Blogging is not usually supposed to be very technical or journalistic in tone. A huge part of the appeal is that blogging is highly personal. This is also where blogging gets a lot of its strength and effectiveness. Whether you’re in a home based business, real estate, internet marketing, network marketing or ANY business that would benefit very much from a blog presence, blogging gives you the opportunity to connect on a personal level with a large number of people over time. When you think about it, there is really nothing like it!
The Power of Blogging
You cannot mail to a direct a mailing list, or do a calling campaign or any other form of contact with your network that is as effective and engaging as a blog can be, if it’s done right. And think about this: blogging is CHEAP! How much would it cost you to do a mailing to 10,000 prospects? It would cost thousands of dollars of course, and how engaging would it be? How many of those postcards would just end up in the trash? But how much does it cost to publish a blog post and blast it out to everyone in your network? Nothing! Think about how powerful that is! But the point of this post isn’t to sell you on the effectiveness, it’s to show you the importance of writing a plan for your blog, why it’s essential and a couple steps to take to make sure you’re doing it effectively.
Unfortunately for many business people, much of what you do ends up coming off as spam to most people. This is not what you want, believe me. And it’s completely avoidable, if you write a good plan for your blog up front!
Blogging can be a Double Edged Sword
Writing up a plan for your blogging and social networking is a rare thing. Almost no one does it. Who has the time? And really, how important can it be? It’s very easy to get started with a blog, but don’t let that confuse you. I mentioned how powerful and cost effective a blog can be as a marketing tool. The fact that it’s very inexpensive to get started is simply a blessing of technology, but I’d encourage you to not treat it like it’s free. The people you’re engaging are real people; don’t waste their time! For decades, it’s cost media companies many thousands of dollars to do what you can do now for basically nothing, but just because blogging is cheap doesn’t mean your audience’s attention is cheap. In fact, you’re not the only one who has access to this technology…everyone has access to it, and as a result your audiences attention span and trust is stretched even thinner than ever.
In other words, just remember this: if you want your blogging to be effective, you need to put out quality content, and you need to be HYPER-sensitive to what they will consider valuable. Value is in the eye of the beholder, and the decision regarding what is valuable is up to your customers, not you. But still, you need to reach your sales goals, no? So what gives? This is why writing a plan is hugely important.
The double-edged sword of blogging is this: if you do well, you will be able to engage a high number of people on a personal level. This is powerful and very cost effective branding. But if you put out content that is not well-received, even if your intentions are good, you can easily do more harm than good. Consumers are incredibly insensitive and unforgiving when it comes to spam, and as far as a consumer is concerned in the social media world…spam is ANY from of non-personal interruption-based marketing that they did not ask for.
The essential element here is perception, not reality. Spam is anything that is perceived as spam. Many business people and sales people have a tough time adapting to social media because of this. What happens is that they take on a blog or create some social media profiles for the purpose of marketing their business. That’s good. That’s smart. But then they proceed to simply use these tools as a way of advertising themselves, completely neglecting the “social” part of social media. That’s bad.
Write a plan for your blog! Make sure up front that you have an action plan, in writing, that will enable you to get the results you’re looking for. And your plan must enable you to reach your goals without doing anything that can remotely be perceived as spam by your prospects. This is a challenge! But seriously, if you don’t do the work up front, you’re wasting your time. I honestly think much of the spam out there is due to business people wanting to sell things (which is smart) but not sitting down to make sure they have a plan to effectively make it happen (that’s NOT smart).
The Value of Having a Plan
Many people, especially salespeople, have told me they don’t understand the value of having a business plan. They just want to go out and sell. What good is it going to do you to have a written business plan sitting on your desk? Here’s the deal: you don’t need a business plan; you need to WRITE a business plan. See the difference? As soon as you write it, you can throw it away for all I care. Actually, it’s best to hang on to it and revise it once a quarter or so, as your business changes and as you learn more. However, the finished product is largely irrelevant. You don’t need it in most cases. What you NEED to do is go through the process of writing it, because the process of writing it will force you to think critically about what you’re doing.
Don’t spend months writing a blog only to find out that you are never going to achieve your goals this way. Don’t start a blog because it’s cool or because I tell you it’s a great marketing tool or whatever else…do it for the right reasons. Write a plan for your business, and make sure your blog is targeted to help you meet your business goals. There are a million kinds of blogs, and there are a million different angles you can take. Write the plan first. Outline what you want to do. Make sure it all makes sense, then start. Measure twice, cut once.
In my next post, I’ll make a list of essential questions for you to ask while writing your blogging plan. Have I convinced you to write a plan?