- September 7, 2014
- Posted by: Con P. Sweeney
- Categories: Blogging, Social Media
One tool available to everyone, used by few, and done reasonably well by even fewer is the the blog.
In this article, I’ll explain why you need to have one.
Yes, it’s different. It’s not an app like LinkedIn, Facebook, or Twitter. It’s free form. Some might even say subjective. They’re right.
Blogs are scary. We step out of the realm of secure, tight applications where we’re protected from technology, people who deal with technology, and, worst of all, having to make a lot of decisions that we normally don’t have to face or want to face.
Why would I subject my readers and my clients to this? (Notwithstanding some apocryphal stories from family and friends, I’m not a cruel person. Really.)
I have three primary reasons for recommending going down this path.
First, this is an opportunity to put your own original content out there for the world to see.
Next, you have total control over the format, post size, attachments, you name it, you’re in charge.
Finally, your content on your blog helps establish yourself as a subject matter expert (SME) or influencer in your area of expertise without the distractions of others on the same screen.
Content is King!
I’ll repeat this ad nauseum in this blog.
Earlier, I blogged about sourcing others’ content. Now, we’re talking about you creating content for others to share.
Your blog marks a piece of the Metaverse as your personal geography where you can establish yourself and tell your own story as you want to tell it. Where the world can find you and which you can promote.
Your story can be told in the format you want (e.g., fonts, colors, titles, the list is endless). You can include images, videos, and links. You select the keywords or tools to promote your work. A blog roll can show what you think is important out there. Or, you can invite guest bloggers to post demonstrating the strength of your own network.
Your own blog separates you from many others who, while they may be very good at what they do and very knowledgeable, haven’t been able for whatever reason to bring it all together to create their own blog. You distance yourself from the pack when you have your own blog.
The next question for me is, “OK, you’ve sold me! How do I start?”
My 8 Step Developing a Social Media Program lays out the steps in the journey to develop your social media program.
If you follow it then you’ll have an identity to show to the world. This what you’re all about and what your blog will be all about.
Next, blogging software needs to be selected.
There are two tools that I’m familiar with and can recommend. They serve different purposes but can be every effective if used properly. Like anything else they have their pluses and minuses. They also stick to my rule of only recommending free or near free tools unless there is no other alternative available.
The first tool is Blogger from Google.
This tool is free and gives the basics. There are limitations around formatting, domain names, and use for commercial purposes. But, if you want and need something to get you started in a hurry then this is the tool for you. Blogger also does a good job of protecting you from the technology. (Is that a sigh of relief I hear out there?)
The next tool is WordPress and I think I’m safe in saying this is probably the most popular blogging tool in the market today. This blog uses it.
WordPress is opensource and has a large and enthusiastic user community. Limitations are few but you take on more responsibilities yourself here including the dreaded technology one. (I heard that gasp!) Qualified folks are available to help you but this is where costs can begin to mount. You can register your own domain name but this will cost you as well. Still, it’s a very good tool and positions you well for the future.
Now, to set expectations for a moment.
Bookstores and libraries are full of books on these tools, how to select them, install them and then run them. There are many courses available covering the same subjects. This article is not intended to go into the guts of selecting and installing blogging software. I do want to cover some highlights and give you a shortlist to start with. Future articles will deal with different aspects of this topic.
Then, once you’ve decided what to do comes the writing which if you follow a good editorial calendar methodology is not nearly as daunting as it sounds.
Blogging is hard work! I won’t mince words here. I normally blog only once a week and it takes effort to prepare and then publish while dealing with all the vicissitudes of running a business and daily life. On the flip side, is the satisfaction of seeing your work published with your name on it and knowing that you did it. When people start commenting on your blog that’s the icing on the cake!
Blogging involves more responsibility and discipline on your part. But, the results are fulfilling!
Benefits will accrue to you from your blog.
You develop a reputation as an SME and it’s grounded in your blog. Your original, evergreen (content that can be reused) content will populate your entire social media program. (See how this all comes together?)
Most importantly, people will begin to follow you and your content and down the road this can lead to more business for you.
Some words of caution before I take my leave.
If you decide to blog, either blog well or don’t do it at all.
Blog at least weekly. (1,000 to 1,500 words per post is a good size.)
Make sure your content is good and respond promptly to comments.
That’s it for now! More to come later!
In the meantime, thank you for following and reading my blog!
I look forward to any and all comments that you may have. I will reply to any comments made to this blog post as promptly as I can.
I work with social media for a living and if I can be of any assistance to either you or your organization, please feel free to call on me. Our initial discussion will be of no charge to you.
I can also be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
My Twitter handle is @conpsweeney.