Confessions Of a Reluctant Blogger: 9 Hidden Benefits Of Blogging
I started writing this blog a little over one month ago. While I was thinking about it for years, honestly, I was hoping to avoid it. I thought, I already have a large network, do I really need more “friends”. I’m too senior for this…I’m too busy for this. Then I discovered something about blogging that nobody really talked about. Blogging makes me a better entrepreneur and business person. Let me tell you why…
While bloggers have been around since the 1990s, businesses have only started to tap into the power of using a blog as a component of a marketing plan in the past ten years. In this new economy, having a creative marketing strategy that involves social media is critical for businesses. Sonia Simone of Copyblogger has a great post on the 7 deadly sins of blogging that takes this issue from the other side…what not to do.
We all know using a blog as the center of your social media marketing strategy can increase your search engine rankings, build or cement your reputation, and enhance skills that will let those who lead businesses lead Internet communities straight to those businesses.
But there are several hidden benefits to blogging that are outside the expected realm, including the following.
- At its very core, blogging is a writing tool. This does not mean that you need to be a New York Times bestselling author, but writing a blog regularly will certainly enhance the writing aptitude of every writer from novice on up. Since blogs also tend to get lots of feedback, you can also learn about what works for your writing style from responses you receive from your readers.
- Listen Up! Blogging encourages you to listen. Once you start blogging you start to hear everything from a blogger’s perspective, and a buyer’s perspective. By listening and responding to your audience’s comments, and finding out how they respond to your blogs, you learn to adapt your writing tone and style to meet your audience and buyer’s needs.
- Brain Exercise. As you attempt to captivate your audience by displaying wit and knowledge, in a different way every day, you stretch your self to address new issues. You solve their problems, learn what they want, and you think differently about every day matters, including various aspects of your business.
- Speak Up! Although blogging is a written expression, it can actually enhance your presentation as a speaker, and your knowledge on your topic. You continue to learn information as you research and write your blog and you also gain insight from readership response. This gives you the ability to more clearly articulate on your topics whether you are presenting a prepared speech to an audience or chatting casually on the social scene.
- Blogging gives your sales approach a whole new outlook and takes you out of your rehearsed sales pitch. The more knowledge you gain regarding what you are promoting, the better you become at selling that very concept or product.
- Successful marketing blogs must be fresh, informational, and enjoyable. In order to write this type of content you need to be aware of what is happening and stay abreast of current industry trends. You need to ask yourself two questions: “Who is my target audience?” and “What do they crave?” Don’t just ask what they want, be one step ahead of your competitors and dare to go beyond the surface. The knowledge you gain extends way beyond blogging, enhancing every aspect of your marketing campaign.
- Blogs give you the unique opportunity to act as a launching ground to assess new concepts or products. There is no crystal ball in determining how successful something will be and paying for consumer analysis can be quite expensive. You can use your blog to see how your readers respond to your ideas and use their feedback to fine-tune and make adjustments as needed. Negative response from your audience can actually save you a lot of money, if you make the decision not to launch a new product or service based on their input.
- Expansion is a natural result of blogging and it gives you the ability to take your previous topics and develop them further any time the need arises. You can breathe life into a fading topic by relating previous posts and expanding on them. You can also do the same thing to create excitement about something novel and unknown. Keep in mind the idea is to expand on the blogs and not just rehash and repost your “same old, same old”.
- Networking is the core of social media marketing and blogs are at the heart of this. Social networking is the fastest way to generate “word of Internet” advertising, and RSS feeds allow your fans to receive syndicated updates of your blog automatically. This is a great way to increase your opportunities without requiring any additional effort.
The viral power of social media marketing is like nothing that’s ever been available to business and leaders before. By using a well targeted blog as the foundation, you can take the skills above, and watch the results increase incrementally. Other social networking tools and users will find your business based on the content of your blog. A blog reaches the people you need to reach, you teach them what you have to offer, and they tell you exactly what they want and need. Since your skills are growing based on blogging, your results just get better and better. It’s a perfect mix of win-win for you and your potential buyers.
Writing, listening, thinking, speaking, learning, selling, gauging, expanding, and networking are some of the hidden benefits of a blog that I’ve seen transform potential into strategy. Businesses that take advantage of this simple tool have the power to cast a wider net, on the Internet, than ever before.
How has blogging made you a better business person?