We couldn’t emphasis enough how much we love blogging.
And how much it’s allowed us to grow Spokal.
So when people ask us if they should start blogging, I’m at a crossroad.
Is what my content marketing brain says.
“You’ve got to be crazy!”
Is what my small business hat says.
There’s no doubt that content marketing builds million dollar businesses. And there’s no doubt that blogging is one of the best ways to create content that converts on a regular basis.
But, blogging isn’t easy.
Here are the 5 things that you don’t want to hear about blogging.
It’s Hard Work
While it would be great if you’re a naturally gifted writer – that has a knack for knowing what to say to attract potential customers, and how to communicate value and nurture leads so they become customers – for most of us this takes time.
We’ve been building the Spokal blog for 2 years, and it took us at least 6 months to figure out the tone, and another 6 months to create enough remarkable content that we started attracting readers who are actually interested in what we do.
That’s at least 6 months of regular planning, researching, writing, editing, sharing and promoting without seeing significant results.
While some of us get lucky and create epic blogs in a shorter period of time (Social Media Examiner comes to mind), for most of us, it takes time.
So, it’s not surprising that most people who start blogging stop after the first 3 months, and why roughly half of the blogs online today aren’t active.
If it were easy, everyone would be doing it.
It’s hard, really hard.
Once you know that, and your prepared, blogging can be one of the best decisions you make to grow your business.
It Takes Time
We know it takes time to find your voice, but even if you’re spot on from day one, inbound marketing is a process.
It takes time for you to create enough remarkable content on a topic so that Google knows your an expert, so it takes time for you to become relevant in search results when someone is looking for something you do or sell.
Scott Clark from BuzzMaven and Rand Fishkin from moz describe this as Surviving The SEO Slog.
While this concept is specifically related to SEO strategies, it’s easily extrapolated to inbound marketing.
The Gap of Disappointment is where most businesses stop blogging.
This is because effort and expectations aren’t aligned. When you start blogging, you may see an initial boost or response from friends and family reading your content.
When that peters out, the long slog begins.
There’s a lot of work and energy spent blogging, and not a lot of upside.
They key is to understand the time frame and work involved so that you set the correct expectations.
The difference between expectations and reality, that’s what I call the delta of dissatisfaction. People just get really frustrated around this.
– Rand Fishkin, Founder of moz
You can survive this if you create relevant content on a regular basis, that’s properly optimized and targeted for your audience, and understand that it can take 3-6 months before you start seeing results.
You Need To Do Your Homework
People love seeing behind the scenes.
This is why sharing personal stories on a small business blog works.
But too many stories can be, well, boring.
Especially if they’re not supported by external resources.
People come to your blog because they’re looking for something. The value you provide will help them determine if they’ll come back, or if they’ll forget you among the other 152+ million blogs online.
One way to provide real value and keep yours posts relevant is by doing your research.
It’s easy to say: “A lot of emails are sent every day.”
It’s another thing to say: “294 billion emails are sent every day.”
Facts are compelling.
They show you’re an expert in your field, because you know where to get relevant industry knowledge.
This helps you build trust with your audience, because it shows you’re credible and you know what’s going on.
And trust is crucial to getting customers online.
You Have To Promote
Once you publish, your job has just begun.
Because no matter how relevant your posts are, if you don’t actively promote them, you’re missing a significant opportunity to reach your customers.
Like with any good habit, the key to success is doing this step regularly.
While you may do an extra push for that special post, follow the same steps every time you publish, right after you publish.
The most obvious place to start is sharing on your social channels – ideally this is done automatically through a plugin or social platform.
Many bloggers also send an email to their readers, letting them know fresh content is waiting. Serial blogger Neil Patel attributes a significant portion of his traffic and 40% of his comments to people who see his blog in their inbox.
But what else are you going to do?
- Schedule tweets throughout the day to increase the likelihood of people seeing them
- Schedule tweets throughout the week and upcoming months, to keep your content circulating
- Join a blogging circle to get your comments section rolling
- Thank everyone you mentioned (including sources for reports) for creating their content
- Send a note to 5-20 customers and colleagues who might enjoy reading your post and ask for comments
- Use relationships you’ve built with bloggers and influencers and ask them to retweet your post if they like it
And so on.
Start with 3-5 steps that you will do every time, and you can build on your promotion strategy from there.
When you’re ready to expand, check out these posts on how to make your strategy that much better:
Should You Blog?
We all know hard work pays off.
This is why I love blogging.
But it isn’t for everyone.
If you’re not sure if you should incorporate it into your content marketing strategy, check out this post.
If you’re blogging and need guidance on how to survive the slog, check out our Practical Guide To Creating A Blogging Strategy That Actually Works.
So, what tips do you use to keep blogging until you reach the tipping point?