People start a blog for all kinds of reasons. They may have started with one or two goals in mind, but as they got into blogging more, the discovered other benefits—direct or indirect—that they hadn’t anticipated.
Business owners and entrepreneurs who blog may start slow and small, but for many of them, the goal is to eventually begin to generate revenue and/or leads for their business. If you have a business, you might blog:
To focus your business.
Having a blog can help you narrow your focus and become more of a specialist. Knowing a lot about a certain niche puts you in the driver’s seat and attracts people who need help or advice in that area. For instance, I started out as a copywriter and social media coach, but gradually focused my business down to blogging coach. My blog reflected that, with posts on how to become a more effective blogger.
To build your credibility.
I detest the term ‘thought leader’ because I think it is greatly overused, to the point of becoming meaningless. But as people begin to see how much you know in your field, they will come to value you as a credible resource.
Someone they can ask questions to and get answers from.
This is a good thing. Because the more you show that you know your stuff, the greater levels of trust are built. And, as the term know, like, trust implies, the next step is hiring you to deliver a services or purchasing one of your products.
A blog helps you develop that kind of credibility.
To generate business leads.
A blog can be a very effective way to lead readers into your sales funnel. Readers will be more likely to come to you when they need something because you have already developed their trust by giving away all that free stuff (content) on your blog.
So, as they begin to see that you can solve some of their problems, some readers will become customers and clients.
To stay current with the trends in your industry.
Blogging is a perfect way to keep up to speed on the things that are happening in your field or industry. Through the research you do to write a post, you learn about all the new stuff and, better yet, you are keeping your readers current with it, too.
To make money directly though products or services.
Some bloggers sell their services and products on their blog, without even having a separate website. And often, bloggers can sell affiliate products or services that are related to their business, bringing them a steady (if small) stream of income from the affiliate payouts they get.
To increase traffic to your website.
If your posts are enticing enough, people will become more curious about what you do and the services and products you provide. So the natural next stop will be your website.
Your blog is the perfect place to offer content in small pieces and direct your readers to more comprehensive (paid) solutions on your website.
On the other hand, some blogs may never earn money because they weren’t launched for that purpose. You might start a personal blog:
To help others.
Some bloggers, like my friend over at HypothyroidMom.com, start a blog because they have developed—or overcome—a disease or illness or something else, and they want to help people who are going through the same challenges.
This kind of blog can be very successful as a place where readers who are similarly challenged can connect and share thoughts and advice. It can also be a launching pad for writing a book.
To change people’s opinions and beliefs.
Some bloggers do what they do to raise awareness about important issues or to get people to think differently and/or become involved in supporting a social or political cause. These blogs are usually a mix of public education and advocacy for certain issues.
To share a passion or hobby.
Some blogs focus on a personal passion: painting, scrapbooking, quilting, or other pastimes. The purpose of often to connect people with the same passion and share ideas.
Extra Benefits: The Icing On The Cake
As if the reasons above were not enough to motivate you to blog, there are other significant benefits. These extra perks will bubble over into different areas of your business or personal life.
You will be writing regularly and, boy, does that improve your skills.
You will find yourself becoming a better writer in an overall sense because you are putting in regular time, practicing the craft. And writing is a valuable skill that has applications in many other parts of one’s life.
You learn how to listen.
I always thought I was listening before, but thoughtful comments from readers taught me how to lean in close and really understand what my community was saying.
Perhaps it is the immediacy of blogging.
The instant feedback.
It is this kind of listening that moves a blogger forward, helps her give her readers (and clients) the things they need to solve their problems.
You will meet some very interesting people.
Some of them you may even form partnerships with. I have, among other things, formed partnerships to co-teach a webinar, trade guest posts with other bloggers and become as member of a blogging team at a new site. All of this helped boost my visibility and credibility.
You sharpen your teaching skills.
The parts of blogging that are about teaching? They are the best.
And when a reader says, “I tried that strategy. And it worked!”? Well, those are some of the happiest moments in a blogger’s life.
You will become more accountable and more responsible to deadlines of all sorts.
There is nothing like having a once or twice weekly blog post deadline to train you in meeting target dates for other projects.
You develop a “thicker skin” (not necessarily a bad thing).
Having a thicker skin doesn’t mean you ignore the critics. It just means that you analyze the negative blog comments and figure out if they make sense.
If they do, make an effort to change. If they don’t, accept the criticism, thank the reader for expressing her feelings and move on.
Another life lesson.
You begin to understand the huge differences between an audience and a community.
An audience listens. A community listens and responds.
An audience doesn’t necessarily feel valued. A community is appreciated—and recognized.
An audience is people reading in a vacuum. A community is an audience, talking to the blogger—and more importantly—to each other.
An audience consumes and leaves. A community hangs around for the conversation.
You will find your elusive voice.
Much has been said about finding your ‘voice.’ But all it really means is understanding who you are, how you think about things and how you communicate with other people— in the most authentic way.
The more you blog, the closer you will get to your authentic writer’s voice.
You may even get noticed by the press.
I can’t guarantee this will happen, but sometimes a writer or reporter is looking for advice or quotes for his or her article. They might find you in a google search of their topic.
This happened to Judy and resulted in her being part of a story in the Boston Globe. That kind of coverage can do wonders—for both your blog and your business.