The Weekend Solopreneur

Issue 22.47

Saturday, November 19, 2022

Should you start a blog?

Whenever I visit a website, I look to see if there’s a blog. And often—way too often—there is one, but the last entry is over a year old.

This is not good.

Anemic blogs create a negative impression. If there is a blog, but there’s nothing recent, how is their business doing? Should I be doing business with someone who doesn’t seem to be active?

So the question is: should I start a blog? Do I need to commit to writing something every week, when I don’t know how to write, and when I’m already overloaded?

Here’s my recommendation:

Writing about topics you care about is one of the best ways to establish your expertise. So start writing articles, but don’t necessarily publish it as a blog.

Here’s why.

Calling it a blog sets expectations

Whenever we hear the term “blog”, we expect to see regular entries. Most of the time, that expectation is to see something every week.

This is a huge commitment. I’ve had my share:

This takes time. It takes time to write every week, it takes time to learn how to write so you don’t cringe when you read your own stuff, and it takes time for it to pay off.

So should you start at all?

Writing is not just for blogging

When you change how you think about articles, a whole range of possibilities open up:

Take away the idea that you have to write something every week. Now imagine that you have 12 articles on your website. Not a blog, just a collection of articles about stuff you care about.

What can you do with this content?

Practice your pitch

Every time you write about something you care about, you’re getting just a little better at articulating your expertise.

I’ve frequently written about the idea that the second-most common reason businesses fail is because we don’t express what we do in ways that make sense to our target market.

Every time you write, you have the chance to express your views and your expertise. And the more you write, the better you get at expressing what you do, and why this thing is important.

Your writing then shows up in your conversations, in your sales pages, even when you deliver your products or services.

To me, this is one of the biggest benefits of writing - learning how to express what you do in a compelling manner.

Organic traffic

The first thing, obviously, is that there’s a chance your content will be discovered when someone searches for topics you wrote about. This is called organic traffic, and is one way people find your website.

But there’s a ton of other stuff you can do with this content. Here are my favourites:

Send a link to a prospective client

When you’re talking to a prospective client, and they have a question you wrote about before, send them a link to the article.

This immediately establishes you as an authority on the topic and answers their question. But most importantly, it takes up very little of your time.

Use it in your email marketing

When a client downloads a goodie from your website, you now have a ready supply of additional, valuable content you can send them.

So send them the goodie. Then set up your email marketing to send them one article a week for 6 weeks, one article every 2 weeks for 6 weeks, and the last three one a month. That’s six months worth of lead nurturing just waiting to be used.

This keeps you top of mind (and builds your authority), especially for those people who are not quite ready to buy when they first visit your website.

Use excerpts in your marketing

Each article contains at least four or five (often more) snippets of wisdom you can use in your marketing. For example, each of the highlights I have in this issue is a potential LinkedIn post.

Make short videos

If you’ve never made short videos before, this can be scary. But if you want to dip your toe in the water, take each article and turn it into three or four small videos. Start a YouTube channel and post links to the videos on your favourite social media platforms.

Not only is this another way to get discovered, but you’re also catching those people who prefer video over reading.

The biggest challenge you will have to overcome

The biggest challenge with all of this is time. We’re already busy, so where do we even start?

The answer is not to overload yourself with all of the stuff you could be doing.

Start small. Write one article. Then write another. And before you know it, you will have your 12 articles. And when you have them, you have links you can send to clients. You have inspiration for writing more. And you can repurpose those articles and use them in all the ways I mention above.

Why 12 articles?

It’s one a month. If you keep the long-term benefits (and uses) of these articles in mind, you should be able to carve out time to write one article a month.

And one year later, you will have 12 articles you can start leveraging.

So should you start a blog?

In short, no - don’t start a blog. But do write articles you can use for other purposes.

The only trick is to make sure each article is evergreen.

Evergreen means the article is as relevant in a year from now as it is today. This article, for example, is not tied to anything time-specific. It is as valid today as it will be for someone who reads this a year from now.

Don’t worry about all the things you will have to do to get good at writing. Just start. You will get better, and the benefits will pay off for a long time.