to get in better touch with your customers
- You want to reach out to more customers and broaden your base
- You are seeing a significant increase in costs associated with traditional marketing and want to find more cost effective ways to engage your audience
- You WANT to start a blog…it just looks like fun (it is, you know!)
So what’s the hang up? After talking with many of you for the last several months, I’ve discerned there are three big reasons many of you remain on the fence. You want to start blogging, but these concerns must be addressed first.
- It’s kind of techy…you might not be sure how to install your own blog software, etc.
- You can’t imagine always having something new to say…coming up with new posts consistently over time seems quite daunting.
- Writing to an audience of zero seems like a drag; you want to be confident you can build a good readership
I will be offering a series of video tutorials on dvd showing you how to research, install and operate a business blog. For those of you concerned with any of these three concerns, this video coaching series will answer these concerns in detail.
I’m doing this for one simple reason: these are the most common things I go over with clients for my consulting rate via web conferencing, so it makes sense to me to create a product which offers the exact same content but costs only a fraction of what one-on-one consulting costs. Does that make sense? So any of you on the fence but who cannot pay for consulting, this will give you everything you need for a very affordable price.
That said, I want to sell you on the power of listening. Listening is the key to building a successful blog marketing campaign. It may sound intuitive to pay attention to your audience, but when you look around, not nearly enough (in my opinion) of it is actually going down.
We worry about SEO, what to write about, what to tweet about, how to make our sites look cool…this is all talking. Granted, you need to open your mouth on occasion if you want anyone to know you’re there, but it’s essential to understand that unless your product or service is grandly original…one of a kind, never-existed-before-on-the-face-of-the-planet-original, there is already a vast amount of conversation already going on around what you’re doing. Tap into it, and funnel a portion of it back to your site. How? By listening.
Why Listening is Key
There is a simple reason why listening will do you more good than talking. Here it is…if all you do is talk, then all you’ll be capable of saying is drivel. That will do you no good at all. You can only create valuable content in direct proportion to how much you listen. And listening must come first of course. You know those bloggers who post every single day, and the content they put out is actually good stuff? They are dramatically tuned into their audience. They follow a lot of people on Twitter and actually pay attention to what people are saying. They incessantly read good content online, and respond to it. They listen intently. They listen first, then they respond.
Blogging is a conversation. When you go to a party or a conference, do you stress out about what you’re going to say? No. You go and meet people; hang out and have fun getting to know new people. This is how it’s done in person. This is ALSO how it’s done online.
Listening Takes Care of Everything
Have a problem with getting traffic to your blog? Then you’re spending too much time on YOUR blog and not enough time on OTHER people’s blogs. When you’re on your own blog, you can’t listen (unless you already have a strong traffic stream and lots of comments). Spend time reading what’s going on in other places instead. Read other blogs, and when you have something to say…leave a comment. Pay attention, because a lot of your comments will spark quick and easy inspiration for a blog post. I’ve seen it happen over and over again. I leave a comment on a post somewhere, and I find I actually have more to say about it…thus a blog post is born. You don’t have to grind it out…it happens automatically. It happens naturally.
And there is even more value than that…because the post is in direct response to an ongoing conversation. You see? There is already confirmed interest in the topic; this makes your post relevant. Instead of having to constantly tap into your own genius, you spend time listening. Tap into the genius of others.
And when you spend time on other blogs, forums, etc…occasionally leaving comments and interacting with other people, guess what’s happening? You’re networking. You’re engaging people on their home turf, in a place where they’re comfortable and at ease. And when they find they like you…when they find you’re genuine and actually have good stuff to say, what do you think will happen? They will visit your site. They will naturally want to know more about you.
See, it’s not about finding the magic keyword. It’s not about creating the ultimate blog design. It’s not about how often you post or how long (or short) your posts are. It’s not about posting links to your articles on Twitter. It’s about simply finding your audience where they already are…and listening to them. When you spend time doing that first, your content takes care of itself. Your traffic takes care of itself.
So am I full of it? Or am I onto something? Instead of worrying about how to use Twitter and pondering what magical tweets you can send out to get that golden traffic stream, maybe you can seek out and follow people you want to reach out and pay attention to what they’re talking about. By paying attention and actually caring about about your audience, everything else in a very real way, takes care of itself.