According to an article on SocialTimes.com, the internet turned 30 on January 1st of this year. There are opposing opinions, but for the sake of this post, we’ll go with 30 (if for no other reason than it’s a nice round number.)
In that time marketing and advertising have radically changed. Blogging is the new marketing tool.
Interior designers and design professionals regularly ask me why I blog, and if everyone should start a blog to advance their brand?
After nearly 3 years of researching social media and content marketing, I’ve come up with 6 reasons not to start a blog. So before you start – or continue writing a blog – you might consider reading this post.
Every blogger needs to establish a goal. In the interior design industry, there are a dozen or so reasons to blog. You may have a product or service to advance, you’re attempting to attract clients, you’re developing your brand, or you’re networking. Or your goal may be a combination of these concepts. The point is, unless you’ve pinpointed your goal, you’ll be stabbing in the dark.
Start by subscribing to Chris Brogan’s blog. He’s perhaps the best known, and most respected authority on blogging. I suggest reading his daily dispatch every morning for 90 days – I can guarantee with certainty that you will have solidified your goal, and will gather information about how to achieve it along the way.
By now you’ve heard it a thousand times. Content is King. In a (wildly simplified) nutshell, content marketing is creating unique articles, videos or images that will attract an audience – who will become potential customers for your brand. I recommend subscribing to CopyBlogger.com (the BEST resource for a content marketing education.) Again, spent 90 days reading their daily articles before starting a blog, and continue to read them as you blog – because in content marketing, as in life in general, the only thing that’s constant is change.
3. You don’t have a social media presence
Writing compelling content is only the first step. Once it’s edited, polished and published, you need to promote it. In Michael Hyatt’s book ‘Platform’, he explains the importance of Social Media. Here’s the distillation.
Your blog is your ‘Home Base’ – digital property you own and control. But unless you have a mechanism in place to disseminate the content on your blog, that content is useless. That’s where your ‘Embassies’ – digital property you don’t own, but upon which you have a regular presence, come into play. The most popular social media outposts (at least in the US) are Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn, YouTube and Google+.
Once you’ve written a blog post, you’ve got to promote it to have it read. There are guidelines for how to promote posts, which I’ll be writing about in next weeks ‘Business & Design’. And one last point on this subject, before you spend your hard earned money on Facebook’s Promoted Post concept, you might find this article of interest.
This might seem obvious to most, but unless you intend to write your blog’s content yourself, don’t bother at all. I’ve read a dozen books on the subject of blogging, and countless articles, and there is one thing that everyone agrees on. Unless you write your own blog posts, with your voice, your expertise will not come through.
Here’s a great example. Thomas Jayne, one of American interior design’s elder statesmen writes a blog called ‘Decoration, Ancient & Modern’. While he may not actually be doing the formatting in his WordPress template, it’s his voice and knowledge – 100% authentic – that you hear when you read his posts. It’s a benchmark for success in blogging.
Explained in a nutshell, a junior designer – or worse yet an intern – does not possess the scope of knowledge you do, so the copy they write will come from their junior perspective, leaving you looking ridiculous.
5. You don’t understand the importance of engagement
Blogs are social media, with the operative word being SOCIAL. Imagine a dinner party at which the host arrives, regales her guests with the evenings tantalizing menu, as well as an interesting story about her recent trip to Kenya, then disappears – never to be seen again at the party. Rude huh? Would you accept another invitation to her home?
People who choose to read your blog want to interact with you, and more importantly, you need to interact with them. Blogging is not a sprint, it’s a marathon, and attracting loyal readers who’ll come back to hear what you have to say takes time. And they come back not only because you write compelling content, but because a conversation is far more interesting than a monologue.
6. You don’t realistically have the time
There are no hard and fast rules regarding how often to write blog posts. But there is empirical evidence to help guide you.
I can tell you that it takes me on average 100-120 minutes to write a post, and another 30 minutes to edit it once I’ve entered the text. That does not include the time it takes to research the subject du jour, or to collect images. Considering I write 2 posts a week (and edit 2-3 others) it’s a full time job.
Most authorities on blogging suggest a minimum of 1 post a week, and that a well written and read blogger should produce 3 posts a week. You need to take into consideration your schedule, your objectives, and your dedication to find the number of posts that works for you (and for your audience.)
Do you currently write a blog? I’d like to hear what your issues are. Perhaps I might have some information that could be of assistance. Referring back to #5, please feel free to comment.